about us | contact | for sale   congregations

Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        
     "The of the IAF staff members at this time was to uncover the real concerns of the residents of Woodlawn. ... A number of complaints began to be articulated. the grievances that stood out above all others was the exploitation, lying, and cheating by some of the businessmen in the area. Credit buying was enslaving some of the residents of Woodlawn. Overcharging, a common practice in most slum areas, was rampant. Woodlawnites were found to be victims of underweighing, of shoddy merchandise, of false cash register totals. ... Here was an issue made to order for a vigorous young organization ready to flex its muscles. Temporary Woodlawn Organization's (TWO) action illustrates several important principles of community organization. To act on this issue would serve the needs of many people; it was a dramatic, indigenous issue; it was relatively small; it was a battle that TWO could probably win; results would come quickly; it promised to give TWO a great deal of publicity; it was an issue on which TWO and honest businessmen could unite. ...

     "TWO wanted to expose unscrupulous businessmen and confront them with an angry, determined community. What was the most effective tactic? TWO organized a gigantic Square Deal Parade down 63rd Street ... it was carried out as scheduled. More than a thousand singing, sign-carrying citizens gave effective vent to their years of frustration over exploitation. The parade was a resounding success. It made headlines in all major Chicago newspapers. But TWO went beyond the headlines. ... The demonstration itself brought about no real changes. ... TWO then distributed leaflets throughout the community naming offending merchants and urging citizens of the area to boycott them. Another tactic was created. TWO invited people to bring purchases they suspected of being shoddy or falsely advertised such as radios that did not play, or used clothing sold as new, to public meetings. Each person told his story in front of the whole assembly. TWO, through its committee, took the case in hand, studied the claims of the persons, and if their complaint was legitimate, took it up with the merchants. The offended party, when given redress, once more appeared before the TWO meeting, told of the restitution that had been made, and thanked both TWO and the merchant for the square deal received. Each instance was another small but meaningful victory for the people. ...

     "TWO wond the battle. Dishonest business practices sharply declined. TWO's prestige soared, and new groups joined the organization. TWO was ready to take on some tougher issues."

Excerpts from Black Self-Determination: The Story of the Woodlawn Organization by Arthur M. Brazier, Eerdmans, 1969, p. 38-41.  For Brazier on power go to POWER.

Return to Homepage

  CSCO, P.O. Box 60123, Dayton, OH 45406; email:cscocbco@aol.com phone:508-799-7726