2001 Article from Chicago’s Community News Project (Funded by Woods Fund) Mentions Obama under “Organizing and Islam” Section

Tonight in a thread at No Quarter I spotted this comment:

Comment by Cooper | 2008-10-14 17:59:54

Can somebody tell my WHY this text

“Barack Obama, 773-684-4809, whose work to empower blacks has included his law practice, community organizing, philanthropy and most recently electoral politics: he is a candidate for state senate”

would appear under THIS headline??



After seeing this I decided to snoop around myself.  If you follow the link you will arrive at the site of the “Community News Project of the Community Media Workshop.” Guess who funds this publication/workshop?  Foundations like the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and…..The Woods Fund of Chicago. Yes, THAT Woods Fund…

The article in question, which dates from 2001, is:

For African-Americans, struggle and some gains

Eighty years after the Great Migration from the South end nearly a decade after the 1987 death of Chicago’s first black mayor, Chicago’s African-American community is moving in many directions, separated by class and political division.


Scroll down see this passage down near the end of the page….(they could have used a proof reader…)


Organizing in neighborhoods has taken two paths that reflect historic dichotomy between integrationist and nationalist strategies. Many top conununity leaders collaborate on urban issues through city’s grasgroots network, forging multi-racial coalitions, while others take black nationalist approach, looking only within the African-American community for leadership and resources.

In first category are Ani Russell of community policing network, 312-461-0444; Jacky Grimshaw, former strategist for Harold Washington now working an community transportation issues; 773-278-4800, ext. 133; and Barack Obama, 773-684-4809, whose work to empower blacks has included his law practice, community organizing, philanthropy and most recently electoral politics: he is a candidate for state senate. A quiet leader with broad vision of empowerment and redevelopment in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood is Sokoni Karanja, 773-373-5700, whose nonprofit Centers for New Horizons provides social services, youth programs, education and child care.

Chicago is national center of black nationalist thought and organization. Head of the nation’s largest secular black-nationalist organization, the National Black United Front, Conrad Worrill, 773-268-5658, is a professor at Northeastern Illinois University’s Center for Inner City Studies and was prominent speaker at last year’s Million Man Man March. Another Northeastern professor, Robert Starks, 773-268-7500, heads local Task Force for Political Empowerment, along with Worrill was major organizer in Harold Washington campaigns. Radio commentator and former newspaper columnist and publisher, Lu Palmer, 773-624-0242, holds forth two nights a week on a WVON-1450AM political talk show. He founded the Black Independent Political Orgization and Chicago Black United Communities. Eddie Read, 773-663-0704, is president of both organizations mentioned above; CBUC members have shut down construction sites where blacks don’t get fair share of jobs. Salim Muwakkil, 773-643-3730, is senior editor of In These Times and contributing columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. He has done extensive coverage of black activism and the black nationalist movement.

Chicago is home base for African-American Muslim organizations. Muslims have been visible forces for organizing and stability in many neighborhoods, only some of them aligned with controversial leader Louis Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam. Organizer Kublai Toure, 773-538-7217, is a member of Jim Brown’s Amer-I-Can youth organization, with projects ranging from helping arrange gang traces to trips to Chicago Cubs baseball Sitines for public housing youth. Mikail Bilal, 773-721-6588, is chek of the Muslim addiction-prevention group Millati Wami, with twice-weekly meetings on South Drexel St. for recovering substance abusers. Abdul Rashid Akbar is the Muslim chaplin at Cook County jail, 773-721-6588, where many incarcerated African-Americans convert to Islam. The Nation of Islam’s contact point for the media and editor-chief of The Final Call newspaper is James Muhammad, 773-602-1230. Ayesha Mustafaa reports on the larger Muslim community as editor of The Muslim Journal, 312-243-7600.

I’m a bit unclear about the sentence that says Obama “is a candidate for state senate.”  In 2001 Obama was already in the IL Senate, having started his first of three terms in 1997 (ending last term in 2004.)  Perhaps the article was trying to say that he was running for another term…

What does it mean?  Well, at the very least, Obama may have chose to organize among Muslims apparently rather than other groups within the black community.  At least that’s what I take away from it…

Also, this tidbit under the section titled “Community Life”…


Segregated physically and emotionally from other Chicagoans, blacks created institutions as backbones of community life. From early migrant support groups and churches grew political and cultural organizations, plus a musical tradition so powerful that Langston Hughes – describing the South State Street “Stroll” in 1918 – proclaimed that ff you held a trumpet up at night it would play itself, such was the activity at the jazz clubs.

Many churches have played dual role of spiritual anchor and center of activism. Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Trinity Church, 773-962-5650, is active on Southern Africa struggles, supports linking local and international issues.