This site explores the history of the Conservative Vice Lords (CVL), a group made up of former gang members in Chicago, who turned activists in the 1960s. Their goals were to bring awareness to the struggles of neighborhoods like Lawndale, on the West side of Chicago. They also wanted to encourage the youth of this neighborhood to better the community and to learn about their roots in Africa. There are links to their press releases from the 60s, the story of the spokesman for the group who was purportedly wrongly convicted of murder to silence the group, pictures and history of the group, links to related sites, links to videos about the group on YouTube, and a link to the video on the group produced by the History Channel.
Type of Material:
In class and homework assignments for individual students and student groups.
Browser, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player
Identify Major Learning Goals:
To learn the history of an activist group, the CVL, from the 1960s
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate and graduate students studying criminal justice, sociology, cultural anthropology, and history.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The website contains comprehensive information that is related to the history of the CVL in the 1950s and 1960s. The information is presented via web pages, pdf documents, and videos that offer views of Chicago and its neighborhoods (especially Lawndale) as its existed during a period full of turmoil.
The site provides information about the group from their perspective, without information from outsiders to guarantee the accuracy of their claims. Information from other social activists or scholars would increase the quality of the site.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The website offers one the opportunity to view Chicago as it dealt with various social issues especially in the 1960s from the CVL. Watching the videos and reading the material on a variety of topics that includes war on gangs, gangs and Chicago neighborhoods, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the CVL, members of the CVL (a focus includes the women of the CVL), and and the Chicago riots of 1966.
As mentioned earlier, the material presented focuses primarily on the views of CVL members or those who support their views. There may be claims that the material presented on the website lack a balance of perspectives.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The website is easy to navigate and one can navigate through the use of a series of links available by three drop down menus. The homepage of the website appears to be a bit disorganized. The link to the History Channel video is a valuable addition.
Unable to turn off the music on the Web site and the sound on the History Channel video is so soft, you cant hear the voices. Therefore you have to download the video and watch it separately from the Web site in order to be able to hear the voices.
The site is amateurishly put together and its not very clear at the outset what types of information are included. Visitors much move the cursor around the page to determine what active links are available.
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