The Chicago and human family is poorer now due to the recent passing of Chicago real estate mogul, author, musician and community activist Dempsey Travis. The South Side native and son of a stockyard worker was part of the generation that, along with Timuel Black, Lu Palmer, Harold Washington and so many others, changed the city and the nation through their civil rights advocacy.
Travis also authored close to two dozen books, including Harold: The People’s Mayor, a biography of Washington, a fellow Roosevelt University graduate, . This popular book is more a tender look at the groundbreaking politician than a critical appraisal of Washington’s historical significance, but is no less worthy of being read for its intimate character. The book closes on a sad note, with Travis urging Washington to eat more healthily and to use the exercise bike he had received as a gift.
Unfortunately, he did not.
Now Travis is gone and we are far richer for his having graced the planet with his presence for 89 fully lived years and sadder for the hole his departure leaves behind.