Afternoon Edition: Dec. 30, 2020

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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The two dozen men pictured here, who have public schools in Chicago named for them, all owned or traded slaves.


Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

The snow/rain mix finally ended earlier today, and the rest of the afternoon will be cloudy with a high near 33 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 19 degrees. Tomorrow, we get some much-needed sunshine; the high will be near 31 degrees.

Top story

30 public schools in Chicago are named for slaveholders; surprised CPS promises changes

John Marshall Metropolitan High School is a West Side institution.

One of the city’s oldest public high schools, once heavily Jewish and for decades home to a nearly all-Black student body, it boasts fiercely proud alumni and a reputation for powerhouse athletics.

It’s named for the fourth chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, widely regarded as the most influential leader of the nation’s highest court, honored with his face on postage stamps and his name on law schools in Chicago and elsewhere.

Marshall also was a slaveholder his entire adult life, with at least 200 Black slaves on his Virginia plantations.

That part of Marshall’s history didn’t keep an all-white Chicago Board of Education from naming the school on West Adams Street in East Garfield Park for him when it opened 125 years ago.

“That’s our heritage,” says Anyiah Jackson-Williams, Marshall’s valedictorian from the class of 2020. “I’m African American. It really was a shocker to me. He’s one of the people that was a slave owner.”

Across the city, at least 30 public schools are named for people who owned or traded enslaved Black or indigenous people, according to our review of every public school name in Chicago.

Some, like Marshall, were Southern plantation owners, among them Presidents George Washington and James Madison. Others, perhaps surprisingly to some, were Northerners — like John Hancock, John J. Audubon, Patrick Henry and Alexander Hamilton.

They span the city. One South Side elementary school in Washington Heights that’s named for Washington’s plantation — where hundreds toiled in bondage — today has a student population that’s 98.7% Black.

Chicago Public Schools officials say they weren’t aware of how many schools remain named for slaveholders until shown our findings.

They also say they didn’t realize before being asked about those findings regarding the nation’s third-largest public school system, in which nine of 10 children identify as Black, Brown or indigenous, that schools named for white people outnumber those named for African Americans by a ratio of four-to-one, Latinos by nine-to-one and indigenous people by more than 120-to-1.

Now, amid a nationwide racial reckoning, Chicago school officials say they are reviewing school names and that changes will be made.

“It’s dehumanizing, and it’s something that we have to work on and change,” says Maurice Swinney, the top CPS official for racial equity. “And we got to disrupt it, we got to stop it, we got to change it. And, for me, it’s important that all of this work be through a process that really starts to teach what this history really means, that starts to reckon with racist ideas and that helps people to really have conversations with race that are not generally happening outside of friend circles.”

Keep reading Lauren FitzPatrick’s Watchdogs report here.

More news you need

  1. Illinois public health officials announced the state’s highest daily coronavirus figures in almost two weeks today with 7,374 new cases of COVID-19 and 178 more deaths attributed to it. The latest caseload is the largest reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health since Dec. 19.
  2. Nationwide, more than 163,000 businesses have closed during the course of the pandemic, according to Yelp’sLocal Economic Impact Report, and nearly 60% of those closures will be permanent.We took a look at some of the Chicago businesses — and pieces of our history — we lost this year.
  3. Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones, a Chicago native whose high-energy dance moves were showcased in the two “Breakin’ ” films of the 1980s, has died at 65. Singer-dancer Toni Basil, his former teammate in the Lockers dance squad, posted the news onher Facebook page today.
  4. Five more court employees in Cook County have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising the total number of Chief Judge’s employees with positive test results to 235. One employee works at the Markham Courthouse as an adult probation officer.
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A bright one

Pet adoptions, fostering soared as the coronavirus spread

Alice Brunner’s dog, Frankie, hops onto her lap as if the small canine holds the deed to the property.

Brunner doesn’t even attempt to feign disapproval. She loves the pup: “She’s certainly made my life happier and dispels a lot of gloom on gloomy days,” said the retired stockbroker, who lives by herself in Old Town and adopted the shelter pup from PAWS Chicago.

The need for cuddly, loving moments is helping to drive a boom in people seeking to foster or adopt a pet during the pandemic.

“A lot of single people working from home wanted a companion,” said Katie Sershon, a volunteer with PAWS. “It provides structure and purpose to take care of something else, you’ve got to get up and keep a routine.”

But demand outpaced supply at many shelters in the area. The stacked rows of cages that line the picture windows of the Anti-Cruelty Society’s Near North Side headquarters were nearly empty for the first time in a long time.


Alice Brunner and her dog, Frankie.


Cuteness alone doesn’t account for the increased interest. Foster applications skyrocketed in the spring when shelters sounded alarms over social media requesting help in freeing up kennel space to allow for an expected rush to care for pets whose owners were hospitalized or otherwise struggling because of the coronavirus.

People stepped up. Applications increased exponentially at many area shelters. The Anti-Cruelty Society placed 1,256 pets in foster care from March through November, a 35% increase from the 928 pets placed a year earlier.

Jonathan Corvin-Blackburn fostered a cat named Blep who jumps on his desk during video conference calls and licks his nose.

“Thankfully, my colleagues think she’s cute,” said Corvin-Blackburn, 29, a product designer at Grubhub who lives by himself in Uptown. He couldn’t bear to part with his Anti-Cruelty foster pet, so he adopted.

Read Mitch Dudek’s full story here.

From the press box

A season finale against Green Bay will show us if the Bears are good. It’ll show us whether the improved Mitch Trubisky is fact or fiction. “Hard to believe we’re still asking these questions, but it makes sense that the Packers will be the ones helping to supply the answers,” Rick Morrissey writes of Sunday’s showdown.

And while Trubisky’s football future – not to mention a lot of money – is at stake this weekend, the Bears QB isn’t scared, Jason Lieser reports.

Your daily question☕

What’s your favorite thing to do during Chicago’s first big snow of the year?

Email us(please include your first name and where you live) and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What are your plans for New Year’s Eve this year?Here’s what some of you said…

“Take out from our favorite restaurant. For the past 7 years we have gone to restaurants to have NYE dinner and do not want to break the streak.”— Walter Mannino

“‘Twilight Zone’ marathon. How fitting to take out 2020.”— Vicki Dickens

“We are going to get some king crab legs on sale at Jewel, some clams for baked clams, drink some wine, play some games and watch our granddaughter bring in the New Year with her dance team, Puzzle League, on ABC!”— Deb Garcia

“Decorate the house a little with streamers. Fun appetizers, mocktails for the kids, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Watching the ball drop and Zooming with family.”— Sandra J. Limjuco

Thanks for reading the Chicago Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed?Email us here.

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