Maye Viola Turner strived to show city kids new worlds

January 3, 2017
in Kids

Sign-Up for our News & Politics Newsletter Sign-Up Most of the kids Maye Viola Turner led out of the projects each summer had never left Chicago — let alone smelled mountain air, watched hawks riding the thermals or seen white kids scavenging barefoot for peat moss. Mrs. Turner’s summer pilgrimages all over America were intended to help poor black city kids experience new worlds and, in some ways, for them to appreciate their own. “You think you’re coming from the worst, but you’re going to see things that make where you’re living seem a paradise,” said Archie Listenbee, who was married to Mrs. Turner’s sister and accompanied her on many of those trips. Mrs. Turner, who devoted her life to the city’s youth, died Dec. 14 at Rush Oak Park Hospital after a short illness, her family said. She was 83, and had been living in a condo in west suburban Forest Park. Mrs. Turner was born near Vicksburg, Mississippi. Her parents were part of the Great Migration that brought millions of African-Americans up from the South. Her parents settled on the near North Side. She grew up in a devout family, spending most of her spare time in church. “’Always put God first in whatever you do, and you’ll never fail,’” her niece Julie Listenbee recalled her saying. After graduating from Wells High School, Mrs. Turner earned a...

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