Sunday, July 12, 2020

July 12, 1975 -- Chicago State University Awards Honorary Degree to Gerald Ford
July 12, 1975 – President Gerald R. Ford is awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Chicago State University as he speaks during the university’s commencement exercises at McCormick Place.  Ford appears, as he indicates in his address, as a result of a petition signed by 5,000 students and hand-delivered to Washington, asking him to speak at the ceremony.  He says, “I was so moved … that nothing could have kept me away.  I was impressed not only by the great number of signatures, but also by the Chicago State University success story.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 13, 1975]. In his speech the President praises the graduates as well as the university, saying, “You have shown how white and black hands can unite to build a multiracial institution. You have shown academic achievement, and you have responded to the real needs of the community you serve.” During his address Ford mentions his own college experience, including his job in a cafeteria, adding that even though he had to work his way through college, he “was not a victim of racial prejudice nor of a deprived environment.”  He praises “the greatest fraternity of them all, the college graduates who learned something about life by dirtying their hands.”  The occasion was not without controversy as 200 people across from McCormick Place call for a halt to United States aid to Turkey and an end to C.I.A. involvement in Cyprus.  The protest, sponsored by Chicago’s Greek Cultural Association, could not dampen the reception inside the hall where Ford’s speech was interrupted more than a half-dozen times by applause.

July 12, 1970 – The Chicago Tribune reports on a challenge against the Public Building Commission of the city, involving the right to reproduce the image of the Picasso sculpture.  In its suit, filed before Federal Judge Alexander J. Napoli, The Letter Edged in Black Press, maintains that Pablo Picasso gave the work of art to the people of Chicago, not to the building commission.  The suit uses statements of Mayor Richard J. Daley and architect William H. Hartmann at the dedication ceremonies for the sculpture in 1967, in which both men talked of the artist’s gift “to the people of Chicago,” to support its assertion. The building commission responds that much was done to secure the rights for reproduction, including “securing from Chicago a written deed of gift which gave them the right to secure a copyright, affixing the copyright notice to the rear of the sculpture’s metal base, registering and securing a copyright claim, and notifying the public of its licensing policies.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1970]  The commission further maintains that the deed of gift which Picasso signed, giving the commission the right to reproduce the sculpture is the same as a copyright.  Incidentally, the official website of the CIty of Chicago proclaims to this day that "Picasso gave the sculpture as a gift to the people of Chicago."  The photo above was taken when the sculpture was dedicated on August 15, 1967.

J. Bartholomew Photo
July 12, 1955 – The architect of the city’s Bureau of Engineering, M. J. Glicken, says that a sculpture of “a woman with other ornamentation” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 13, 1955] is being readied for placement on a city parking garage at Wacker Drive and State Street.  The bronze sculpture, which is 12 feet high and 14 feet wide and weighs three tons, is the work of sculptor Milton Horn, whom Mayor Richard J. Daley personally asked to create the monumental work that would show Chicago’s important place in the country and the world.  Controversial from the beginning, the sculpture was taken to the city’s bridge repair shops at Thirty-First Street and Sacramento Avenue when the garage was torn down in 1983.  Ignored for nearly 15 years it was restored for ten times the amount that the original commission brought Horn.  Today the sculpture hangs from the northwest portal of the Columbus Drive Bridge.  More about the sculpture and its creator can be found in Connecting the Windy City here.

July 12, 1933 – The Attorneys General for Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin appear before the United States Supreme Court, opposing a hearing requested by Illinois in cases pertaining to the Chicago Sanitary District.  The four Midwestern states that border the Great Lakes system object to a petition for a rehearing of a case in which a ruling went against Illinois involving “the right of Illinois, as a sovereign state, to divert water from Lake Michigan.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 12, 1933] The court rules that Illinois can divert water from Lake Michigan through the Chicago River at the rate of 1,500 cubic feet per second after 1938 in addition to 1,700 cubic feet per second for domestic purposes.  The four states claim that the amount diverted will be excessive, and “that Chicago has refused to meter the water diverted for domestic and industrial purposes.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court’s original 1930 ruling will stand, and by 1938 Chicago will have built three major sewage treatment plants along with a lock that separates Lake Michigan from the Chicago River.  The Chicago River lock, finished in 1938, is shown above. 

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