With the help of adequate literatures, and a plethora of information sources, this essay has attempted to re-examine the basis, significance, and implications of the widely discussed Chicago Movement, which according to some of the literary works, was the framework for the social change and democracy in America.  From the works of authors and researchers like Christopher Robert (Christopher, 1997), Hornsby (Hornsby & Straub, 1997) and Johnson (Johnson et al, 1990), it’s apparent that prior to the impacts of the civil movement, not all the American people were being treated fairly and equally. Some were treated special unlike others. Such observations were termed as racial segregations and discriminations. These two concepts, that is, segregation and discrimination, have thus been repeatedly used in nearly all the literatures that discuss the cases of civil rights and movements. This essay has no intention of deviating from restating the facts as they have been written down. Also featuring in the essay is the renowned black movement activist, Dr.King, popularly known as Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. King Jr. played an indispensable role in the Chicago Movement, enforcing for the immigrants rights and freedoms, in Chicago (Ralph J & James R. Jr., 1993)

The Thesis Statement

As it has been pointed out by Anderson (Anderson et al, 1986), agitation for immigrants’ rights was a common factor in Chicago, with the African Americans taking the lead in the war against segregation and massive injustices. Unlike the white immigrants, it was unfortunate that the blacks had to battle it out for social recognition and citizenship rights (Ralph &, 1993).Enough of discriminations in education institutions, public lands and social places, and disfranchisements i.e. denial of voting rights . Something had to be done to change the evil trends. But who was to stand in for revolution in the socio-cultural doctrines of the white dominancy? How was this achieved and what were the strategies that the Black Americans used to fight for their civil rights? What lesions can we draw from the Chicago Movement, concomitant to the Civil Rights and Immigrant privileges? These are some of the issues that this essay attempts to probe, re-address, and discuss.

The Chicago Movement

Chicago Movement was the struggle for socio-political and economic change in the Southern part of America (Reed et al, 1997). The movement was basically aggravated by what had commonly been known as racial segregation and rampant discrimination of the blacks by the whites. Leading the black movement from the front was Dr.Martin Luther King Jr, also referred to as Dr.King.The movement was composed of two major alliances, that is, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Coordinating Council of Community Organization (CCCO), founded by the Chicago Urban League (The Editors of Ebony, 1974) .The SCLC was led by Martin Luther King Jr. since 1965 and its top agenda was to struggle for a social change. Both the SCLC and the activists of the CCCO as highlighted by the works of Bernard LaFayette and James Bevel, veterants of the Southern Civil Rights Movements, harnessed the black revolution (Ralph, 1993).It was just the beginning of the Immigrant Rights Movement in the Southern America.

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Ideological Framework of the Black Movement

The ideas and objectives that toped the agendas of the Black Movements were to eradicated slums in the city; enforce for equal opportunities in education; fight for fair treatment in social places i.e. hospitals, theatres, and social halls; demand for political rights, emenating from the fact that the African Americans were not accorded the right to vote; and to struggle for equal economical gains (Ralph, et al, 1993). All these were the building components of the ruthless racial segregations and widespread discriminations across the Southern frontiers of America. They i.e. the building facets, acted as the motivating factors that led to the Chicago Movement which was to bring about socio-economic and political changes.

The Movement ambassordors, led by Dr. King called for the support of the blacks and whites of Chicago to help impose and implement their goals. Came the early summer of 1966, attention was given first to the housing discrimination. It all began with the formation and grouping of unions e.g. the tenants Unions, rallies e.g. the 1966 Soldiers Field rally, and organizations e.g. CCCO and SCLC. According to the Editors of Ebony, titled “Civil Rights Movement to Black Revolution”, well above 60, 000 people gathered for the first time to listen to the speeches of Martin Luther King and his activist colleagues, the likes of Mahalia Jackson, Peter Paul, and Stevie Wonder (The Editor of Ebony, 1974).By late 1966, the Chicago Freedom Movement kicked off, with several marches and staging all around the white neighborhoods of the Chicago City

Methodologies used in the Movement

Formation of unions, social groupings, parties, creation of organizations, associations, public education and legislative lobbying were among the major strategies that the Black Movement utilized to struggle for civil rights, freedoms and democracy (Ralph, et al, 1993).

By 19th Century, the race relations had highly intensified, leading to the emergence of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).The one goal of the association, NAACP, was to champion for justice in the Society. Then followed the Great Depression and consequently the creation of the Communist Party. The main agenda of the Communist party was to agitate for employment rights and access to public accommodations. The local residents were never left behind either; they detested the act of segregation in schools. Backing them up was the Congress of Racial Equality which was the masterpiece of James Farmer of Chicago and other followers of the Gandian tactics (James R., Jr,1993).

Groupings, organizations, parties, alliances and associations continued to be formed, as the pressure to fight for justice pilled up. The 1960s actually saw the opening of public accommodations in Chicago to the African Americans, courtesy of the civil movements (Reed et al, 1997).

The Chicago Freedom Movement winded up in the mid of 1967, with the disintegrations of the alliances like CCCO and SCLC.The works of Dr. King and his psycho-fans had at least beard fruits, the fruits of unity, cooperation and  hard labor. It should however be understood that the battle for democracy in America did not end there. It was a long tedious journey, a journey whose description is out of the scope of this essay.

Resultant effects of the Chicago Movement

The resultant effects of the Black Movement may critically be perceived both negatively and positively. Negatively, the success of the back revolution was never achieved on a silver platter. It was as a result of wars, battles, fights, protests, boycotts and bloodsheds. Many people loosed their loved ones, and great world leaders got assassinated for trying to stifle the rather unjustified social dominance. We can talk of the 1964 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Dr.King, renowned for his famous quot, “I have a Dream” (Kirk, 2005). Also assassinated along with Dr.King were the brothers of the then President, Robert Kennedy, bringing their ambitions and careers to an end (Arsenault, 2006).

There were, however, numerous positive outcomes of the Chicago Movement that remained to live in the memories of the subsequent American generations. In the initial stages of the final analysis, we see the African Americans being allowed to enter the previously out of bound public accommodations, and social halls. Education become a right to all, irrespective of gender or race, and with the blacks now allowed to vote, there was a sense of democracy coming to the historically undemocratic land.Enonomy was picking up, riots, boycotts, and wars were ceasing to recur unlike before. Christopher Roberts together with his research counterparts put it pretty clear that, because of the Chicago Movement, there was a rise in the black leadership, and social recognition of the African Americans (Reed, D & Christopher, R, 1997). Many other socio-political positive impacts were also observed as a result of the Immigrant Rights Movements. The re-organization of the voting system in favor of the blacks, renovation of the City of Chicago through eradication of slums, just to mention a few (Johnson et al, 1990). 

Lesions drawn from the Chicago Movement

Some of the lesions that can be drawn from the Movement in Chicago would include the sense of democracy in Unity and Corperation.We may also learn that people have to take the responsibility of fighting for their rights and privileges. The leadership of Dr.King left a legacy and a point of reference to the rest of the leadership fraternity across the globe. We see the current American President, Barrack Obama assimilating some of the leadership qualities shown by Martin Luther the King, standing in to fight for the rights of all people, and not for his own rights. Let other leaders also borrow from some of these critical lesions.


As a result of the racial segregations and discriminations, the African Americans realized the need to come together and say no to the massive injustices. The need and desire for equal rights led them to the formation of alliances of all sorts, all geared towards the struggle for equality. With the help of good leaders like Dr. King, they managed  to achieve their goals. Justice was finally here to stay, because the Chicagoans were not leaving any stone unturned in their battle for justice. Justice in this case implied equal treatments in all the socio-political and economic spheres of life. A fight well won Chicago!


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Anderson, B, & George W. Confronting the Color Line: The Broken 

Promise of the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago. 1986.

Hornsby, P, & Straub D. African American Chronology. Volume I. Gale 

Research International Limited. Detroit, Michigan, 1994.

Johnson, J, & Stokely, C: The Story of Black Power. Silver Burdett  Press, Inc.1990.

Kirk, A. Martin Luther King, Jr. London: Longman, 2005. 

Ralph, Jr. Northern Protest: Martin Luther King, Jr.Chicago, and the Civil  Rights Movement. 1993. 

Reed, J, & Christopher R. The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional  Leadership, 1910–1966. 1997. 

The Editors of Ebony. Ebony Pictorial History of Black America. Volume III: Civil 

Rights Movement to Black Revolution. Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.,  Chicago, Illinois, 1974