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10 Great Stories to Read Right Now

A turning point in Chicago history, a deep-dive on pizza, and a fond farewell to an iconic newspaper.

Crowds gather at the 29th Street beach in the wake of Eugene Williams’s death, the catalyst of the 1919 race riot.   Photo: Chicago History Museum and The Chicago Defender

1. Blood in the Streets

A hundred years ago, Chicago experienced the worst spasm of racial violence in the city’s history. Here’s how the riot unfolded, in the words of those who lived it. Robert Loerzel unearths never-before-seen tales in Chicago.

2. “This City Is Killing Me”

In Jonathan Foiles’s new book, the writer and mental health professional looks at how community trauma can be toxic, stressful and deadly for the city’s most vulnerable. BELT magazine has an excerpt from Foiles’s forthcoming book.

3. Chicago’s Real Signature Pizza Is Crispy, Crunchy, and Nothing Like Deep Dish

A veritable Buckingham Fountain worth of ink has been spilled about Chicago pizza, but what’s another deep dive? Bon Appetit realizes that square-cut party-style pizza exists.

4. RIP Juneway Beach, 1959–2019

As lake levels hit unprecedented highs, Chicago is losing its northern beaches. Edward McClelland memorializes his neighborhood shoreline for Chicago.

5. The Long, Complicated History of Black Cinema in Chicago

Black Chicago is multi-faceted and full of nuance. How well do the movies about it get the story right? Complex evaluates the legacy.

6. A Last Look at Ebony’s Archives, Before They’re Sold

The most significant collection of photographs depicting African-American life in the 20th century is being auctioned. Historians fear the archive could end up hidden away. The New York Times lingers on the legacy of Ebony magazine’s invaluable archive.

7. Jackie Taylor

The Black Ensemble Theater founder, 67, on growing up in Cabrini and why she snubbed New York. Chicago checks in with Taylor for its Backroom series.

8. ‘Staggering’ Number of Children Exposed to Violence in Chicago; New Study Says Kid Population Greater in High-Homicide Areas

Roughly 60 percent of Chicago’s youngest children lived in community areas where 91 percent of homicides took place, according an analysis by the Erikson Institute. The Tribune looks at the way the city’s troubling trend is shaping childhood for thousands of the city’s youngest residents.

9. The Exemplary Legacy of the Chicago Defender

Former Defender Executive Editor and Managing Editor Glenn Reedus talks to Isaac Chotiner about what the paper meant for a generation of black Americans, Chicago and what it means for the future of black news publishing. The New Yorker has the interview.

10. As Other Cities Replace Water Lines Without Tearing up Streets and Trees, Chicago Refuses to Try It: ‘the Old Chicago Way’ at Work, Critics Say

Cities like Toronto and Evanston are using a cheaper and less invasive replacement technology, cured-in-place pipe, but the city water department rejected it after a “tainted” pilot program. Block Club Chicago investigates.

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