Interview with Renault Robinson

OK, Tell me the story about that CHA protest, one day at CHA.


Well, Jane Byrne had decided finally because they took a head count and there was only person wavering which would have given me authority to take over the Board as chairman. So, in order to prevent that from happening because the community was pressuring this one Black woman, they decided to quickly add new Board members. And so they decided to add three White board members, which of course would take the ability for me to take over the board, out of my hands. A protest developed as a result of that because the Black community saw a clear line of the mayor's hand saying, "I'm not going to let Black people control their own destiny, even in public housing. I'm going to put three White people in here to do it for you." And it was a horrendous outcry. The day of the confirmation hearings in City Council, the, the Council was stormed by literally hundreds of protesters. They all came into the Council and interrupted the proceeding, the testimony by the people who were candidates. It was tumultuous. People were arrested. They had to put up barricades. It was wild. But, of course, the City Council approved all three of them anyway. What happened though was that we said, "This is exactly what we needed. This shows Black people, unless we register to vote, we have no chance of ever overturning this kind of oppression."** So it became a way, where when a reporter asked me when it was over, "Commissioner, did you lose this fight today? I mean they made all these people anyway?" I said, "We may have lost that one. We may have lost the battle. But I think they lost the war."


Stop down. That's good.