Lindsey, Earlean A Champion for Social Justice on the Westside of Chicago, Community Organizer, Activist, Mother and Friend. Mrs. Earlean Lindsey, was born on Tuesday, August 4, 1925, in Sawyerville, Alabama, a small rural community of slightly over 1,000 people. She was one of 18 children and the mother of 10. She was called to her final rest on January 8, 2014 in Chicago. Mrs. Lindsey spent her early years in rural Alabama. She began working in the cotton fields at age 8 while also attending school and cooking and cleaning at home. At age 10, she watched her mother die during child birth. This event guided her life's work as an advocate for accessible, affordable, quality healthcare for low-income people. In 1946, she was part of the great southern migration to Chicago. As she put it, "she fled the cotton-fields and the stifling racism for a better life up north". In Chicago, she began to see that the same injustices she fled from were wearing different clothes but it was there. She resented the fact that after 6:00 p.m., she had to carry "an ID card" that showed the name of her employer whenever she traveled east of Cottage Grove. In 1959, when she finally moved from the southside to the Westside of Chicago, where she would begin a remarkable career as a "community organizer" that lasted decades. Mrs. Lindsey was a strong advocate for healthcare and education, however she believed in attacking any issues that contributed to the decline of her community or its residents. With courage, common sense, faith and a strong sense of purpose, Mrs. Lindsey fashioned a remarkable life dedicated to social justice. U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis referred to her a "true Champion for the People of the Westside of Chicago" Some of Mrs. Lindsey's notable accomplishments included: One of the pioneers in the advent of Community Health Centers and served on a committee for President John Kennedy's Commissions on Community Mental Health Centers; One of the founders of the Mile Square Health Center and worked there for 20 years; Founding member and board member emeritus of the Center for New Horizons; Original member of the University of Illinois Urban Health Program Advisory Council; Member of the University of Illinois Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center's Community Advisory Council; Founding member of Chicago Commons Association's Jackie Robinson House; Members of the Westside Association for Community Action (WACA), where she was elected President for life; In 1984, she sued the Chicago Board of Education over illegal practices and won; She has received hundreds of local and national awards. She was recognized in the U.S. House of Representatives for her community service and in 1998, in her honor, the city of Chicago dedicated the street corner of Damen and Washington, Earlean Lindsey Drive. As much as she was devoted to her community, she was equally faithful to her family and her church, Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church on Chicago's Westside. Contributions in the memory of Mrs. Lindsey may be sent to the Westside Association for Community Action, 3600 West Ogden Blvd., Chicago, IL. Mrs. Lindsey's funeral arrangements will be: Friday, January 17, 2014 Viewing Visitation, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., AA Rayner & Sons, 5911 West Madison St., Chicago, IL 60644. Saturday, January 18, 2014 Wake 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m., Funeral 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church, 1901 West Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL 60612. Interment immediately following service Mount Glenwood-West Cemetery, Willow Springs, Illinois. Repast: Major Adams Community Center, 125 N. Hoyne, Chicago, Illinois 60612 immediately following burial.
Published in Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 15, 2014