Cicero, Illinois

I love the kids in this one (zoom in to see the little girl waving)—usually the Google Street View photos are rather depopulated. This American Life ran a great full hour about Cicero in 2001: “The story in a way of a town that time forgot, or more accurately, a town that tried to forget the times. A special broadcast of This American Life, co-hosted by award-winning journalist Alex Kotlowitz, author of the books There Are No Children Here and The Other Side of the River. It’s the story of what at one time was one of most notoriously racist and corrupt suburbs in America. In the 1920s, Cicero was reputedly run by Al Capone, and federal indictments against organized crime there continued steadily all the way through the 1990s. In the 1960s, Cicero residents reacted so violently to threats of integration that officials told Martin Luther King, Jr.’s supporters that marching there would be a suicide mission. Today, two-thirds of the population is Mexican-American, but the political machine from decades past still holds power. A parable of racial politics in America, of white Americans not wanting change, not wanting to let in the outside world, and what happens when they have no choice.”


S. Central Ave, Cicero, Illinois, Google Street View

Originally published at culture-making.com.

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