Burge Victims Speak Exhibit at Harold Washington Library Center

The exhibit Burge Victims Speak photographs + audio by Amanda Rivkin features 17 photographic portraits and audio accounts of men who survived torture by Chicago police commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew” between 1972 and 1993. The exhibit is on display November 20, 2018 to December 29, 2019 at Harold Washington Library Center, in the 3rd Floor Exhibit Hall.

Events

Upcoming

Is Chicago Ready for Reform? Authors Flint Taylor, Ed Bachrach and Austin Berg in Conversation with Dick Simpson: September 10 at Harold Washington Library Center
The authors discuss Chicago’s torturous past—and its chances for reform. This event is presented in collaboration with Society of Midland Authors.

Author Laurence Ralph Discusses The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence: November 21 at Harold Washington Library Center
In The Torture Letters (September 2019), Laurence Ralph chronicles the history of torture in Chicago, the burgeoning activist movement against police violence, and the American public’s complicity in perpetuating torture at home and abroad.

Past

Burge Victims Speak: Exhibit Discussion: January 19 at Harold Washington Library Center
Featuring photographer Amanda Rivkin, Chicago attorney Flint Taylor and survivor Darrell Cannon.

Recommended Reading

Police Brutality Booklist: We recommend recent books on the topic.

More About the Exhibit

The images document the men—many of whom served prison sentences for coerced admissions of crime—in their current-day lives.

Rivkin is a fellow at the Invisible Institute, a journalism production company on Chicago's South Side. The organization is in the process of developing a public archive of the Burge cases, the future home of Rivkin's photography and interview series.

The torture came to light when Chicago attorney Flint Taylor received anonymous letters detailing systemic police torture inside Area 2 and later Area 3 headquarters. Investigation by the police oversight Office of Professional Standards concluded torture had occurred. In 2015, Chicago City Council passed a reparations ordinance that acknowledged the victims of officers serving under and with Burge.

Rivkin's reporting was supported by the International Women’s Media Foundation’s Howard G. Buffett Fund For Women Journalists.