Cheryl Corley

Cheryl Corley is an NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk and is based in Chicago. She travels throughout the Midwest covering issues and events throughout the region's 12 states.

In recent years, Corley has reported on the campaign and re-election of President Barack Obama, on the efforts by Illinois officials to rethink the state's Juvenile Justice System, on youth violence in Chicago, and on political turmoil in the Illinois state government. She's reported on the infamous Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida and covered tornadoes that have destroyed homes and claimed lives in Harrisburg, Illinois; small towns in Oklahoma; and Joplin, Missouri.

In addition, Corley was among the group of NPR reporters covering the devastation caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as they tore through the Gulf Coast. She returned to the area, five years later, and joined the reporting team covering the impact of the BP oil spill. Corley also has served as a fill-in host for NPR shows, including Weekend All Things Considered, Tell Me More, and Morning Edition.

Prior to joining NPR, Corley was the news director at Chicago's public radio station, WBEZ, where she supervised an award-winning team of reporters. She also has been a frequent panelist on television news-affairs programs in Chicago.

Corley has received awards for her work from a number of organizations including the National Association of Black Journalists, the Associated Press, the Public Radio News Directors Association, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She earned the Community Media Workshop's Studs Terkel Award for excellence in reporting on Chicago's diverse communities and a Herman Kogan Award for reporting on immigration issues.

A Chicago native, Corley graduated cum laude from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, and is now a Bradley University trustee. While in Peoria, Corley worked as a reporter and news director for public radio station WCBU and as a television director for the NBC affiliate, WEEK-TV. She is a past President of the Association for Women Journalists in Chicago.

She is also the co-creator of the Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program. The critics/journalism training program for female high school juniors is a collaboration between AWJ-Chicago and the Goodman Theatre. Corley has also served as a board member of Community Television Network, an organization that trains Chicago youth in video and multi-media production.

Pages

Education
5:52 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Chicago Teachers, Parents Riled By Plan To Close 54 Public Schools

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks outside Mahalia Jackson Elementary School in Chicago about the planned closing of 54 public schools. Opponents say the plan will disproportionately affect minority students in the nation's third-largest school district.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Fri March 22, 2013 10:43 pm

In Chicago, officials have released a long-feared list that places more than 50 schools on the chopping block. The public school district faces a $1 billion shortfall, and the mayor says many of the city's school buildings are half empty. Some angry parents and teachers say the plan will harm children and they'll fight to keep the schools open.

Read more
Race
3:12 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Game Of Change: Pivotal Matchup Helped End Segregated Hoops

Mississippi State's Stan Brinker (53) and Loyola's Jerry Harkness (15) shake hands before the NCAA Mideast regional semifinal college basketball game in East Lansing, Mich., on March 15, 1963. The game was a landmark contest between the schools that helped alter race relations on the basketball court.
Loyola University Chicago AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 8:14 pm

During the March Madness of 1963, playing was infused with politics. The NCAA matchup between Loyola University of Chicago and Mississippi State helped put an end to segregated basketball. Loyola's win 50 years ago became known as the "game of change."

At the time, college basketball was still predominantly white, with usually no more than two or three black players appearing on the floor at any one time. But in '63, the Loyola Ramblers' starting lineup featured four black players.

Read more
Theater
4:13 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

August Wilson's Words Get New Life In Monologue Contest

Branndin Laramore (from left), Brian Weddington, Lia Miller and Ernesto Moreta pose after a recent rehearsal for the Chicago finals of the August Wilson Monologue Competition.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Originally published on Thu March 7, 2013 5:40 pm

When the stage lights go up at Chicago's Goodman Theatre on Monday evening, more than 20 high school students will each have a moment to step into the spotlight and perform a monologue from one of the plays written by the late August Wilson. Chicago's contest is one of several regional finals that strives to introduce students to the Pulitzer Prize winner's work. It's also a lead-up to the national August Wilson Monologue Competition that will be held on Broadway later this spring.

Read more
Television
3:30 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

An Oprah-less Chicago Tries To Keep Talk Show Spirit Alive

Members of the studio audience wait outside Harpo Studios before the final taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show in Chicago in May 2011.
Paul Beaty AP

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 5:23 pm

It's been nearly two years since Oprah ended her daily show, and Chicago's been adjusting to the loss of the daytime talk queen. Although she left a huge void, there's no need to write an obituary for the TV talk genre in Chicago.

In the lobby of Chicago's NBC Towers, the crowd of excited fans gathered for a TV taping is reminiscent of the Oprah days of old. But instead of Oprah, they're lined up to see veteran comedian Steve Harvey's show.

"I like Steve's energy. I like his shows. He's funny. He covers all topics," says fan Deloris Neal.

Read more
Business
3:01 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Airport Suites Offer Travelers A Place To Nap On The Fly

Minute Suite's 7-by-8-feet rooms offer Wi-Fi, a sofa bed, a television and a workspace. One traveler compared the small spaces to having an MRI done, but others say the idea is overdue at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Courtesy of Minute Suites

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 7:44 pm

When there's a big snowstorm or a plane has mechanical problems, airports often turn into uncomfortable holding pens, with people scrunched in chairs, lying on floors, filling up restaurants and otherwise trying to find something to do.

That's actually good news for one company. Minute Suites is building tiny airport retreats across the country. The suites are already operating in Atlanta and Philadelphia. Next up are Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Read more
Around the Nation
3:07 am
Sun February 10, 2013

First Lady Among Mourners At Funeral For Slain Chicago Teen

The remains of Hadiya Pendleton are taken to her final resting place at the Cedar Park Cemetery on Saturday in Calumet Park, Ill.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:38 am

Hundreds of mourners, including first lady Michelle Obama, turned out Saturday for the funeral of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, a Chicago girl who was shot to death just days after she and her high school band performed at inauguration events in Washington.

Her killing has catapulted her into the nation's debate over gun violence.

Read more
Around the Nation
1:07 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Gun Violence Robs Chicago Mother Of 4th Child

Shirley Chambers cries during Monday's funeral for her son Ronnie Chambers, 33. She had four children, three boys and a girl, all victims of gun violence in Chicago over a period of 18 years.
John Gress Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 1:40 pm

The gun violence that scars some Chicago neighborhoods has been a plague for one woman. Shirley Chambers first lost a child to gunfire in the mid 1990s. In 2000, a daughter and a son were shot to death just months apart. On Monday, Chambers buried her last child.

Nearly 500 people filled the pews, the choir lofts and hallways of St. Luke Church of God in Christ for the funeral of 33-year-old Ronnie Chambers, an aspiring music producer who died Jan. 26.

Read more
U.S.
4:26 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

Violence-Riddled Chicago Hopes Gun Proposals Will Help Shield It

Community leaders and family members of murder victims attend a press conference Jan. 3 at St. Sabina Church in Chicago to make a plea for stronger gun regulations.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 5:16 am

As President Obama unveiled his gun control proposals Wednesday, he highlighted mass shootings at schools in Colorado, Virginia and Connecticut. He also mentioned another group of children, not in school — the ones on the street corners of Chicago.

Chicagoan Annette Holt was at the White House during Obama's address. Her teenage son, Blair, was shot to death five years ago on a Chicago bus as he shielded a fellow student from a spray of bullets.

Read more
U.S.
3:20 am
Sat December 15, 2012

A Vision For Chicago Public Housing, Stymied And Contested

The Lathrop Homes, pictured here in 2006, are part of the latest revamp effort by the Chicago Housing Authority.
Chicago Housing Authority

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 11:43 am

Chicago's $1.6 billion "Plan for Transformation" envisioned public housing in a way that would deconstruct an image of the city's poor all concentrated in huge housing silos.

The idea was to mix public-housing residents with market-rate condos and subsidized rentals or homes, with one-third of each in these new communities.

Read more
Politics
4:37 pm
Sat September 1, 2012

GOP Looks To Amp African-American Support

Mia Love, the Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, addresses the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 5:32 pm

Barack Obama won more than 95 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, and Democrats are expected to have a huge advantage this November. Even so, Republicans looked for ways to appeal to those voters at their convention in Tampa, Fla.

Though the convention hall was packed with delegates this week, it wasn't until gospel star Bebe Winans and the Tampa Bay City Life Church Chorus came on stage that there was any sizable number of African-Americans around.

Read more
Politics
2:15 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

RNC's Program Aimed At Luring More Latino Voters

Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 4:39 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

As they leave the convention in Tampa, Republican Party leaders are hoping their efforts in Florida will win over more Latino voters. Hispanic lawmakers were given high-profile speaking roles, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced Mitt Romney last night. Recent polls suggests President Obama leads Romney 3 to 1 among Hispanics.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports from Tampa on this week's Republican efforts at outreach.

Read more
Election 2012
3:53 am
Tue August 28, 2012

GOP Convention Delegates Ready To Roll In Tampa

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 7:32 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Read more
Election 2012
3:47 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Michelle Obama Focuses On Work Still To Be Done

First lady Michelle Obama sits with guests as they eat lunch during a kids' state dinner at the White House on Monday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:35 pm

This week, first lady Michelle Obama was doing something she loves to do, talking about nutrition with kids. She hosted the first state dinner for children, welcoming 54 of them and their parents to the White House.

"This is the hottest ticket at the White House, right here, because of all of you," Obama said to the children, who ranged in age from 8 to 12.

Read more
U.S.
4:20 am
Sat July 28, 2012

Hot, Dry, Tapped Out: Drought Shrivels Fun, Too

Don't call 'em greens: Some golf courses, such as this one in Syracuse, N.Y., are letting their signature green grass go to brown in an effort to save water.
Dennis Nett The Post-Standard/Landov

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 6:57 am

The drought that's hit huge swathes of the country is also draining the audiences for outdoor activities.

Just look at the Fox River, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago. Water swirls and plunges over a dam in Yorkville, Ill. Normally there'd be lots of folks canoeing or kayaking here, but not today.

"As you can see most of my canoes are just sitting," says Greg Freeman, the owner of Freeman Sports Shop.

Read more
Race
4:00 am
Tue July 10, 2012

NAACP Issues HIV-Aids Manual For Black Churches

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 9:41 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

The number of African-Americans contracting HIV and AIDS runs considerably ahead of the rest of the population. And now the NAACP hopes to harness the power of the black church to help. During its annual convention this week, the civil rights group unveiled a new HIV/AIDS manual. As NPR's Cheryl Corley reports, it's designed to help ministers talk to their congregations about the problem.

Read more
Presidential Race
4:07 am
Sun July 8, 2012

Urgency Reigns At Vote-Focused NAACP Convention

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 12:59 pm

The NAACP, the nation's oldest civil rights organization, holds its annual convention in Houston this week. As in any election season, the group is focused on voting rights and voter turnout. But this year, there's another issue that's front of mind: the dramatically high rate of unemployment rate among African-Americans.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will address the NAACP convention on Wednesday, and Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak the following day. NAACP members are ready to hear their plans.

The Race To Register

Read more
Law
1:01 am
Wed June 27, 2012

Exhale, Chicago, A Little Pot May Be Fine(d)

In Chicago, nearly nine out of 10 low-level marijuana busts result in a dismissal.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 1:00 pm

In Chicago, a new policy on marijuana possession would mean adults who are caught with a small amount of the illegal drug would receive a fine instead of being arrested.

It's mostly about money and how best to use police resources.

Under current Illinois law, anyone found with less than about 1 ounce of marijuana can be charged with a misdemeanor. If found guilty, they face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Read more
Education
1:15 am
Wed June 20, 2012

A New Union Battle As Chicago Teachers, Mayor Clash

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis speaks to reporters after casting her ballot in a strike authorization vote. Teachers voted overwhelmingly to authorize the first strike in 25 years if the city and the union can't come to terms this summer.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 6:08 am

There hasn't been a school strike in Chicago for 25 years. But the current contract between Chicago teachers and the Chicago Public Schools expires at the end of next week, and tensions between the teachers union, the school district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are ratcheting higher.

Chicago Teachers Union members outmaneuvered the mayor, school officials and anti-union education groups by overwhelmingly approving a measure that allows teachers to strike if contract negotiations fall flat.

Read more
Law
1:03 am
Fri June 8, 2012

After NAACP Marriage Stance, Discord And Discussion

The Rev. Ralph Abernathy (from left), the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Bayard Rustin leave the Montgomery (Ala.) County Courthouse in 1956. Rustin, who was gay, was the main organizer of the 1963 March on Washington.
Gene Herrick AP

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 1:03 pm

The NAACP recently took what was for some in the organization a controversial step, when it endorsed same-sex marriage. That move has now led some local officers around the country to resign — including the group's most outspoken critic of gay marriage.

The NAACP board says it stands by its resolution calling for marriage equality. But as the nation's oldest civil rights group prepares for its national convention in July, some in the ranks say the resolution caught them by surprise, and that such an important decision deserved open debate.

Read more
History
2:13 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Discovery Sparks Interest In Forgotten Black Scholar

Three years ago, Rufus McDonald found historic documents in an abandoned house and took them to a rare-books dealer. The papers and books belonged to Richard T. Greener, a 19th century intellectual who was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard University.
Cheryl Corley NPR

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Three years ago, just moments before sledgehammers ripped through an abandoned home in Chicago, the head of a demolition crew decided to save the contents of an old steamer trunk stored in the attic.

"They were about to demolish it because they couldn't get it down the stairs," says Rufus McDonald, who gathered what was inside the steamer trunk — documents and old books — and took them to a rare-book dealer in Chicago.

"He said, 'Do you know who this is?' I said, 'Nah, who is it?' He said, 'It's Richard Theodore Greener," McDonald recalls. "I said, 'Who is he?' "

Read more
Remembrances
2:27 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Tulsa Shooting Victim Had Turned Her Life Around

Dannaer Fields, who went by Donna, is shown in this undated photo. She was one of three people killed in Friday's shootings in Tulsa, Okla.
Courtesy Of News On 6

In Tulsa, Okla., the families of the three victims killed during a shooting rampage Friday are planning funerals. Police say William Allen, 31, Bobby Clark, 54, and Donna Fields, 49, were shot in a predominantly black neighborhood on the north side of Tulsa by two white men.

Fields was walking home after playing a game of dominoes with friends. She was called Donna, but her given name was Dannaer. Her brother Kenneth says she was named after an aunt.

Read more
Around the Nation
2:00 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Police: Suspects Confess To Tulsa Shooting Spree

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 4:14 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

We're going to spend this part of the program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a deadly shooting spree in a black neighborhood has revived memories of a long-ago race riot.

INSKEEP: First, we have an update on the news here. Police in Tulsa confirm that the two men accused of shooting five black people, and killing three, confessed shortly after they were arrested on Sunday.

Read more
Around the Nation
12:35 am
Mon April 9, 2012

'Premature' To Call Tulsa Shootings Hate Crimes

Alvin Watts (left), 33, and Jacob England, 19, were arrested following an appeal to the public to help police solve the five shootings that happened Friday. A police spokesman said the two face three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 8:15 am

Police in Tulsa, Okla., say it is much too early in their investigation to describe the murder of three black residents and the wounding of two others as a hate crime. Two men were arrested early Sunday morning and are expected to face charges of first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill.

Soon after Friday's shooting, authorities reached out to the public for help. Police Maj. Walter Evans, the head of a task force looking into the murders, says information started pouring in shortly after that.

Read more
Election 2012
2:57 am
Mon March 19, 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr. Makes Final Push To Win Primary

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Chicago alderman Sandi Jackson, ask each other for their support and votes as they arrive at a polling station for early voting in Chicago on March 9.
M. Spencer Green AP

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 7:06 am

The next primary election takes place in President Obama's home state of Illinois on Tuesday. While Republicans are looking to capture delegates in the presidential race, there are several House races on the ballot — mostly due to redistricting.

In one of the most closely watched of those races, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is facing a challenge from fellow Democrat and former Rep. Debbie Halvorson.

Read more
Race
10:01 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

Voters May Break Up Fight Over 'Fighting Sioux'

The University of North Dakota's Brad Eidsness makes a save during a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Since 2005, there have been a series of lawsuits and legislative actions over the nickname for the school's athletic teams, the "Fighting Sioux."
Josh Holmberg AP

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 6:34 am

The state Supreme Court in North Dakota is about to consider this question: Can lawmakers require a college to name its sports teams after a Native American tribe?

For decades, University of North Dakota teams have been known as the "Fighting Sioux." It's a name some see as an honor and others find demeaning. Now, the long fight over the Fighting Sioux may be settled in a courtroom.

2,400 Logos And A 'Vexing' Dispute

Read more

Pages