History

Chicago's Grant Park

How 13 Chicago Parks Got Their Names

Who are some of the more prominent parks in the "City in a Garden" named after, and why? From Humboldt Park to Horner Park to Sherman Park, learn about the history of Chicago's 8,800 acres of parkland and the origins of some of the parks' names.
Tom Wolfe

Era-Defining Journalist and Novelist Tom Wolfe Has Died

Tom Wolfe, who wrote The Right Stuff and Bonfire of the Vanities and gave us the terms "'Me' decade" and "radical chic," died yesterday at the age of 88. Watch him discuss his trademark white suit and the similarities between counterculture and evangelicalism in this archival interview.
Mister Rogers

Mister Rogers Saves Public Media with Heartfelt Testimony

On May 1, 1969, 49 years ago today, Fred Rogers managed to convince the cynical politicians of Washington to prevent funding cuts to public media through his direct, deeply convincing testimony. Watch it here.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago. Photo: Getty Images

Martin Luther King and Fair Housing in Chicago

50 years ago, on April 11, 1968, Congress passed the Fair Housing Act. Martin Luther King, Jr. had come to Chicago in 1966 for his first campaign outside the South to advocate for fair housing, but it took the riots caused by his assassination for the bill to be passed.
John McCain; Donald Trump behind Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Photos: REUTERS/Brian Snyder; REUTERS

From McCain to Trump: The Transformation of the GOP

"Donald Trump is in some ways John McCain 2.0," says Frontline producer Michael Kirk. The progression from one Republican presidential candidate to the other is illustrative of the radically changed Republican Party – and perhaps the end of the GOP as we know it.
Cesar Chavez on Chicago Tonight with John Callaway

From the Archive: Cesar Chavez

Before watching Independent Lens: Dolores, take a look back at this 1985 interview with Dolores Huerta's compatriot and fellow labor organizer Cesar Chavez, in which he discusses his activism, the decline of labor, and the difficulties facing the movement.
Conservative leader and anti-"women's liberation" activist Phyllis Schlafly in 1977

From the Archive: Phyllis Schlafly

The Equal Rights Amendment, which sought to prohibit discrimination of women but was never ratified by enough states to pass, was approved by Congress 46 years ago today. Watch a 1977 interview with the women who led the successful opposition.
Bessie Coleman

The First Female African American Pilot

Only eighteen years after the Wright brothers' first flight, Bessie Coleman overcame both racism and sexism to become the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license, with the help of the Chicago Defender. But her high-flying career was cut tragically short. 
James Baldwin on Chicago Tonight with John Callaway in 1985.

From the Archive: James Baldwin in Conversation with John Callaway

Watch James Baldwin share his ever-incisive observations late in his life on Chicago Tonight in 1985. "When Americans say progress, they really mean how quickly, and to what extent, and how profoundly, a black person becomes white," Baldwin says.
Billy Graham at one of his crusades in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1970, introducing Richard Nixon

Influential Evangelist Billy Graham Dies

The Rev. Billy Graham, America's most famous Christian evangelist who was friend and priest to presidents, died today at the age of 99. Watch him tell how he would like to be remembered, while an associate explains the "Billy Graham rules," in an excerpt from a 1994 WTTW program.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photos: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl & Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

The Rivalry Fueling Middle Eastern Conflict

The correspondent and producer of Frontline's Bitter Rivals: Iran and Saudi Arabia explains his understanding of the great regional rivalry fueling Middle Eastern conflicts, in which Iran and Saudi Arabia fight proxy wars without battle ever touching their soil. 
Fred Rogers on WTTW's Chicago Tonight in 1985.

From the Archive: Mister Rogers

In 1985, Mister Rogers appeared on Chicago Tonight to discuss 30 years on television and offer some wisdom in his characteristic thoughtful manner.
Frederick Douglass was the representative of Haiti at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Image (of Douglass): Chicago History Museum

Frederick Douglass's Defiant Stand at Chicago's World's Fair

Although Frederick Douglass did not know his official birth date, he celebrated it on February 14. Late in his life, he spent a year in Chicago serving as the most prominent advocate for African Americans in a World's Fair that largely excluded them.
Won Kow, Chicago's oldest continously operated Chinese restaurant, closed on February 1 after 90 years

Chicago's Oldest Continuously Operated Chinese Restaurant Closes

Won Kow was opened in 1928, only a couple of decades after Chicago's Chinatown moved from the Loop to the Southwest Side. It was a favorite of Al Capone, according to legend, and served as a barely changing anchor of the neighborhood.
An engraving of the Haymarket Affair from Harper's Weekly

The Clash of Wealth and Labor in Chicago's Gilded Age

Chicago epitomized the contradictions of late nineteenth century America, with its explosive growth and exorbitant wealth contrasting with abject squalor and a burgeoning labor movement. The two poles infamously came to a head several times in Chicago.
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