Friday, March 2, 2018

March 2, 2014 -- Jimmy Fallon Joins Mayor in Polar Plunge

March 2, 2014 – Joining a crowd of several thousand at the edge of an icy Lake Michigan to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago, Jimmy Fallon, clad in a suit and tie, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, wearing a Chicago Public Library tee-shirt and shorts, take to the water in the annual Polar Plunge.  An hour before the event the temperature stood at ten degrees, and Chicago firefighters in wetsuits headed into the lake to clear ice from the area before the event began.  During the preceding summer the Mayor had promised that if the city’s children could read two million books as part of the Chicago Public Library program called “Rahm’s Readers,” he would participate in the plunge.  When he heard that Fallon wanted him to appear on the show that the late-night host had taken over from Jay Leno in February, Emanuel made his appearance part of a deal that required Fallon to head for the lake as well.  “If you hear a scream like a little girl’s … know that Jimmy Fallon is swimming in Lake Michigan,” the comedian told the crowd before running into the icy water. [] The dip didn’t last long; it was in and out for Fallon who emerged from the 32-degree water to the sound of cheers and music from a group of bagpipers, standing calf-deep in the water in yellow boots and kilts.

March 2, 1949 – Mayor Martin H. Kennelly reads an eight-page statement to the city council in which he rips a proposed ordinance that would ban racial and religious discrimination in the selection of tenants for proposed public housing projects. The projects were scheduled to be developed by a land clearance commission that would “acquire and clear slum areas and resell the land at a loss to private investors for housing development.”  [Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1949] “Let those people speak who live in the slums,” Kennelly says.  “Those are the people I am trying to benefit and to help, and I feel that they will be helped if we can provide decent, comfortable homes instead of the slums where they are now forced to live.”   The ordinance, introduced by Third Ward Alderman Archibald Carey, proposed that all housing built on land that the Chicago Housing Authority or the Chicago Land Clearance Commission conveyed to private interests would be made available for ownership or occupancy without discrimination or segregation of any kind.  Detractors, including the mayor, decried the ordinance principally because of their belief that the restriction would discourage private interests from participating in the project.   After Kennelly finishes his address, the City Council goes on to defeat the Carey ordinance by a vote of 31 to 13.  Alderman Carey is the subject of the above photo.

March 2, 1900 -- Just two months after the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, the massive project that was to solve all of the city's sewage problems is opened, marine insurance men and the managers of the city's tug boat lines make a trip up the river, concluding that unless something radical is done the river will not be navigable if any current is running in it. One participant observed, "With a current I do not see how traffic of big boats can be carried on it at all. The boats will be driven away from Chicago. It is not a discrimination against marine men, for they have plenty to do elsewhere, but it will injure shipping interests." As if to prove the point the schooner Armenia grounds itself on the Washington Street tunnel that afternoon.

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