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Monroe Anderson

Journalist Monroe Anderson III was born on April 6, 1947, in Gary, Indiana. Growing up and attending public schools in Gary, Anderson developed a keen interest in writing at an early age. After graduation from high school in Gary, Indiana, Anderson attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and received his B.A. degree in journalism and English literature. After completing his B.A. degree, Anderson worked as a reporter at the National Observer, as assistant editor of Ebony magazine, and as a correspondent for Newsweek magazine prior to joining the Chicago Tribune. In the late 1980s, Anderson worked as the press secretary for democratic Mayor Eugene Sawyer.

Later in his career, Anderson taught feature writing at Columbia College Chicago, and for thirteen years he was director of station services and community affairs at WBBM-TV (CBS2). During this time at CBS television station in Chicago, he became host and executive producer of the public affairs television show, Common Ground. Anderson is one of the co-authors of the nonfiction book Brothers, which was published by William Morrow & Company in 1988. During Anderson’s thirty-five-year career as an award-winning journalist, Anderson became a contributing author to Restoration 1989: Chicago elects a new Daley, a book published by Lyceum in 1991 detailing the 1989 Chicago mayoral election.

In 2003, Chicago publisher Hermene Hartman named Anderson as editor of N’DIGO, a black community newspaper, and in 2003, Anderson became the editor of SaVoy magazine. Anderson also serves as a board member to the Gilda’s Club, a cancer support center.

Anderson lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Accession Number

A2006.144

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/16/2006 |and| 11/21/2006

Last Name

Anderson

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Pulaski Elementary School

Lincoln Achievement Center

Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy

Indiana University

Search Occupation Category
Speakers Bureau

Yes

First Name

Monroe

Birth City, State, Country

Gary

HM ID

AND03

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Living Well Is The Best Revenge.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

4/6/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Journalist and editor Monroe Anderson (1947 - ) was the press secretary for Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer. He was also the editor for N'Digo and SaVoy magazines.

Employment

Newsweek

Ebony Magazine

Chicago Tribune

WBBM-TV

N'DIGO

Savoy magazine

Chicago Sun-Times

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Monroe Anderson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson describes his maternal grandparents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson remembers his maternal grandmother and great-grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls his early work experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson describes his parents' return to Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Monroe Anderson remembers his home in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson describes the history of Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson talks about his father's profession

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson remembers his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson talks about his relationship with his mother

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson describes his community in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson talks about the notable residents of Gary, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson remembers his brother

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson recalls being injured in a scalding accident

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson describes his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Monroe Anderson remembers his fifth grade teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Monroe Anderson recalls the influence of his English teacher

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Monroe Anderson remembers his early interest in journalism

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson describes his theater experiences at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson remembers his math teachers at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson recalls a lesson from his English teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson recalls joining the football and basketball teams at Theodore Roosevelt High School

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson talks about his early religious experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson describes his childhood personality

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson recalls his experiences of bullying

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers his summer job at the U.S. Steel Corporation's Gary Works in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson recalls being fired from the U.S. Steel Corporation's Gary Works

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Monroe Anderson recalls obtaining a position at the Republic Steel Company in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Monroe Anderson recalls his first impressions of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson recalls his first impressions of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson talks about being harassed at Indiana University

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson describes his professors at Indiana University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson recalls his social and academic challenges at Indiana University

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson remembers his first car

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls switching his major to English

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson talks about his interest in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers the student movement at Indiana University

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson talks about the start of his journalism career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson recalls covering the anti-war protests in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson remembers being assaulted by the police during the anti-war protests in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson reflects upon his summer internship at Newsweek

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson describes his activities after his internship at Newsweek

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson recalls his interest in the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson talks about his social life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson recalls a student protest at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers applying for journalist positions

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson recalls working for The National Observer

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson remembers interviewing the cast of 'Hair'

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson remembers his celebrity interviews

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson recalls joining the staff of Ebony magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson remembers meeting Billy Dee Williams

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson describes his experiences at Ebony magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson recalls his challenges at Ebony magazine

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers John H. Johnson's leadership

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson recalls his first investigative article for the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson remembers the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson describes his early experiences at the Chicago Tribune, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson describes his early experiences at the Chicago Tribune, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson recalls his news coverage of Operation PUSH

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson talks about his investigation of automotive repair shops

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls his investigation of cafeteria food in the Chicago Public Schools

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson talks about his transition to columnist at the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson recalls investigating the black tax in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson remembers his investigation of Noah Robinson, Jr.

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson talks about the mayors of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson recalls the opposition to Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson remembers the boycott of ChicagoFest

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson describes Harold Washington's mayoral campaign

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson recalls the news coverage of Chicago's mayoral election in 1983

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson describes his experiences covering Chicago City Hall

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson describes his disputes with editor James D. Squires at the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson recalls his decision to leave the Chicago Tribune

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson recalls returning to Newsweek as a Midwest correspondent

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson describes his experiences as a Newsweek correspondent

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson remembers writing 'Brothers' with Sylvester Monroe

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson remembers Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, pt. 2

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls Mayor Harold Washington's press secretaries

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson recalls becoming the press secretary for Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer, pt. 1

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers the election of Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer

Tape: 9 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson recalls becoming Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer's press secretary, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson recalls his experiences as the press secretary to Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson remembers travelling with Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson describes his experiences of political corruption in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson remembers Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson describes his challenges as press secretary to Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer's reelection campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson recalls Chicago Mayor Eugene Sawyer's reelection campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson remembers working for WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 10 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson recalls hosting the 'Common Ground' television program

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson remembers his celebrity interviews on 'Common Ground'

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson recalls joining the board of the National Association of Black Journalists

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson talks about writing his novel

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson recalls his attempts to publish his novel

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson describes his chapter in 'Renaissance 1989: Chicago Elects a New Daley'

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson recalls becoming the editor of N'DIGO magazine

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson talks about becoming the editor of Savoy magazine

Tape: 11 Story: 8 - Monroe Anderson describes his column in the Chicago Sun-Times

Tape: 11 Story: 9 - Monroe Anderson remembers his friend, Leanita McClain

Tape: 11 Story: 10 - Monroe Anderson talks about the difference between a columnist and a television host

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Monroe Anderson talks about grieving the death of his friend, Leanita McClain

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Monroe Anderson reflects upon his life, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Monroe Anderson describes his plans for the future

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Monroe Anderson reflects upon his life, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Monroe Anderson reflects upon his legacy and how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Monroe Anderson narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 7 - Monroe Anderson narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$2

DATape

5$7

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Monroe Anderson remembers being assaulted by the police during the anti-war protests in Chicago, Illinois
Monroe Anderson talks about his investigation of automotive repair shops
Transcript
Well, there are signs, there were signs in the park [Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois] that had been there said, "Park closes at eleven p.m." Now, if you are a middle-aged white person walking through the Chicago [Illinois] park at three o'clock in the morning, hanging out in the park, the only thing a policeman is gonna say to you is, "Are you crazy," but they're not gonna arrest you or mess with you or anything like that. But, because they were young kids and protestors, eleven o'clock comes and the police were masked, full riot gear, helmets, face mask, they've removed their badges that I- identified them with the excuse being that the protestors may rip them off and use them as a weapon by them. But in the process of removing the badges, they are now a faceless mob. They announced and, and, and we're sort of back where we can hear, but we're not there. They announce that the park is closed eleven o'clock. That they have to disperse. In, in, in, in, in the, in the, in the street lighting you see a bottle fly from where the protestors are towards the police. Now--$$Oh god (simultaneous).$$--(simultaneous) I later learned that it's an agent provocateur, but at that time it looked like the demonstrators had attacked the police. So, they immediately start wading in and beating the living daylights out of people, shooting tear gas, and we're on the corner of LaSalle [Drive] and Clark [Street] and I decide this middle-aged reporter and I worked--white, Irish reporter while working with, John Culhane who was thirty-five at the time which I thought quite old for some strange reason (laughter), but anyway we, we started going against the crowd because these people are headed southbound away from the park down Clark Street and some of them are bleeding, bloody where they're beaten by the cops. So, we head into the crowd.$$With the cameras and everything?$$No, with our notepads, but we had our riot helmets on--$$Right.$$--and our press credentials hanging around our neck. We don't get very far. We get as far as, I'm having a mental block, but there's a Baptist church on Clark Street, black Baptist church, we get that far, it's about a half block off of LaSalle, god I'm, I'm blanking and I know the name of the church, but anyway, we get that far and it occurs to us the cops have just beaten the living daylights out of anybody who doesn't have a blue uniform on. I mean they were just whacking people. So we run into the church yard, you know to get out the way, and of course in American mythology a church is a sanctuary. It wasn't for us that day. Cops come to the fence and say, "Come out of there MFs."$$Come out of there what?$$MFs. (Unclear) is it okay for me to say the word. I, I will say what they said, but I'm trying to not say it, but I think you get the idea.$$Yeah.$$Yeah and as we come through the gate they beat us with their nightsticks. I have the dubious honor or being one of the first journalists beaten by the Chicago police.$$How incredible.$$So, they beat us, they--yeah. You know and I had grown up in, in the quasi ghetto, not the hard ghetto, but a block, block away from public housing projects [in Gary, Indiana] and never felt the sting of a policemen's nightstick until then. And so they're beating us and what they're doing is they're hitting us on the back and shoulders and in the kidneys and on the knees, yeah they're trying to hurt us, and you know and they hit us in the head, but the helmets protected us.$$Blocked that.$$Yeah. No, but, but for people who, anybody who is playing football you still get your, when you take a blow to the head you still get your bell rung. There is just no, I mean you know--$$Yeah, yeah.$$--it rattles your brain and what have you. So, we come out of there and then what I see is they've formed, the police have formed a gauntlet down Clark Street and they're beating people from one cop to the next cop to the next 'til they get past LaSalle street where it stops. And you know up until that time I'd always thought of myself as a humanitarian, but as I'm taking these blows, as they're beating me from one to--I'm trying--$$Oh my god.$$--to find another body to take one of those licks for me.$$Gee.$$I mean since, well as I later discovered 'cause again I didn't know anything about nightsticks, they're wood, but with lead on the inside--$$Oh my god.$$--so it's incredible. So, they beat us all the way down to LaSalle, you know it was a half a block. It was not a really huge distance, because we didn't make it in that far. But they beat us down to the corner and then we're done.$Let's see my break at the Tribune [Chicago Tribune] because I was just doing obituaries and I was doing not very great stories, but my break came in '76 [1976] when I got assigned to do invest- an investigative report with Bill Gaines [William Gaines] who was a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter there, and Bill and I did this auto repair investigation, which I may have mentioned.$$Yes briefly.$$Yeah okay, but yeah right exactly because, yeah okay so, but I'll go, I'll go into greater detail. What we did was we had company, Tribune pool cars, it was Chevrolet Novas and we had, we had arranged to have the cars broken, different parts of the cars broken, by this auto repair instructor, this automob- automotive instructor at Waubonsee College [Waubonsee Community College], which was way out in, I, I forget the place now, but it's way out in the suburbs, a forty-five minute drive out. So, what we'd do is we'd go out there and either he would, he would, he would, he would either unplug or cut a hole in the vacuum hose so our brakes didn't work well. I'm sorry, so when our, our, our--$$Exhaust.$$Yeah trans- transmission didn't work right because it wasn't getting the right flow, fluid and so the car would jerk along like that. He would do something to the master cylinder so our, our brakes weren't working well, but I mean these were very specific defects that, that we knew how much they should cost to be repaired according to the Chilton repair book and their fees. And so over a three month period of time we took these cars out to fifty-two repair shops, dealerships, et cetera, places that fix cars. We got ripped off half the time. I mean we had one, an Amoco [BP Amoco Corporation; BP Corporation North America Inc.] where they, they rebuilt the transmission at one we went to the on the North Side [Chicago, Illinois]. Then we took it to one on the South Side [Chicago, Illinois] and which we had to drive, I had to drive the car through mud because it had been painted and looked so spanking new. My cover story I told the guy a friend of mine that sold me the car a week before and that I was having problem with, with it, it was, it was jerking along. So, he, he tells me we need the transmission rebuilt, so same transmission had been rebuilt by one, this one, one Amoco and then it's getting (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Just weeks later.$$Yes, it's getting redone again. But, we had all these experiences and then we ran, ran the series, which was incredibly popular. I mean it had an incredible because a lot of people have cars. Gene Siskel who was just at that time just a film critic at the Tribune. He was pretty much starting off. But he told me he didn't even drive and he had joined the series. But, but, but, okay as a result of this Mayor Daley called for these investigations. He changed the law, the consumer law in the city where now today in Chicago [Illinois] if you take your car in for repair they have to tell you how much they think, they have to give you an estimate on how much they think it's gonna cost and if that estimate, the actual cost is gonna be 10, 10 percent more than whatever they estimated, they have to call you and tell you that and so not to say that you still can't be ripped off, but--$$Yeah, but what a remarkable accomplishment.$$Exactly, yeah exactly and this, this is how as I mentioned we, we were on 'The Phil Donahue Show' because we had these incredible headlines with our investigation for five days in a row just with one, one series of things that had happened and, and Phil Donahue's people had seen, seen the newspapers 'cause he was here in Chicago at the time. His show was done out of Chicago, and so he had us on. It was Bill Gaines, myself, and, and Cecil Armstrong, the, the automotive professor. It was just the three of us on for the entire show, and of course that's when I told you my father [Monroe Anderson, Jr.] was really excited, but I mean all my, all my family, I mean everybody watched. And after the show was done, that was the first time I got recognized from TV because I was, afterwards I was walking down Michigan Avenue and some people had seen the show recognized me and came up to talk to me, you know I was like--that's when I first started thinking of the power of TV.$$Yeah.$$Now because before that I, I, I never thought that I could be on TV.$$Right, the media and the images.$$Yes exactly. Okay but I did three, we won, we, we won some awards, reporting awards for that, so I became an award winning investigative reporter.$$Was that your first award as, as an investigative reporter, you have of course numerous awards.$$Yeah, yeah and most of them were from (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Was that the actually the first?$$Yeah that was my first.