Community Activism

1963 declan haun-march

Man carrying civil rights sign, March on Washington, August 28, 1963. Declan Haun, photographer.

Activism was required of Chicago’s African-American community in the face of national systemic racism, which had survived the South’s defeat in the Civil War and which sought to reverse Black civil rights gains of the postwar Reconstruction Era (1865-1877). Though not subject to overt electoral disenfranchisement as in the Jim Crow South, Chicago’s Black citizens nevertheless faced discrimination in employment, housing, education and other fields.

Strong Black institutions (churches, newspapers, independent schools and unions) were required for a decades-long civil rights struggle that first educated and sustained the community, and then worked within a larger, multi-racial progressive coalition in the 1960s that defeated segregation (“separate but equal”), restored Federal protections for voting rights, and began efforts to address and rectify racial inequalities.

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Citation: Chicago History Museum, ICHi-036879; Declan Haun, photographer


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