Home history lesson: Cicero played a part in the MLK movement 50+ years back

Omar Gutierrez , reporter

3,000 Police and National Guards protected the Martin Luther King movement in Cicero M.L.K Movement in Cicero

Cicero Police detaining a angry demonstrator in September 4, 1966 (©Chicago Historical Society, published on or before 2015, all rights reserved.Credit Line:Chicago History Museum, ICHi-075528; Declan Haun, photographer)

On Sunday, September 4, 1966 James Bevel, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference planned to lead a march down Cermak Road from Chicago West through Cicero. Angry white protesters threw rocks at the 250 King supporters as they marched through Cicero. King himself never attempted to enter Cicero. More then, 3,000 police and National Guardsmen protected cicero as families were warned to stay in their homes, keep their children indoors, and stay off the streets!

Remembering from his high school days at Morton East, one long time Cicero resident had the following to say.

”It was a bad time in Cicero Madison Street, in Chicago, was burning, and the march came from under the viaduct near Cicero Avenue.” Ed Asay, long time Cicero resident, said.

Man holding a black power sing in cicero in September 4, 1966
An African American man holds up a sign that reads Black Power at the Cicero March in Cicero, Illinois, 1966. (Chicago History Museum, ICHi-036894; Declan Haun, photographer)

Another Ciceronian remembers talking with his family bout those heated contentious days.

” I vividly remember my grandmother and uncle both telling me how they made sure that my uncle (who was 7 years old at the time.) stayed in the house and did not go outside to play on that day,” Mr.Asay, East English Teacher said.

One of our Morton East History Teachers had this to say about that event in Cicero’s History.

“The main reason for the march was for ‘fair housing’ for people of color in Chicago and Cicero,” said history teacher Mr. Brian White.