Cicero, IL

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Cicero, a suburb on Chicago's western border, first became famous as the home of Al Capone, a place where he supposedly controlled town hall and the local police. Then, in the 1950's, Cicero acquired a second national notoreity: for racial intolerance. In 1951, a black Chicago busdriver and his family moved to town; whites rioted for three days and destroyed his home. Martin Luther King Jr decided not to march in Cicero in the 60's; he was told his safety couldn't be assured; the town became known as &quotSelma; of the North." Finally in the 1970's, Mexican-Americans started moving in. Now they make up two-thirds of the town. How the white political machine has stayed in power, despite ongoing federal indictments, corruption charges and a certain unfriendliness to Mexican-Americans. A parable of racial politics in America, of white Americans not wanting change, but reluctantly seeing the need to. This special edition co-hosted with journalist Alex Kotlowitz, author of There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River.



Ira Glass