Social History for Every Classroom


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A Southern Activist Warns Black Chicagoans about the Daley Machine

The Democratic Party political machine notoriously ruled Chicago, distributing jobs and city services in exchange for political support. James Bevel, the director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's direct action campaigns, was a veteran strategist of sit-ins, Freedom Rides, the Birmingham Children's Crusade, the Mississippi Freedom Movement, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March. He and other SCLC leaders came to Chicago to test the effectiveness of direct-action non-violent tactics outside the South. He encouraged Chicago's black community to resist the short-term and limited payoff of allying with Mayor Richard Daley's machine.

Source | James Bevel, "Speech to First Presbyterian Church, May 9, 1966," (Chicago), Chicago Urban League Collection, University of Illinois-Chicago, quoted in online exhibit Fight School Segregation!,
Creator | James Bevel
Item Type | Speech
Cite This document | James Bevel, “A Southern Activist Warns Black Chicagoans about the Daley Machine,” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 2, 2023,

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