Chicago 1968

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2015


Church of the Brethren, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, Church work, Segregation, Civil rights, Civil rights demonstrations, Civil rights movements, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Martin Luther King, Jr., Tet Offensive, Vietnam War, Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, United Church of Christ


Cultural History | History | Political History | Political Science | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion | Social History | United States History


Length: 116 minutes

Interview with Reverend Stan Davis by Dawn Butler

Rev. Davis begins by sharing details about himself, his family, and his early years in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, and his religious community, the Church of the Brethren. He talks about growing up during World War II and how he first became aware of prejudice, witnessing the internment of the Japanese-American community. He recalls his studies at Juniata College and his decision to attend Bethany Theological. He describes moving to North Lawndale, a diverse immigrant community that underwent drastic demographic changes as a result of unscrupulous lending practices designed to move out the white residents and segregate the Black residents. He recalls how he met his wife and his time with his first congregation at Galewood Community Church. He discusses working with troubled kids through the church and YMCA, where he established the Northwest Youth Outreach, which led to his involvement with the Civil Rights Movement and his acquaintance with Martin Luther King, Jr. He then recalls 1968: the Tet Offensive, the political elections, and the days following Dr. King’s and then Robert Kennedy’s assassination. He recalls his activities during the DNC protests and reviews the aftermath of the events, politically and personally. He discusses his later work, namely with the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Council of Religious Leaders. He concludes by reflecting on the ways religious activism and society have changed through the years.

Biography and Comments

In the 1960s, Rev. Dr. Stan Davis was part of the Chicago Freedom Movement and was trained by Martin Luther King Jr. staff while working in his YMCA agency. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he later switched his ordination to the United Church of Christ. He established Northwest Youth Outreach in Chicago, now Youth Outreach Services, then became executive director of the Chicago/ Northern Illinois Region of the NCCJ, a nonprofit human rights organization, and is Executive Director Emeritus of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.

The interviewer conducted this oral history as part of his/her coursework for the Spring 2015 class, Oral History: The Art of the Interview. This project was completed in collaboration with the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago and the College Archives & Special Collections department at Columbia College Chicago. Contact for more information.

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