South Side Chicagoan, Edward Vaughn, aka Rockstar EV, studied rocket science in college and now hopes to become a rock star. Editor/photographer Jordan Arseneau captures his remarkable talent for ABC 7’s Black History Month special, OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSERVERANCE.
ABC 7 CHICAGO celebrates Black History Month with vignettes, a series of news stories and a half-hour special “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE.”
Hosted by ABC 7’s Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, “OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” showcases the unique stories and cultural contributions of Black Chicagoans. The half-hour program airs Saturday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. with an encore presentation the following day on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11 p.m. and will also stream live exclusively on abc7chicago.com and ABC 7’s Connected TV Apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.
Burton and Sanders host the special from historic Liberty Baptist Church, located at 49th Street and Martin Luther King Drive. Built in 1956, Liberty Baptist Church served as Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s home base during his “Chicago Freedom Movement.” They will kick off the show highlighting the historic influence of Black churches in Chicago.
Vignettes featuring amazing, every day Chicagoans will be showcased throughout February on ABC7, including Englewood resident, guitarist and engineer, Edward Vaughn, “Rockstar E.V.”; inspirational, dancing crossing guard, Tammy Anderson; bakery and candy factory entrepreneur, Stephanie Hart; author and advocate Leanne Stuckey; Loyola University’s AfroDescent Dance Team and caretaker Jeannette Jordan, who reflects on her remarkable love story.
“OUR CHICAGO: SPIRIT AND PERSEVERANCE” highlights individuals and groups in the Black Chicago community with unique stories and community contributions including the following:
Chicago Freedom Movement: In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta, moved to Chicago, where he launched the Chicago Freedom Movement, the historic open housing campaign which was Dr. King’s first major protest movement in the North. The campaign had a major influence on Chicago – it brought Jesse Jackson to the city, where he launched Operation Breadbasket. It also brought other major figures to the city, like Rev. Al Sampson, a longtime minister on the South Side. The special revisits this historic campaign with Rev. Sampson, King biographer Jonathan Eig and others.
Life is Sweet: Owner Stephanie Hart, one of Chicago’s most notable minority businesswomen and owner of beloved South Side bakery Brown Sugar, is keeping the candy making business in Chicago. She purchased the Cupid Candies factory, brought it back to life and is now aiming to expand her Life is Sweet candy treats to a larger market. By renovating the factory, Hart helps the neighborhood, creates jobs and gives people a chance to make a living wage. Hart is one of the only Black-owned candy makers in the country.
Chicago’s “Notebook” Love Story – In Sickness and in Health: Pastor Jeannette Jordan and her husband, Dr. Robert Jordan, have been married for over 50 years and share five children. Robert, a retired pediatrician, became Rush Hospital’s first Black chief resident of pediatrics in 1979. A few years ago, Robert was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Now, his wife, Jeannette, has dedicated her life to caring for him.
Mielle Organics: Chicago founders Monique and Melvin Rodriguez established the Merrillville, Indiana-based hair and skin care company, Mielle Organics, in their basement. Now worth $100 million, they follow in the footsteps of great Black-owned hair care companies from the past, like Johnson Products and Soft Sheen (owned by Edward and Bettiann Gardner).
Loyola AfroDescent Dance Team: AfroDescent is the first and only African dance team at Loyola University Chicago that expresses themselves through the movement of their African
ancestors and a variety of styles that have transcended from the African diaspora. As a diverse team, they seek to highlight the joyous and artistic expression of African Dance and showcase them to the Loyola community.
Faith Leaders Bring Credit Union to Austin Neighborhood: Faith leaders at the Great True Vine Baptist Church in Austin join forces with a local investment banker to open a credit union at a neighborhood community center later this year in hopes of bringing financial stability to the people of Austin.
ABC7 Eyewitness news will feature many compelling stories for Black History Month under the banner “Building a Better Chicago,” including the following:
· Anchor Rob Elgas takes a trip to Funky Town, the first Black-owned brewery in Chicago.
· Reporter Leah Hope reports on the local mother behind Ida’s Artisan Ice Cream. Her ice cream will be featured at the Museum of Ice Cream starting in February.
· Anchor Samantha Chatman investigates diversity in dispensaries, exploring the number of Black marijuana dispensary applicants in comparison to the number of approved applicants that obtain dispensary licenses.
· Race and Culture Reporter Will Jones highlights a local entrepreneur spreading positive messages through clothing.
· Reporter John Garcia delves into The Bears Organization to uncover the progress of diversity in their program.
· Traffic Anchor Roz Varon takes a trip back in time visiting an exhibit called The Negro Motorist Green Book