Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Part 3: Sun-Times features the Chatham community

Location: Chatham, Chicago, IL, USA
The Sun Times series on Chatham by Mary Mitchell concludes today.

Part 1 is here.

Part 2 is here.

Here is the intro for part 3
The crowd gathered at Cole Park in Chatham wasn’t much larger than the group of young men who were shooting hoops.

Named after Nat King Cole, the park at 85th and King Drive is surrounded by many of the eye-catching homes built by black people in Chatham in the late ’50s. On this chilly and wet Sunday afternoon, people had come together there for a peace rally prompted by a gang shooting nearby, on 79th Street.

“It was like ‘New Jack City,’ ” the Rev. Marc Robertson told the crowd.

Once, Cole Park was symbolic of the pride Chathamites took in their neighborhood. Now, as Robertson tried to stir the crowd to action, a group of teenage girls hung out on benches defaced with obscene graffiti.

The park is where Thomas Wortham IV played as a child. It’s where he worked as a volunteer until the day last summer he was gunned down by attackers who wanted his motorcycle.

“He understood there were challenges, but he wanted the community — the park, in particular — to be a safe place to play, the way it was when he was younger,” says his mother, Carolyn Wortham, who joined in the prayer vigil.

I listened in awe. Having endured the worst catastrophe a mother can face, Wortham is still working to save Chatham for a future generation. Nobody would have faulted her and her husband if they had packed up and left Chatham behind. But there they were. In the crowd. Standing shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors. Just like their son would have been.

The rest of the story is here.

What are your feelings on this story or the series as a whole?

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