Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tragidy in Uptown

Our community has been in the turmoil  of loss, grief, and fear since Sunday night.  After two separate shootings, three where left wounded and the life of one young man ended too soon, Brian Gill. 

Lost for words in this tragedy of how to respond,   I came across another blog entry, Go see The Interrupters, on Feminste, written by Captain Awkward.  You can find it here.

The author is or was a resident of Uptown and writes about her experience of having both watched The Interrupters (a documentary about Ceasefire! in Chicago) and have watched another tragic death to gunfire here in Uptown, the death of Aaron Carter, last summer.

 The following is an excerpt:

I moved through the rest of the summer in a bubble. Every time I stepped outside my door, it was with me. Every time I heard gunshots in the night, it was with me. I couldn’t sleep one day, and then I’d spend 2 days in a row doing nothing but sleep, wanting to cocoon myself away from everything. I obsessively read the neighborhood blog, and watched my neighbors basically have a KKK meeting in the comments. Obviously Carter’s death affected his friends, family, his girlfriend, and his unborn child far more than it affected one middle class white girl who lived across the street, but if it could crack my world open like an egg what was it doing to them? I don’t want to act like he is important only as some catalyst for my own personal growth. He was a human being, and when he died something of value went out of the world. He was connected to every single person who lived on that street, whether or not we wanted to own the connection. I can only write about my own experiences, so that’s what you get.
 There was another shooting yesterday afternoon. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

WWPC-We Preach Christ Crucified

The large sign that sits upon Uptown Baptists bell tower that reads "Christ Died for our Sins" is something that is familiar to all Uptowners.  What might not be as well known is that from within that bell tower once was broadcasted a radio station under the call letters WWPC-We Preach Christ Crucified.

 In 1906 the church building was constructed for what was then the North Shore Congregational Church on the intersection of Wilson & Sheridan.  It was under the ministry of J.C O'Hare that led to both the withdrawl from the congregational denomination (becoming North Shore Church) and in July of 1924,started radio broadcasting on WDBY (known as "We Delight in Bothering You"). The call letters were changed to WPCC (We Preach Christ Crucified) in Dec. 1, 1925.  By 1932 O'Hairs radio program became nationally broadcasted.
"We Delight in Bothering" came from the limits of radio receivers  at that time, they would pick up what ever station was broadcasting closest.  

A classic anecdote is about a woman who ran a brothel upstairs from a bar her husband owned directly across Wilson Avenue from the church building.

As Jordan (Richard Jordan, the last one to preach from the pulpit of North Shore before building was sold) tells the story, “Every day, at four o’clock in the afternoon, O’Hair came on with his radio broadcast and, well, it kind of messed up the music in the bar and in the brothel. It makes it rough when ‘Nothing but the Blood’ is being sung and the gospel’s being preached.

“One day she got mad enough and determined, ‘I’m going to put that preacher in his place.’ She stormed across the street, went inside and there was Pastor O’Hair, standing behind the glass screen with the microphone and he’s preaching.

“He sees her walk in and sit down, so he turns to her and preaches the gospel directly to her and she sat on that desk and got saved that day. Well, obviously it changed the business across the street. Her husband never got saved, but she did and wound up in the mission fields in South America for almost 50 years!”
 -Lisa Leland (

J.C. O'Hair  was the pastor of North Shore Church and continued his radio broadcast until 1958 when he passed away.

Uptown Baptist Church

Uptown Baptist Church, is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual church on the corner of Sheridan & Wilson. With the 10-15 different ethnic groups that might be represented on a Sunday morning I think it would have to make it one of the most diverse churches in Chicago if not the country. With many language congregations started at the church such as Hmong, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Eritrean.

Starting out meeting in the home of Rev. James Queen in 1976 they moved into a warehouse space later that year.  By 1979  they began renting the building they have now for monthly community Praise Meetings.    Soon they  wanted to buy this building but they previous owners had no intention  of doing so.  UBC acquired this building in March of 1981 and dedicated it on Sept. 27, 1981.

Uptown Baptist Church has and continues to be heavily involved in the Uptown Community.
  • Where involved with the starting of REST Shelter which the woman's Interim Housing continues to this day at their facilities. 
  • through UBC in arts painted several murals on walls around Uptown
  • Led a successful "Vote Dry" campaign

  • Uptown Food for Families -food pantry every 3rd Wednesday 9am-11am
  • Community Fellowship Dinner -Mondays 4:45PM  -300-500 people served every monday

You can find and listen to Uptown Baptist's sermon at here:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Gentrification Threatens Uptown Diversity" -The Red Line Project (Lawrence)

As this is a new project, we might from time to time have a posting that might not by current but a look into an issue that may be ongoing regarding Uptown. Or Even a look at some Uptown History.

Here is an article posted by The Red Line Project, Lawrence: Gentrification Threatens Uptown Diversity. The Red Line Project is a web site launched by DePaul University College of Communication undergraduate journalism students in Mike Reilley's Online Journalism II course.

There are some really stark statistics on the gentrification that Uptown is in and facing:
"A 2006 study by the Voorhees Center at the University of Illinois Chicago classified Uptown in early to mid-stage gentrification. This type of area is marked by a decrease in low-income households and subsidized housing. Lakeview, directly to the south, is classified as gentrifying, showing an increase in high-income households and a decrease in minorities"

"According to the U.S. Census, the white population in Uptown has increased from 39 percent to 42 percent from 1990 to 2000. The median household income went from $22,378 to $36,306. The median house value changed from $137,800 to $270,300."

Friday, August 26, 2011

New York Times covers People's Music School

 The New York Times Chicago News Cooperative had a wonderful article about the People's Music School.

Registration for the next class schedule will be this Saturday, August 27th at 10am.
A record was set this year for early arrival, the first person was there at 8PM last Sunday.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce

CGCT Mission Statement 
The Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce (CGCT) is working to revolutionize the traditional educational model of the classroom learning by infusing the curriculum with local and relevant content from students' lives -- through their families, cultures, histories, arts, communities, and experiences.  As a locally based national clearinghouse, the CGCT seeks to bring students, parents, educators, and elders to the table to compile, publish, and advocate for these culturally relevant materials in our schools (grades K-16).

Project Tracks
  1.   Co-Authoring & Publishing; an action based, interdisciplinary, skills-driven, and college preparatory curriculum with a focus on Chicago Hoods - all contributions welcome!
  2. Create a Clearing House; uploading high quality curriculum
  3. Grassroots Archive; imagine a website with historic and current documents, photographs, videos, timelines, student work, letters and more. The website is coming soon!
 Grassroots Resource Collection
  • Over 1000 titles of essential social science, history, and current events titles covering local , national and global topics and struggles 
  • 500 + educational materials on literacy, cultural relevancy, critical educational issues, education history, philosophy of education, math and science integration, brain-based learning, grassroots curricular guides, instructional guides high quality assessments and more
  • Over 250 high quality children's books and young adult literature including excellent historical fiction, non-fiction, and culturally relevant titles
  • Growing collection of Chicago-based primary sources including on the Young Lords, Black Panthers, Keep Strong magazine, Harold Washington's administration,the Heart of Uptown Coalition,  and Chi Town Low Down newspaper.
  • Growing collection of grassroots social justice publications (magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, brochures) from around the nation and world
  • Digital files of extensive high school curriculum  in U.S. History along with Social Justice 101, World Studies, Intercultural Studies, Mass Media, Sociology, and Environmental Science.
  • Over 100 excellent social justice, historical, and current DVD titles, along with scores of high quality VHS titles, audio tapes, and records. 

    the CGCT office/Grassroots Resource  space at 4455 N. Broadway by appointment only. Please call or email to set up a meeting)

      773-275-CGCT (2428)