Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Historically accurate for most part & Margaret!

It should be noted that Sun-Times is no better than Chi Trib when it comes to giving email addresses with bylines.  As in today’s stories here and here about Chicago Historical Society getting a new president, a lawyer — in neither story, by the way, the new man is so designated only at the end, leaving some of us to wonder if new “leader” is president or chairman.  Trib gives William Mullen address, wmullen@tribune.com — at end of story, vs. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel standard, putting it right under byline, thus to encourage reader response.  No address is given for S-T’s Andrew Hermann.

Both call Jones Day a Chicago law firm, but it’s a Cleveland firm — “The Cleveland megafirm,” Startribune.com called it just yesterday — with a Chicago office since 1987, which is a case of getting something on the fly, I’d say, and not checking it — copy desk anywhere?

Both stories, on the other hand, were of keen interest to this reader, who caught the immediate past president, Lonnie Bunch, in an Oak Park appearance in 2002 and was impressed with his ambivalence about living in Oak Park, apparently for reasons of race, even though he had picked it over Wilmette rather than put his child in an all-white school.  We don’t have all-white schools in Oak Park.  Bunch by his own admission had been well received in Oak Park and was a featured speaker in a centennial program.  He spoke off the cuff and got caught in that ambivalence by a question after his talk from a fellow black.

In any case, Bunch announced in March that he was returning to Washington and the Smithsonian to head up a new Afro-Am museum, this after presiding over severe blows to the midsection of the Chicago society, which during his tenure came up with big deficit, low attendance, and heavy staff cuts.  His parting shot, one might say, was an exhibit all about lynching and other white-on-black atrocities of the last several centuries. 

Might there be a connection here with declining attendance?  Give me the parent eager to take his kiddies to see gruesome pictures of lynchings, and I give you one in a distinct numerical minority.  Bunch is praised in absentia by the society’s chairman as a tough act to follow, for his “ability to reach out” to blacks and hispanics; but that seems to have been a case of treating them monolithically and assuming they aren’t like us white folks.  Blacks and hispanics may not be all so eager to put their kids through the blood-and-thunder aggrieved-minority process as some think.

The new man, Gary T. Johnson, will be handing over day-to-day duties to CHS veteran Russell Lewis, which seems wise.  Johnson has to go out there and raise money.


On another front, see Margaret Ramirez’ page one Chi Trib virtual takeout on Mormons.  Having roundly criticized her recently, I must say this is a good one, done not on deadline but with time to spare and lots of room — it’s a whopping 2,220 words!  The peg is newly arriving blacks and hispanics among Mormon membership.  That is handled with nice combination of stats and quotes, while a neat summary of Mormonism is also provided.  I love you, Margaret!  All is forgiven!

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