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Jorja Palmer

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Information about Jorja Palmer

Profile image of Jorja Palmer

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Watermelon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana, Toronto, Canada
Favorite Quote:
What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
6/16/1930
Birth Location:
New Madrid, Missouri

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Community Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Orange
Favorite Food:
Watermelon
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
New Orleans, Louisiana, Toronto, Canada
Favorite Quote:
What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
6/16/1930
Birth Location:
New Madrid
See how Jorja Palmer is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Consummate community activist and people's strategist Jorja English Palmer was born Jorja Williams on June 16, 1930 in New Madrid, Missouri. Her parents, Elizabeth and Frank Williams, moved Palmer and her seven siblings to Chicago in 1933. Palmer attended Forestville Elementary, graduated from DuSable High School in 1948 and attended Woodrow Wilson Junior College (Kennedy-King College).

Keenly interested in history as a youth, Palmer was a voracious reader who loved to discuss local and international issues. As a young mother, she was drawn to neighborhood meetings and by 1960 she was head of the West Chatham Improvement Organization Education Committee and sent by that body to the newly formed Chicago Community Council Organization (CCCO). The CCCO's issue was the elimination of the "Willis Wagons," portable trailers authorized by school superintendent Benjamin Willis that supplanted new school construction in Chicago's overcrowded segregated black neighborhoods. Palmer was an important leader in the CCCO's historic school boycott, in which 80 percent of black families kept their children out of school. In the 70s, she engaged in the fight for an African American School Board President for the Chicago Public Schools. Palmer made history as a delegate to the National Black Political Assembly in Gary, Indiana. She also joined with Thomas Todd, Lu Palmer and Congressman Ralph Metcalfe in the formation of the Black Crime Commission to combat police brutality.

In 1976, she married journalist and political pundit Lu Palmer. Together, they were determined to fight the status quo. In the 80s, Lu and Jorja made a move for real community power when they convened "Toward A Black Mayor" at Malcolm X College in 1981. It was Jorja Palmer who came up with the process for selecting a black mayoral candidate. The Palmers launched the largest voter registration drive in U. S. history, solidifying a core constituency of black voters that persuaded Harold Washington to run for Mayor of the City of Chicago. On October 22, 1992, Palmer established the Stanford English Home for Boys, the first group home for African American children in Illinois, named for her later autistic son. Palmer lived with her husband on Chicago's south side until her death on December 29, 2005.

See how Jorja Palmer is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Jorja Palmer's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer shares family stories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes why some of her family members fled from the South to the North
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer talks about her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer describes the deaths of each of her parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer describes her paternal family's educational philosophy
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer describes what she learned from her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer describes her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer describes her family origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer talks about her extended family that lived in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Jorja Palmer describes growing up on welfare in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Jorja Palmer talks about having enough to eat as a child, despite being poor
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer talks about grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer talks about excelling in grade school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer talks about her love of reading as a youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer talks about her brother's gang involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer describes South Side Chicago's gang culture during the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer describes her childhood community in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer talks about restrictive covenants in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer talks about the community organizing she witnessed as a youth in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer reflects upon the tragedies of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer describes her experiences attending DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer describes working with Walter Henri Dyett as a student at DuSable High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer talks about the newspaper she started at DuSable High School, the DuSable Dial
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer describes her experiences attending DuSable High School during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes how the teachers at DuSable High School influenced her
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer talks about the French Literature she studied as a student at DuSable High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer describes her career aspirations as a student at the University of Illinois-Navy Pier
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer talks about getting married and having children
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer describes the Chicago Public School overcrowding issues of the early 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer talks about becoming involved with the PTA as a vehicle to organize against Chicago school overcrowding in the 1950s, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer talks about becoming involved with the PTA as a vehicle to organize against Chicago school overcrowding in the 1950s, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer describes how the Chicago Public Schools boycott was conceptualized
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Jorja Palmer describes organizing the Chicago Public Schools boycott of the 1960s, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Jorja Palmer describes organizing the Chicago Public Schools boycott of the 1960s, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer describes how she learned to organize and her organizing strategies for the Chicago Public Schools boycott of 1963
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer describes what caused the Chicago Community Council Organization and other organizing groups to boycott Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer describes the organizing strategies for the West Side and South Side of Chicago for the 1963 boycott of the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes the Chicago Public Schools boycott of 1963
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer describes how Dr. James Redmond was pressured to revoke Chicago's neighborhood school policy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer talks about chairing the education committee for the first National Black Power Conference in 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer describes working with Anderson Thompson and HistoryMaker Harold Pates to start the Black Communiversity
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer describes her philosophy on success and education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer talks about the Chicago Community Council Organization meeting with Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer describes how the Chicago Community Council Organization's focus shifted from education to fair and equal housing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer describes the Chicago Community Council Organization's organization strategies for fair and equal housing
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Jorja Palmer describes how white block clubs responded to the Chicago Community Council Organization's fight for fair and equal housing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer describes the violent opposition marchers faced in the fight for fair and equal housing in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer describes the violent opposition marchers faced in the fight for fair and equal housing in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer describes the violent opposition marchers faced in the fight for fair and equal housing in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 3
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes how white supporters reacted to the violence black marchers faced during a 1966 march for fair and equal housing
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer talks about the protests that took place during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer recalls the early stages of the riots following the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer talks about the Community Action Training Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer talks about working with sex workers through the Community Action Training Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer talks about teaching classes on police corruption through the Community Action Training Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer recalls the riots that followed the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Jorja Palmer recalls the riots that followed the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer shares her thoughts about the Center for Black Strategy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer talks about the Black Communiversity
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer describes the National Black Political Assembly
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes how she developed her relationship with her second husband, HistoryMaker Lu Palmer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer talks about calling for a "white curfew" after the murders of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer talks about HistoryMaker C.T. Vivian announcing the "white curfew" order in 1969
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer talks about writing the "white curfew" order with HistoryMaker Lu Palmer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer describes the philosophy behind the "white curfew" order, and why it was not successful
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer describes an incident where she and her girlfriends were profiled by the police
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer talks about how people of different cultures are infiltrating business districts in black communities, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer talks about how people of different cultures are infiltrating business districts in black communities, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Jorja Palmer talks about growing old with her husband, HistoryMaker Lu Palmer
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Jorja Palmer describes how the Women's Auxiliary of the Lu Palmer Foundation organized the plebiscite to elect a black mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Jorja Palmer lists individuals on the plebiscite to elect a black mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Jorja Palmer describes public response to the plebiscite to elect a black mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Jorja Palmer describes the results of the plebiscite to elect a black mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Jorja Palmer describes what was taught in political education classes during the campaign to elect Mayor Harold Washington, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Jorja Palmer describes what was taught in political education classes during the campaign to elect Mayor Harold Washington, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Jorja Palmer describes the strategies used to select and de-select candidates for the Democratic Party
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Jorja Palmer describes how students in the political education classes she led were assigned to organize in predominately black wards
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Jorja Palmer describes the organizing strategies she employed during the campaign to elect Harold Washington Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Jorja Palmer describes how public relations strategies aided the campaign to elect Harold Washington Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Jorja Palmer describes the rally she organized in support of Harold Washington's campaign for Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Jorja Palmer describes election day during Harold Washington's campaign for Mayor of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 14 - Jorja Palmer reflects upon the contributions she and her husband, HistoryMaker Lu Palmer, made to Mayor Harold Washington's election campaign