Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March 8, 1971 -- Ali - Frazier One Bring Mob Action

March 8, 1971 – Fans who show up at the Chicago Coliseum and the International Amphitheater to watch the Muhammad Ali – Joe Frazier fight on closed circuit television end up staging their own boxing matches as police are mobilized to combat near riots at both venues.  Trouble breaks out at the Coliseum at 1513 South Wabash Avenue when projection equipment breaks down, and the audience of 7,000 people is asked to leave the building minutes before the fight is due to begin.  Some angry patrons begin to throw ticket counters through the front windows; others toss folding chairs and bottles from the balcony onto the main floor of the building.  Close to 80 police officers are summoned to restore order.  At the Amphitheater at Forty-Third Street and Halsted a thousand people are turned away when the building reaches its 13,000-person capacity.  Bottles and rocks are thrown, and 40 windows are broken on the Halsted Street side of the building.  Police and maintenance staff members turn fire houses on the crowd, and the riot is ultimately brought under control.  Police are kept busy all night long, even rushing to the Civic Opera House when fans who are turned away at the Coliseum show up there, hoping to gain entrance at the last minute.  All of this occurs exactly a dozen years to the day that Ali won the Golden Gloves Championship at the Chicago Stadium, a young boxer from Louisville using his birth name, Cassius Clay.

March 8, 1952 -- Students of the Navy Pier branch of the University of Illinois start a mile-long petition for a state-operated four-year college in Chicago at a dance and rally at the pier. M. L. Berenbaum, president of the parents' organization at the pier, signs the petition after Representative Paul Randolph, who promises legislation to establish a four-year branch of the state university. Berenbaum says that nine out of ten students at the pier live at home and work part time in Chicago and that many of those cannot afford to leave the city to continue their educations after they complete the two-year courses of study at the pier.

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