That claim is made by Rahm’s brother in his upcoming autobiography, according to Vanity Fair:
When Rahm was a baby, their mother left him momentarily in the care of two-year-old Ezekiel and a five-year-old cousin before leaving the room. When the boys were children, she sent them off alone to spend summer days on Chicago’s Foster Avenue Beach, which they reached through a tunnel beneath Lake Shore Drive.
After a few days in the sun Ari and Rahm could pass for African-Americans, which led to the occasional dustup on a beach that was segregated in custom and practice. “Certain people—mostly white males between the ages of 10 and 15—made it their business to enforce the unwritten whites-only rule,” Ezekiel writes. “When they called my brothers niggers and tried to bully us off the beach, we — naturally — refused to move. Instead, one of us would answer, ‘You can’t make me leave.’” If shouting didn’t work, the Emanuel boys had no qualms about throwing punches. “We were city kids, not anti-war activists.”
A glance at Emanuel’s bio and you can clearly see that his early years were totally infused with the African-American experience:
While they lived in Chicago, Emanuel attended the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. After his family moved to Wilmette, Emanuel attended public schools: Romona School, Locust Junior High School, and New Trier West High School. Emanuel and his brothers attended summer camp in Israel, including the summer following the June 1967 Six-Day War.
Emanuel was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons as a boy and is a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet, as well as a student of The Joel Hall Dance Center, where his children later took lessons. Emanuel won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet, but turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, and went on to receive an Master of Arts in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985. While an undergraduate, Emanuel was elected to the Sarah Lawrence Student Senate.
That bio didn’t cover the years that Rahm and his brother played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Learn more about the life of Rahm Emanuel in his video biography. Here’s how it begins:
Now, watch closely and see if you can spot Rahm Emanuel and his brother when they were kids growing up in Chicago: