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Chicago History

Take a deep dive into Chicago's storied history. In "This Week in History," we revisit articles from the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News archives.

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This week in history: Emily Taft Douglas goes to bat for bookworms

The Chicago-born politician, who died Jan. 28, 1994, served just two years in the U.S. House of Representatives, but she focused on bringing greater access to libraries in her short tenure.

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Smollett sentencing hearing scheduled for March

Smollett was found guilty by a Cook County jury last month of five counts of disorderly conduct for lying about a racist and homophobic attack on himself in 2019 near his Streeterville neighborhood home.

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This week in history: 3 famous Chicagoans, 1 birthday

What do Al Capone, Muhammad Ali and Michelle Obama have in common? Though not all born here, these notable Chicagoans share a birthday.

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This week in history: MLK Jr. takes on Chicago’s slums

In February 1966, Martin Luther King Jr., who was born this week on Jan. 15, came to the aid of five families living in a slum on the West Side without heat or light.

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This week in history: Deadly fires in Pilsen lead to action

After a string of devastating fires in late 1976, Pilsen residents took to City Hall to demand more Spanish-speaking firefighters stationed in the community.

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‘Women of the Movement’ powerfully portrays the inspiring story of Emmett Till’s mother

Adrienne Warren, Broadway’s Tina Turner, shows her skills on ABC series in sensitive performance as Mamie Till-Mobley.

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This week in history: The other Great Chicago Fire

On Dec. 30, 1903, a fire broke out during a performance at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, trapping most of its patrons inside. It remains one of the deadliest fires in history.

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This week in history: Joy and hardship on Christmas Eve, 1934

On Dec. 24, 1934, Chicagoans faced tough times and dark days ahead, but there was still some holiday spirit to be found.

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This week in history: Chicago Riding Club opens

The Chicago Riding Club held its opening reception on Dec. 17, 1924. Here’s a history of the building.

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This week in history: Chicago honors 10th anniversary of Pearl Harbor

On Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese military carried out an attack on Pearl Harbor, an American naval base in Hawaii. This year marks the 80th anniversary, so here’s a look at how Chicagoans honored the 10th anniversary.

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This week in history: Alice Wynekoop charged with murder of daughter-in-law

On Nov. 29, 1933, a Chicago grand jury charged Dr. Alice Wynekoop with the murder of her daughter-in-law. Here’s how it went down that day.

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This week in history: Mamie Till-Mobley testifies for her son

In honor of Mamie Till-Mobley’s birthday this week — Nov. 23, 1921 — here’s a look back at the activist’s role in the murder trial of her son, Emmett Till.

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This week in history: Aviator Ruth Law breaks record flying from Chicago to New York

On Nov. 19, 1916, Law took off from Chicago, looking to break the record for longest non-stop flight. The distance between Chicago and her destination? 590 miles.

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This week in history: Victory Monument honors Chicago’s Black veterans

In 1923, Rep. George T. Kersey’s bill for a Chicago war memorial honoring Black veterans passed. Here’s a look at how the memorial now known as Victory Monument came to be.

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This week in history: Abraham Lincoln marries Mary Todd

For better or worse, the two would be constant companions throughout Lincoln’s rise to the presidency and the Civil War. Here’s a look at Mary Todd Lincoln after her husband’s death.

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This week in history: World’s Fair ends in tragedy

The closing of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition on Oct. 30 would have been a sad enough scene in its own right, but the assassination of Mayor Carter Harrison III made the event especially tragic.

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This week in history: The Cuban Missile Crisis begins

President John F. Kennedy announced his intent to form a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from storing nuclear missiles there. The event became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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This week in history: Comedian Dick Gregory attempts to confront Mayor Daley on school segregation

The comedian and civil rights activist, born Oct. 12, wasn’t laughing when he attempted to confront Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1965 at his City Hall office over the state of school segregation in Chicago.

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Three billionaires, a ‘Real Housewives’ husband, an English lord. They are among more than 1,000 bidders drawn to Capone auction

"You never really know," said one bidder from Glenview. "But with this auction, it’s almost certainly genuine, and genuinely Capone’s."

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Through The Flames: Tracing the path of the Great Chicago Fire

Tracing the path of devastation caused by the Great Chicago Fire.

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The buildings that survived the ‘red demon’

The Great Chicago Fire destroyed almost everything in its path. But at least four structures are known to have survived.

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Private firms’ search for property records helped Chicago’s post-fire recovery

With official records lost, local companies saved documents that proved crucial as the city rebuilt.

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How the Great Fire changed Chicago architecture

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 — terrible, costly, deadly — changed the city in myriad ways. And it had a big hand in making Chicago an architectural capital.

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This week in history: City commemorates 25 years since Great Chicago Fire

As the city approaches the 150th anniversary of the 1871 fire, here’s a look back at how Chicagoans celebrated the 25th anniversary.

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This week in history: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church established

On Sept. 30, 1930, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church became the first Mexican American church in Chicago. Here’s a look back at the history of the parish.

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This week in history: Carmen Velásquez fights for health care

Here’s a look at how Carmen Velásquez has been fighting for better health care access for immigrant and Spanish-speaking Chicagoans for decades.

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This week in history: Benito Juarez HS opens

The first public high school in Chicago dedicated to serving bilingual students opened Sept. 16, 1977.

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This week in history: Emmett Till’s murderers charged as body laid to rest

The 14-year-old Black boy from Chicago who was murdered by two white men in Misissippi was buried in Burr Oak Cemetery on the same day his murderers were charged.

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This week in history: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at National Conference of New Politics

Dr. King earned a standing ovation after he gave the keynote address at the National Conference of New Politics in Chicago in 1967.

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This week in history: Chicago’s women strike

On Aug. 26, 1970, thousands of supporters attended rallies at the Civic Center in the afternoon and Grant Park in the evening, according to city newspapers.

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New ‘Candyman’ director Nia DaCosta promises a version with ‘a lot more of the Black experience’

This reimagining of the 1992 Chicago horror classic touches on police brutality, gentrification, cultural appropriation and other pressing local issues.

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This week in history: The Beatles rock out at Comiskey Park

Fans exploded with excitement as The Beatles took to the stage at Comiskey Park on Aug. 20, 1965. Here’s a look back at that unforgettable concert.