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Chicago and the Rise of Barack Obama, 1985-2008 Bus Tour
Chicago Cultural Center (Tour Start & End)
Chicago, IL
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Chicago and the Rise of Barack Obama, 1985-2008 Bus Tour
One of the most improbable, rapid, and stunning ascents in American political history occurred five years ago this November: the election of Chicago's Barack Obama as President of the United States. Forgotten Chicago, Pullman-area native Tom Shepherd, and The Public Historian Cynthia Ogorek are proud to present an exclusive, first-ever tour of sites crucial to the rise of Barack Obama in Chicago in the years before his first election to the White House.

On Sunday November 10 join us for what promises to be a unique and enlightening bus tour highlighting many Chicago sites that helped shape Obama and his historic rise to the presidency between 1985 and 2008, including his early role as a community organizer. The tour will include a rare opportunity to hear from those who worked with Obama during his early career in Chicago.

When Obama moved to Chicago from New York City, his political career notably did not begin in Hyde Park; he would start his work as a community activist on the Far South Side, including organizing in Altgeld Gardens, a Chicago Housing Authority community near the Calumet River built just after World War II. Besides discussing Obama's work helping Altgeld Gardens residents in their effort for asbestos removal in this vast housing project, we'll take a look at what remains of one of noted Chicago modernist architects George Fred and William Keck's least-known works, an "essential services building" that included a supermarket, beauty parlor, tailor and a tavern when completed in 1946. Keck & Keck were two of Chicago's most innovative architects and designed hundreds of projects in the Midwest, including buildings for the 1933-34 Century of Progress World's Fair, and were early pioneers in passive solar home design.

Obama notably also worked as a community organizer in the Pullman community, one of the sites being discussed as a possible site of the Barack Obama Presidential Library and Museum after Obama leaves office in 2017. Pullman was established beginning in 1879 and would be known around the world as a "model" industrial town; its notorious labor troubles would become equally well known. Our tour will visit and discuss Pullman's unique built environment, labor and industrial history spanning three centuries, and the role Obama played as a community organizer in this fascinating community.

No tour of Barack Obama's history and career in Chicago would be complete without a visit to Hyde Park, where Obama taught at the University of Chicago from 1992 to 2004 and from where he won his first election in 1996. Utilizing a 52-passenger motor coach, this tour will drive past some of the sites critical to Obama's later Chicago career; many other notable Hyde Park landmarks will also be seen and discussed. Our tour includes a cafeteria lunch at Valois, one of the President's favorite restaurants.

Also offering insights to Obama's early career will be Cheryl Johnson, Director of People for Community Recovery; Cheryl recalls the many times Obama spent at the Johnson home with Cheryl's mother, the late Hazel Johnson to discuss environmental issues, jobs, poverty, housing, and other issues in Altgeld Gardens. We will also hear from Bea Lumpin, who worked firsthand with Obama organizing former Wisconsin Steel steelworkers. Historian Cynthia Ogorek will discuss Michelle Obama's role in the community and the long history of First Ladies hailing from Chicago,

Don't miss this rare opportunity to discover the Chicago-related history of Barack Obama, five years since his historic election. Purchase today!

Tour Details:

When? Sunday November 10 at 10 AM. Rain or shine. Check-in by 10 AM; bus leaves at 10:30 sharp.

Where? The tour will begin and end in front of the Chicago Cultural Center, Randolph at Michigan (77 E. Randolph). Check-in will take place in the inner Randolph Street Lobby.

How Long? The bus tour will last between 4 1/2 and 5 hours (including a couple blocks of walking in Hyde Park), returning to the Cultural Center by 3:30 PM.

How much? $59 per person. Includes cafeteria lunch at Valois. Advance purchase is required. No walk-ups. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. If severe weather cancels the tour, credit will be issued for use on a tour of equal value.



Chicago Cultural Center (Tour Start & End) (View)
77 E. Randolph
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

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Education > Tours

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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