179: Cicero

179: Cicero

Mar 16, 2001
The story in a way of a town that time forgot, or more accurately, a town that tried to forget the times. A special broadcast co-hosted by award-winning journalist Alex Kotlowitz, author of the books There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River.
It's the story of what at one time was one of most notoriously racist and corrupt suburbs in America. In the 1920s, Cicero was reputedly run by Al Capone, and federal indictments against organized crime there continued steadily all the way through the 1990s. In the 1960s, Cicero residents reacted so violently to threats of integration that officials told Martin Luther King, Jr.'s supporters that marching there would be a suicide mission. Today, two-thirds of the population is Mexican-American, but the political machine from decades past still holds power. A parable of racial politics in America, of white Americans not wanting change, not wanting to let in the outside world, and what happens when they have no choice.
  • Two stories about daily life in Cicero. First the tale of Dave Boyle, who stumbled into Cicero politics accidentally in the 1980s, suffered the bruises, and left town. But he found he couldn't stay away. Then, the most surprising finding of all: If you walk the neighborhoods of Cicero, you discover that despite all the ways that Town Hall antagonized its own Hispanic citizens, most people are getting along just fine. There are rough moments, sure, but things are way more calm than Cicero's history would lead you to expect. We hear the story of three neighbors: Annie, Loretta and Nancy. (20 minutes)CrimeGovernmentMurderPolicePoliticsRace

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