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  • Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization
  • Robert Lucas with Mayor Harold Washington, 1987

By all accounts, Robert Lucas was often irascible, uncompromising, and battle-prone. We could use more like him.

Lucas died a couple of weeks ago and was memorialized last night at Rainbow-Push. I only spoke with him once, some years ago, but I’ve always loved his story. The guy had guts and passion.

In 1966, when he was a postal worker and the leader of the Chicago chapter of CORE, Lucas broke ranks with other civil rights activists to rip the toothless open-housing agreement that had just been forged between his erstwhile ally, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mayor Richard J. Daley. “Nothing but another promise on a piece of paper,” Lucas said.