Chicago Church Tour 1/3: The role of black churches in the Civil Rights Movement was crucial. Black churches were economically connected to their black communities through tithes and association. This situation created a level of black autonomy, where other black organizations were clandestinely controlled or hindered by links to white society. Consequently black churches flourished and evolved into not only a place of worship but as a center for political activism. Civil rights leaders, ministers, activist, and union organizations utilized this platform with remarkable results within their black communities.
On June 20, 1943 at the Woodlawn A.M.E. church on 65th and Evans Avenue, the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, A. Phillip Randolph, addressed the forum. The meeting was presided over by William P. Harrison, a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Urban league. At this church political agenda was active, stimulating the formation of the Woodland Forum. In the 1940s, this forum was a political, discussion-based group whose chairman was Miss. C. Novella Trotter in 1942. Issues discussed varied with guest speakers, from “The American Negro and the War.” to “Should England Grant India Independence Now?”