Interview with Bernard Lafayette

What was it like as a southern organizer coming into the city to Chicago?


Well as a southern organizer coming into Chicago it was very different. First of all, it was cold, ah, the next thing the place was overcrowded. It was, the place was steaming with people and all over the place. All sorts of, ah, different, ah, problems, and you could see in the faces of the people that they had different, kind of, you know, experiences. A lot of them were not very good. The other thing that struck me was the amount of glass in the streets. There was so much broken glass in the streets, but in many ways that broken glass represented the broken lives in, in the ghetto community. And there was a sense of being overwhelmed because there was so much of everything. The buildings were so tall, the streets were so wide, and the, the, the, the climate was so cold. So there was a sense of, of sadness in a real sense. And it was really a question of whether or not the situation could be changed, but we had to have hope because there was no alternative. In fact, the only other option was, ah, beyond thinkable.