Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic says racism hasn't been the cause of recent disturbances in Marquette Park. But community leaders disagree.
"I don't think it has anything to do with black and white . . . color has nothing to do with this," Bilandic said at a city hall news conference. More than 50 persons have been arrested and more than 20 injured in two weekends of racial demonstrations.
"There's racial crisis in Marquette Park," countered the Rev. Jesse Jackson, president of Operation PUSH and a former aide to slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Jackson said his organisation has sent Bilandic a telegram asking him to call a conference of political, religious and community leaders and educators to calm racial unrest in the southwest Chicago neighborhood.
In Boston, festering racial hatred left over from the city's school integration battle has burst open, with daily skirmishes between blacks and whites over the right to swim at a public beach.
For the past 12 days, riot-helmeted police have had to break up confrontations at Carson Beach, a three-quarter mile stretch of sand that separates all-white south Beston and the largely black Columbia Point housing project.
Officials say the issue is simple: Blacks want to use the beach, and whites want them to stay away.