The Crusader Newspaper Group

The Crusader will rise above dirty tricks in mayoral campaign

Photo caption: Dorothy R. Leavell, editor and publisher at The Chicago Crusader Newspaper

I want to emphasize the importance of everyone exercising their right to vote.  We have lost too many people who gave the supreme sacrifice for us to have the right to vote, for us not to vote. Read more reasons for the importance of voting in our editorial on page 4 in this issue.

Not often do I editorialize, but I am perturbed about an issue that has occurred during this mayoral runoff.

The issue is disturbing; as a result the Crusader will not offer an endorsement in the April 4 run-off election for Mayor.

The immoral actions exhibited and dirt thrown in this election period, especially the run-off for Mayor, play into the hate demonstrated January 6, 2021, when insurrectionists attacked the United States Capitol and caused deaths and destruction that had never occurred in the United States’ history.

I am deeply concerned that those unthinkable insurrectionist actions, coupled with campaign dirty tricks, exacerbate the climate of hate in this city and beyond, a climate so thick you can cut it with a knife.

I am concerned that some of the people and organizations that have endorsed the candidates in both camps are toxic.

Working with the Chicago Crusader for 62 years, initially as secretary, later thrust into the role of publisher when my husband, Crusader co-founder Balm Leavell, passed suddenly, in all these years I can’t remember a dirtier election campaign. And never did I visualize the Crusader becoming part of the campaign.

In 62 years, there has not ever been a misuse of the most sacred symbol of this publication.

I am outraged, because one of the campaigns has violated us. Our logo, the symbol of our trusted Crusader newspaper was used without our permission. This symbol to me is more precious than my own name, Dorothy R. Leavell.

The campaign featured printed campaign material, and used our logo, appearing as if the Crusader was endorsing his candidacy. It included a headline that appeared in a bylined story written by a Crusader freelance writer.

They used the United States Postal Service to mail the campaign material to a large number of Chicagoans. How many? I don’t know, but I am sure the Black community was heavily targeted.

The Crusader has remained a for-profit newspaper.  As such, we can exercise the right to endorse candidates, when many newspapers including the Chicago Sun-Times and The Chicago Reader among others, have become not-for-profit entities, restricting their viewpoint.

We receive many calls from Crusader readers every election, callers seeking our thoughts regarding who the Crusader’s editorial board considers the best candidate/s. Readers want to know who the Crusader thinks will address their concerns and will protect their rights so they experience the best possible living conditions, have access to fair and equitable jobs, and freedom to express opinions.

To use the down home vernacular, they ask what candidate will have their back.  In this election, we expected that person would be Black.

In 1983 when Harold Washington was in a campaign to become the first Black mayor of Chicago, the second largest city in the United States, it was clear Washington was Black and daring to be the mayor of Chicago, widely viewed as the most racist city in the United States.

It was exciting; there were racist tactics used, but the campaign wasn’t as ugly as this year’s race for the mayor’s seat has been.

The overt racism became ugly and more blatant after Washington took office. The “Vrdolyak 29” (the 29 City Councilmen) constantly opposed Mayor Washington.

The antics we have become accustomed to in politics, were usually perpetrated by whites, not Black candidates. That’s what makes it different this time.

Let’s be frank, Chicago has at this time a Black Mayor, a Black Cook County Board President, a Black States Attorney. The list of Blacks in high places is long, much longer than ever before.

The country has had a Black President, and currently has a Black Vice President, so history has been made.

Now, the question becomes: “As a people with representation in high political office, are we better off today than before?”

Answer that for yourself. Here is what I think.

In my opinion the answer is a resounding NO!

  1. Why?? Because the people we voted for because they were Black, and who we thought would work in our best interests, are in fact as self-centered as those we point to of the Caucasian race. As the movie title says, “It’s all about the Benjamins.”

And, might I add, many commit to public service to gain and then maintain, control. Not healthy control, control for themselves and their interests.

It’s a new day.

Because of the deceptive tactics this campaign has employed, I have a renewed spirit. I will work harder than before to ensure the Crusader’s reputation continues to be held in the highest esteem.

We value our reputation as a publication telling the truth about issues important to the Black community. The Chicago Crusader is one of the few Black newspapers in Chicago still standing. In many instances, our publication will serve as an historical document because we are in many instances the only newspaper reporting from the Black perspective. As such, I am fiercely protective of the Crusader’s integrity.

I will continue fighting, with the same purpose Black publishers Samuel Russwurm and John Cornish displayed when they founded Freedom’s Journal on March 16, 1827, and that purpose is, “We wish to plead our own cause, too often some other has spoken for us…”

The Crusader will remain “The Militant Voice of the People.”

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