Interview with Lu Palmer

So what Harold did was--


What, what Harold, what, what Jane Byrne did was to help us politicize Black people. So when Harold asked for 50,000 new registered voters, she helped us, she being Jane Byrne, helped us register 150,000. Ah, you may remember the ChicagoFest Boycott. The boycott, ah, Jane Byrne loved the ChicagoFest. It was her baby. It was a big thing. Big summer festival and so, and so, one morning on a talk show, radio talk show, a woman called Derek Hill who was the host and said, "Derek, we ought to boycott the ChicagoFest. Jane Byrne loves that ChicagoFest so much, let's show her and let's boycott the Fest." And Derek says, "It sounds like a good idea." His next guest was Jesse Jackson. And Derek says, said, "Jesse, Reverend Jackson, ah, this lady just called and said that we ought to boycott the Fest to show Jane Byrne something." So, Jesse said, "Well that sounds like it's doable." So, he called me and eight or ten other people and we met over at PUSH, and didn't have but eleven days. We put together the most amazing boycott you will ever want to see. We picketed around, ah, Navy Pier where it was held. And, ah, anytime a Black person approached the ticket booth to buy a ticket we'd have a, a, a team there talking them out of going in there. And I'll bet you 99.9% of our efforts were successful. We were so successful at the boycott that one of our marshals told us that a White woman came up to him and she say, "You know, I feel so sorry for you people." And he said, "Well, why?" She said, "Because they won't let you all in the boycott, in, in the Chicago Fest." And he say, "Well, they'll let us in." "Well, I didn't see any of you in there." And there was hardly no Black people inside the Fest. But that was not what was significant. The significant thing was that we used the boycott to politicize our people around voter registration. We just kept laying on voter registration as we talked about ChicagoFest and the boycott. So when we hit the streets to register people, this is the truth, we didn't have to go get them and buttonhole them. We didn't have to pull them. All we had to do is set up a table on the street and said, "Register To Vote," and people came from out of the woodwork. We ended up with more than 150,000, this was a coalition. This was not just C-BUC, this was a coalition of groups that really put on a boycott and a political, ah, I mean a voter registration drive. It was, it was just unbelievable.


OK, let's stop down now.