Crafting Your Experience

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Chicago Collections

Place of Protest: Dissent, Declaration, & Disruption

How have protesters in Chicago occupied space with their bodies, voices, and possessions? What do their strategies reveal about a protest's purpose and message? Explore fifteen case studies of protest in Chicago spanning nearly 150 years of the city's history. Whether approaching familiar stories or uncommon accounts, the perspective of place illuminates evolving strategies of dissent among labor, civil rights, and antiwar protesters as well as recurring responses of police to social disruption. Includes audio from curator Rachel Boyle.

  • 1.

    Stockyards, 1948

    Stockyards, 1948

    DEFENDING THE PICKET LINE Meatpackers on the South Side test the power of unions in the wake of WWII.

  • 2.

    Pullman, 1894

    Pullman, 1894

    BUILDING LIVELIHOODS ON THE LINE Workers revolt in a company town designed to prevent labor unrest.

  • 3.

    Haymarket Square, 1886

    Haymarket Square, 1886

    OPPOSING POLICE VIOLENCE Bomb transforms an open-air market into a potent symbol of industrial conflict.

  • 4.

    Grant Park, 1968

    Grant Park, 1968

    CONTESTING THE NATIONAL PLATFORM Local legacies and national politics collide in the streets and parks.

  • 5.

    Columbus Drive, 1980

    Columbus Drive, 1980

    MARCHING FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS A Chicago rally illuminates local struggles over national legislation.

  • 6.

    Pilsen, 1976

    Pilsen, 1976

    "HELPING US HELP EACH OTHER" Latino organizations coordinate direct action to hold city accountable.

  • 7.

    Chicago Board of Education, 1963

    Chicago Board of Education, 1963

    BOYCOTTING SEGREGATED SCHOOLS Black Chicagoans walk out of schools to demand access to equal education.

  • 8.

    Illinois Institute of Technology, 1970

    Illinois Institute of Technology, 1970

    CHALLENGING ORDER ON CAMPUS Response to student anti-war protest reflects modern vision of a university.

  • 9.

    Chicago Hilton and Towers, 1991

    Chicago Hilton and Towers, 1991

    MAKING A HEALTH CRISIS VISIBLE The LGBTQ community asserts needs outside a medical convention.

  • 10.

    Republic Steel Plant, 1937

    Republic Steel Plant, 1937

    STRIKING STEEL Police violently confront factory workers and their supporters on the picket line.

  • 11.

    Daley Plaza, 2003

    Daley Plaza, 2003

    DISRUPTING THE PEACE Anti-war protesters use cyberspace and civic space to mobilize dissent.

  • 12.

    Bronzeville, 1989

    Bronzeville, 1989

    CONNECTING CHICAGO TO SOUTH AFRICA Anti-apartheid activists raise awareness and funds with walkathon.

  • 13.

    Hull-House, 1915

    Hull-House, 1915

    TAKING TO THE STREETS Settlement house unemployment march demonstrates limits of Progressive Era reform.

  • 14.

    Northwestern University, 1968

    Northwestern University, 1968

    OCCUPYING HIGHER EDUCATION Black students take over the bursar's office to disrupt discrimination.

  • 15.

    Clark Street Bridge, 1855

    Clark Street Bridge, 1855

    CHARGING CITY HALL German immigrants challenge the mayor's temperance policy.

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