The Crusader Newspaper Group

Goodbye Chicago and the Crusader

Journalism interns share their experiences as summer programs ends

It’s time to say goodbye to Chicago. The deep dish pizza lived up to the hype. The roof top bar at Navy Pier left us awestruck. The simple rides on the CTA El brought us closer to Chicago in more ways the one.  The story assignments were challenging and inspiring.

Crusader journalism interns at the Harold Washington Library to research information for a story on the 100th anniversary of the Race Riots in Chicago. (Photo by Tedarius Abrams)

We came to Chicago not knowing what to expect. After three weeks of press conferences, deadlines, and news stories, we had an experience that we will never forget. Along the way, we discovered the unexpected. We interviewed the Rev. Jesse Jackson, reported on R. Kelly from his bond hearing and visited former President Barack Obama’s home. We came up short in interviewing Michelle Obama over the phone, but the pursuit of the first lady was a thrill in itself. Then there were the drones the Crusader gifted us near the end of our wonderful journalism internship.

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Jennifer Hudson lit up Ravinia with her perfomance at the prominent event in Highland Park. (Photo by Tedarius Abrams)

And who would have thought that we would be yards away to see another Chicago icon, Jennifer Hudson, perform at Ravinia! The elaborate picnic spreads on the lawn was something we didn’t expect to see. It was an unforgettable evening. Hudson dazzled in purple and sang as if there was no tomorrow. She inspired us with her soulful “How Great Thou Art.”

Crusader Journalism intern Elae Hill interviews Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. for a story. (Photo by Tedarius Abrams)

And how great is Chicago. It’s restaurants, nightlife, downtown, neighborhoods and diversity. It’s bittersweet to leave this city, but we depart with personal growth and gratitude to the Crusader and so many people who made this experience empowering and inspiring.

2019DTU Fellows BioPic 250X250 v2Tedarius Renard Abrams
Tedarius Abrams

Tedarius Abrams is a senior at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona, Florida. He’s an aspiring photographer whose budding future is coming into focus

By Tedarius Abrams

Chicago has been one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. Every day there was something new for me to learn and enjoy. I never imagined that I would have such a great time here as a student. From the food to the people to the festivals and journalistic opportunities, my Chicago internship was one of those things that you tell your kids about.

Before I came to Chicago, negative publicity was all that I knew of the city, too many shootings and people acting crazy. And when I left home for my internship, my dad kept telling me to be careful. Though living in the heart of the city in Bronzeville and traveling to and from the Crusader on the infamous O Block, and traversing the city on assignment, I haven’t really seen any reason to be afraid. Chicago seems to be no more dangerous than any other city. I actually feel safer here than in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

As my internship closes, I’m sad to leave Chicago. The Crusader staff has made Chicago feel like it could be a second home for me. From the first day when Erick Johnson gave us a folder with maps of the city, our own business cards, and our own press passes, I knew that I was in for something that I would never forget.

My most memorable moment of being here for a short time is attending ComplexCon, a streetwear conference, at McCormick Place. I have always wanted to go to the conference on its home turf in Long Beach, CA. Where I’m from, most people don’t even know what it is. It is really hard to want to do something different when everyone around you is doing the same thing and not trying to break out of the bubble. I am actually glad I was introduced to a city with such great people, who have such a dynamic culture. In my hometown it seems the culture is limited to seafood and shooting up public events.

I can definitely see myself moving to Chicago in the future. I have always wanted to be in a place where creative people like me are supported and able to find other creative people to mentor them to success. I believe that I have found that network of people in Chicago at the Chicago Crusader.

I have to congratulate the City of Chicago for hosting the many summer events that entice residents and tourists and create such a terrific summer atmosphere of fun and festivity.

I would truly like to thank the Crusader Publisher, Mrs. Dorothy Leavell, and the entire Crusader staff for making my teammates and me feel like we belong at this thriving publication, here in this energetic, interesting city. I’m leaving with the feeling that I have skills and am appreciated. Thank you, Chicago Crusader.


2019DTU Fellows BioPic 250X250 v2Sharon Washington
Sharon Washington

Sharon Joy Washington just graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida A&M University. A career in television, film or even law awaits her, but her creativity is still blooming as she continues a rich journey of self-discovery and endless possibilities

By Sharon Washington


The Windy City has been so good to me. I am going to miss the abundance of all that Chicago has to offer. As much as I’ve enjoyed the food, city, events and breaking news, my favorite experience was riding the CTA train. It is so convenient and has allowed me to have the time to read more.

Chicago has such a rich history, especially in the realm of the Black Press. I grew up with the Black Press and didn’t really realize it until my experience here in Chicago. Ebony and Jet Magazines were staple household items in my home growing up. I didn’t know that they were founded and housed here in Chicago. I also learned about the long legacy of both the Chicago Defender and Crusader.

During my time here, I’ve been reading Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming.” Needless to say, she is a true example of achieving the “American Dream.” I have gained so much respect for her since being here. We got the chance to visit the Obama mansion and even see the street she grew up on. Through her book and my experiences as an intern, I am motivated to achieve my highest dreams and live my life to the fullest.

Chicago has produced so many influential leaders. Being here felt like I’d grown as one of those leaders myself.

My first experience with the Chicago food scene was Daley’s Restaurant which is recognized as the city’s oldest establishment. There I enjoyed a nice coffee and vegetarian omelet. From there, I’ve enjoyed Peach’s, Slice and Lem’s – all very respected eateries in the city. I’ve also enjoyed food in the heart of the city at Hot Wok and Cold Sushi. I even had the chance to taste a multitude of the city’s rich food scene when we attended the Taste of Chicago.

The city is a melting pot of cultures. From the soul of the South Side to the complexity of its chilly winters, Chicago has taught me so much about the nation itself.

A full stomach isn’t all that I can brag on about my experience. The stories that we were able to cover have re-opened my eyes to the excitement that journalism offers. My two favorite stories are the R. Kelly bond hearing and the ‘David Makes Man’ television premiere. I have a love for the entertainment industry. Both of those stories allowed me to tap into that interest.

Chicago has been such an insightful city. I am going to miss it. As I reflect on the time I’ve spent with the Crusader, I am definitely going to miss it here.


2019DTU Fellows BioPic 250X250 v2Elae Hill
Elae Hill

Elae Hill is a junior at North Carolina A&T. Blessed with a deep, radio voice, Hill has his sights on Hollywood, but his time at the Crusader was a thriller that may lead to a sequel

By Elae Hill

Bulls City, the Windy City, or Chi-Town, the city of Chicago has been very special to me during my time here. The Chicago Crusader since day one has welcomed me as one of three interns, embracing each of us with open arms, initiating us into the workings of the Black Press.

Both the urban and upscale areas of Chicago, and the city’s significant features, make Chicago a colorful city.

I grew up not hearing too much about the Black Press and its importance. This internship has been an exceptional learning experience. It has made me realize the depth and breadth of reporting and appreciate the work, and the opportunities to tell people’s stories. Our communities need a news source they feel relates to them and understands them. I thank the Chicago Crusader staff members for this experience.

This was my first fellowship/internship. I’m not only glad that I got to work with the Black Press, but I’m proud to have had the opportunity to work among Black professionals who have  uplifted our spirits in going after our dreams. They encouraged us to carry ourselves in a respectable manner.

From covering baseball games, to the R. Kelly bond hearing, to previewing network television shows, to covering the ComplexCon streetwear conference, all of these journalistic assignments have helped improve my writing and investigative skills.

Overall, I have been inspired as a young journalist. The skills and knowledge I’ve developed over this summer have been impactful. I look forward to applying the information and skills I’ve learned during the Chicago Crusader internship this fall when I return to A&T.

I’m more motivated to perfect my skills, create my own brand and to explore creative ideas to produce strong editorial content.

Once again, I would like to thank everyone at the Chicago Crusader and Erick Johnson for making my time here memorable, and an internship I will never forget.


The interns will drive their Chevrolet Blazer to Detroit, where they will honored at a special ceremony. They will go their separate ways and fly back home.

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