26 Chapters
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9. Tactics Is the Art of Taking

Mary Beth Rogers The University of Chicago Press ePub

9

Tactics Is the Art of Taking

Chicago, 1964

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago has pulled out all the stops to turn out a huge Democratic vote for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in the November presidential election. He has lined up most of the city’s black organizations to cooperate in the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort. But only six weeks before the election, leaders of the black Woodlawn Organization regret acting so hastily—not because of anything Johnson or the national Democrats had done, but because their too-early presidential endorsement seems to endanger their own local political goals.

With the help of Saul Alinsky in 1960, The Woodlawn Organization (TWO) had been organized by a group of black residents and church leaders to keep the University of Chicago from expanding into their neighborhoods. After its successful effort against the university, the group decided to focus on other projects to upgrade their community, and TWO had become a force to be reckoned with in Chicago politics. This year, the city administration had committed to make certain capital improvements in TWO neighborhoods. But with the virtual lockup of the black vote for the Democrats, Mayor Daley and city officials were under very little pressure to deliver on their commitments to TWO—at least for now. What’s the hurry?

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5. The University of COPS

Mary Beth Rogers The University of Chicago Press ePub

5

The University of COPS

San Antonio, 1986

The doors to the old elementary school on the grounds of the Immaculate Heart of Mary parish on the West Side of San Antonio are locked. Only the small red, white, and blue lapel button taped over a doorbell gives me any assurance that I am where I want to be: at the office of the neighborhood organization COPS. A hand-lettered sign lets me know I must ring the bell to gain entrance. The parish and the West Side neighborhood are so poor and devastated by urban renewal that they can no longer support the school. So the 70-year-old building is locked, boarded up, and used only for periodic sessions of an adult literacy class—and for the COPS headquarters, located on the second floor and accessible to the West Side leaders who run the organization. After my first visit, I understood the necessity of the locked doors. There are hazards in the old building and in the neighborhood. One day I lost my footing and fell on a chipped cement stairway that had no railings. Another time, a mentally retarded man exposed himself to me in the parking lot.

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10. When People Act on the Gospel Values

Mary Beth Rogers The University of Chicago Press ePub

10

When People Act on the Gospel Values

Chicago, 1971

When Ernie Cortes came to the Industrial Areas Foundation Training Institute in 1971, Saul Alinsky was conspicuous by his absence. Edward Chambers was fully in charge, struggling to build a program to attract and train professional organizers. When Alinsky died of a heart attack in 1972, it was Chambers who had to scramble to raise money to keep the training institute alive. Alinsky’s speaking fees had supplemented foundation grants to underwrite the program, and now without Alinsky, it was going to be difficult for the IAF to survive financially.

“The first five years I had to sell my soul to raise money. Foundations wouldn’t fund us and I had to figure out a way to make it self-sufficient,” Chambers recalls.

Everything was in a state of flux within the IAF—the money, the ties with local organizations, the concept of organizing, and the development of training programs for organizers and volunteer leaders. Then Ernie Cortes came along and dropped into the brewing stew his interest in theological concerns.

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Medium 9781574414875

Back to Jacksboro

B. W. Aston and Donathan Taylor The University of Chicago Press ePub

Back to Jacksboro

Fort Mason is the last of the forts on the Texas Forts Trail. From here the route travels north through central Texas to Jacksboro and roughly follows the military supply route to Forts Griffin and Richardson. Each of the communities along the way of the supply route benefited from the presence of military traffic as well as from the civilian supply trains traveling along the trail.

From Mason, head northeast along County Road 386 to Fredonia.

Fredonia was settled by W. L. and Samuel P. Hays in the late 1850s. After the Civil War the community began to grow as new settlers moved into the region. In 1879 a post office named Deerton was established, but the name was changed a year later to Fredonia.

The village of Voca was settled in 1879 by John Deans and named for his old home, Voca, Arkansas. Seven miles west of Voca is the site of old Camp San Saba, on the San Saba River.

From Fredonia, head back northwest along State Highway 71 which leads you by Voca in southwest McCulloch County.

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13. We Are Not an Illusion of the Moment

Mary Beth Rogers The University of Chicago Press ePub

13

We Are Not an Illusion of the Moment

Houston, 1978

Houston, Texas, is a city true to its past.

It grew out of a land development scheme in a hot, humid, mosquito-infested marsh in 1836 when two imaginative entrepreneurs—J.K. and A.C. Allen—persuaded Texas hero Sam Houston to lend his name to the settlement in return for a few acres of free land. Sam Houston also used his influence in 1837 to help the outpost become the capital of the new Republic of Texas.1 In the next two years, the city’s population tripled from 500 to 1,500, and the Allen brothers began to make a fortune. With Sam Houston on their side, the developers boasted to their East Coast investors that their city would soon become the “great commercial emporium of Texas.”2

For the next 142 years, other imaginative developers, cotton brokers, merchants, railroaders, bankers, oil producers, shippers, and lawyers had a host of public officials on their side as well, and they made deals every bit as clever as the Allen brothers’ alliance with Sam Houston. Like the Aliens, their money-making schemes helped the city grow.

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