2006 bought many changes to Austin. From the new Wal-Mart finally opening its doors, to those many individuals, both national and local, whom we lost and who were near and dear to our hearts. 2006 ended with the death of the “Godfather of Soul” James Brown, who died on Christmas day at the age of 73.
Other notable events and deaths from 2006:
Jan. 4 – Services were held for the wife of journalist Lu Palmer. Joria Palmer died on Dec. 29, 2005. She was 75 years old.
Jan. 6 – Chicago native and world renowned singer Lou Rawls died at age 72.
Jan. 26 – Austin resident Anthony Thomas allegedly beaten by Harrison Police District officers. The case is still pending.
Jan. 31 – Coretta Scott King died at age 78.
Feb. 12 – Austin activist Lillian Drummond, longtime member of the South Austin Coalition, along with activist William High, receives the Ed Bailey Award for community service. The award is named after SACCC’s founder.
March 7 – Photographer, journalist and film director Gordon Parks, the first major commercial black director with the film Shaft, died. He was 93 years old.
March 14 – Cook County Board President John Stroger suffers a stroke during his re-election campaign a week before the March 21 primary. The 77-year-old Stroger officially resigned as president on June 30. Stroger’s son, Todd, a South Side alderman, was chosen by Democratic committeemen on July 18 to replace his father on the November 2006 ballot. Todd Stroger won the presidency in the November election.
May 20 – Austin Green Team holds annual memorial of members who died in 2006: Len Sharber, Garfield McNeal, Ida Sutton, Virginia Forsythe Walker, Illinois Daggett, Ed Bailey, and Nancy Jefferson, president of Lawndale Peoples Action, who died in the 1990s.
May 2 – Thousands of Hispanics march downtown and in other U.S. cities to highlight the need for immigration reform.
May 3 – Earl Woods, father of golf pro Tiger Wood, died at age 74.
May 21 – Famed dancer Katherine Dunham died. She was 96 years old.
June 6 – Artist Billy Preston-often called the “fifth Beatle” for his keyboard playing on some of the group’s albums-died at age 59.
June 11 – James Cameron, founder of the Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, died at age 92. Cameron escaped being lynched in Marion, Ind. in the 1930s. He was 16 years old when he was falsely accused of participating in the murder of a white man.
June 12 – Austin resident Patricia Cobige died while in lockup at the Grand Central Police District on the West Side.
June 17 – Viveca Lynne Howell Mayes, daughter of Brenetta Howell Barrett, longtime Westsider, political activist and president of Pathfinders Prevention Education Fund, died of metastatic breast cancer. She was 47 years old.
June 19 – The long-awaited Burge Report investigating police brutality from the 1970s to the early ’90s is released.
July 27 – The controversial Big Box ordinance passes in the Chicago City Council. The ordinance, which required large retailers such as Wal-Mart to pay $13 an hour in wages and benefits, was vetoed by Mayor Daley later in the year.
Aug. 6 – Austin community residents on the 800 block of Parkside were shocked when they became victims of alleged racial slurs by Chicago police, who were responding to a police call in the neighborhood. The incident intensified when the family dog of a homeowner was allegedly shot by officers and when a white officer got into a verbal altercation with residents and a fellow black officer.
Aug. 30 – The Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy opens in the former Austin High School as the first Renaissance 2010 school in the building. Austin High’s final senior class will graduate in June 2007.
Sept. 3 – Glenn Harris, the Republican nominee for 8th District state representative, died of a heart attack. He was 47 years old.
Sept. 18 – Radio station WVON went to 24-hour broadcast, changing its frequency from 1450 to 1690.
Sept. 27 – Wal-Mart opens its first Chicago store in Austin. About 15,000 applicants had previously applied to fill the store’s 400 job openings.
Oct. 5 – Former 1970s actress Tamara Dobson died at age 59. Dobson starred in a number of ’70s “Blaxploitation films,” including Cleopatra Jones (1973).
Oct. 6 – Negro League player and first black Major League coach Buck O’Neill died. He was 94 years old.
Oct. 13 – Austin High School’s Football Tigers defeat the Al Raby Raiders 46-6 at Austin’s Homecoming game to become the Varsity Inter-City Division Champs. The Tigers finished the year with a 7-1 record.
Oct. 15 – Former 1968 Olympian John Carlos visits Chicago to support the fight against police torture in the ongoing Jon Burge case.
Oct. 18 – Katrina activist Doris Lewis’ twin sister, Darlene Blackmon, died.
Nov. 7 – LaShawn Ford, Austin activist and businessman, wins the seat for 8th District state representative. defeated incumbent Calvin Giles in the March 21 primary.
Nov. 9 – Television journalist Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes died. He was 65 years old.
Nov. 10 – R&B recording artist Gerald Levert, son of the O’Jays’ lead singer Eddie Levert, died at age 40.
Nov. 13 – Groundbreaking ceremony at the Washington, D.C. National Mall for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.
Nov. 17 – R&B artist Ruth Brown died in Las Vegas at age 78.
Nov. 22 – Gerald Boyd former New York Time managing editor, who resigned after reporter Jayson Blair’s plagiarism controversy, died. He was 56 years old.
Nov. 27 – Bebe Moore Campbell, author of many best sellers such as Brothers and Sisters, died at age 56.
Dec. 8 – Austin resident Joe Jackson, believing that his patent for a disposable toilet had been stolen, shoots and kills three individuals at a downtown Loop law office.
Dec. 15 – Rose Poindexter, longtime activist with Rainbow/PUSH and sister of community activist Eunice Wigfall, dies.
Dec. 14 – Mike Evans, actor best known for playing Lionel Jefferson on All In The Family and The Jeffersons, who also co-created and wrote for Good Times, dies of throat cancer at age 57.
Dec. 24 – Rev. Gregory Livingston, pastor of Mandell United Methodist Church, 5000 W. Congress Pkwy., and church members, hosted a community dinner for residents. The church that month also donated their Christmas Eve donations to a family that was burned out of their North Side home.
Dec. 26 – 38th U.S. President Gerald R. , who took office after the resignation of President Richard Nixon following the Watergate scandal, died at age 93.