Keep Strong Magazine

Keep Strong Magazine’s On the Street


“On the Street” was a recurring section in Keep Strong, the magazine of the Intercommunal Survival Committee. Keep Strong began publishing in July 1975 and continued monthly publishing until October 1980. Each month, random people on the streets of Uptown were asked their opinions about a specific question. Their photos were taken and their answers taped. This became the monthly “On the Street” column. The primary goal of Keep Strong magazine was to provide an opportunity for poor white people to see their day-to-day struggle to survive alongside the struggles of Black and other poor and working peoples, in order to create and heighten a sense of commonality and mutual respect.

Based in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and working under the direction of the Black Panther Party, the Intercommunal Survival Committee was founded in 1972. The ISC built upon the work of the Black Panther Party, the Young Lords, the Young Patriots Organization, and Rising Up Angry survival programs, which included free breakfast for kids programs and neighborhood health clinics, and later, legal defense, welfare defense, and tenants rights organizations, as well as the Chicago Area Black Lung Association and numerous city-wide coalitions. In 1978, the Survival Committee was reorganized as the Heart of Uptown Coalition.

Throughout the past year, as part of Organize Your Own, student workers from Leviton Gallery have scanned 5,000 negatives from the photo archives of Keep Strong, in an effort to support Helen Shiller’s ongoing archival efforts.