Interview with Jesse Jackson

You were in Chicago at this point, the southern movement is looking for a northern location. It moves to Chicago, it's called the Chicago Freedom Summer. What were the things that were tried. What was the sense of-- REV.


Critical to that movement is James Bevel. It was Bevel's creative urge, I mean, and then some others were saying, Let's go to Harlem. Let's go to New York. You see there was kind of base in Harlem. There was Adam Powell in Harlem and others who had been associated for a long time. But Bevel sensed that coming to Chicago was a place to go. He was a big factor not only in coming to Chicago but also in conceiving of the ways to heighten the northern contradiction. Because it was said that we could not, we could find a Bull Connor and a Jim Clark in the south but racism up north was, was subtler. Because after all you could go to Wrigley Field and the White Sox Park and the Blacks and the Whites could sit together, that you could not really prove northern racism. But of course there we found in open housing marches, once we would marched off of that plantation, there was the rock throwing in, in Gage Park. There was the violent reaction in Cicero. And so the kind of field general of that was Bevel. But it was not just about confrontation to expose the contradiction. It also was an attempt to take the profit out of slums. Because at that time, many former inner city residents, owned the buildings. They got tax write-offs. Profits up, services down. So the slums were the result of a kind of, ah, separation of, of capital incentives from development. So it really was a kind of whole movement. It was both protest and development and it was dramatic.