Local News, Opinion

Half Week | July 3: Southland Garden walk/ride, park district holiday schedule, 2 history books for the holidays, remembering Alexis Wilson

Garden walk on wheels

There is no better way to go on the Southland Community Garden Walk than by bike, according to me. The annual fundraiser sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women South Cook is compact this year, with six of the seven gardens located in Flossmoor.

And the helpful Jeffrey Lippert designed a cycling or walking route that can be followed with the Ride with GPS app. He introduced me to the app and the route recently, and it was an idyllic seven-mile ride from one beautiful garden to another, with the app providing spoken directions and a color-coded map to mark progress, icons marking each stop and text alerts of coming challenges such as busy streets to cross.

After installing the app, just search on the map for the Goldberg Park starting point or for “Southland Community Garden Bike 2024.”

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H-F Park District holiday hours

Not every facility will be open Thursday, but there are still some things to do on the Independence Day holiday.

  • Racquet & Fitness Club: 7 a.m. to noon.
  • Lions Club Pool: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Splash Pad at Millennium Park: 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Coyote Run Golf Course: 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Holiday history

We’re taking a short break from the monthly anti-racism library titles.
We just celebrated Juneteenth and are about to celebrate Independence Day, so this month I have recommendations for each.

“Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877” doesn’t cover Union Gen. Gordon Granger’s arrival in Galveston, Texas, to announce that enslaved people were free, but it’s a good Juneteenth read because it reminds us of how fleeting was that moment of hope in the aftermath of the Civil War.

The book is a meticulous study of the Reconstruction period, its halting beginning, tremendous progress in the direction of political and economic equality and ultimate failure as the South regained enough power (and the North enough complacency and complicty) to thwart that progress.

In the epilogue, Foner says, “Perhaps the remarkable thing about Reconstruction was not that it failed, but that it was attempted at all and survived as long as it did.”

For Independence Day, I recommend a book not about the Revolution but about the role ordinary people played in making it possible.

“The Marketplace of the Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence” by T.H. Breen.

The story in the history textbooks I grew up with portrays the Revolution as designed and executed by illustrious heroes with big ideas and unwavering courage.

But Breen explains that consumer culture actually created the cohesive political will that enabled the grand ideas to take root broadly in the colonial population.

First, prosperity led colonists to be able to indulge in manufactured products from England that the American economy did not have the means to produce in mass quantities.

Then an economic downturn and England’s draconian attempts to milk the colonists with the notorious Stamp Act and other measures provoked the colonists to use their power as consumers to fight back.

Breen says the boycotts were an innovation.

“Before this time no other dependent people had so fully come to appreciate that their own economic dependence could be effectively translated into organized resistance, uniting anonymous consumers from Portsmouth to Savannah in a common enterprise that was itself a product of a commercial empire.”

We still use boycotts frequently today, but I didn’t know until I read Breen’s book how far back in our history the tactic’s origins went.

Save the date: Remembering Alexis Wilson

Alexis Wilson of Homewood was killed by Dolton police officers on July 27, 2021. She was 19.

Cara Wilson with her family and friends will be hosting the third annual butterfly release on the anniversary of her daughter’s death. 

The event will be held in Irwin Park, 18120 Highland Ave. starting at 5 p.m. 

The event provides those who knew Alexis an opportunity to share memories and continue their call for justice. 

Late last year, the State Attorney’s Office released its recommendation that the officers not be charged in her death.

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