Categorized | News

Famous Chicagoans of Black History Month

The following are words of wisdom from Chicago civil rights activists, journalists, artists, athletes, politicians, labor leaders, musicians, and writers.

This post includes information that was published in the January – February 2015 print edition, as well as additional research. Nearly all the students in the 3rd Period Journalism class contributed to this feature.


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“I have seen many demonstrations in the south but I have never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I’ve seen here today” [in Chicago].
Martin Luther King, Jr.
He began the Chicago Freedom Movement in 1966, a campaign that marked the expansion of civil rights activities from the South to northern cities. King and his family moved to an apartment in Lawndale at the end of January so that he could be closer to the movement. His comment above came at a march in Marquette Park that summer.


“Who would ever have believed the president of the United States could be a black man? Never before in the history of this planet has anyone made the progress in a 50-year period that African Americans have achieved in America.”
Dick Gregory,
Dick Gregory is a stand-up comedian, civil rights activist, writer, actor, nutritionist, athlete and confidant of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and John Lennon, ran for mayor of Chicago in 1966 and for president of the United States in 1968.



“There’s no success story. Everybody’s got a ghetto story. You always want to make it bigger than what it is.” Bernard Jeffrey “Bernie” McCullough, 1957-2008, comedian and actor


“Age is not a handicap. Age is nothing but a number. It is how you use it.” Ethel L. Payne, 1911-1991, journalist, publisher, civil rights leader, and educator often referred to as the “First Lady of the Black Press”


“If you could go back and change things, you might not be the person you are right now.” Walter Payton 1953-1999, Chicago Bears running back, once held the league’s record for most career rushing yards, touchdowns, carries, yards from scrimmage, all-purpose yards, and many other categories, known as “Sweetness”

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