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.

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6:20am

Sat July 28, 2012
U.S.

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

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 8:57 am

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

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.

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6:07am

Sun July 8, 2012
Presidential Race

Urgency Reigns At Vote-Focused NAACP Convention

Originally published on Sun July 8, 2012 2:59 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

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3:01am

Wed June 27, 2012
Law

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

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 3:00 pm

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

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.

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3:15am

Wed June 20, 2012
Education

A New Union Battle As Chicago Teachers, Mayor Clash

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:08 am

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

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.

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3:03am

Fri June 8, 2012
Law

After NAACP Marriage Stance, Discord And Discussion

Originally published on Mon June 11, 2012 3:03 pm

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

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.

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4:26pm

Mon April 23, 2012
History

Discovery Sparks Interest In Forgotten Black Scholar

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 7:39 pm

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

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?' "

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4:27am

Wed April 11, 2012
Remembrances

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.

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2:35am

Mon April 9, 2012
Around the Nation

'Premature' To Call Tulsa Shootings Hate Crimes

Originally published on Mon April 9, 2012 10:15 am

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

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.

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4:57am

Mon March 19, 2012
Election 2012

Jesse Jackson Jr. Makes Final Push To Win Primary

Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 9:06 am

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

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.

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12:01am

Thu March 15, 2012
Race

Voters May Break Up Fight Over 'Fighting Sioux'

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 8:34 am

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

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

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