The Silent SIX were William Campbell 20th ward, Robert Miller 6th ward, William Harvey, 2nd ward, Benjamin Lewis 24th ward, Ralph Metcalf 3rd ward, Claude Holman 4th ward.
Alderman Leon Despres was best known for being a perpetual thorn in Mayor Daley’s side and for his unwavering support of civil rights and fair housing. In fact, Negro Digest wrote an article about him in 1966 with the headline, The Only Real ‘Negro Voice’ In Chicago’s City Council. This of course was during a period when there were actually six black aldermen serving on the City Council. These men were receiving benefits from Daley in exchange for their votes. They openly remained completely quiet and didn't utter a word publicly and privately during their time in council serving under Boss Hog's rule.
Not saying that these current six black aldermen have vowed to remain silent from now on during City Council debates, but their endorsement of Emanuel so early in the game is unprecedented. Their decision to hold a news conference to praise the mayor’s appointment is not surprising to many who sit alongside them in the Chambers.
It's hard to know which actions taken by either the aldermen in the 1960's or our current crop of black aldermen, who've each been long-standing supporters of Rahm Emanuel, as having detrimental effects on black people. But as my elder homie angrily expressed, the former Silent SIX over 60 years ago had very little choice! Today, black folks have options, we just have to exercise our strength and get more in return when we decide to go silent.
One alderman stated that, “When Rahm does something negative, nobody is short on printing that. But when he does something positive, everything is silent. So we felt that we should be the ones to speak out when he has done something forward-thinking,” Austin said. Emanuel is still working to regain the trust of African-American voters, Austin acknowledged.
Alderman Scott commended the mayor for acting “very swiftly in removing some of the corruption that happened” in the Water Department. “We’re here to say `thank you’ — to say that it’s a job well done, but it is not a job finished. We want to continue moving African-Americans up the ranks through this city,” Scott said.
Lets hope that other elected officials don't follow their lead and give their voices away cheaply and without bringing back real economic development and qaulity of life jobs to their ward. Because today, silence is just not an option! Until the next edition...... Peace and One Love.
I Write to Differ