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Chicago 8 trial opens in Chicago

Chicago 8 trial opens in Chicago

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The trial for eight antiwar activists charged with inciting violent demonstrations at the August 1968 Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago before Judge Julius Hoffman. Initially there were eight defendants, but one, Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers, denounced Hoffman as a racist and demanded a separate trial. The seven other defendants, including David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE); Rennie Davis and Tom Hayden of MOBE and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); and Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman of the Youth International Party (Yippies), were accused of conspiring to incite a riot.

At the height of the antiwar and civil rights movements, these young leftists had organized protest marches and rock concerts at the Democratic National Convention. During the event, clashes broke out between the protesters and the police and eventually turned into full-scale rioting, complete with tear gas and police beatings. The press, already there to cover the Democratic convention, denounced the overreaction by police and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s handling of the situation.

The Chicago Seven were indicted for violating the Rap Brown law, which had been tagged onto the Civil Rights Bill earlier that year by conservative senators. The law made it illegal to cross state lines in order to riot or to conspire to use interstate commerce to incite rioting. President Johnson’s attorney general, Ramsey Clark, refused to prosecute the case.

READ MORE: 7 Reasons Why the Chicago 8 Trial Mattered

Shortly after the trial began, Seale loudly protested by attempting to examine his own witnesses. Judge Hoffman took the unusual measure of having Seale bound and gagged at the defendant’s table before eventually separating his trial and sentencing him to 48 months in prison.

With encouragement from defense attorney William Kunstler, the seven other defendants did whatever they could to disrupt the trial through such acts as reading poetry and chanting Hare Krishna. While the jury was deliberating their verdict, Judge Hoffman held the defendants in contempt of court for their behavior and sentenced them to up to 29 months in jail. Kunstler received a four-year sentence, partly for calling Hoffman’s court a “medieval torture chamber.” Five of the Chicago Seven were convicted of lesser charges.

In 1970, the convictions and contempt charges against the Chicago Seven were overturned on appeal. Abbie Hoffman remained a well-known counterculture activist until his death in 1989. Tom Hayden went on to a career in politics (and marriage to actress Jane Fonda). He died in 2016.

READ MORE: Protests of the Vietnam War

7 Reasons Why the Chicago 8 Trial Mattered

The 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago is most-remembered for what happened on the streets outside of it. Before the convention began on August 26, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley refused protest permits to most anti-war demonstrators and deployed 12,000 police officers, 5,600 members of the Illinois National Guard and 5,000 Army soldiers on the streets to meet any who showed up. These police and military forces violently clashed with Vietnam War protesters, resulting in hundreds of injuries and 668 arrests during the four-day convention.

&ldquoOne day in Grant Park somebody took down a flag and the police used that as an excuse to go through the crowd beating people with nightsticks,&rdquo recalls John Froines, who helped organize the DNC anti-war demonstrations with Rennie Davis of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam. &ldquoRennie Davis and I were hit on the head with night sticks.&rdquo

Froines, who is now a professor emeritus of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, wasn&rsquot arrested that day. But a year later, the U.S. government accused him, Davis and six other men of conspiring to incite a riot at the DNC. The others were Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party David Dellinger, a longtime anti-war activist Tom Hayden, cofounder of Students for a Democratic Society Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, founders of the Youth International Party (whose members were called &ldquoyippies&rdquo) and Lee Weiner, who had volunteered as a marshal for the DNC demonstrations to help with crowd control.

The evidence against the Chicago Eight, as they became known, was always slim. None were convicted of conspiracy, and although five of them were convicted of inciting a riot, an appellate court dismissed the charges because it found that the judge had been biased against them. Fifty years later, here&rsquos why the Chicago Eight trial that opened on September 24, 1969 was such a big deal.

Chicago Seven

Here's where the other members of the Chicago Seven are now:

Rennie Davis was one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society and co-organizer of the demonstrations in Chicago. Found guilty of crossing state lines with intent to riot, his conviction was overturned on appeal. Davis has been a venture capitalist and has worked in the socially responsible investment industry. He runs the Foundation for a New Humanity, which presents personal growth workshops around the country. Now 69, he lives in Longmont, Colo. He is the father of three.

David Dellinger died in 2004 at 88. The oldest of the defendants by 20 years, Dellinger was a leading antiwar organizer in the 1960s. Judge Julius Hoffman gave him the harshest sentence: five years in jail and a $5,000 fine, which an appellate court overturned two years later. A Yale graduate and Christian pacifist, he wrote several books and taught at Vermont College.

John Froines joined Students for a Democratic Society while he was at Yale University. He was acquitted at the trial. After receiving a Ph.D. in chemistry at Yale, he began a career in public health. After a stint as director of a division of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Froines joined in 1981 the faculty of UCLA's School of Public Health, where at age 71 he is currently a professor of environmental health sciences.

Tom Hayden was convicted of conspiracy and incitement charges at the trial, but his conviction was overturned by an appeals court. He is a former California state senator who has recently taught at Occidental College and Harvard's Institute of Politics. The author of 17 books, he has called for congressional hearings to end the war in Afghanistan. Hayden, 70, has one son and a stepdaughter from his first marriage to actress Jane Fonda. He married Canadian actress and singer Barbara Williams in 1993. They have one child.

Abbie Hoffman, a founder of the Yippie movement, was a chronic manic depressive who committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates in 1989 when he was 52. He was convicted of intent-to-riot charges at the trial, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. For a time in the late 1970s he went underground to avoid cocaine charges. After he resurfaced in 1980, he lectured at colleges and worked as a comedian and community organizer.

Jerry Rubin, one of the founders of the Yippies, died in 1994 at age 56 after he was hit by a car near his Brentwood, Calif., home. He was found guilty of incitement at the trial, but his conviction was overturned by an appeals court. Rubin, who famously said that no one over 30 should be trusted, later worked on Wall Street and hosted networking events for young professionals in Manhattan.

Lee Weiner was a Northwestern University research assistant at the time of the demonstrations. He was acquitted at the trial. He is currently vice president for direct response at AmeriCares, an international humanitarian aid organization. He had previously worked for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in New York. Now 71, he is married with six children and two grandchildren. He lives in Fairfield, Conn.

Kitty Bennett is a news researcher and writer based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Soon, violence exploded between police and anti-Vietnam War protestors.

Thousands began gathering in Lincoln Park on Monday the 26th to camp out, defying an 11:00 pm curfew set by the mayor. That night, armed police in gas masks swept through the crowds, in a sign of what was to come.

The Grant Park rally on Wednesday, August 28 drew nearly 15,000 people. Afterwards, several thousand protesters attempted to march to the convention site at International Amphitheater, but were stopped by police in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel, the Democratic party headquarters. Chanting, "the world is watching," the protestors sat down.

Conflict erupted when police used tear gas and batons and protesters retaliated by throwing rocks and bottles. TV networks abandoned the convention coverage for live footage of the street clashes, as a shocked nation looked on. Even inside the convention hall, things got heated: Dan Rather was famously punched in the stomach by security while trying to interview a Georgia delegate being escorted out of the building. The encounter was caught live on the air, and from the broadcast booth above, Walter Cronkite said of the overzealous police presence, "I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan.&rdquo

From the broadcast booth, Walter Cronkite said, "I think we've got a bunch of thugs here, Dan."

Over the course of four days and nights, in what became known as the Battle of Michigan Avenue, over 600 protestors were arrested, and nearly 1,000 were injured and treated onsite or at area hospitals. Nearly 200 police officers were also injured. Journalists were also clubbed by police and had their film taken or camera gear destroyed.

Later that year, a comprehensive review by the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence found that the police responded to taunts with "unrestrained attacks," and the episode came to be called a "police riot."

Chicago 8 trial opens in Chicago - Sep 23, 1969 - HISTORY.com

SP5 Mark Kuzinski

The trial for eight antiwar activists charged with the responsibility for the violent demonstrations at the August 1968 Democratic National Convention opens in Chicago. The defendants included David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee (NMC) Rennie Davis and Thomas Hayden of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, founders of the Youth International Party (“Yippies”) Bobby Seale of the Black Panthers and two lesser known activists, Lee Weiner and John Froines.

The group was charged with conspiracy to cross state lines with intent to incite a riot. All but Seale were represented by attorneys William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. The trial, presided over by Judge Julius Hoffman, turned into a circus as the defendants and their attorneys used the court as a platform to attack Nixon, the war, racisim, and oppression. Their tactics were so disruptive that at one point, Judge Hoffman ordered Seale gagged and strapped to his chair. When the trial ended in February 1970, Hoffman found the defendants and their attorneys guilty of 175 counts of contempt of court and sentenced them to terms between two to four years. Although declaring the defendants not guilty of conspiracy, the jury found all but Froines and Weiner guilty of intent to riot. The others were each sentenced to five years and fined $5,000. However, none served time because in 1972, a Court of Appeal overturned the criminal convictions and eventually most of the contempt charges were dropped as well.

How ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ gets history wrong

in 1987, I wrote and directed the film, “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8,” which received an ACE award that year for best cable movie. I had initially been hired by CBS to make a TV movie based on the transcripts of this famous political trial, as earlier I had written and directed “Katherine,” a successful and controversial TV movie, which tracked the radicalization of a young woman during the late 60s. Abbie Hoffman, while still underground, wrote in the Village Voice that this was the best portrayal of the movement of that time. After CBS read my script, they thought it was too political and critical of the American government, and they decided to not make the movie. Years later, an article appeared in TV Guide about the best scripts never made and the first one mentioned was mine. I got a call from the new HBO that they wanted to make it.

In my research, I had traveled around the country meeting all the defendants and lawyers and videotaping them for hours, having them tell their experiences. When meeting the new HBO executives I insisted that I use video cameras, not film, and four of them, so that I could, for the very limited budget they gave me, still simultaneously weave the actors recreating the trial with the real documentary footage I had been able to find, so you could see what actually happened even when certain witnesses denied it you could also see and hear the real people commenting on their experience as the trial proceeds. To my delight, many actors wanted to be in the movie including Elliot Gould, Martin Sheen, Robert Loggia, Peter Boyle, Carl Lumbly, Barry Miller, Michael Lembeck and Robert Carradine, and they all stayed on the set throughout the 12-day shoot because they were so into living the experience.

The judge was played by the great Yiddish actor David Opatoshu. On our first day of shooting, I noticed how at times, he was kind, and I reminded him that Judge Hoffman despised these defendants and lawyers. David then said to me, “If I get ‘nice,’ just say the word “Yekke.”

He explained that the German immigrants to Israel regarded themselves as superior to Jews from other countries and to prove it they wore jackets in the heat as a sign of their dominance. Hence, the Yiddish word for jacket – yekke. It worked. David turned mean. I also decided to have the viewer be the jury, so that when the judge or the lawyers or defendants address the jury, they look directly into the camera, at us the viewers.

Image by Courtesy of Jeremy Paul K.

Fact Meets Fictionalization: The real-life Chicago 8 meets the actors who played them.

On the last day of shooting, I invited all the defendants to come to the set and Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden and Jerry Rubin began to disagree on how a moment had occurred. What was the truth? Did Jerry stand on the table or the floor when he Heil Hitler-ed the judge? I had the transcripts and the reporters’ articles and the interviews, all of which were the source of the script and scene. Tom then said: “Now this will be the history of what happened.” I asked him what he meant and he responded that this film would supersede the written accounts in newspapers and books. History gets rewritten and, in our time, re-filmed.

Which brings me to the new film “The Trial of The Chicago 7.” Aaron Sorkin is a gifted director and brilliant writer, but I am concerned that the generations who did not live through this time will now think of this version as what happened. And it wasn’t and isn’t. It is an interpretation.

In my opinion, the new film does not do justice to the intense moral passion, irreverent humor and visceral dedication of these defendants and their lawyers. And in some cases that passion came from their roots — in Abbie’s case, his Jewish heritage. The last scene in the new film has Tom Hayden read the names of the dead. While this works as effective narrative cinema, it was David Dellinger who read the names, as shown in my film. It was also earlier in the trial — on a day when the whole country was protesting the war, and he read the names of the Vietnamese as well as Americans who had died, as these defendants all knew this war was unnecessarily killing people on both sides.

When making my movie, the most dramatic moment of the trial was when Bobby Seale was bound and gagged, which happened twice on the same day, and only once in Sorkin’s version. All through it, Bobby continued to struggle to speak even when gagged, demanding his right to defend himself. In the new film, Bobby is quiet after being gagged. But in truth, as he himself says in my movie, he refused to submit and was therefore removed from the trial, hence the subsequent title, “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”

Image by Courtesy of Jeremy Paul K.

Co-Conspirators: The cast of Jeremy Kagan’s film “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8.”

As a Jewish filmmaker who has made such films as “The Chosen,” “Crown Heights” and “Golda’s Balcony,” I related strongly to many of the Jewish participants in the trial including defense lawyers William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass, and poet Allen Ginsberg, and to the quote of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley attacking Senator Ribicoff, “F-ck you, you Jew.” I made sure that moment and Ginsberg reading his poetry on the stand were in my movie. I grew up with a father who was a Reform rabbi who was continually motivating his congregants to acts of compassion and justice. No surprise how many Jews were outspoken opponents to the cruelty and injustice of that time.

I understand that creative and interpretive choices are always made when we make historical films, but hopefully this new film’s audience, and those who see my version that plays on Amazon Prime and Vimeo, will be reminded of the courage it takes to stand up and speak truth to power. As Abbie says in my movie, quoted from the transcripts, “When the laws are tyranny, the only order is disrespect, and that’s what all people of free will, will show.” The last words in my movie are from Weinglass, who paraphrases the Jewish sages, saying: “Dedication to principle is the basis on which a life should be built.”

Jeremy Paul Kagan’s films include “Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8,” “Golda’s Balcony,” “The Chosen,” “Crown Heights” and “The Big Fix.”

The Chicago Seven trial and the 1968 Democratic National Convention

Everybody knew it would be interesting, the trial of eight people charged with conspiring to incite the riots that erupted during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. How could it not be, with a cast of characters that included hippie leaders Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin, Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale, activist ideologues Tom Hayden and Rennie Davis, old-time liberal David Dellinger, and strict and conservative U.S. District Judge Julius J. Hoffman?

But nobody knew as the trial began on this morning that the trial would drag out over 4 1/2 months and disintegrate into a chaotic shambles that came to symbolize the widening gap between generations cleaved by the war in Vietnam.

Beginning as the Chicago Eight Trial, it quickly became the Chicago Seven when Seale, after loudly disrupting the trial when he could not have the lawyer of his choice, was at first bound and gagged in the courtroom and then severed from the case for a later trial, which never occurred. Judge Hoffman, a stickler for courtroom decorum, was challenged daily by the defendants, especially Abbie Hoffman, who called the judge "Julie" and once entered the courtroom wearing judicial robes, which he threw to the floor and trod upon. The trial became a three-sided war involving the defendants and their lawyers, William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass the prosecutors, Thomas Foran and Richard Schultz and the judge.

That war extended to the streets as well, with almost daily demonstrations gathering in the South Loop. On Oct. 11, a Loop rally turned violent in the notorious Days of Rage riots, when members of the Weatherman faction and other anti-war groups ran amok in the city streets, breaking windows, fighting police and leaving an assistant city corporation counsel, Richard Elrod, partially paralyzed when he tried to seize a demonstrator.

It ended with the jury deciding that five of the defendants-- Rubin, Hoffman, Hayden, Davis and Dellinger--had incited riots but had not conspired to do so. Defendants Lee Weiner and John Froines were acquitted of all charges. But Judge Hoffman sentenced all seven defendants and two defense lawyers to contempt-of-court jail sentences.

Eventually, all of the contempt sentences and the riot charges were either dismissed by higher courts or dropped by the government. At the time, it was the Trial of the Century, but in the end, the Chicago Seven Trial seemed to mean nothing at all.

Chicago History Museum Explores the Work of Vivian Maier in Newest Exhibition

The Chicago History Museum is featuring a collection of many never-before seen works by world-renown photographer Vivian Maier in an upcoming exhibition, Vivian Maier: In Color, opening to the public May 8, 2021.

“The Chicago History Museum is committed to sharing Chicago stories, and Vivian Maier’s work represents her private contributions to the documentation and representation of culture found within city life,” said Charles E. Bethea, Andrew W. Mellon Director of Collections and Curatorial Affairs. “Maier’s photography brings a glimpse of Chicago and its residents to life between the 1950s to the 1970s, allowing present day visitors the opportunity to reflect on the striking parallels it has to today’s society.”

Maier worked as a nanny to several Chicago families and took extensive photos, documenting intimate moments of the city and its people. Vivian Maier: In Color will illuminate Maier’s unique portfolio. While her focus of attention varied, she approached all of her work with unwavering confidence, revealing parallels, intersections and tensions.

Following her death in 2009, Maier’s prolific photographs previously discovered in her abandoned storage locker were first displayed for the public. Maier rose to posthumous international acclaim for her photography that expertly documented the people, landscapes, light, and development of New York, her hometown, and Chicago where she settled, with remarkable attention to detail. Maier’s work is now used widely in research and curriculum and has been celebrated in at least 42 exhibitions around the world, including one on display at the Chicago History Museum from 2012-2017, Vivian Maier’s Chicago.

To underscore her accomplished photography, Vivian Maier: In Color will feature more than 65 color images from the 1950s-1970s, most of which have never been seen, from art collectors Jeffrey Goldstein, John Maloof, and Ron Slattery. It is the first time the work in these three collections have been featured together in one exhibition. The exhibition will also include clips from film, made by Maier, and a series of sound bites and quotes featuring Maier’s voice.

“Vivian Maier’s photographs show moments of what looks to be a dynamic, multifaceted life in which she prioritized her passion for taking pictures,” said Frances Dorenbaum, curator of Vivian Maier: In Color. “Her dedication to photography is what makes her work so prolific today, and the Chicago History Museum is thrilled to share her voice with the public and celebrate a once unknown artist.”

The exhibition comes after the Chicago History Museum last year acquired nearly 1,800 Vivian Maier color slides, negatives and transparencies from Chicago-based artist and art collector Jeffrey Goldstein. The collection primarily depicts people and scenes in Chicago from the 1950s-1970s. The museum worked closely with Goldstein and Vivian Maier’s Estate to accept a donation of photographs and preserve them for public use. The acquisition gives the public access to many never-before-seen images on the Museum’s image portal.

The Chicago History Museum received a grant from The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to process the Vivian Maier collection. The grant promotes long term preservation, collections access and interpretive digital output such as blog posts and an online exhibition.

To learn more about Vivian Maier: In Color and associated programs, please visit: www.chicagohistory.org/exhibition/vivian-maier-in-color/


The Chicago History Museum, a major museum and research center for Chicago and American history, is located at 1601 N. Clark Street. The Museum has dedicated more than a century to celebrating and sharing Chicago’s stories through dynamic exhibitions, tours, publications, special events and programming. The Museum collects and preserves millions of artifacts, documents and images to help audiences connect to the city and its history. The Chicago History Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of the Chicago Park District on behalf of the people of Chicago. The Chicago History Museum is a 2016 winner of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the highest award given to these institutions for their community engagement and having an impact on the lives of individuals, families, and communities.


The musical Chicago is based on a play of the same name by reporter and playwright Maurine Dallas Watkins, who was assigned to cover the 1924 trials of accused murderers Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner for the Chicago Tribune. In the early 1920s, Chicago's press and public became riveted by the subject of homicides committed by women. Several high-profile cases arose, which generally involved women killing their lovers or husbands. These cases were tried against a backdrop of changing views of women in the jazz age, and a long string of acquittals by Cook County juries of female murderers (juries at the time were all male, and convicted murderers generally faced death by hanging). A lore arose that, in Chicago, feminine or attractive women could not be convicted. The Chicago Tribune generally favored the prosecution's case, while still presenting the details of these women's lives. Its rivals at the Hearst papers were more pro-defendant, and employed what were derisively called "sob-sisters" – women reporters who focused on the plight, attractiveness, redemption, or grace of the female defendants. Regardless of stance, the press covered several of these women as celebrities. [3]

Annan, the model for the character of Roxie Hart, was 23 when she was accused of the April 3, 1924, [4] murder of Harry Kalstedt, who served as the basis for the Fred Casely character. The Tribune reported that Annan played the foxtrot record Hula Lou over and over for two hours before calling her husband to say she killed a man who "tried to make love to her". Her husband Albert Annan inspired the character, Amos Hart. Albert was an auto mechanic who bankrupted himself to defend his wife, only for her to publicly dump him the day after she was acquitted. Velma Kelly is based on Gaertner, who was a cabaret singer, and society divorcée. The body of Walter Law was discovered slumped over the steering wheel of Gaertner's abandoned car on March 12, 1924. Two police officers testified that they had seen a woman getting into the car and shortly thereafter heard gunshots. A bottle of gin and an automatic pistol were found on the floor of the car. Lawyers William Scott Stewart and W. W. O'Brien were models for a composite character in Chicago, Billy Flynn. Just days apart, separate juries acquitted both women. [5]

Watkins' sensational columns documenting these trials proved so popular that she wrote a play based on them. The show received both good box-office sales and newspaper notices and was mounted on Broadway in 1926, running 172 performances. Cecil B. DeMille produced a silent film version, Chicago (1927), starring former Mack Sennett bathing beauty Phyllis Haver as Roxie Hart. It was later remade as Roxie Hart (1942) starring Ginger Rogers, but in this version, Roxie was accused of murder without having really committed it.

In the 1960s, Gwen Verdon read the play and asked her husband, Bob Fosse, about the possibility of creating a musical adaptation. Fosse approached playwright Watkins numerous times to buy the rights, but she repeatedly declined by this point she may have regretted that Annan and Gaertner had been allowed to walk free, and that her treatment of them should not be glamorized. [4] Nonetheless, upon her death in 1969, her estate sold the rights to producer Richard Fryer, Verdon, and Fosse. [4] John Kander and Fred Ebb began work on the musical score, modeling each number on a traditional vaudeville number or a vaudeville performer. This format made explicit the show's comparison between "justice", "show-business", and contemporary society. Ebb and Fosse penned the book of the musical, and Fosse also directed and choreographed.

Act I Edit

Velma Kelly is a vaudevillian who welcomes the audience to tonight's show ("All That Jazz"). Interplayed with the opening number, the scene cuts to February 14, 1928 in the bedroom of chorus girl Roxie Hart, where she murders Fred Casely as he attempts to break off an affair with her.

Roxie convinces her husband Amos that the victim was a burglar, and Amos agrees to take the blame. Roxie expresses her appreciation of her husband's willingness to do anything for her ("Funny Honey"). However, when the police mention the deceased's name, Amos belatedly realizes that Roxie has lied to him. With both Roxie and Amos furious at each other for the other's betrayal, Roxie confesses and is arrested. She is sent to the women's block in the Cook County Jail, where several women accused of killing their lovers are held ("Cell Block Tango") among the inmates is Velma Kelly, revealing herself to have been involved in the death of her husband and sister after she caught them having sex, though she denies committing the act on account of blacking out from the sight. The block is presided over by Matron "Mama" Morton, whose system of taking bribes ("When You're Good to Mama") perfectly suits her clientele. She has helped Velma become the media's top murderer-of-the-week and is acting as a booking agent for Velma's big return to vaudeville.

Velma is not happy to see Roxie, who is stealing not only her limelight but also her lawyer, Billy Flynn. Roxie convinces Amos to pay for Billy Flynn to be her lawyer ("A Tap Dance"), though Amos lacks the funds. Eagerly awaited by his all-woman clientele, Billy sings his anthem, complete with a chorus of fan dancers ("All I Care About"). Billy takes Roxie's case before realizing Amos doesn't have the money to make up the difference, he turns the case into a media circus and rearranges her story for consumption by sympathetic tabloid columnist Mary Sunshine ("A Little Bit of Good"), hoping to sell proceeds in an auction. Roxie's press conference turns into a ventriloquist act, with Billy dictating a new version of the truth ("We Both Reached for the Gun") to the reporters while Roxie mouths the words.

Roxie becomes the most popular celebrity in Chicago, as she boastfully proclaims while planning for her future career in vaudeville ("Roxie"). As Roxie's fame grows, Velma's notoriety subsides, and in an act of desperation she tries to talk Roxie into recreating the sister act ("I Can't Do It Alone"). Roxie turns her down, only to find her own headlines replaced by the latest sordid crime of passion ("Chicago After Midnight"). Separately, Roxie and Velma realize there is no one they can count on but themselves ("My Own Best Friend"), and Roxie decides that being pregnant in prison would put her back on the front page.

Act II Edit

Velma returns to introduce the opening act, resentful of Roxie's manipulation of the system ("I Know a Girl") and ability to seduce a doctor into saying Roxie is pregnant as Roxie emerges, she sings gleefully of the future of her unborn (nonexistent) child ("Me and My Baby"). Amos proudly claims paternity, but still, nobody notices him, and Billy exposes holes in Roxie's story by noting that she and Amos had not had sex in four months, meaning if she were pregnant, the child was not Amos's, in hopes that Amos will divorce her and look like a villain, which Amos almost does ("Mr. Cellophane"). Velma tries to show Billy all the tricks she has planned for her trial ("When Velma Takes The Stand"), which Roxie treats skeptically. Roxie, upset with being treated like a "common criminal" and considering herself a celebrity, has a heated argument with Billy and fires him Billy warns her that her kind of celebrity is fleeting and that she would be just as famous hanging from a noose. At that moment, Roxie witnesses one of her fellow inmates, a Hungarian woman who insisted her innocence but could not speak English and whose public lawyer refused to defend her, become the first woman to be executed in Chicago ("Hungarian Rope Trick").

The trial date arrives, and the now freshly terrified Roxie runs back to Billy, who calms Roxie by suggesting she will be fine so long as she makes a show of the trial ("Razzle Dazzle"). Billy uses Amos as a pawn, turning around and insisting that Amos is actually the father of Roxie's child. As Roxie recounts Billy's carefully crafted false narrative of the night of Fred's murder (with Fred re-appearing on stage in flashback), she steals all of Velma's schtick, down to the rhinestone garter, to the dismay of Mama and Velma ("Class"). As promised, Billy gets Roxie acquitted, but just as the verdict is announced, some even more sensational crime pulls the press away, and Roxie's fleeting celebrity life is over. Billy leaves, done with the case, admitting that he only did it for the money. Amos tries to get Roxie to come home and forget the ordeal, but she is more concerned with the end of her brief run of fame and admits she isn't pregnant, leaving Amos in the dust.

The final scene cuts to a Chicago vaudeville theater, where Roxie and Velma (acquitted off-stage) are performing a new act in which they bittersweetly sing about modern life ("Nowadays"). The former Mary Sunshine, revealed during the trial to actually be a man in drag, takes his natural male form as a pushy vaudeville promoter, shaping Roxie and Velma's dance ("Hot Honey Rag") to make it as sexy as possible. The show ends with a brief finale ("Finale"). [6]

"Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville"

  • "Overture" – Orchestra
  • "All That Jazz" – Velma Kelly and Company
  • "Funny Honey" – Roxie Hart, Amos Hart, Sergeant Fogarty
  • "Cell Block Tango" – Velma and the Girls
  • "When You're Good to Mama" – Matron "Mama" Morton
  • "Tap Dance" - Roxie, Amos, and Boys
  • "All I Care About" – Billy Flynn and the Girls
  • "A Little Bit of Good" – Mary Sunshine
  • "We Both Reached for the Gun" – Billy, Roxie, Mary Sunshine
  • "Roxie" – Roxie and Boys
  • "I Can't Do It Alone" – Velma
  • "Chicago After Midnight" – Orchestra
  • "My Own Best Friend" – Roxie and Velma
  • "I Know a Girl" – Velma
  • "Me and My Baby" – Roxie and Company
  • "Mr. Cellophane" – Amos Hart
  • "When Velma Takes the Stand" – Velma and Boys
  • "Razzle Dazzle" – Billy and Company
  • "Class" – Velma and Morton
  • "Nowadays" – Roxie
  • Finale: "Nowadays"/"R.S.V.P"/"Keep It Hot" – Roxie and Velma †

"Chicago: The Musical"

  • "Overture" – Orchestra
  • "All That Jazz" – Velma Kelly and Company
  • "Funny Honey" – Roxie Hart
  • "Cell Block Tango" – Velma and the Murderesses
  • "When You're Good to Mama" – Matron "Mama" Morton
  • "Tap Dance" - Roxie, Amos, and Boys
  • "All I Care About" – Billy Flynn and the Girls
  • "A Little Bit of Good" – Mary Sunshine
  • "We Both Reached for the Gun" – Billy, Roxie, Mary and the Reporters
  • "Roxie" – Roxie and the Boys
  • "I Can't Do It Alone" – Velma
  • "I Can't Do It Alone (Reprise)" – Velma
  • "Chicago After Midnight" – Orchestra
  • "My Own Best Friend" – Roxie and Velma
  • "Finale Act I: All That Jazz (Reprise)" – Velma
  • "Entr'acte" – Orchestra
  • "I Know a Girl" – Velma
  • "Me and My Baby" – Roxie and Company
  • "Mr. Cellophane" – Amos Hart
  • "When Velma Takes the Stand" – Velma and the Boys
  • "Razzle Dazzle" – Billy and Company
  • "Class" – Velma and Mama Morton
  • "Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag" – Velma and Roxie
  • "Finale Act II: All That Jazz (Reprise)" – Company

† In the 1975 Original Broadway Production and its Playbill, there are a few contradicting song lists. Songs such as "R.S.V.P" and "Keep It Hot" which were instrumental pieces in the "Finale" were removed from the licensable music, but were included in original production and script. Other songs such as "Ten Percent" sung by a deleted character who was Velma's agent, and "No" sung by Roxie and Boys were cut soon into the production and only appear on demo recordings and in the original Playbill, but are not in the original script. Other cut songs from the show were "Rose Colored Glasses" a different version of "We Both Reached for the Gun", "Pansy Eyes", and "Loopin' the Loop." [7] [8]

Principal Edit

Source for West End: overthefootlights.co.uk [9]

Principal characters (defined as having at least one featured musical number) and performers of notable stage productions:

Character Description Original Broadway performer Original West End performer Original Australian performer Original Broadway revival performer Original West End revival performer
Roxie Hart An aspiring vaudevillian and murderess who kills her paramour after a spat and is sent to jail. Gwen Verdon Antonia Ellis Nancye Hayes Ann Reinking Ruthie Henshall
Velma Kelly A vaudevillian and murderess who is on trial for killing her cheating husband and sister. She is represented by Billy Flynn and competes with Roxie Hart for him. Chita Rivera Jenny Logan Geraldine Turner Bebe Neuwirth Ute Lemper
Billy Flynn Velma and Roxie's lawyer who has a perfect track record and makes celebrities of his clients to win sympathy and sway public opinion. Jerry Orbach Ben Cross Terence Donovan James Naughton Henry Goodman
Amos Hart Roxie's faithful and good-natured but simple husband whom nobody pays attention to. He spends most of the show trying to make Roxie take interest in him or even just acknowledge his existence. Barney Martin Don Fellows George Spartels Joel Grey Nigel Planer
Matron "Mama" Morton The matron of the Cook County Jail. Grants the inmates favors in exchange for bribes. Mary McCarty Hope Jackman Judi Connelli Marcia Lewis Meg Johnson
Mary Sunshine The newspaper reporter who follows the trials of both Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly. In most productions, Sunshine is revealed to be a male at the end of the show. Michael O'Haughey Gary Lyons J.P. Webster David Sabella-Mills Charles Shirvell

Ensemble Edit

  • Fred Casely: Roxie's paramour, a furniture salesman. Shot dead at the beginning of the play, he appears in flashback during the trial.
  • Katalin Hunyak: One of Roxie and Velma's fellow inmates, who speaks almost no English and is most likely innocent of the crime she is accused of committing. (Her last name Hunyak is an ethnic slur for Hungarian people.) Her hanging sets up the climax of the musical.

One-scene characters Edit

  • Sergeant Fogarty: Police officer who arrests Roxie and investigates Fred's murder.
  • Liz, Annie, Mona and June: Four other inmates who appear only in "Cell Block Tango."
  • Aaron: Katalin's indifferent public defender, who prefers to cut plea deals instead of actually defending his clients.
  • Martin Harrison: assistant district attorney who prosecutes Roxie. Harrison only appears during the trial but is mentioned earlier.
  • Kitty Baxter: An heiress who murders her boyfriend and his two mistresses after finding all three of them in bed together. Her sensational arrest briefly eclipses Roxie's fame similar to how Roxie stole Velma's limelight, inspiring her to create the pregnancy act to regain her status in the media.

The ensemble also calls for a judge, jury foreman, gynecologist, court clerk, newspaper reporters, male sycophants for Roxie and Velma, and other miscellaneous roles, which are usually held as dual roles by other members of the ensemble.

Notable replacements Edit

  • Roxie Hart: Mel B, Charlotte d'Amboise, Melora Hardin, Samantha Harris, Ruthie Henshall, Erika Jayne, Bebe Neuwirth, Brandy Norwood, Brooke Shields, Ashlee Simpson, Shiri Maimon
  • Velma Kelly: Ruthie Henshall, Bebe Neuwirth, Leigh Zimmerman
  • Billy Flynn: Wayne Brady, Taye Diggs, Christopher Fitzgerald, Alexander Gemignani, Cuba Gooding Jr., Michael C. Hall, Tom Hewitt, Huey Lewis, Norm Lewis, Peter Lockyer, Jeff McCarthy, Adam Pascal, Christopher Sieber, Patrick Swayze, Tony Yazbeck, Billy Zane
  • Amos Hart: Kevin Chamberlin, Christopher Fitzgerald
  • Matron "Mama" Morton: Bebe Neuwirth, Sofia Vergara, Wendy Williams

According to Fred Ebb, he wrote the book in a vaudeville style because "the characters were performers. Every musical moment in the show was loosely modeled on someone else: Roxie was Helen Morgan, Velma was Texas Guinan, Billy Flynn was Ted Lewis, Mama Morton was Sophie Tucker." Kander elaborates that the reason the show was called a vaudeville "is because many of the songs we wrote are related to specific performers like those you mentioned, and Eddie Cantor and Bert Williams as well." [10]

It was through the initial production, and not the writing, that many of the "traditional" Chicago staging conventions were developed:

The double snap in "Razzle Dazzle" was added as an afterthought at the suggestion of Fred Ebb to John Kander. Kander explains: "I remember when we wrote "Razzle Dazzle", before we took it in and played it for Bob, you [Ebb] said with absolute confidence 'Try adding a couple of finger snaps to it. Bobby will love that.' We added them. and as soon as he heard the finger snaps, he loved the song." [10] During rehearsals, "Razzle Dazzle" was originally staged as an orgy on the steps of the courthouse. Fosse was talked out of allowing this staging, when Jerry Orbach "convinced him that he was missing the Brechtian subtlety intrinsic in the number." [11]

The original finale was "Loopin' the Loop", a doubles act with Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera however, "the scene seemed too much like an amateur act so Fosse asked for something more 'glamorous in pretty gowns'". The piece was cut and replaced with "Nowadays". Instrumental sections of "Loopin' the Loop" can still be heard in the Overture. [11] Two other sections termed "Keep It Hot" and "RSVP" were cut from the finale as well.

Another principal character, a theatrical agent named Harry Glassman, was played by David Rounds, whose role was to exploit the notoriety of the prisoners for his own gain. He also served as the evening's M.C. This character's role and the song "Ten Percent" was cut, [12] with the character folded into that of Matron Mama Morton, and various members of the chorus shared his M.C. duties. [13]

In a reversal of roles, Fosse decided the lyrics to the number "Class" were too offensive and censored Kander and Ebb's original version of the song. One of the original lyrics "Every guy is a snot/Every girl is a twat" was restored for the 2002 movie, although the entire number was cut from the final release of the movie. [ citation needed ]

Original Broadway production Edit

Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville opened on June 3, 1975 at the 46th Street Theatre, and ran for a total of 936 performances, closing on August 27, 1977. [14] The opening night cast starred Chita Rivera as Velma Kelly, Gwen Verdon as Roxie Hart, Jerry Orbach as Billy Flynn and Barney Martin as Amos Hart. Velma Kelly had been a comparatively minor character in all versions of Chicago prior to the musical rendering. The role was fleshed out to balance Chita Rivera's role opposite Gwen Verdon's Roxie Hart.

The musical received mixed reviews. The Brechtian style of the show, which frequently dropped the fourth wall, made audiences uncomfortable. According to James Leve, "Chicago is cynical and subversive, exploiting American cultural mythologies in order to attack American celebrity culture." [15]

The show opened the same year as Michael Bennett's highly successful A Chorus Line, which beat out Chicago in both ticket sales and at the Tony Awards. [16] The show was on the verge of closing, when it ran into another setback: Gwen Verdon had to have surgery on nodes in her throat after inhaling a feather during the show's finale. [17] The producers contemplated closing the show, but Liza Minnelli stepped in and offered to play the role of Roxie Hart in place of Verdon. [18] [19] Her run lasted slightly over a month (August 8, 1975, through September 13, 1975), [20] boosting the show's popularity, until Gwen Verdon recuperated and returned to the show. Ann Reinking, who would go on to star in the highly successful 1996 revival [21] and choreograph that production in the style of Bob Fosse, was also a cast replacement for Roxie Hart during the show's original run. [22]

1979 West End Edit

The first West End, London production opened at the Cambridge Theatre in April 1979 and ran for around 600 performances (having debuted at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, on 23 November 1978). [23] It commenced in the West End with most of the Sheffield cast, and was directed by Peter James and choreographed by Gillian Gregory. The producers were Ray Cooney and Larry Parnes. [24] [25] Jenny Logan starred as Velma Kelly, with Ben Cross as Billy, Antonia Ellis as Roxie Hart and Don Fellows as Amos Hart. [26] Ellis (Actress of the Year in a Musical) and Ben Cross (Actor of the Year in a Musical) were nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for their performances, and the musical was nominated as Musical of the Year. [27] Elizabeth Seal later replaced Ellis as Roxie Hart. [28] [29]

1981 Australia Edit

The original Australian production opened at the Sydney Opera House's Drama Theatre in June 1981. Featuring Nancye Hayes (Roxie), Geraldine Turner (Velma), Terence Donovan (Billy), Judi Connelli (Mama) and George Spartels (Amos), it was a new production directed by Richard Wherrett for the Sydney Theatre Company, rather than a replica of the Broadway production. [30] It transferred to the Theatre Royal in Sydney, before touring to Melbourne's Comedy Theatre, Adelaide's Festival Theatre and a return season at the Theatre Royal, playing until March 1982. Sydney Theatre Company's production also toured to the Hong Kong Arts Festival in February 1983. [31]

1992 Los Angeles production Edit

The Long Beach Civic Light Opera presented Chicago in 1992, directed by Rob Marshall with choreography by Ann Reinking. Juliet Prowse played Roxy opposite Bebe Neuwirth as Velma. Gary Sandy played Billy Flynn with Kaye Ballard as Mama Morton. [32]

1996 Broadway revival Edit

City Center Encores! series presented Chicago in concert in May 1996. [33] The Encores! series, according to their statement, "celebrates the rarely heard works of America's most important composers and lyricists. Encores! gives three glorious scores the chance to be heard as their creators originally intended." [34]

The production was directed by Walter Bobbie with choreography "in the style of Bob Fosse" by Ann Reinking, who also reprised her previous role as Roxie Hart. [33] Also in the cast were Bebe Neuwirth as Velma Kelly, Joel Grey as Amos Hart and James Naughton as Billy Flynn. [33] The show was well-received, with Howard Kissel, reviewing for the New York Daily News writing that "This Chicago impressed me far more than the original.". [35] Ben Brantley, in his review for The New York Times, wrote " 'Make love to the audience' was another Fosse dictum. That's exactly what Ms. Reinking and her ensemble do. Chicago can still seem glibly cynical and artificially cold, especially in its weaker second act. But these performers know just how to take off the chill." [36] By May 10, 1996, there was talk of a Broadway production: "Down the block, there is a move afoot to move the Encores production of Chicago to Broadway. Rocco Landesman said that he and Fran and Barry Weissler wanted to bring the production to the Martin Beck Theater this summer." [37]

Barry and Fran Weissler brought the Encores! production to Broadway, after some revision and expansion, but retaining the spare and minimalist style in costumes and set. [38] The set design includes the presence of the band center stage in an evocation of a jury box, around and upon which the actors play some scenes. There are also chairs along the sides of this central piece, in which the actors at times sit or lounge, when not directly involved in the action. The show opened on November 14, 1996, at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (the same theater where the original production had played) [39] with a script adapted by David Thompson, [40] eventually setting a record for recovering its initial costs faster than any other musical in history, likely due in part to the stripped-down design elements.

Unlike the original production, the revival was met with praise from critics. The CurtainUp reviewer noted, "The show garnered ecstatic reviews, enviable box office sales and enough awards to warrant a special Chicago trophy room." [38] Society had changed in light of events such as the O. J. Simpson murder case, and audiences were more receptive to the criminal-as-celebrity theme of the show. [41]

The revival of Chicago won six Tony Awards, more than any other revival in Broadway history until South Pacific won seven Tonys in 2008. [42] Chicago won for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Bebe Neuwirth, Best Leading Actor in a Musical for James Naughton, Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Ken Billington, Best Director of a Musical for Walter Bobbie and Best Choreography for Ann Reinking. [43] Chicago: The Musical has run for more than 9,000 performances [43] [44] and holds the record for longest-running musical revival on Broadway. [45] Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton, and Joel Grey returned for cameo appearances. [46]

The cast recording of the revival was released on January 28, 1997, on RCA Victor. [47] The cast recording won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. [48]

On January 29, 2003, more than six years into its run, the Broadway production moved a second time, to the Ambassador Theatre, where it has played ever since. On November 23, 2014, Chicago became the second longest-running Broadway show, surpassing Cats. [43]

London revivals Edit

On November 18, 1997, the revival production opened in London's West End. [52] [53] Like the New York revival, it was directed by Walter Bobbie and designed by John Lee Beatty, with choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. [54] The show ran at the Adelphi Theatre for nine years until transferring to the Cambridge Theatre in April 2006. [55] The original cast of the production included German jazz singer Ute Lemper as Velma, British actress Ruthie Henshall as Roxie Hart, Nigel Planer as Amos Hart, and Henry Goodman as Billy Flynn. The production won the 1998 Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical, and Lemper was awarded Best Actress in a Musical. Both Lemper and Henshall have played the role of Velma on Broadway.

Like its Broadway counterpart, the London production featured many celebrities in the starring roles. For example, Marti Pellow, David Hasselhoff, John Barrowman, Tony Hadley, Jerry Springer, Kevin Richardson and Ian Kelsey have all played the role of Billy Flynn. Maria Friedman, Josefina Gabrielle, Denise Van Outen, Claire Sweeney, Linzi Hateley, Frances Ruffelle, Jennifer Ellison, Jill Halfpenny, Brooke Shields, Sally Ann Triplett, Bonnie Langford, Tina Arena, Ashlee Simpson, Aoife Mulholland, Michelle Williams and Christie Brinkley have all played Roxie Hart. Williams was the first African American woman to play the part of Roxie on the West End stage. James Doherty was a replacement as Amos. [56]

The production moved out of the Cambridge Theatre on August 27, 2011 [57] and transferred to the Garrick Theatre on November 7, 2011, starring America Ferrera as Roxie. [54] Robin Cousins joined the cast as Billy Flynn on July 17, 2012. The show closed on September 1, 2012 after a total run of nearly 15 years in London. [58] The UK tour of the production continued after the closing. [59]

To celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the West End revival production, Chicago returned, this time at the Phoenix Theatre opening April 11, 2018, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Billy Flynn, Sarah Soetaert as Roxie Hart, Josefina Gabrielle as Velma Kelly, and Ruthie Henshall as Mama Morton. [60] [61] A cast change saw Martin Kemp take over the role of Billy Flynn, with Alexandra Burke as Roxie Hart and Mazz Murray as Mama Morton. [62] Denise Van Outen was announced to take over the role of Velma from 24 September 2018, but due to sustaining a stress fracture in her heel, her integration was delayed until 7 October. [63] The production featured on ITV's reality show, The Big Audition, to cast the replacement Velma. Following multiple rounds of singing, dancing and acting auditions, Laura Tyrer was selected to fill in for the role. [64]

North American tours Edit

There have been ten North American national tours of Chicago. [65] The first tour started in April 1997 in Cincinnati, Ohio, six months after the revival opened on Broadway. The cast featured Charlotte d'Amboise (Roxie Hart), Jasmine Guy (Velma Kelly), Obba Babatunde (Billy Flynn) and Carol Woods (Matron "Mama" Morton). A second company started in December 1997 in Tampa, Florida. [66] The tour went on hiatus in Fall 1999 and started again in October 1999 in Denver, Colorado, featuring Robert Urich as Billy Flynn, Vicki Lewis (Velma) and Nana Visitor (Roxie). [67] [68] The next tour started in October 2000 in Stamford, Connecticut, with Robert Urich. Chita Rivera joined the tour for several weeks. [69]

The 2003 tour started in June 2003 at the National Theatre, Washington, DC, with Brenda Braxton playing Velma, Bianca Marroquin as Roxie, and Gregory Harrison as Billy Flynn. [70] [71] During 2004 the tour cast included Alan Thicke and Tom Wopat as Billy Flynn and Carol Woods as Matron "Mama" Morton. [72] The most recent tour started in November 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina and starred Tom Wopat as Billy Flynn, Bianca Marroquin as Roxie Hart, Terra C. MacLeod as Velma Kelly and Roz Ryan (later replaced by Carol Woods) as Matron "Mama" Morton. [65] [73] On January 16, 2012 Peruvian actor Marco Zunino joined the cast as Billy Flynn. [74] [75]

2019 Australia Edit

On 14 June 2018, the Gordon Frost Organisation announced a revival tour of Chicago commencing early 2019 at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney. [76] The show starred Natalie Bassingthwaighte as Roxie Hart and Casey Donovan as Matron "Mama" Morton. [77] The Melbourne leg of the tour starred Jason Donovan as Billy Flynn. [78] Jason's father Terence had played the same role in the original 1981 Australian production. [30]

2021 UK Tour Edit

On June 4, 2020, it was announced a revival tour of Chicago will open in March 2021. The show will open at the Birmingham Alexandra Theatre on 12 March 2021 and then tour extensively across the United Kingdom. [79]

International productions Edit

The first Japanese-language production of the Tony-winning revival of Kander and Ebb's Chicago debuted in October 2008 at the Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo, Japan, followed by an engagement at Osaka's Umeda Art Theatre. Presented by Barry and Fran Weissler in association with Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc. and Kyodo Tokyo Inc., the b production starred Ryoko Yonekura as Roxie Hart, Yōka Wao as Velma Kelly and Ryuichi Kawamura as Billy Flynn. [80]

In Perú, the musical opened on June 16, 2012 starring Tati Alcántara, Denisse Dibós, and Marco Zunino at Teatro Municipal de Lima in Lima. [81] The show was also staged using a Spanish translation in Costa Rica in 2017 starring Silvia Baltodano and Isabel Guzman. [82]

A French-language production of Chicago, based on the Broadway 1996 revival, opened on September 18, 2018 at Théâtre Mogador in Paris with Sofia Essaïdi as Velma Kelly, Carien Keizer as Roxie Hart and Jean-Luc Guizone as Billy Flynn. Directed by Dominique Trottein with a book translated by Nicolas Engel, this production is choreographed by Ann Reinking and the music was supervised by Rob Bowman. This production will close on June 30, 2019. [83]

The Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, will present an entirely new production of Chicago as part of their 2020 season, the organization was granted new production rights outside of New York or London for the first time in 30 years. It will be directed by Donna Feore. [84]


Early native settlements Edit

At its first appearance in records by explorers, the Chicago area was inhabited by a number of Algonquian peoples, including the Mascouten and Miami. The name "Chicago" is derived from a French rendering of the Native American word shikaakwa, known to botanists as Allium tricoccum, from the Miami-Illinois language. The first known reference to the site of the current city of Chicago as "Checagou" was by Robert de LaSalle around 1679 in a memoir. [1] Henri Joutel, in his journal of 1688, noted that the wild garlic, called "chicagoua", grew abundantly in the area. [2] According to his diary of late September 1687:

when we arrived at the said place called Chicagou which, according to what we were able to learn of it, has taken this name because of the quantity of garlic which grows in the forests in this region. [2]

The tribe was part of the Miami Confederacy, which included the Illini and Kickapoo. In 1671, Potawatomi guides first took the French trader Nicolas Perrot to the Miami villages near the site of present-day Chicago. [3] Pierre François Xavier de Charlevoix would write in 1721 that the Miami had a settlement in what is now Chicago around 1670. Chicago's location at a short canoe portage (the Chicago Portage) connecting the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River system attracted the attention of many French explorers, notably Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette in 1673. The Jesuit Relations indicate that by this time, the Iroquois tribes of New York had driven the Algonquian tribes entirely out of Lower Michigan and as far as this portage, during the later Beaver Wars. [4]

René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, who traversed the Kankakee and Illinois Rivers south of Chicago in the winter of 1681–82, identified the Des Plaines River as the western boundary of the Miami. In 1683, La Salle built Fort St. Louis on the Illinois River. Almost two thousand Miami, including Weas and Piankeshaws, left the Chicago area to gather on the opposite shore at the Grand Village of the Illinois, seeking French protection from the Iroquois. In 1696, French Jesuits led by Jean-François Buisson de Saint-Cosme built the Mission of the Guardian Angel to Christianize the local Wea and Miami people. [5] Shortly thereafter, Augustin le Gardeur de Courtemanche visited the settlement on behalf of the French government, seeking peace between the Miami and Iroquois. Miami chief Chichikatalo accompanied de Courtemanche to Montreal. [4]

The Algonquian tribes began to retake the lost territory in the ensuing decades, and in 1701, the Iroquois formally abandoned their claim to their "hunting grounds" as far as the portage to England in the Nanfan Treaty, which was finally ratified in 1726. This was largely a political maneuver of little practicality, as the English then had no presence in the region whatsoever, the French and their Algonquian allies being the dominant force in the area. A writer in 1718 noted at the Was had a village in Chicago, but had recently fled due to concerns about approaching Ojibwes and Pottawatomis. The Iroquois and Meskwaki probably drove out all Miami from the Chicago area by the end of the 1720s. The Pottawatomi assumed control of the area, but probably did not have any major settlements in Chicago. French and allied use of the Chicago portage was mostly abandoned during the 1720s because of continual Native American raids during the Fox Wars. [6]

There was also a Michigamea chief named Chicago who may have lived in the region. In the 1680s, the Illinois River was called the Chicago River. [7]

First non-native settlements Edit

The first settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, a free black man, [8] who built a farm at the mouth of the Chicago River in the 1780s. [8] [9] He left Chicago in 1800. In 1968, Point du Sable was honored at Pioneer Court as the city's founder and featured as a symbol.

In 1795, following the Northwest Indian War, some Native Americans ceded the area of Chicago to the United States for a military post in the Treaty of Greenville. The US built Fort Dearborn in 1803 on the Chicago River. It was destroyed by Indian forces during the War of 1812 in the Battle of Fort Dearborn, and many of the inhabitants were killed or taken prisoner. [10] The fort had been ordered to evacuate. During the evacuation soldiers and civilians were overtaken near what is today Prairie Avenue. After the end of the war, the Potawatomi ceded the land to the United States in the 1816 Treaty of St. Louis. (Today, this treaty is commemorated in Indian Boundary Park.) Fort Dearborn was rebuilt in 1818 and used until 1837. [11] : 25

In 1829, the Illinois legislature appointed commissioners to locate a canal and lay out the surrounding town. The commissioners employed James Thompson to survey and plat the town of Chicago, which at the time had a population of less than 100. Historians regard the August 4, 1830 filing of the plat as the official recognition of a location known as Chicago. [4]

Yankee entrepreneurs saw the potential of Chicago as a transportation hub in the 1830s and engaged in land speculation to obtain the choicest lots. On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago was incorporated with a population of 350. [12] On July 12, 1834, the Illinois from Sackets Harbor, New York, was the first commercial schooner to enter the harbor, a sign of the Great Lakes trade that would benefit both Chicago and New York state. [11] : 29 Chicago was granted a city charter by the State of Illinois on March 4, 1837 [13] it was part of the larger Cook County. By 1840 the boom town had a population of over 4,000.

After 1830, the rich farmlands of northern Illinois attracted Yankee settlers. Yankee real estate operators created a city overnight in the 1830s. [14] To open the surrounding farmlands to trade, the Cook County commissioners built roads south and west. The latter crossed the "dismal Nine-mile Swamp," the Des Plaines River, and went southwest to Walker's Grove, now the Village of Plainfield. The roads enabled hundreds of wagons per day of farm produce to arrive and so the entrepreneurs built grain elevators and docks to load ships bound for points east through the Great Lakes. Produce was shipped through the Erie Canal and down the Hudson River to New York City the growth of the Midwest farms expanded New York City as a port.

In 1837, Chicago held its first mayoral election and elected William B. Ogden as its inaugural mayor.

Emergence as transportation hub Edit

In 1848, the opening of the Illinois and Michigan Canal allowed shipping from the Great Lakes through Chicago to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The first rail line to Chicago, the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, was completed the same year. Chicago would go on to become the transportation hub of the United States, with its road, rail, water, and later air connections. Chicago also became home to national retailers offering catalog shopping such as Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck and Company, which used the transportation lines to ship all over the nation.

By the 1850s, the construction of railroads made Chicago a major hub and over 30 lines entered the city. The main lines from the East ended in Chicago, and those oriented to the West began in Chicago and so by 1860, the city had become the nation's trans-shipment and warehousing center. Factories were created, most famously the harvester factory that was opened in 1847 by Cyrus Hall McCormick. It was a processing center for natural resource commodities extracted in the West. The Wisconsin forests supported the millwork and lumber business the Illinois hinterland provided the wheat. Hundreds of thousands of hogs and cattle were shipped to Chicago for slaughter, preserved in salt, and transported to eastern markets. By 1870, refrigerated cars allowed the shipping of fresh meat to cities in the East. [15]

The prairie bog nature of the area provided a fertile ground for disease-carrying insects. In springtime, Chicago was so muddy from the high water that horses could scarcely move. Comical signs proclaiming "Fastest route to China" or "No Bottom Here" were placed to warn people of the mud.

Travelers reported Chicago was the filthiest city in America. The city created a massive sewer system. In the first phase, sewage pipes were laid across the city above ground and used gravity to move the waste. The city was built in a low-lying area subject to flooding. In 1856, the city council decided that the entire city should be elevated four to five feet by using a newly available jacking-up process. In one instance, the five-story Brigg's Hotel, weighing 22,000 tons, was lifted while it continued to operate. Observing that such a thing could never have happened in Europe, the British historian Paul Johnson cites the astounding feat as a dramatic example of American determination and ingenuity based on the conviction that anything material is possible. [16]

Immigration and population in 19th century Edit

Although originally settled by Yankees in the 1830s, the city in the 1840s had many Irish Catholics come as a result of the Great Famine. Later in the century, the railroads, stockyards, and other heavy industry of the late 19th century attracted a variety of skilled workers from Europe, especially Germans, English, Swedes, Norwegians, and Dutch. [17] A small African-American community formed, led by activist leaders like John Jones and Mary Richardson Jones, who established Chicago as a stop on the Underground Railroad. [18]

In 1840, Chicago was the 92nd city in the United States by populatuon. Its population grew so rapidly that 20 years later, it was the ninth city. In the pivotal year of 1848, Chicago saw the completion of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, its first steam locomotives, the introduction of steam-powered grain elevators, the arrival of the telegraph, and the founding of the Chicago Board of Trade. [19] By 1857, Chicago was the largest city in what was then called the Northwest. In 20 years, Chicago grew from 4,000 people to over 90,000. Chicago surpassed St. Louis and Cincinnati as the major city in the West and gained political notice as the home of Stephen Douglas, the 1860 presidential nominee of the Northern Democrats. The 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago nominated the home-state candidate Abraham Lincoln. The city's government and voluntary societies gave generous support to soldiers during the American Civil War. [20]

Many of the newcomers were Irish Catholic and German immigrants. Their neighborhood saloons, a center of male social life, were attacked in the mid-1850s by the local Know-Nothing Party, which drew its strength from evangelical Protestants. The new party was anti-immigration and anti-liquor and called for the purification of politics by reducing the power of the saloonkeepers. In 1855, the Know-Nothings elected Levi Boone mayor, who banned Sunday sales of liquor and beer. His aggressive law enforcement sparked the Lager Beer Riot of April 1855, which erupted outside a courthouse in which eight Germans were being tried for liquor ordinance violations. After 1865, saloons became community centers only for local ethnic men, as reformers saw them as places that incited riotous behavior and moral decay. [21] Salons were also sources of musical entertainment. Francis O'Neill, an Irish immigrant who later became police chief, published compendiums of Irish music that were largely collected from other newcomers playing in saloons. [22]

By 1870, Chicago had grown to become the nation's second-largest city and one of the largest cities in the world. Between 1870 and 1900, Chicago grew from a city of 299,000 to nearly 1.7 million and was the fastest-growing city in world history. Chicago's flourishing economy attracted huge numbers of new immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe, especially Jews, Poles, and Italians, along with many smaller groups. Many businesspeople and professionals arrived from the eastern states. Relatively few new arrivals came from Chicago's rural hinterland. The exponential growth put increasing pollution on the environment, as hazards to public health impacted everyone. [23]

Gilded Age Edit

Most of the city burned in the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. The damage from the fire was immense since 300 people died, 18,000 buildings were destroyed, and nearly 100,000 of the city's 300,000 residents were left homeless. Several key factors exacerbated the spread of the fire. Most of Chicago's buildings and sidewalks were then constructed of wood. Also, the lack of attention to proper waste disposal practices, which was sometimes deliberate to favor certain industries, left an abundance of flammable pollutants in the Chicago River along which the fire spread from the south to the north. [24] [25] [ circular reference ] [26] The fire led to the incorporation of stringent fire-safety codes, which included a strong preference for masonry construction. [27]

The Danish immigrant Jens Jensen arrived in 1886 and soon became a successful and celebrated landscape designer. Jensen's work was characterized by a democratic approach to landscaping, which was informed by his interest in social justice and conservation, and a rejection of antidemocratic formalism. Among Jensen's creations were four Chicago city parks, most famously Columbus Park. His work also included garden design for some of the region's most influential millionaires.

The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 was constructed on former wetlands at the present location of Jackson Park along Lake Michigan in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood. The land was reclaimed according to a design by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The temporary pavilions, which followed a classical theme, were designed by a committee of the city's architects under the direction of Daniel Burnham. It was called the "White City" for the appearance of its buildings. [28]

The Exposition drew 27.5 million visitors is considered among the most influential world's fairs in history and affected art, architecture, and design throughout the nation. [29] The classical architectural style contributed to a revival of Beaux Arts architecture that borrowed from historical styles, but Chicago was also developing the original skyscraper and organic forms based in new technologies. The fair featured the first and until recently the largest Ferris wheel ever built.

The soft, swampy ground near the lake proved unstable ground for tall masonry buildings. That was an early constraint, but builders developed the innovative use of steel framing for support and invented the skyscraper in Chicago, which became a leader in modern architecture and set the model nationwide for achieving vertical city densities. [30]

Developers and citizens began immediate reconstruction on the existing Jeffersonian grid. The building boom that followed saved the city's status as the transportation and trade hub of the Midwest. Massive reconstruction using the newest materials and methods catapulted Chicago into its status as a city on par with New York and became the birthplace of modern architecture in the United States. [31]

Rise of industry and commerce Edit

Chicago became the center of the nation's advertising industry after New York City. Albert Lasker, known as the "father of modern advertising," made Chicago his base from 1898 to 1942. As head of the Lord and Thomas agency, Lasker devised a copywriting technique that appealed directly to the psychology of the consumer. Women, who seldom smoked cigarettes, were told that if they smoked Lucky Strikes, they could stay slender. Lasker's use of radio, particularly with his campaigns for Palmolive soap, Pepsodent toothpaste, Kotex products, and Lucky Strike cigarettes, not only revolutionized the advertising industry but also significantly changed popular culture. [32]

Gambling Edit

In Chicago, like other rapidly growing industrial centers with large immigrant working-class neighborhoods, gambling was a major issue. The city's elite upper-class had private clubs and closely-supervised horse racing tracks. The middle-class reformers like Jane Addams focused on the workers, who discovered freedom and independence in gambling that were a world apart from their closely-supervised factory jobs and gambled to validate risk-taking aspect of masculinity, betting heavily on dice, card games, policy, and cock fights. By the 1850s, hundreds of saloons had offered gambling opportunities, including off-track betting on the horses. [33] [34] The historian Mark Holler argues that organized crime provided upward mobility to ambitious ethnics. The high-income, high-visibility vice lords, and racketeers built their careers and profits in ghetto neighborhoods and often branched into local politics to protect their domains. [35] For example, in 1868 to 1888, Michael C. McDonald, "The Gambler King of Clark Street," kept numerous Democratic machine politicians in his city on expense account to protect his gambling empire and to keep the goo-goo reformers at bay. [36]

In large cities, illegal businesses like gambling and prostitution were typically contained in the geographically-segregated red light districts. The businessowners made regularly-scheduled payments to police and politicians, which they treated as licensing expenses. The informal rates became standardized. For example, in Chicago, they ranged from $20 a month for a cheap brothel to $1000 a month for luxurious operations in Chicago. Reform elements never accepted the segregated vice districts and wanted them all destroyed, but in large cities, the political machine was powerful enough to keep the reformers at bay. Finally, around 1900 to 1910, the reformers grew politically strong enough to shut down the system of vice segregation, and the survivors went underground. [37]

Chicago's manufacturing and retail sectors, fostered by the expansion of railroads throughout the upper Midwest and East, grew rapidly and came to dominate the Midwest and greatly influence the nation's economy. [38] The Chicago Union Stock Yards dominated the packing trade. Chicago became the world's largest rail hub, and one of its busiest ports by shipping traffic on the Great Lakes. Commodity resources, such as lumber, iron and coal, were brought to Chicago and Ohio for processing, with products shipped both East and West to support new growth. [39]

Lake Michigan — the primary source of fresh water for the city — became polluted from the rapidly growing industries in and around Chicago a new way of procuring clean water was needed. In 1885 the civil engineer Lyman Edgar Cooley proposed the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. He envisioned a deep waterway that would dilute and divert the city's sewage by funneling water from Lake Michigan into a canal, which would drain into the Mississippi River via the Illinois River. Beyond presenting a solution for Chicago's sewage problem, Cooley's proposal appealed to the economic need to link the Midwest with America's central waterways to compete with East Coast shipping and railroad industries.

Strong regional support for the project led the Illinois legislature to circumvent the federal government and complete the canal with state funding. The opening in January 1900 met with controversy and a lawsuit against Chicago's appropriation of water from Lake Michigan. By the 1920s the lawsuit was divided between the states of the Mississippi River Valley, who supported the development of deep waterways linking the Great Lakes with the Mississippi, and the Great Lakes states, which feared sinking water levels might harm shipping in the lakes. In 1929 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of Chicago's use of the canal to promote commerce, but ordered the city to discontinue its use for sewage disposal. [40]

New construction boomed in the 1920s, with notable landmarks such as the Merchandise Mart and art deco Chicago Board of Trade Building completed in 1930. The Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Great Depression and diversion of resources into World War II led to the suspension for years of new construction.

The Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of the World's Fair held on the Near South Side lakefront from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. [41] [42] The theme of the fair was technological innovation over the century since Chicago's founding. More than 40 million people visited the fair, which symbolized for many hope for Chicago and the nation, then in the midst of the Great Depression. [43]

The demogaphics of the city were changing in the early 20th century as black southern families migrated out of the south, but while cities like Chicago empathized with the condition of impoverished white children, black children were mostly excluded from the private and religious institutions that provided homes for such children. Those that did take in black dependent children were overcrowded and underfunded because of institutional racism. Between 1899 and 1945 many of the city's black children found themselves in the juvenile court system. The 1899 Juvenile Court Act, supported by Progressive reformers, created a class of dependants for orphans and other children lacking "proper parental care or guardianship" but the court's designations of "delinquency" and "dependency" were racialized [ when defined as? ] so black children were far more likely to be labeled as delinquents. [44] [ a fact or an opinion? ]

Politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries Edit

During the election of April 23, 1875, the voters of Chicago chose to operate under the Illinois Cities and Villages Act of 1872. Chicago still operates under this act, in lieu of a charter. The Cities and Villages Act has been revised several times since, and may be found in Chapter 65 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

Late-19th-century big city newspapers such as the Chicago Daily News - founded in 1875 by Melville Stone - ushered in an era of news reporting that was, unlike earlier periods, in tune with the particulars of community life in specific cities. Vigorous competition between older and newer-style city papers soon broke out, centered on civic activism and sensationalist reporting of urban political issues and the numerous problems associated with rapid urban growth. Competition was especially fierce between the Chicago Times (Democratic), the Chicago Tribune (Republican), and the Daily News (independent), with the latter becoming the city's most popular paper by the 1880s. [45] The city's boasting lobbyists and politicians earned Chicago the nickname "Windy City" in the New York press. The city adopted the nickname as its own.

Polarized attitudes of labor and business in Chicago prompted a strike by workers' lobbying for an eight-hour work day, later named the Haymarket affair. A peaceful demonstration on May 4, 1886, at Haymarket near the west side was interrupted by a bomb thrown at police seven police officers were killed. Widespread violence broke out. A group of anarchists were tried for inciting the riot and convicted. Several were hanged and others were pardoned. The episode was a watershed moment in the labor movement, and its history was commemorated in the annual May Day celebrations.

By 1900, Progressive Era political and legal reformers initiated far-ranging changes in the American criminal justice system, with Chicago taking the lead.

The city became notorious worldwide for its rate of murders in the early 20th century, yet the courts failed to convict the killers. More than three-fourths of cases were not closed. Even when the police made arrests in cases where killers' identities were known, jurors typically exonerated or acquitted them. A blend of gender-, race-, and class-based notions of justice trumped the rule of law, producing low homicide conviction rates during a period of soaring violence. [46]

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, rates of domestic murder tripled in Chicago. Domestic homicide was often a manifestation of strains in gender relations induced by urban and industrial change. At the core of such family murders were male attempts to preserve masculine authority. Yet, there were nuances in the motives for the murder of family members, and study of the patterns of domestic homicide among different ethnic groups reveals basic cultural differences. German male immigrants tended to murder over declining status and the failure to achieve economic prosperity. In addition, they were likely to kill all members of the family, and then commit suicide in the ultimate attempt at maintaining control. Italian men killed family members to save a gender-based ideal of respectability that entailed patriarchal control over women and family reputation. African American men, like the Germans, often murdered in response to economic conditions but not over desperation about the future. Like the Italians, the killers tended to be young, but family honor was not usually at stake. Instead, black men murdered to regain control of wives and lovers who resisted their patriarchal "rights". [47]

Progressive reformers in the business community created the Chicago Crime Commission (CCC) in 1919 after an investigation into a robbery at a factory showed the city's criminal justice system was deficient. The CCC initially served as a watchdog of the justice system. After its suggestion that the city's justice system begin collecting criminal records was rejected, the CCC assumed a more active role in fighting crime. The commission's role expanded further after Frank J. Loesch became president in 1928. Loesch recognized the need to eliminate the glamor that Chicago's media typically attributed to criminals. Determined to expose the violence of the crime world, Loesch drafted a list of "public enemies" among them was Al Capone, whom he made a scapegoat for widespread social problems. [48]

After the passage of Prohibition, the 1920s brought international notoriety to Chicago. Bootleggers and smugglers bringing in liquor from Canada formed powerful gangs. They competed with each other for lucrative profits, and to evade the police, to bring liquor to speakeasies and private clients. The most notorious was Al Capone.

Immigration and migration in the 20th century Edit

From 1890 to 1914, migrations swelled, attracting to the city of mostly unskilled Catholic and Jewish immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, including Italians, Greeks, Czechs, Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Hungarians, and Slovaks. World War I cut off immigration from Europe, which brought hundreds of thousands of southern blacks and whites into Northern cities to fill in the labor shortages. The Immigration Act of 1924 restricted populations from southern and eastern Europe, apart from refugees after World War II. The heavy annual turnover of ethnic populations ended, and the groups stabilized, each favoring specific neighborhoods. [49]

While whites from rural areas arrived and generally settled in the suburban parts of the city, large numbers of blacks from the South arrived as well. [50] The near South Side of the city became the first Black residential area, as it had the oldest, less expensive housing. Although restricted by segregation and competing ethnic groups such as the Irish, gradually continued black migration caused this community to expand, as well as the black neighborhoods on the near West Side. These were de facto segregated areas (few blacks were tolerated in ethnic white neighborhoods) the Irish and ethnic groups who had been longer in the city began to move to outer areas and the suburbs. After World War II, the city built public housing for working-class families to upgrade residential quality. The high-rise design of such public housing proved a problem when industrial jobs left the city and poor families became concentrated in the facilities. After 1950, public housing high rises anchored poor black neighborhoods south and west of the Loop.

"Old stock" Americans who relocated to Chicago after 1900 preferred the outlying areas and suburbs, with their commutes eased by train lines, making Oak Park and Evanston enclaves of the upper middle class. In the 1910s, high-rise luxury apartments were constructed along the lakefront north of the Loop, continuing into the 21st century. They attracted wealthy residents but few families with children, as wealthier families moved to suburbs for the schools. There were problems in the public school system mostly Catholic students attended schools in the large parochial system, which was of middling quality. [51] There were a few private schools. The Latin School, Francis Parker and later The Bateman School, all centrally located served those who could afford to pay.

The northern and western suburbs developed some of the best public schools in the nation, which were strongly supported by their wealthier residents. The suburban trend accelerated after 1945, with the construction of highways and train lines that made commuting easier. Middle-class Chicagoans headed to the outlying areas of the city, and then into the Cook County and Dupage County suburbs. As ethnic Jews and Irish rose in economic class, they left the city and headed north. Well-educated migrants from around the country moved to the far suburbs.

Chicago's Polonia sustained diverse political cultures in the early twentieth century, each with its own newspaper. In 1920 the community had a choice of five daily papers – from the Socialist Dziennik Ludowy (People's Daily 1907–1925) to the Polish Roman Catholic Union's Dziennik Zjednoczenia (Union Daily 1921–1939). The decision to subscribe to a particular paper reaffirmed a particular ideology or institutional network based on ethnicity and class, which lent itself to different alliances and different strategies. [52]

In 1926, the city hosted the 28th International Eucharistic Congress, a major event for the Catholic community of Chicago.

As the First World War cut off immigration, tens of thousands of African Americans came north in the Great Migration out of the rural South. With new populations competing for limited housing and jobs, especially on the South Side, social tensions rose in the city. Postwar years were more difficult. Black veterans looked for more respect for having served their nation, and some whites resented it.

In 1919, the Chicago race riot erupted, in what became known as "Red Summer", when other major cities also suffered mass racial violence based in competition for jobs and housing as the country tried to absorb veterans in the postwar years. During the riot, thirty-eight people died (23 black and 15 white) and over five hundred were injured. Much of the violence against blacks in Chicago was led by members of ethnic Irish athletic clubs, who had much political power in the city and defended their "territory" against African Americans. As was typical in these occurrences, more blacks than whites died in the violence.

Concentrating the family resources to achieve home ownership was a common strategy in the ethnic European neighborhoods. It meant sacrificing current consumption, and pulling children out of school as soon as they could earn a wage. By 1900, working-class ethnic immigrants owned homes at higher rates than native-born people. After borrowing from friends and building associations, immigrants kept boarders, grew market gardens, and opened home-based commercial laundries, eroding home-work distinctions, while sending out women and children to work to repay loans. They sought not middle-class upward mobility but the security of home ownership. Many social workers wanted them to pursue upward job mobility (which required more education), but realtors asserted that houses were better than a bank for a poor man. With hindsight, and considering uninsured banks' precariousness, this appears to have been true. Chicago's workers made immense sacrifices for home ownership, contributing to Chicago's sprawling suburban geography and to modern myths about the American dream. The Jewish community, by contrast, rented apartments and maximized education and upward mobility for the next generation. [53]

Beginning in the 1940s, waves of Hispanic immigrants began to arrive. The largest numbers were from Mexico and Puerto Rico, as well as Cuba during Fidel Castro's rise. During the 1980s, Hispanic immigrants were more likely to be from Central and South America.

After 1965 and the change in US immigration laws, numerous Asian immigrants came the largest proportion were well-educated Indians and Chinese, who generally settled directly in the suburbs. By the 1970s gentrification began in the city, in some cases with people renovating housing in old inner city neighborhoods, and attracting singles and gay people.

Labor unions Edit

After 1900 Chicago was a heavily unionized city, apart from the factories (which were non-union until the 1930s). The IWW was founded in Chicago in June 1905 at a convention of 200 socialists, anarchists, and radical trade unionists from all over the United States. The Railroad brotherhoods were strong, as were the crafts unions affiliated with the American Federation of Labor. The AFL unions operated through the Chicago Federation of Labor to minimize jurisdictional conflicts, which caused many strikes as two unions battled to control a work site.

The unionized teamsters in Chicago enjoyed an unusually strong bargaining position when they contended with employers around the city, or supported another union in a specific strike. Their wagons could easily be positioned to disrupt streetcars and block traffic. In addition, their families and neighborhood supporters often surrounded and attacked the wagons of nonunion teamsters who were strikebreaking. When the teamsters used their clout to engage in sympathy strikes, employers decided to coordinate their antiunion efforts, claiming that the teamsters held too much power over commerce in their control of the streets. The teamsters' strike in 1905 represented a clash both over labor issues and the public nature of the streets. To the employers, the streets were arteries for commerce, while to the teamsters, they remained public spaces integral to their neighborhoods. [54]

World War II Edit

On December 2, 1942, the world's first controlled nuclear reaction was conducted at the University of Chicago as part of the top secret Manhattan Project.

During World War II, the steel mills in the city of Chicago alone accounted for 20% of all steel production in the United States and 10% of global production. The city produced more steel than the United Kingdom during the war, and surpassed Nazi Germany's output in 1943 (after barely missing in 1942).

The city's diversified industrial base made it second only to Detroit in the value—$24 billion—of war goods produced. Over 1,400 companies produced everything from field rations to parachutes to torpedoes, while new aircraft plants employed 100,000 in the construction of engines, aluminum sheeting, bombsights, and other components. The Great Migration, which had been on pause due to the Depression, resumed at an even faster pace as the 1910 - 1930 period, as hundreds of thousands of black Americans arrived in the city to work in the steel mills, railroads, and shipping yards. [55]

Postwar Edit

Returning World War II veterans and immigrants from Europe (in particular displaced persons from Eastern Europe) created a postwar economic boom and led to the development of huge housing tracts on Chicago's Northwest and Southwest Sides. The city was extensively photographed during the postwar years by street photographers such as Richard Nickel and Vivian Maier.

In the 1950s, the postwar desire for new and improved housing, aided by new highways and commuter train lines, caused many middle and higher income Americans to begin to move from the inner-city of Chicago to the suburbs. Changes in industry after 1950, with restructuring of the stockyards and steel industries, led to massive job losses in the city for working-class people. The city population shrank by nearly 700,000. The City Council devised "Plan 21" to improve neighborhoods and focused on creating "Suburbs within the city" near downtown and the lakefront. It built public housing to try to improve housing standards in the city. As a result, many poor were uprooted from newly created enclaves of Black, Latino, and poor people in neighborhoods such as Near North, Wicker Park, Lakeview, Uptown, Cabrini–Green, West Town and Lincoln Park. The passage of civil rights laws in the 1960s also affected Chicago and other northern cities. In the 1960s and the 1970s, many middle- and upper-class Americans continued to move from the city for better housing and schools in the suburbs.

Office building resumed in the 1960s. When completed in 1974, the Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, was at 1451 feet the world's tallest building. It was designed by the famous Chicago firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which designed many of the city's other famous buildings.

Politics in the 20th and 21st centuries Edit

In the early 20th century, the Chicago Traction Wars were a dominant controversy in Chicago politics.

Mayor Richard J. Daley served 1955–1976, dominating the city's machine politics by his control of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee, which selected party nominees, who were usually elected in the Democratic stronghold. Daley took credit for building four major expressways focused on the Loop, and city-owned O'Hare Airport (which became the world's busiest airport, displacing Midway Airport's prior claims). Several neighborhoods near downtown and the lakefront were gentrified and transformed into "suburbs within the city". He held office during the unrest of the 1960s, some of which was provoked by the police department's discriminatory practices. In the Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wicker Park and Humboldt Park communities, the Young Lords under the leadership of Jose Cha Cha Jimenez marched and held sit ins to protest the displacement of Latinos and the poor. After the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, major riots of despair resulted in the burning down of sections of the black neighborhoods of the South and West sides. Protests against the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, held in Chicago, resulted in street violence, with televised broadcasts of the Chicago police's beating of unarmed protesters.

In 1979, Jane Byrne, the city's first woman mayor, was elected, winning the Democratic primary due to a citywide outrage about the ineffective snow removal across the city. In 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of Chicago. Richard M. Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, became mayor in 1989, and was repeatedly reelected until he declined to seek re-election in 2011. He sparked debate by demolishing many of the city's vast public housing projects, which had deteriorated and were holding too many poor and dysfunctional families. Concepts for new affordable and public housing have changed to include many new features to make them more viable: smaller scale, environmental designs for public safety, mixed-rate housing, etc. New projects during Daley's administration have been designed to be environmentally sound, more accessible and better for their occupants. In 2011, Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago.

Since the 1990s, Chicago has seen a turnaround with many revitalized inner city neighborhoods. [ citation needed ] The city's diversity has grown with new immigrants, with larger percentages of ethnic groups such as Asians, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. In the 1990s, Chicago gained 113,000 new inhabitants. Since the 1920s, the lakefront has been lined with high-rise apartment buildings for middle classes who work in the city. [ citation needed ]

Chicago earned the title of "City of the Year" in 2008 from GQ for contributions in architecture and literature, its world of politics, and the downtown's starring role in the Batman movie The Dark Knight. [56] The city was rated by Moody's as having the most balanced economy in the United States due to its high level of diversification. [57]

Four historical events are commemorated by the four red stars on Chicago's flag: The United States' Fort Dearborn, established at the mouth of the Chicago River in 1803 the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed much of the city the World Columbian Exposition of 1893, by which Chicago celebrated its recovery from the fire and the Century of Progress World's Fair of 1933–1934, which celebrated the city's centennial. The flag's two blue stripes symbolize the north and south branches of the Chicago River, which flows through the city's downtown. The three white stripes represent the North, West and South sides of the city, Lake Michigan being the east side.

The most famous and serious disaster was the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

On December 30, 1903, the "absolutely fireproof", five-week-old Iroquois Theater was engulfed by fire. The fire lasted less than thirty minutes 602 people died as a result of being burned, asphyxiated, or trampled. [58]

The S.S. Eastland was a cruise ship based in Chicago and used for tours. On 24 July 1915—a calm, sunny day—the ship was taking on passengers when it rolled over while tied to a dock in the Chicago River. A total of 844 passengers and crew were killed. An investigation found that the Eastland had become too heavy with rescue gear that had been ordered by Congress in the wake of the Titanic disaster. [59]

On December 1, 1958, the Our Lady of the Angels School Fire occurred in the Humboldt Park area. The fire killed 92 students and three nuns in response, fire safety improvements were made to public and private schools across the United States. [60]

April 13, 1992, billions of dollars in damage was caused by the Chicago Flood, when a hole was accidentally drilled into the long-abandoned (and mostly forgotten) Chicago Tunnel system, which was still connected to the basements of numerous buildings in the Loop. It flooded the central business district with 250 million US gallons (950,000 m 3 ) of water from the Chicago River. [61] [62]

A major environmental disaster occurred in July 1995, when a week of record high heat and humidity caused 739 heat-related deaths, mostly among isolated elderly poor and others without air conditioning. [63]

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For many topics the easiest way to start is with Janice L. Reiff, Ann Durkin Keating and James R. Grossman, eds. The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004), with thorough coverage by scholars in 1120 pages of text, maps and photos. It is online free.

Share All sharing options for: As murders soar in Chicago, judges are freeing more violent-crime suspects on electronic monitoring

Police Supt. David Brown. Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

The number of criminal defendants freed on bail and ordered to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets has soared this year in Cook County, including more than 1,000 people charged with murder, robbery or illegal possession of guns, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found.

Police Supt. David Brown says many of those being set free on electronic monitoring are responsible for the steep rise in killings this year in Chicago.

On Aug. 9, 43 people facing murder charges were in the county’s electronic-monitoring program — 40% more than on the same day last year.

Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, un servicio presentado por AARP Chicago.

Also in the program were 160 people charged with robbery and about 1,000 charged with illegal gun possession — twice as many for those crimes as on Aug. 9, 2019.

The Chicago Police Department has pointed to Cook County judges’ skyrocketing use of electronic monitoring as a key factor in the city’s shocking 50% rise in killings this year. Brown has hammered on that at news conferences following one violent weekend in Chicago after another, blaming a court system he has said won’t keep violent offenders behind bars.

After the Fourth of July weekend — when a 7-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy were among 17 people shot to death in Chicago — Brown said: “My hope is that the deaths of these young people will not be in vain and will prick the hearts of the decision-makers who release violent offenders on electronic monitoring back into these very communities to mete out this kind of violence every weekend.”

Natalia Wallace, 7, was shot to death July 4 while playing on a sidewalk with other children in front of her grandparents’ home on the West Side. Three men have been charged with murder in Natalia’s death. Provided

None of the three men now charged in 7-year-old Natalia Wallace’s death was on electronic monitoring when she was killed, court records show.

But the police point to other examples of people who’ve committed crimes while on electronic monitoring. And they cite others who they say shouldn’t have been placed in the program after being charged with violent acts.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is among county officials who’ve pushed back against the police department’s assertion that people free on bail are responsible for Chicago’s rise in violent crime.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Pat Nabong / Sun-Times

Foxx says the statistics don’t back that up. For instance, Foxx says of the more than 1,800 arrests for illegal gun possession in the first six months of 2020, only a relative few — 26 — were “repeat offenders.”

Others say a decrease in police activity like arrests and traffic stops is also a likely factor in the rise in violence.

Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans says judges — who decide how much bail should be and can impose special conditions of bail including electronic monitoring — “must balance the right of the defendant to be presumed innocent with any evidence that the defendant would pose a real and present threat to the physical safety of any person.”

Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans. Rich Hein / Sun-Times file

To protect the public, people charged with crimes who are granted bail with the condition they go on electronic monitoring typically are required to stay home except to go to work or school.

The number of people released with monitoring has risen this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen more detainees freed on bail to reduce the jail population to try to keep the virus from spreading.

More than 3,330 people are now in the county’s electronic-monitoring program, up from about 2,200 last year, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office, which is required to track them.

Nearly 5,000 others charged with crimes and awaiting trial are being held at the Cook County Jail, which has the capacity to hold twice as many people.

In 2016 and 2017, the most common charge being faced by suspects on electronic monitoring was drug possession.

Since 2018, the No. 1 charge has been gun possession, though it’s unclear whether a reform of the county’s bail system in 2017 had a role in that.

Under the reform, judges have been required to set bail felony defendants can afford to pay. The aim was to keep people who pose little risk to the public from languishing in jail because they are too poor to make bail.

Evans has said the reform hasn’t made Chicago more dangerous. He released a study last year that found people freed on bail weren’t responsible for rising violent crime.

“As the city continues to face violent weekends, blame is being placed on the pretrial justice practices in the Circuit Court of Cook County,” Evans wrote in a Sun-Times opinion piece last year. “The criticism is misleading because pretrial defendants released on bond are not driving the weekend crime statistics. In fact, 99.8% of felony defendants released on bail do not receive charges of new gun-related violent crime while their cases are pending.”

But criminologists then published a paper that refuted Evans’ analysis, saying his study’s methodology was flawed and that violent crime had, in fact, increased significantly as a result of the bail reform.

One factor that Foxx and Evans haven’t taken into account in their statistics is the police department’s low rate of solving shootings. People freed on bail and ordered to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets could be shooting other people but just not getting caught.

The Sun-Times asked the police department for data showing any links between violent crime and people on electronic monitoring.

The department responded with examples — a list of 29 people that Brown has used to criticize the electronic-monitoring program.

Chrishawn Thomas. Chicago Police Department

  • Chrishawn Thomas, 18, who’s accused of jumping from a stolen GMC truck and robbing a female driver at gunpoint in March in Logan Square, taking her iPhone X, AirPods, wallet and house keys. The police arrested Thomas near the Parkway Gardens housing complex on the South Side after, they say, he rammed their vehicle with the stolen truck. Charged with armed robbery, he posted $500 in bail and was placed on electronic monitoring in early April. On June 9, the sheriff’s office received an alert for an “unauthorized leave” by Thomas from his electronic monitoring. Three hours later, he shot an off-duty Chicago cop in a knee during an attempted robbery and the officer returned fire, hitting Thomas in the legs, police say. Thomas was arrested at a hospital the next day and is being held without bail.

Dimitris Horns. Chicago Police Department

  • Dimitris Horns, 18, who was arrested in February in Englewood for possessing a firearm illegally. Police said they saw a bulge under Horns’ sweatshirt and that he ran when they approached him and tossed a .40-caliber handgun during the chase. Horns posted $500 to get out of jail on bail and was placed on electronic monitoring. In late May, sheriff’s officials in the electronic-monitoring unit got an alert about Horns’ bracelet being tampered with and Horns being on unauthorized leave. He was declared a fugitive after investigators visited his home and found his cut-off bracelet. On July 8, the police say he shot a man in the face during a robbery of $130 in Englewood. He was charged with aggravated battery, armed robbery and escape.

Omar Guzman. Chicago Police Department

  • Omar Guzman, 24, who was convicted of illegal gun possession in 2014 and 2017 and was arrested in late 2019 on a charge of being an armed habitual criminal. This February, he posted $2,500 bail and was freed on electronic monitoring. In May, police officers said they caught Guzman with a gun in North Austin. He again was charged with being an armed habitual offender. He was placed on electronic monitoring again after posting $10,000 bail. On July 10, sheriff’s officials got an alert for his unauthorized leave, but his monitoring device showed he was back in his residence that night. The next morning, sheriff’s officials visited his home and gave him a warning. In July, Guzman was charged with failing to register as a gun offender. He remains on electronic monitoring.

Leoji Allen. Chicago Police Department

  • Leoji Allen, 21, who was charged with an armed robbery in January and placed on electronic monitoring after posting $1,000 bail. Five days later, prosecutors charged Allen with a separate armed robbery that had taken place in December. Allen then posted $2,500 bail in the December holdup. He’s remained on electronic monitoring since January.

Dart’s staff says the sheriff doesn’t think that people who, like Allen, have been charged with violent crimes should be freed on electronic monitoring while awaiting trial.

“The sheriff has long voiced his concern that EM should not be used for individuals who are charged with violent crimes — up to and including murder — and that it should be reserved for those facing low-level, nonviolent crimes,” the sheriff’s spokesman Matt Walberg says.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. Brian Rich / Sun-Times file

“The purpose of electronic monitoring was never to replace pretrial detention for violent offenders but to reduce overcrowding by releasing individuals who pose no risk to their communities to home supervision,” Walberg says.

Dart had tried to keep people charged with violent crimes from going free on electronic monitoring, but the federal appeals court in Chicago found that only judges can decide the conditions for granting bail and that the sheriff must follow them, according to Walberg.

He says the vastly expanded imposition of electronic monitoring has put a strain on the sheriff’s office.

“We have not received any additional financial or human resources to meet that demand,” Walberg says.

To better track people in the program, the sheriff’s office is shifting from electronic-monitoring equipment that operates on radio frequencies to bracelets that are tracked via global-positioning satellites.

The new system doesn’t require sheriff’s employees to set up control boxes in the homes of people on monitoring, according to the sheriff’s office, and the GPS technology will allow messages to be sent through a bracelet if a person isn’t following the rules.

Watch the video: The Trial of the Chicago 7. Ending Scene (July 2022).


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