Chicago 1968

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 4-29-2015


Civil rights, social justice, interfaith work, American Baptist Church, Community Renewal Society, Parliament of the World's Religions, Chicago, Illinois, Democratic National Convention, social movements, Democratic National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, Church work, Segregation, Civil rights demonstrations, Civil rights movements


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


Length: 76 minutes

Interview with Larry Greenfield by Lauren Kostiuk

Rev. Greenfield begins by describing organizations he’s been involved with, devoted to religious ethics and social justice, protecting the rights of women, gender and sexual minorities, economic justice, and other related causes. He recounts his early years in Sioux Falls with his parents and how his religious involvement prompted questions about equality and social justice. He then recounts his time at the University of Chicago, where he began his involvement in political activism and civil rights. He recalls in detail his experiences at the Democratic National Convention, serving as a guide to a team of journalists and witnessing both the events within the convention and the demonstrations outside. He reflects on the way the event surrounding the DNC radically challenged his view of America, how those events pulled Americans out of a political “adolescence […] and became more realistic—a greater capacity for tough criticism.” Finally, he describes how the events of 1968 clarified, for him, the responsibilities he held as a Christian on issues of justice and peace and how we are still struggling with many of those same issues today.

Biography and Comments

Engaged in activism in Chicago since 1963 when Rev. Dr. Larry Greefield attended University of Chicago Divinity School where he earned a PhD, he has worked in areas of political rights, social justice, and interfaith work. He is an ordained minister in the American Baptist church and has served as the executive minister of the Baptist Churches of Metro Chicago, theologian-in-residence for the Community Renewal Society, a faith-based organization advocating for social and economic justice, and as executive director of the Parliament of the World’s Religions.

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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