Items donated to Shorefront from Mrs. Frazier
Items donated to Shorefront from Mrs. Frazier

The first six months of 2015 have been very busy at the Legacy Center located in the lower level Sherman United Methodist Church, a strong supporter of Shorefront. New projects, archive acquisitions and community engagement have taken most of our time. At the same time, Shorefront will be receiving some additional help for the summer months.

For the summer months, resident scholar Doria Johnson will be spending more time at Shorefront as she continues her research on North Shore domestics as well as a number of related topics. In addition, Shorefront welcomes back Elizabeth Sanderson, Dominican University, who had interned with Shorefront last September through November. She will continue work on the Melvin Smith files and additional archival processing. Lastly, Shorefront welcomes Megan Klein, a Black Metropolis Research Fellow, who will be working out of Shorefront researching housing patterns on the North Shore.

We also bid a fond farewell and best of luck to long-time volunteer, Cassandra Harlan. Since 2011, Cassandra had single-handedly built, acquired, organized and cataloged Shorefront’s current collection of over 500 books, reference materials and periodicals; she kept us connected with the local library and its branches; she also took on the responsibility of managing the move and the reorganizing of Shorefront’s book collection in our new facility. Her contributions will not be forgotten. Today, the catalog has been incorporated into the Evanston Public Library’s catalog system as a non-circulating collection.

North Shore Illinois Chapter Links at Shorefront
North Shore Illinois Chapter Links at Shorefront

The North Shore Illinois Chapter, Links, Inc. continues to be a strong supporter of Shorefront, financially allocating a portion of their budget to the maintenance and care of the chapters archives at Shorefront. In early May, the Links chapter held a meet and greet at Shorefront and introduced potential members to the facility and where their archives are held.

Presentations on and about the purpose of Shorefront were given to the Evanston Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge No. 28, The North Shore Ushers Guild, and the Evanston African American and Genealogy Consortium. Each organization is preparing artifacts and other representative items to donate to the Shorefront archives. An additional presentation was given to the Evanston chapter N.A.A.C.P. on the state of their archives and an introduction to Shorefront for board members not familiar with our activities.

Dino presenting to Evanston Police Dept.
Dino presenting to Evanston Police Dept.

In Shorefront’s ongoing public programming, Shorefront gave a series of retrospective presentations on African American business on the North Shore at the February Evanston 5th Ward meeting, the Evanston Police Department, and at the annual Black History lecture series event at the Levy Center. Others included presentations to Dewey School’s Books and Breakfast team, Norris Center Staff at Northwestern University, faculty and students at E.T.H.S., co-sponsored a book reading event with Northwestern University Press featuring author/poet Angela Jackson

In light of the series, the Black History Month lecture series was in its 4th year, a collaboration between Shorefront, Evanston NAACP, The African American Genealogy Consortium, and the Haitian Congress. The 2015 series topics, over the course of two weekends, were “Black Lives matter: The Importance of Participating, Organizing to affect Change” and “The History Of Black Entrepreneurship, Wealth And Asset Building In Evanston/North Shore And The Current Threat To Black Wealth In Real Estate”.

Black History Month Lecture series, 2015
Black History Month Lecture series, 2015

The first session featured Guest panelist, Kevin Brown from the City of Evanston, Bobby Burns – founder of “We Want to Live”, and Photographer Richard Pack who photographed and filmed events in Ferguson, MO.

The second session featured speakers Dino Robinson (Shorefront) on the history of Black owned business in Evanston as far back as 1880, and Phyllis Logan – NAACP Housing Committee Co-Chair & Current 2nd VP of State Conference of Branches on housing trends and issues among the Black community.

As far as projects brewing at Shorefront, the most prominent work in progress is that of the story of Lorraine H. Morton, Evanston’s first African American mayor, Democratic mayor and longest serving mayor in Evanston’s history. A teaser clip of “Lorraine H. Morton: A Life Worth Living” was first shown at the soft opening of the Gibbs Morrison Cultural Center on the corner of Church street and Dodge Avenue in February.

Shorefront and First Bank staff
Shorefront and First Bank staff

Shorefront thanks its supporters, and new supporters, who have contributed to a successful fundraising campaign, sponsored by Evanston First Bank and Trust. Not only was Shorefront able to garner the 250 new likes for the banks Facebook page, but Shorefronts new likes increased by over 150.

Shorefront held the first two of a series of “Meet and Greets” at the center that had welcomed guests who have never visited the Legacy Center. The purpose of these informal gatherings is to further educate the public about the mission of Shorefront, its activities and encourage involvement.

For 2015, Shorefront welcomes one new member to the board, Bennie Welsch, bringing a wealth of experience to the existing board consisting of Chip Ratliff (president), Genie Lemieux-Jordan (treasurer), Margo Robinson (secretary), Violetta Cullen, Kris Graves, Steve Lemieux-Jordan and Annette Logan.

Alice Tregay with brother Sanders
Alice Tregay with brother Sanders “Sam” Hicks

Shorefront also pays a special tribute to Evanston native, Alice Tregay – a woman who refused to stand still for injustice and brought others together to change what was. Alice’s story, captured in a documentary video, involves her early advocacy in Equal Housing, School Integration, Operation Breadbasket, Operation Push, the Political Action Committee, Mayoral and Presidential Elections, as a Lobbyist and her work with the Soul Children of Chicago. Her passion included inspiring youth to get involved, vote and participate in activities that affect daily lives. Alice’s contributions to civic engagement will be missed. Shorefront is deeply honored to have been able to work on such wonderful projects in honoring her life.

Membership to Shorefront, and the purchase of our publications, helps continue the many programs and activities Shorefront provides to the community as well as preserving its local heritage. To learn more on how you can contribute to Shorefront, write an article, or participate in research initiatives, contact us at 847-864-7467 or email us at shorefront@me.com

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