Alex Kotlowitz reports on a woman with the power to change two people's lives...and at the height of her power, she doesn't even know she has it. Alex is the author of Never a City So Real and other books.
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To understand how Cicero reacted when Hispanics started flooding into town, you have to understand how it dealt with conflict in the past. For a period the town was run by Al Capone, and the mob was connected to Town Hall for most of the twentieth century.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a wave of non-white migration into Cicero begins, this one primarily Mexican-American. The head of the political machine is named Betty Loren-Maltese, whose husband, now deceased, was convicted for mob-related activity.
Two stories about daily life in Cicero. First the tale of Dave Boyle, who stumbled into Cicero politics accidentally in the 1980s, suffered the bruises, and left town.
When Jessica Robinson was sent to adult prison at the age of 14, the state did such a terrible job taking care of her that several women—an embezzler, a convicted murderer, and some thieves—stepped in to mother her. Alex Kotlowitz reports.
Most murders in Chicago happen in public places — parks, alleyways, cars. Scores of Harper students will tell you they've actually seen someone shot.