By now it is no secret about the genocide going on in Chicago these days. The number of deaths in this city I love has been staggering. Chicago has a history of gang and ethnic warfare that has claimed thousands of people over the years. From the reign of Al Capone to the oldest Black gangs in America, Chicago has been at the forefront of thug life for a very long time. But crime has never been the whole story of the Windy City. And it definitely is not the story of the Chicago I have grown to love.
I was born and raised in California but to me Chicago has always been home. It was where my Grandparents went after leaving the harsh reality of black life in 1940's Mississippi for the chance at a better life up North. And what they found was that race still mattered but the segregation they faced in Chicago came with more job opportunities and a thriving black community to go with it.
Even though most blacks were living in poverty just like down south there was a large middle class of factory workers, professionals and business owners that made Chicago a Mecca of a new black identity. This was solidified by being the home of the Chicago Defender and Johnson Publishing, producers of Ebony and Jet, which sold the image of black protest and success throughout the country.
It was the home to the first self-made black millionaire and black billionaire, The first black president, Muhammad Ali, and even though I am and always will be a Laker fan, Michael Jordan. Most importantly it was home to my family.
This city of slick talking , fly dressing, business oriented and politically minded strivers were my first and strongest examples of what being black and cool was all about. And I still hold myself to that standard today. Chicago, for that I thank you.