A Jackpot Almost Ruined Their Lives - correspondence, 1961
Scope and Contents note
Notes, correspondence, and research related to Balk's prolific Chicago freelance writing period spanning roughly 1958-1966. Balk wrote many significant articles during this time, including "Confessions of a Block-Buster" in 1962 for the Saturday Evening Post, which exposed racist real estate practices in Chicago and led to a landmark court case protecting a journalist's right to confidential sources.
Also for the Saturday Evening Post, Balk collaborated with Alex Haley for an article about Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam, resulting in Balk's interviews with Malcolm X and other NOI members. He also interviewed an FBI agent and other law enforcement personnel, and collected FBI and police reports while researching the piece.
Other notable work includes articles about the Dust Bowl, fallout shelters, television game show winners, and the defection of a Presbyterian minister, as well as profiles of community organizer Saul Alinsky, children's television personality Captain Kangaroo, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Ebony magazine founder John H. Johnson, Chicago newspaper columnist Irv Kupcinet, and Illinois Senator Paul Simon.
- Creation: 1961
- From the Collection: Balk, Alfred, 1930-2010 (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
The Alfred Balk papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).
Conditions Governing Audiovisual Access
Some audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized. Researchers may access materials in the Special Collections Reading Room.