Activist, photographer, writer, and actor
Michael Gaylord James is a veteran on the 1968 Democratic Convention demonstrations and the political and cultural struggles of that era. He has received considerable notoriety regarding 1968 having been photographed rocking a police paddy wagon during events at Michigan and Balbo.
James grew up in Connecticut. He attended Lake Forest College where he played football and graduated with honors in 1964. He drove to Mexico on a Triumph motorcycle in the summer of 1962 where he attended Mexico City College. He also attended Trinity College in the summer of 1963. A Woodrow Wilson Fellowship took him to California where he did graduate work in sociology at the University of California Berkeley 1964-66. There he was active in the Free Speech Movement and became a member of Students for a Democratic Society, later becoming a national officer of SDS.
While at Berkeley he began doing community organizing in West Oakland, then moved to Chicago to work with Uptown residents, many from the South, with the organization JOIN (Jobs or Income Now) Community Union.
James went on to found the organization and newspaper Rising Up Angry (1969-75). RUA was part of Chicago's Rainbow Coalition that also included the Black Panther Party, Young Lords Organization, Young Patriots, and American Indian Movement.
In the early 70's he began teaching a course at Columbia College called Organizing for Social Change. In that class his ideas for community based economic institutions evolved, and in 1976 James co-founded the Heartland Cafe, a restaurant and community institution that serves "good wholesome food for mind and body", and continues to be an inspirational community institution.
Michael James co hosts The Live from the Heartland Show on WLUW 88.7 fm / www.wluw.org (Saturday's 9-10 am), is a member of the board of directors of Athletes United for Peace, The Rainbow Council of Elders, and a member of the Advisory Committee of the Cornucopia Institute (an organic food and farm watchdog organization. He is past President of the Democratic Party of the 49th Ward organization and a member of the Screen Actors Guild. His film work includes Stony Island, The Package, Above the Law, Code of Silence, Under Siege, Walls in the City, The Fugitive, Chain Reaction and The Guardian.
Michael James’ photos have been shown at Northwestern’s Dittmar Gallery, World Art Expressions, Morpho Gallery, Stolen Buick Gallery, Heartland Café, SCOUT, the Armejo Center in El Paso. and his exhibit People at Work at the Uri-Eichen Gallery.
He is currently at work on a book: Pictures from the Long Haul, a photographic memoir. Other book projects by James that are in the works include Mexico 1962, The Heartland Cafe: The First Thirty-six Years, and Rising Up Angry and Chicago’s Rainbow Coalition. He has recently joined the faculty at DePaul University, teaching Activists and Activism Since 1960.
He encourages all to “do good in the world—the world needs all the good that you do.”
Michael James recounts his activities during the 1968 Convention in a History Detective episode.
His many interviews from The Live from the Heartland Show are viewable at www.youtube.com/heartlandmedia
Stories and photographs from Michael Gaylord James’ Pictures from the Long Haul are featured on The Rag Blog.
PHOTOGRAPHY - RECENT EXHIBITIONS Dittmar Gallery, Northwestern • World Art Expressions • Morpho Gallery • Stolen Buick Gallery • Heartland Café • Armejo Center, El Paso, Tx • Scout, Chicago • Uri-Eichen Gallery, People at Work
RECENT SPEAKING Naperville North High School on Chicago and Movement History • DePaul: John Zeigler • DePaul: Doug Long • American Sociology Society, Las Vegas, NV 2012 on Democratic Convention 1968
PUBLISHING - WRITING & PHOTOGRAPHY Rodding & Restyling • Drag News • Rising Up Angry • The Seed • Prairie Sun • The Sun • The Movement • Heartland Journal • Chicago Tribune • SLAM Magazine • The Rag Blog • Puro Border, Cinco Puntos Press • Mexico Chicago, Mexican Consulate • Paddy on the Hardwood, Cinco Puntos Press
ORGANIZATIONS AND BOARDS Students for a Democratic Society • Oakland Community Union • JOIN Community Union, organization & The Firing Line Newspaper • Rising Up Angry, organization & Newspaper • Athletes United for Peace • Heartland Journal • Heartland Cafe, General Store, Buffalo Bar, Red Line Tap, No Exit Cafe
FILM WORK (ACTING) Stony Island • The Package • Above the Law • Code of Silence • Under Siege • Walls in the City • The Fugitive • Chain Reaction • The Guardian
BUSINESS Co founder: Heartland Cafe, General Store, Buffalo Bar 1976-2012 • Co owner No Exit Cafe 1998 -2012 • Co owner Red Line Tap - 2012 • Associate producer Theo Ubique Theater at the No Exit Cafe 1998 -2012 • Publisher, Heartland Journal, 1979-2005
TEACHING DePaul University: Modern Organizing for Social Change Columbia College: Organizing for Social Change • 1970's and 1980's • Sports, Consciousness and Social Change with David Meggyesy NFL Player & West Coast Director NFL Players Association • Running University California Berkeley: Department of Sociology TA fall semester 1965
Contact: email@example.com • 773 965-8005