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West Humboldt Park Residents Celebrate Fourth of July With Locally Made BBQ Grills By Eva’s Hardware West Humboldt Park Residents Celebrate Fourth of July With Locally Made BBQ Grills By Eva’s Hardware(0)

By: See Brown

The Fourth of July is marked by community celebrations and the heart of the American tradition is the BBQ. In the West Humboldt Park Chicago neighborhood is a long-standing Mom- N-Pop hardware store called Eva’s Hardware that sells custom made barbeque grills. The jumbo grills are built from steel drums by neighborhood craftsmen inside the store.

 

Eva’s Hardware store is located on the first floor of a three-story brick building located at 3622 West Chicago Avenue. It is owned and operated by Ms. Eva, the only female African American hardware store owner in the City of Chicago. Eva’s Hardware has been a staple in West Humboldt Park for more than 20 years. Ms. Eva inherited the building from her parents who bought it more than 40 years ago.

On this particular busy day before Fourth of July,  workers placed two of the custom made bbq grills in front of the store to attract passersbys and busy traffic on Chicago Ave.

 

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Walking into the store, Ms. Eva was multi-tasking as she worked the register, assisted customers, and answered phone calls. She wasthe only female inside the store in an industry that is predominantly men. She answered a customer call, while patiently assisting one man searching drawers for screws. One customer praised Eva’s Hardware and its employees for their good customer service throughout the years they have been patronizing the hardware store.

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Watch Breaking Voices news video of a West Humboldt Park resident talking about his experience at Eva’s Hardware store.

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At the back of the store, a partition of boxes and shelves divide the store’s inventory from the craftsmen’s work area. Two craftsmen were in process of drilling holes and torching metal drums to make more bbq grills.

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The grills ranged in sizes from a large double barrel that cost $225 and a single barrel drill that cost $85. Each size grill are made with two rack levels that could be used for grilling both meats and as well as vegetables.

To find an independently owned and operated African American hardware supply business is a rarity in Chicago. Eva’s Hardware is located in the West Humboldt Park community, a high-crime area where few businesses survive.

Next door to the hardware store there once was an African American owned restaurant that closed years ago. Now that restaurant is replaced by an Asian-owned fast food joint. A week prior to this article writing, one homicide occurred on the west side of the building, causing the Chicago Police Department to place one of its cars to watch guard at the building’s southwest corner.

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From the entrance of Eva’s Hardware one can see the John Hancock building standing prominently few miles to the east on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.

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Despite the crime, evidence of community exists in this part of West Humboldt Park. Eva’s Hardware shares the building with the West Humboldt Park Development Council, an organization on a mission to improve the area. Around the corner is the Chicago Commons Nia Family Center, a non-profit organization that partners with individuals, families, and communities to overcome poverty, discrimination and isolation. One block west on Chicago Ave is the Rowe-Clark Math & Science Academy Charter School. Nearby is a beautiful “Black History” mural that illustrates the dreams and hopes for the community.

Eva’s Hardware store presence in West Humboldt Park is evidence that small businesses are the cornerstone of communities. And on Fourth of July, a day where freedom is celebrated it is good to see an African American female-owned business like Eva’s Hardware providing goods that make Fourth of July celebrations more festive.

Eva’s Hardware is open Monday to Saturday from 8am – 6pm.

UPDATE July 8:
Over the Fourth of July weekend, more than 82 people were shot and 11 fatally in the City of Chicago, according to The Chicago Tribune, making it the single most gun violent weekend in Chicago this year.  Chicago Police Superintendant blame weak Illinois gun laws and the ‘proliferation of firearms’ that make Chicago more violent than other big cities like New York.

On July 7, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made following statement about the violence:

“The number of shootings and murders that took place over the holiday weekend is simply unacceptable, and points out that we still have work to do. The solution does not just include policing – although we’ll continue to look for ways to put more police where they’re needed. We also have to give our young people alternatives to the street, and as a community we need to demand more of ourselves and our neighbors. This violence is unacceptable wherever it occurs in our city and all of us need to take a stand. The only way we will meet this challenge to our future is to join with one another and create a partnership for peace.”

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In writing this article and observing large number of idle youths hanging out in middle of weekday afternoon in West Humboldt Park, one solution to reduce Chicago violence is that more work is needed to create jobs for youths so that idle youths can stay off the streets and out of gangs.

With more small businesses like Eva’s Hardware in high crime neighborhoods, youths can find places to work and stay engaged in their neighborhood.

 

Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene Gallery Guichard and New Bronzeville Artists Lofts Grand Opening Aims to Revitalize Bronzeville, Chicago Art and Culture Scene(1)

By: See Brown

On Tuesday, June 24, City of Chicago officials including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Pat Dowell cut the ribbon on the brand new Bronzeville Artist Lofts and new home of Fine Art Gallery Guichard located at 436 E. 47th St., in Bronzeville neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.

The opening of the Bronzeville artists lofts and The Gallery Guichard aims to revitalize 47th street’s culture and art scene.

The new Bronzeville Artist Lofts, 33,614 square foot mixed-use building with 12,233 square feet of commercial space on the first floor with 16-unit residential apartments on the upper floors and a 3,000-square-foot artist incubator.

The Bronzeville Artist Lofts will be a new stop on the Bronzeville Art District Trolley Tour that begins in July.

The Mayor called Bronzeville “a city within a city” with the artists lofts at the center of the revitalization of the community.



The Bronzeville Artist Lofts (BAL) are a live/work rental space open to working artists and their families. Artists must submit an application that include income requirements and questionnaire about their needs. Apartment rental prices and unit sizes for BAL are:

  • Studio $592 – $699 (600sq. feet -625sq feet)
  • 1-Bedroom $621 – $804 (780 sq. feet – 975sq feet)
  • 2-Bedroom $748 – $1,175(979sq. feet -1128 sq feet)

#BVNews walked through the Bronzeville Artists Lofts prior to residents moving in. Watch the video walkthrough of the living spaces.



Gallery Guichard will hold its own ribbon cutting ceremony to open its first exhibit in the new space called “Genesis.” The exhibit features paintings, sculptures, and mixed media art works from black artists from around the world.

Gallery Guichard “Genesis” opens June 27, 2014 from 6pm to 10pm. The event is open to the public. “Genesis” exhibit runs thru August 5, 2014.

#BVNews spoke to owners Andre and Frances Guichard about their new location. Watch the interview below.

 

Artists living in the Bronzeville Artists Lofts are featured in Gallery Guichard’s “Genesis” exhibit. Roger Carter, an artist and BAL resident paintings are featured throughout the exhibit.


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The development of the Bronzeville Artist Lofts was well supported by Alderman Pat Dowell. During a townhall meeting Alsderman Dowell discussed the inspiration behind the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. Watch #BVNews video of Alderman Dowell townhall.

Renovated from an historic building, the former Jones Brothers Ben Franklin Store at 436-442 East 47th Street, the development of the Bronzeville Artists Lofts construction began in 2013. It final cost $7 million was made possible by Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds from The 47th/King Drive TIF District, Gallery Guichard, and the federal Neighbhorhood Stabilization Program, which focuses on revitalizing communities on the South and West sides of Chicago. The building’s development is a joint venture between Revere Properties, LLC and Three Corners, LLC. These two teams each are led by Lee Reid, Jr. and Rob Ferrino.

 

 

Chicago Hosts World Cup Viewing Party in Soldier Field to Accommodate Thousands of Soccer Fans Chicago Hosts World Cup Viewing Party in Soldier Field to Accommodate Thousands of Soccer Fans(0)

By: See Brown

If you ever thought soccer was not well supported by Americans, think again. On June 16, Chicago hosted its first World Cup 2014 Viewing Party in Grant Park, Chicago.  Approximately 8,000 soccer fans dressed in red, white, and blue attended the free event sponsored by U.S. Soccer Association at Arvey Field at Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Road.

Following the huge success of the first Chicago World Cup Viewing Party, City of Chicago hosted three events in Grant Park attended by as many as 20, 000 soccer fans. Team USA moved succeeded to World Cup Quarter Finals after beating Portugal.

On July 1, Chicago World Cup viewing party will be held at Soldier Field. Team USA vs. Belgium in the Quarter Final World Cup match will begin at 3pm. Soldier Field capacity is 61,00 and fans will be able to enter the stadium beginning at 1:30pm. Admission will be free.

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On Thursday, June 26 approximately 20,000 soccer fans attended the USA vs. Germany World Cup Viewing Party in at the southeast corner of Balbo and Columbus drive.
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The Chicago World Cup viewing party in Grant Park featured large 19×33 foot high definition screen at the south end of Grant Park, near Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Rd. The viewing party featured, ESPN’s live video feed that showed other American soccer fans watching the game including, Rio De Janiero in Brazil, Boston, and U.S. Army members in Afghanistan.

Watch Unieros video footage from fans cheering as Team USA scored its victorious goal against Ghana.


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Enthusiastic soccer fans watched the giant screen and cheered “USA USA USA!”

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Chicago will host more World Cup free viewing parties in Grant Park that will coincide with Team USA games during the World Cup tourdnament which ends July 13, 2014.

Dates for the Chicago world cup viewing parties in Grant Park are June 16, 22, 26, 2014

 

The Family Blues of Willie Dixon Who Changed the Style of the Blues in Chicago The Family Blues of Willie Dixon Who Changed the Style of the Blues in Chicago(0)

By Raquel Harris : Chicago Staff Writer


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The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the “Blues Capital of the World.” Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

With an average of 500,000 in attendance each year, it stands stagnant in being the largest Blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s music festivals according to cityofchicago.org. Some of the festival’s past performers have been greats like Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Muddy Waters.

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Along with food and music, there are also Blues vendors that sell souvenirs like clothing, mugs, and gift sets to fans. Some of the vendors are even family to some of the late greats. Willie Dixon’s grandson Willie Dixon the second is one of those vendors.


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For those who may not know, Willie Dixon senior was a songwriter, singer/ bassist/ producer as well as contributed hundreds of song compositions to the Chicago Blues industry. Throughout Dixon’s career, he became a Grammy- award winning artist, and grew to be one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. Dixon is best known for shaping the post-World War II sound of Chicago Blues and was even portrayed in the 2008 feature film Cadillac Records.


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Dixon the second said that the light that sheds from his grandfather’s legacy is a positive one. “It’s a very positive light because of the positive impact that he had on people and the Blues community, and also the ethnicity of African American culture, said Dixon the second.


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In his later years, Dixon senior became a relentless ambassador for Blues and his local practitioners leading him to found the Blues Heaven Foundation, a non-profit organization in Chicago which works to continue the Blues’ legacy and to secure copyrights and royalties for blues musicians who were exploited in the past. The Dixon family promotes the corporation while at the festival. People like my grandfather and the people he worked with were innovators of their time and that’s pretty great,” said Dixon the second.

Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago Southside Chicago Perspectives Charter Schools Students March For Peace Jam Fest To Combat The Violence in Chicago(0)

By Raquel Harris – Bronzeville – Chicago, IL

Earlier this morning, hundreds of students and teachers from two Perspectives Charter School campuses marched through the streets of Chicago to fight for peace, and the very cause that they were fighting for brought some participants to tears.

I Am for Peace: A Student Documentary For Change

 

 

Perspectives Charter Schools students are leading a campaign to promote peace in Chicago—”I’m for Peace.” Through the A Disciplined Life education model they are developing strategies and actions to curb violence and promote peace. These same students are creating a documentary video to showcase their efforts.

“It was very powerful to walk with my students holding the peace sign, it was pretty moving actually,” said Samantha Mondro.
The march was titled “I Am Peace,” and started around 9:30 a.m. at South State Street and West Cermak Road. The march ended on East 36th Street and South Wabash where the open “Peace Jam Fest” was being held. The Peace Jam Fest was the resting stop for the marchers where they were able to enjoy music and other activities.

The word “peace” can have a variety of different meanings, but for the city of Chicago peace is ironically a war that Chicagoans are fighting daily to win.

Chicago is known for its festivals, music, and culture, but what some may not know is that it also a haven for gun violence, gang activity, and high death rates. The city became so infamous for these traits that citizens nicknamed the city “Chiraq” because of the war-like similarities to the War on Terror in Iraq.

Scimone Williams is an 11th grade student at Perspective Charter School, Math and Science Academy, and talked about the violence in her community.

 

I’m For Peace—Perspectives Charter Schools from Perspectives Charter Schools on Vimeo.

 

“Things are really getting crazy, you can’t go out with friends or family without even worrying about your house getting broken into, or getting killed, you know? It’s not fair that students can’t go out and have fun,” said Williams.

Mondro, is an 11th grade English and Composition teacher and said that she participated in this march because her students are important to her. “We think of each other as a family, and whatever affects my students affects me so I think it’s really important that we take responsibility for each other because that’s all that we have,” Mondro said.

Tears began to fill Mondro’s eyes as she expressed what the march meant to her emotionally. “This is why I became a teacher to see them [the students] doing something that’s real. It made me proud to be a charter school teacher and an educator; these kids are definitely a part of my family.” Mondro said.

 

 

Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat Chicago Loop Alliance second ACTIVATE series event for summer 2014 features art in its natural habitat(0)

By: Vince Wallace

The other day I read a magnificent article by writer, reporter and well-reputed “St. Louis commenter” Sarah Kendzior on the dangers of using art as a tool to cover over so-called urban blight. Her recent work has included a lot of incisive commentary on the cultural fallout of economic inequality. About a North Philadelphia art installation which proports to tackle the dilapidated area’s aesthetic by essentially covering it over she writes:

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“People” are those who can afford to view poverty through the lens of aesthetics as they pass it by. Urban decay becomes a set piece to be remodeled or romanticized.

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She offers a lot to think about in terms of how modernizes often fail to build inclusiveness into the mix as they conceptualize urban spaces and design a city’s future. In this case, art is being used – probably unwittingly, but used nonetheless – to assist the nefarious project of gentrification. It’s being used to cover over the process of pushing out people who have resided there for generations to make room for a new, but strangely familiar brand of hipster appropriators and colonizers.

In other words, it’s a pretty bad rap for art.

Taking up Sarah’s challenge to abandon this kind of superficiality and think about how art can, and should be used to bring people together instead of rip neighborhoods apart, I can’t help but think about the work of the Chicago Loop Alliance and their ACTIVATE series of downtown events. Tonight they will transform a downtown alley into a space for artists from around Chicago. Some of the artists are established, some lesser-known. Some are artists of color and those representing various minority communities around town. Not enough, but some. And that representation is growing as the event series becomes more popular.

 

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The last ACTIVATE party (that’s really all it is, just a party y’all) took an alley section on Monroe between State and Wabash that Chicagoan have passed by perhaps thousands of times in our daily ramblings and made it into a space inviting all Chicagoans to enjoy some interesting (and sometimes a bit oddball) diverse multimedia sculptures, a few drinks, a DJ who could go from playing one track of ambient beats facilitating conversations between people who rarely get the chance to stop and talk to one another to spreading the gospel of Phantogram the next. It was a good show. It was art, and music, and business-people chatting with baristas, Occupy protesters having a cold one with non-profit pros. It wasn’t quite the North side hugging it out with the South side or the Gold Coast discovering the city west of Ashland. Not yet. But it’s getting there.

And now I still pass by that alley a couple times a week as I have for years. But instead of looking past it, it’s that place where they had that party that time and I met some very interesting people. Because why should cultural memory necessarily be connected places built for the purpose like Millennium Park or Wrigley? They can happen anywhere really.

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Tonight they’ll be doing it again on State St between Lake and Randolph, 5 pm til 10. 21 and over can RSVP for a complimentary drink ticket, or bottled water for those of us inclined to temperance in our off hours. Why not stop by? Everyone’s invited, yes even hipsters. That’s the point.

Two Chicago Loop Alliance street team volunteers who will be working ACTIVATE.

June 3, 2014 City of Chicago Hosts Tribute to Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music in Millennium Park June 3, 2014 City of Chicago Hosts Tribute to Frankie Knuckles, Godfather of House Music in Millennium Park(0)

Is house music the genre that will unite the City of Chicago? If last night’s jam packed tribute to Frankie Knuckles, the “Godfather of House Music” was any indication, Chicago is on its way to being a truly multicultural city. Last night at the “Bean” thousands of Frankie Knuckles fans gathered for a dance party with djs spinning music below the city’s Bean sculpture in Millennium Park. People from every segment of society was present, black white, latinos, Asians, young old, gay, straight all danced to the beats of house music.

The Frankie Knuckles Tribute presented by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events was held 6:00pm-9:00pm in Millennium Park Central Promenade the “Bean”.

The lineup for the Frankie Knuckles Tribute event featured house music djs from around the world

DJ’s include:

      • Mike Winston
      • Craig Loftis
      • Greg Gray
      • Elbert Phillips
      • Words by:
      • Robert Williams
      • Alan King

Watch #BVNews video as the diverse crowd of thousands dance to Frankie Knuckles “Whistle Song.”

 

Chicago is known to be a city of neighborhoods, each separated by borders of culture and class. Last night looked crowds at the Frankie Knuckles Tribute seems as if every part of the city was represented for a truly diverse melting pot.

#BVNews was live at the historic house music event. The “Bean” looked like colorful cornucopia with the variety of people mirrored in its reflection.

Click to get more local Breaking Voices News

Without too much lyrics, the mixed beats is driving force behind house music. Regardless of the language of culture one represent, the beats make the body move. Frankie Knuckles house music has been popular for thousands of “house heads” since 1980s.

Born Francis Nicholls, he was known for his stage name, Frankie Knuckles, he passed away suddenly at age 59 in Chicago. Some fans held up programs from the Frankie Knuckles memorial service.

 

Chicago Tribune Music Critic Greg Kot wrote an article April 1, 2014 about the death of Frankie Knuckles. Kot wrote: 

 

He championed house music that wasn’t just about rhythm, but that embraced humanism and dignified struggle. It was in keeping with his belief that the dancefloor was a safe haven for the gay, African-American and Hispanic communities that first embraced him.”

 “God has a place on the dancefloor,” he once told the Tribune. “We wouldn’t have all the things we have if it wasn’t for God. We wouldn’t have the one thing that keeps us sane – music. It’s the one thing that calms people down.”

Greg Kot, “Frankie Knuckles, house music ‘godfather,’ dead at 59” –  Chicago Tribune

One fan, told #BVNews about his moving to Chicago from Memphis and listening first to Frankie Knuckles music, which he now identifies with being a Chicagoan. Watch #BVNews interview below.

This is the second time the City of Chicago hosted a Frankie Knuckles tribute since his passing on March 31, 2014. Within days of his death The Chicago Cultural Center held a gathering that turned into a large dance party to honor the great house music dj. This second and bigger tribute shows the city know the importance Knuckles played in bringing Chicago on the international scene for house music.

ABOUT Frankie Knuckles

Knuckles was born January 18, 1955 in The Bronx, New York.  He later moved to Chicago where is developed his career as a dj in house music. He played an important role in developing and popularizing house music in Chicago during the 1980s, when the genre was in its infancy. Due to his importance in the development of the genre, Knuckles was often known as “The Godfather of House Music.” Chicago named a stretch of street and a day after Knuckles in 2004 for this role. His accomplishments earned him a Grammy Award in 1997. Knuckles was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005 as recognition for his achievements. Knuckles passed away March 31, 2014.

Are you a fan of Frankie Knuckles music? Share your comments below with #BVNews

Angela Davis comes to Chicago for National Forum on Police Crime & Racism Angela Davis comes to Chicago for National Forum on Police Crime & Racism(0)

By: Vince Wallace
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression welcomes renowned civil rights and prison reform activist Prof. Angela Davis to Chicago this weekend for a National Forum on Police Crime. The two days of events on Friday May 16th and Saturday the 17th will include: A forum on the fight against unaccountable police (Fri 9am) at University of Chicago International House (1414 E. 59th Street), the 2014 National Alliance Human Rights banquet (Sat 5pm)hosted by Trinity United Church of Christ (400 W. 95th St), and a rally following the banquet (Sat 7pm) with keynote address by Angela Davis.

The National Forum grows from years of struggle in cities like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Atlanta”, explained Ted Pearson, one of the event’s organizers. The importance of the event to Chicagoans, he says is that “the police are a power unto themselves with no sense of responsibility”, and that while individual officers may conduct themselves honorably, “The system as a whole is broken”.

The event grows out of the “people’s hearings” held in Chicago in July 2012 and February 2013 where victims of police crimes and their families testified about their ordeals. The goal of the weekend is to compare notes with other cities – some which have had successes like New York’s campaign to end stop and frisk in minority communities – and build momentum for the creation of civilian-police accountability councils nationwide that will be empowered to forcefully address police actions and policies which violate citizens’ civil and human rights.

 

ABOUT PROFESSOR ACTIVIST ANGELA DAVIS

Actor Delroy Lindo Speaks About Black Males During “Question Bridge” Exhibit at The DuSable Museum of African American History Actor Delroy Lindo Speaks About Black Males During “Question Bridge” Exhibit at The DuSable Museum of African American History(0)

 

April 12, 2014 – Chicago, IL

On Saturday, April 12 English actor Delroy Lindo spoke to an audience at The DuSable Museum of African American History about the state of black males as part of “Question Bridge” exhibition. The exhibition focuses on black males and includes a series of video interviews by African American males. In the video series black men from around the country pose questions about their life and experiences as a black males. The questions posed are answered by other black males across the country.

ABOUT “QUESTION BRIDGE” EXHIBIT

“Question Bridge: Black Males opens a window onto the complex and often unspoken dialogue among African American men, creating an intimate and essentially genuine experience for viewers and subjects and providing new opportunities for understanding and healing. This project brings the full spectrum of what it means to be “black” and “male” in America to the forefront. “Blackness” ceases to be a simple, monochromatic concept.” (DuSable Museum of African American History)

As Executive Producer for “Question Bridge” exhibition Lindo said it is an important exhibit he believes everyone should see. Question Bridge: Black Males runs through May 18, 2014 at The DuSable Museum of African American History located at 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637.

Lindo who has 13-year-old son shared with #BVNews his relationship to his son and the teen generation of black boys. He spoke about the responsibility he and other black men have to help guide younger black males to achieve self expression.

“The most important thing we can embrace for ourselves is our humanity. And on so many levels we are the same as any other human beings on the planet and often times that gets lost,” Lindo said.

Watch Part 1 of #BVNews interview with actor Delroy Lindo.

#BVNews asked Lindo why question and answers are important ways to discover truth. Lindo responded by sharing how important it is for black men to have places to express themselves.

Watch Part 2 of #BVNews interview with actor Delroy Lindo

The museum provided a space during the evening where an audience that included black men young and old, who got the opportunity to hear Lindo speak and ask questions about his life and acting career.

Like a father giving advice to his children, Lindo spoke directly with words of encouragement to groups of young black boys seated front row at the discussion. Lindo acknowledged how important it was to have their presence in the audience.

“You are the future of this country,” he said. “The fact that you can take it upon yourself to come and to participate in an evening like this says a lot about who you are. So thank you very much for being here.”

Lindo’s film career began in 1970s after he graduated from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. His film credits include Malcolm X (1992), Crooklyn (1994), Get Shorty (1995), The Cider House Rules (1999), The Core (2003), Up (2009), and The Big Bang (2011). His television acting credits include The Chicago Code (2011) and Believe (2014).

Lindo expressed the joys and hardships being a successful actor in Hollywood.

Watch the #BVNews video with Delroy Lindo talking about being a black actor in Hollywood.

 

About Delroy Lindo

On the stage and on the big screen, Delroy Lindo projects a powerful presence that is almost impossible to ignore! Lindo has been nominated for the Tony and Screen Actors Guild awards and has won a Satellite Award. He is perhaps best known for his roles as Harold Loomis in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, West Indian Archie in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, Catlett in Get Shorty, Arthur Rose in The Cider House Rules, Detective Castlebeck in Gone in 60 Seconds and Woody Carmichael in the Spike Lee film Crooklyn. He is also known for having starred as Alderman Ronin Gibbons in weekly series the Chicago Code. Currently, Lindo stars in the new NBC drama Believe.

Lindo was born in 1952 in South East London, England to Jamaican parents. He shared the historical facts that brought his family to England. Below is highlight of Lindo discussion his Jamaican roots.

 

A Daughters Lesson in Strength: (DE)SEGREGATION: 1962 TRAIN RIDE WITH MAMA 2 TAMPA A Daughters Lesson in Strength: (DE)SEGREGATION: 1962 TRAIN RIDE WITH MAMA 2 TAMPA(0)

By: Vernetta Clayton

Happy Birthday Mama:  I Remember, I Remember Forever Your Strength!  DESEGREGATION: 1962 TRAIN RIDE WITH MAMA 2 TAMPA

My mother and I took the train to my Aunt’s in Tampa, Florida. We couldn’t even go in the dining car at the front of the train.   Every few states we would get off in the train depot; if  there was a “Coloreds” sign, then we could use it & get back on the train.  If not, it was a long ride with me whining and asking why, why, why?  We sat on the train as the other passengers got out at the train depot and went into the restaurants. I was around 7 and worrying my Mom. Always the “Why” child and haven changed:  I questioned her, over and over, “Why can’t we get off?”, “I’ve got to use the bathroom!”, “I’m hungry, I’m hungry… they are eating, why not”? “Why, can’t I play with that little girl?”.   Never will I forget that time, and that day my mother taught me that you got to set that chin strong and overcome fear & injustice!  My Mother got off the train.  She tightly held my hand, led me right into the train depot restaurant.  She leaned close over me protectively, holding my hand up in the air as we maneuvered between the tightly seated tables. We sat down at an open table right in the middle of the restaurant.  Ladies snatched their heads, the men grumbled.  The little girl that kept playing with me on the train was looking at me and looking at her parents.  I later came to understand that was a segregated, public train depot restaurant.

I knew about prejudice, because my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Bayer grimaced and wrapped her arms around herself, every time one of us colored kids approached her.  Yet, Park Elementary school’s principle placed the big projector in the center hall and showed us films on Hitler, Communist Russia with the cold war in full effect.  In those films we also, learned about “Propaganda”, we were taught how masses are people are indoctrinated, how they were rallied and  influenced to participate in communism and inhumane, injustice; with pictures of German soldiers marching the Jews to the concentration camps.  1962, John F. Kennedy, had been elected President just two years before; and 5 years after my junior high school sewing teacher Thelma Mothershed-Ware began school desegregation as a high school student and member of the Little Rock 9.  It was the year before I laid eyes on my very first black teacher.  Mrs. Azalee Biggs-Dye, the wife of one of the 1st black state police; St. Clair County Crime commission; and 1971 the 1st black E. St. Louis Police Chief.  She stooped down beside our desk; kept me in at recess and played the piano to teach me the time tables; she whispered encouragement & moreover,  never left, not one of us behind in our education; or, self-pride!

The restaurant atmosphere was heated and eyes rolled, they pointed and stared; but, my Mother Barbara Bush-Nicholson maintained her compo sure and her face or her stance, did not change.  You could feel the tension in the room; and in my Mothers tearing blue eyes.  We didn’t move, but the waitress wouldn’t come to our table, either.  Finally, the waitress came over and bluntly said, “We don’t serve colored here”, looking over her shoulder towards the cash register and manager, she said, “You’ve got to go!”.  Today, I wonder, if my mother knew of Gandhi’s non-violent civil disobedience movement.    Seems she always, thought after that trip that people were looking at her in restaurants. Seemed so tired of the, always being asked about her blue eyes in elevators by white people; it happened twice in the week of her death; and the day before her death as she lay hooked to a ventilator on her death bed, in Barnes Hospital intensive care unit; where a young white, female doctor, insistently asked me “Is that the color of your Mom’s eyes?”.  I replied, “Is she jaundice”; she countered, “No, are her eyes really blue?”.  I say to her, “you are a doctor can’t you shine the light in her eyes and see; what difference does it make?”

We continued to sit in that restaurant, didn’t move. My Mom’s gripped my hand tighter, looking around and behind her, she was biting her lips. I looked around at the uproar building in the room. Noticed, the only people like me, were black folks reaching for the order slips. I could see Negroes cooking behind the bar in the kitchen. They had all lined up in the order window and were just standing there, not reaching for any more order slips. The people started to holler at us, “You niggers get outta here”, right now!”.  One of the men gestured with his head to my mother, towards the door.  Another one peeped from the kitchen door and pointed to the door.  The waitress approached, said, “We don’t serve your kind”. I remember reflecting on our magical journey to Mississippi; and thinking but is Florida where Mickey Mouse a hero for all lived at Disneyland! Then this Black man poked his head at the exit and beckoned for us.  When we got up, and moved slowly out the door.  A black man with bent in his stance, his feet moved nervously and hurried…hugged my mother and patted my head.  He gave us a big brown, grocery store size bag full of food, coca cola drinks and water.   I remember us on that train, all alone and my being so hungry, I just pushed the food in my mouth.  It seemed the best food I have ever eaten in my life…together, my Mom and me had crossing the lines of segregation and she taught me, you got to stand strong for your beliefs, for your rights as a human!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!  People are always telling me, “you’re strong”, “you’re a strong woman” even in the weakest days & times of my life!  I know where I got it, my father was gentile, negotiating smiled proudly when he too, always said: “Don’t you worry. Your Mother is strong!”.  You grilled in me her life philosophy, “Be an independent thinker, always think for yourself!”; “The world is not a merry go round, and people are not always fair; but bend over backwards to do your part; but don’t let nobody break your back“.  Thank  you Mama, for telling me, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer…Mathew 21:22”; and “ Don’t you let nobody mistreat you, even if they are bigger or part of the law… because God is on side of the righteous…The bible says it in Deteronomy 20 & 1”!!!!  Yes, it does Mama, yes, it does:  “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you” (Deuteronomy 20:1)!  Thank you for your daughter’s  strength training, I’ve needed it time, and again in this world!!!

ABOUT Vernetta Clayton and Barbara E. Nicholson – Love you too Grammy, Happy Bday – EGC, III – BV CEO

Happy Birthday Strong, Black Woman of Color. Mother’s Tribute to Barbara Evelyn Bush-Nicholson on her  Jan. 30, 2014 birthday!

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