Mike Lawson is a civil rights activist who first met Mr. José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez in 1968, after Mr. Jiménez was released from prison. At that time, Mr. Lawson was in charge of a G.E.D. program for ex-offenders that already had enrolled a number of Black Stone Rangers, Disciples, and Young Lords. The group met at Argonne National Laboratory. Because Mr. Lawson lived in Old Town, he helped some of the students who lived in Lincoln Park get to the classes. In the morning most of the students would work part-time as janitors; they would study part-time in the afternoons. As an extension of their classroom lessons, Mr. Lawson took some of his students on a field trip to Grant Park during the Democratic National Convention where they witnessed police beating up on hippies and reporters firsthand. These demonstrations helped to remind Mr. Jiménez of the goals he had set for himself while in jail. Today Mike Lawson lives on the south side of Chicago and is dependent on a wheelchair to get around, as he is plagued by muscular dystrophy.
Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives