A Look At the Northern Civil Rights Movement and Reflection on its Leaders

February 5, 2014
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In celebration of Black History Month, the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation has launched a video series, beginning with the Northern Civil Rights Movement, that reflects the fight for the desegregation of the public school system, the creation of fair housing laws, and to put an end to biased hiring practices.

This video collection aims to bring forth a part of history that is oftentimes overlooked and offers a reflection of trials Chicago endured and the fight to overcome them. Within the first video installation, you will see the power of organizing and the leadership of Bishop Arthur M. Brazier – a man whose legacy sparks community involvement, community building and advocacy for the equality of education, business, and housing.

The spark of the Northern Civil Rights Movement was birthed during the Chicago Freedom Movement. These movements fought to end slum conditions in the city. Much of the friction that traversed the north has been swept under the rug – however, the temperature raised during this period, which had been brewing since 1962 with the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO) and took off in 1965 through 1967 with a SCLC collaboration, marked one of the most significant protests and changes in Black history.

There’s a deepening message that we should take away when reflecting on those whom we admire and appreciate throughout our history. One in which Bishop Brazier valued and based many of  his teachings, that is self-determination and a will to make things happen.  He once stated, “There has to be a determination for self-determination.”  There has to be a greater yearning for bettering self and endured conditions that motivates you to get out and fight for your people – to fight for equal rights and progress in society .  Determination breeds determination.

The ideal of organizing is a key factor with many of our leaders – past, present and future. Without strategic planning and a focus of hopeful outcomes, “organizing” remains just that, an idea. We see through the efforts and successes of Bishop Brazier, Dr. King and countless individuals and groups,  that change can be met with effective force, dedication and reasoning. Change, even with all the struggle and ugly, has a place in the world and can happen. It may begin with anger, rage even. But that has to manifest into positive and impacting action.

We spotlight leaders during the month of February, and challenge each other to continue on beyond the 28 days mainstream has dedicated to the Black community. Let’s educate ourselves deeper into the roots of what has happened in our own backyards and everyday stomping grounds. History impacts life.

*To learn more about the Arthur M. Brazier Foundation and the legacy of Bishop Brazier, visit  www.brazierfoundation.org/legacy

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