By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
For months Victor Love has been secretly working with Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) to name a street after his mother. On March 4th hundreds crammed into Josephine’s Cooking Restaurant, including the mayor, to wish Josephine Wade a happy 75th birthday. It was also to unveil her name on a street sign by her famous eatery.
At 79th and Vernon the fruits of Love’s hard work will forever be a reminder of a son’s love for his mother. It reads “Mother Josephine Wade Way.” His mother turned 75 on March 8th.
The street naming was a surprise to Wade who co-owns the restaurant with her son located at 436 E. 79th St. It’s better known as Captain Hardtimes. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp were among the Who’s Who list of city, state, county and federal elected officials, the presidents of several TV stations and supporters who attended the celebration.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans attended the event along with Representatives Bobby Rush (1st), Danny Davis (D-7th), Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, Rev. Janette Wilson, Rev. Walter Turner, Rev. Johnny Miller, Archbishop Lucius Hall, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), ComEd representatives and many others.
But the celebrations continued through Sunday evening where an equally large Who’s Who crowd gathered to break bread and give their blessings to Mother Wade.
With his father in Selma celebrating the 52nd anniversary of the march across Edmund Pettus Bridge, Jonathan Jackson and his son, Jonathan Jr., Saturday stopped by to wish Wade a happy birthday. “This is a tremendous honor for the community. Mother Wade has serviced so many people for so long.
“She is a tireless servant, a great entrepreneur and an excellent restaurateur. She is certainly worthy of the sign and the placard. I wish her continued health, wealth and success. She means so much to so many people…,” said Jackson who was representing his father, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Mrs. Wade said, “This is the most special day anyone could ask for. Chicago has proven their dedication and love. This is proof that they love me, and the turnout was extraordinary. I’ve never seen the kind of people here.”
Wade heads the We Women Empowered organization where she helps underprivileged youth. She celebrated this too, but Wade is forever helping others like Howard Medley, who heads Medley Moving & Storage.
“He was a mover and shaker and most people do not know that he took care of PUSH, Rev. Willie Taplin Barrow and Rev. Addie Wyatt,” Wade said of the legends both of whom have passed.
“It’s time for the city of Chicago and take care of him, and will let the chips fall where they may,” Wade said of Medley. “He did a lot for this city and for us. We want to free his name so we can free his spirit.”
Wade was referring to former CTA Commissioner Howard Medley
who was convicted of taking a bribe —a charge he denies and the federal tapes proved his innocence but were never introduced into evidence. “We are going to revisit his case and bring it forth,” she vowed.
Ald. Sawyer said Wade “has touched all of our lives in so many different ways but always willing and able to help….”
Dr. Lona C. Bibbs, Wade’s long-time friend, said, “You always want to give people flowers while they can still smell them. This was an awesome event. It was supposed to be just a birthday celebration but the street naming was the icing on the cake. This will be a day she will always remember.”