Friday, March 17, 2017


The neighborhoods of the south side in 1919. The borders were sharply drawn as black and white workers competed for jobs in the packing houses and factories. 
"Education is not the filling of a pail, but rather the lighting of a fire." -- W.B. Yeats
That's my favorite quote from my favorite Irish poet. This morning, we're trying to keep the fire burning while as we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We're doing our Klonsky Brothers radio show as always, live from  the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago. It's a great day to talk about politics in our city of immigrants, labor battles, and the birthplace of neighborhood community organizing.

Going back to the 1830s, Bridgeport has been an enclave of the city's huge Irish working-class immigrant population and the power base for five Chicago mayors. The Daley family whose political machine, built on racism and patronage, ran the city out of the 11th Ward, for more than half a century.

It was here that as a young man, former Mayor Richard J. Daley ran with the notorious, racist Hamburg Gang that terrorized the black community and other newly-arrived immigrants, and was active in the deadly 1919 race riots. 

William Butler Yeats
Over the years, the more affluent "lace curtain" Irish began to move south to Morgan Park while Bridgeport has in recent years, become much more diverse with many Mexican immigrant families settling here along with younger white middle-class techies, artists and professionals. 

While former Mayor Richard M. Daley left and headed to more upscale digs nearer the lake, the 11th Ward Democratic party, which is headquartered near 36th Street and Halsted, remains a stronghold of the Daley family today, represented by Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson and his uncle, Committeeman John P. Daley

This from Sneed's column yesterday:
• Paddy blab: A tale of two Patricks. Sneed is told Patrick Daley, the son of Richie and his late wife, Maggie, may be moving back to the hood where his first cousin, Patrick Thompson, is now the alderman of the old Daley bastion of Bridgeport.
Is Patrick Daley hoping to establish a political base for a future run for office?
“No. He bought a fixer-upper,” said a Daley source. “Word is he is moving in, but it could be with the intent to flip it,” he said.
Sign of the times in Bridgeport. Brother Fred and I will be prepping for today's show at Jackelope Coffee and Tea house this morning. Old man Daley must be rolling over in his grave at the very thought.

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