The Narratives of Robeson High School

A SOUTH SIDE WEEKLY RADIO SPECIAL PROJECT

It's bigger than a building.

In late Feburary 2018, Chicago Board of Education voted unanimously to tear down Paul Robeson High School and replace it with a new $85 million intstitution. It's a decision that many in the Englewood neighborhood were opposed, but others saw the fate inevitable. We have spent the last six months listening to students, parents, teachers, and staff that have gone through those Robeson doors in the last forty years. They shared thoughts on the evolution of Robeson, their experiences, and their stories that forever connect them to the pillar school. Here, you can read and listen to what they said.

Published June  21, 2018

By Erisa Apantaku, Olivia Obineme, Bridget Vaughn, and Bridget Newsham

Screen Shot 2018-06-19 at 1.44.41 AM.png

The Beginning of the end

Despite protests and crews of concern, CPS told South Side students their fates were sealed—four Englewood high school will be closed. How did we get here?

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Shiny & brand new

Say goodbye to Parker High School because Paul Robeson High School is the new wave. But, how long does its first class of students go along for the ride? 

 Image courtesy of Liz Chambers

Image courtesy of Liz Chambers

southsideweeklyradio_projects_robesonhighschool_march_20181902_photo_revised-17.jpg

HONEYMOON'S OVER

National corruption trickles down locally. Inequalities and neighborhood disruption is felt throughout Chicago, throughout Englewood, and throughout Robeson High School.

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

THE SHAKE UP

Robeson continued to barely hold on to any good standing within CPS. Officials knew something needed to be done, but was "reconstituting" the right choice?

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

 

CHOICE

Eight years ago, CPS went through another set of changes, overlooking Robeson in its plan to close underperforming schools, then. But one Englewood grandmother and guardian still felt the longtime high school was suffering.

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

SO, WHAT NOW?

As the 2018 school year has come to a close, many still question what's next for Englewood kids. As the final graduating seniors have crossed the stage, Robeson's underclassmen and their parents are still concerned for what the future holds.

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

 
 
E2C333BB-3710-4C21-8DDD-9A9EEDC338EB.JPG

REFLECTIONS

Despite all of the challenges the community faced, Robeson High School has made quite the impact on its students, parents, and staff for the past 40 years. Deconstruction had already begun before the school year's end, but for many who've walkd through Robeson's doors, a bulldozers can't take away the unforgettable experiences they had in the school.

 Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Paul Robeson High School

6835 S Normal Blvd, Chicago, IL 60621

September 1977 - June 2018

robesonphotosforprint10.jpg

Listen to the full audio piece

Prefer to listen to the piece in one go? Click the link below.