Chicago Crusader staff report
Alderman Willie Cochran (20th Ward) at 12 noon on Friday, October 7, will host a dual street naming ceremony after Chicago Crusader founders Balm L. Leavell, Jr. and Joseph H. Jefferson as well as business tycoon Herman Roberts.
Community leaders will gather to see 63rd to 67th Streets on South King Drive named after the Chicago trailblazers who made significant contributions in the Black community. Refreshments will be served at the Chicago Crusader offices immediately following the ceremony.
Leavell and Jefferson started the Chicago Crusader in 1940 in the Ida B. Wells housing projects in Bronzeville. The two received support from the Negro Labor Relations League, which forced Bowman’s Dairy, Agar Meat Company and many other companies to reverse its discriminatory practices after leading successful boycotts against the companies. In 2015, the Chicago Crusader celebrated its 75th Anniversary at the Loews Chicago Hotel. In 1961, Leavell and Jefferson founded the Crusader’s sister paper, the Gary Crusader in Gary, Indiana and the newspaper marked its 55th anniversary this past June.
Roberts will be honored for his historic contributions as a businessman and tycoon who ran the Roberts Hotel Showroom and Livery Service. During his illustrious career, he mingled with many prominent Blacks, including Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis, Jr. Duke Ellington, Muhammad Ali and Olympian Jesse Owens, Sarah Vaughn, Aretha Franklin, who performed at his show club. He built several motels and associated businesses in the community.
RSVP your attendance by calling (773) 752-2500 or the 20th Ward Public Service office at (773) 955-5610.