CHICAGO (CBS) — A new landmark will be dedicated this month to mark the 50th anniversary of efforts to integrate Rainbow Beach on the city’s South Side.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, the beach at the east end of 77th Street was the site of severe racial tension in the early 1960s. In the summers of 1960 and 1961, demonstrators staged “wade-ins” at the beach to protest de facto segregation at the beach.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports
Organizers of the dedication ceremony set for Aug. 20 say mobs used violence to keep black visitors from using the beach.
Protest leaders Norman and Velma Hill were seriously injured on Aug. 28, 1960 when they tried to use the beach as part of the “wade-in.”
The Hills, now of New York, penned an op-ed column on the incident in the Chicago Defender late last month. Velma Hill wrote that she was struck in the head with a rock, and rendered “bloodied and left lapsing in and out of consciousness.”
Hill wrote that a picture appeared in the Defender showing her grasping her head wound in Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center after the attack, and the accompanying article “stirred outrage over the way we all were assaulted.”
She said the “wade-ins” inspired people across the city to work against discrimination.
The segregation at the beach was brought to an end the following summer.
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