May 30th, 2013Filed under: Stories
DePaul University students Burton Cann, Bristol Cave, Kristen Gayer, Hannah Woodford, and Elise Zerega interviewed Mike Ochwat and Emily Turner, 1961 Bowen High School graduates, and Jennifer Kirmes, Bowen’s current principal. They learned a lot about the Southeast Side school for this entry in the Museum’s People and Places blog series. The students studied with Museum archivist Peter Alter as part of DePaul’s public history program.
Bowen High School, 2012
Photograph by DePaul students
Mike Ochwat, president of the June 1961 Senior Class at Bowen High School, is proud of his old neighborhood, the Bush, near the former site of the South Works steel mill. Ochwat jokes, “The Bush is not Lake Forest, but if you want to scare the hell out of people you might say, ‘I grew up in the Bush,’” as it had a rough reputation. Beyond his memories about growing up in the Bush, Ochwat also remembers racial integration at Bowen High School (located at 2710 East 89th Street) in the early 1960s as a practical reality. “This was before civil rights… We weren’t crusaders as much as we were simply pragmatists,” Ochwat recalled. “It certainly was not perfect. There is a distinction between being a ‘mixed’ school and being truly integrated. Integrated means you get to know one another regardless of race; you socialize. We got along, but that was about it.” > Read the rest of this entry
> Read the rest of this entry