May 8, 2004  
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A Year Later

Alton Miller, who served as Press Secretary to Mayor Harold Washington, teaches “Politics and the Media” at Columbia College Chicago. He is also a member of PCG’s Board of Directors. His other commentaries are also available online.


In June 2003 I was accepted as a candidate for the degree of Master of Fine Arts, at Goddard College, in Plainfield, Vermont – a project that continued over four semesters, through the spring of 2005.

For my thesis I wrote a novel based on my experiences as press secretary to Harold Washington, the first African-American elected as mayor of the city of Chicago. The novel, Chicago Power & Light (it takes its title from a fictional electric utility company that figures in the story) combines the themes of political power and social enlightenment that have guided me in the anti-war articles posted here – with the difference that I am returning to the roots of civic engagement: politics at the local level.

In the first week of July 2005 I returned from my graduation ceremony in Plainfield to assume the duties of the Associate Dean of the School of Media Arts at Columbia College, where I had been awarded tenure as a full professor only a few months before. I continue to teach online, alongside the full-time responsibilities of a college administrator. Among the casualties of my new schedule has been my board membership in Protestants for the Common Good. Lacking the deadline pressures of my online column, I have let it lapse.

Some of my writing time has been channeled into a pair of websites that seek to capture some of the highlights of our contemporary culture for my students – at http://civic.columbiacollege.net, and at http://adcult.columbiacollege.net. What energy is left is slowly, surely dedicated to reworking the novel that served as my thesis.

This final entry is not published by Protestants for the Common Good, despite the (I hope) usefully consistent graphics on this page.

Let's keep in touch,


Alton Miller

2004 Alton Miller