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December 31, 1969
Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

December 31, 1969

Guest post by Rubin McMillan, History MA student at Arizona State University.

In the December 31, 1969, edition of the Chicago Daily Defender there is an article entitled,Ask Civilian to Inquire Into Police Abuse Cases.” This article caught my attention because it could be a modern-day headline in any city in the United States, with the current climate of protests against police brutality. This particular episode was sparked by the shooting death of Fred Hampton, a known Black Panthers member. The article shows us that the issues are still a national concern, especially the urgency of transparence of and improved relations with law enforcement. I thought that the article described the expectation that the civilian intervention into and oversight of law enforcement activities would improve relations. I have not used African-American media before, but I found that the Defender engaged many readers throughout the country during the civil right movement. Although Chicago is in the limelight because of these incidents, this topic reflects on two books, To Tell the Truth Freely: The life of Ida B. Wells by Mia Bay and The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks by Jeanne Theoharis. Both books share the trials and tribulations of the uphill battle for African-American civil rights that spans decades. Both tell the story of African-American activists that would take up causes that would lay the foundation for better race relations.