Interview with Marion Stamps

Cabrini Green gangs, tell me about Jane Byrne and all of that.


Well, you know, one of the things that um, needs to be clear in terms of Jane Byrne and, and, and, and, and her movement coming into Cabrini and Harold Washington being elected mayor because that's the relationship, that's the link, alright. Jane Byrne came into Cabrini under the uh, illusion that we were supposed to have been under siege by the gangs. That was a lie, that was not the truth. Ah, initially about a month before Jane Byrne moved into Cabrini Green, there was a gang war over here, I mean, and it was real ugly. But Jane Byrne was not the one that did that. Women, Black women in this community got together and we went to the leadership of the gangs and it was not easy, okay, because see they don't like to talk because first of all they don't want you to know that they are who they are, alright. We went to the leadership and we brought the leadership to the table and we basically said to them, you know, "First of all, let's, you know, if you all want to talk, we want to talk, you know, and when we get through talking we're going to, we, we going to make some decisions, you know, we, we going to tell you all what you all going to do, and we going to tell you all what we going to do. But one of the things that you're going to do and you're going to stop doing right now is killing up each other. We will no longer tolerate you all killing up each other in our community. And if you continue to do that, then we're going gun up on you, real simple. Y'all got y'all shotguns, we going to get ours, you know. But we are not going to have our children running from school every morning, running from school every evening, scared to go to the grocery store. We're not having our women constantly living on a state of siege and up under fear because of you all. You all got to stop that." We talked about, we talked to them about the fact that we, uh, at this point in time is at the threshold of making history that could change for everybody, not just for Black folks in Chicago, but for Black folks all over the world. "We're fittin' to do something nobody else has ever done and that elect a Black man mayor of the city of Chicago. And, and, and y'all can either be part of that, you know, it's like being part of the problem or part of the solution, okay. We want you all to be part of the solution. How do you do that. You go back and you tell your little soldiers or your little honchos that, that, that you all are not going to be killing each other because one wear earring in one ear and one wear earring in the other ear. You do that by telling them that you all own, own nothing here, nothing. Why die for something that you, you have no control over, okay." And we, we are the ones that brought those brothers to the table and talked to those brothers and told them, we ain't into no anti-gang thing. That's, that's not our, our, our method of operation. That's one of the problem with Black people right now. Anti-gang, anti-this, it's all being anti-Black. We are not anti-Black, we are pro-Black. You all are part of us, good, bad or indifferent, you all a part of us, you all are our children, our men, okay. But you all going to stop the craziness. We stopped the gang war, then here come Jane Byrne. And I mean the way she came up in the neighborhood, she should have been on a White horse, you understand me. So that was like adding insult to injury, alright. So, uh, again all, all Jane Byrne move in Cabrini did was reinforce our determination to get rid of her, and not--