Aug. 5, 1966

Chicago Freedom Movement march down South Kedzie Avenue. Credit: Courtesy: National Museum of African American History and Culture, Bernard Kleina, photographer

Martin Luther King Jr. and others from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference marched through Marquette Park in Chicago, protesting racial discrimination in housing. Chicago activist Al Raby had invited King and the SCLC to join them in their protest to urge fair housing for residents. 

The marchers were met by about 700 white counter-protesters. More than 30 were injured in the hail of bricks, bottles and rocks. King was hit, too, in the melee. 

Despite the attack, King continued to champion open housing in the North. He had even moved into a shabby Chicago apartment to bring attention to the inner-city plight. 

After the attack, King told reporters, “I’ve been in many demonstrations all across the South, but I can say that I have never seen — even in Mississippi and Alabama — mobs as hostile and as hate-filled as I’ve seen here in Chicago.” 

The conflict and tension continued until Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley negotiated an agreement for fair housing which King termed “the most significant program ever conceived to make open housing a reality in a metropolitan area.”

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.