Returning Home: The Centennial of the Abbeville Lynching of Anthony Crawford

—By Doria Johnson

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In January of 2008, First Lady Laura Bush designated Abbeville a “Preserve America Community.” This initiative recognizes those communities that demonstrate a commitment to preserving their cultural and natural heritage. After years of denying the African American experience, Abbeville took one bold step towards that identity.

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With seven weeks notice, the community and country joined the Crawford family in honoring the centennial of their banishment, and “Grandpa Crawford’s” lynching in a two-day public history event. This well-attended and publicized affair included a “Freedom School”; a lynching-site soil collection and faith-based consecration service; an unveiling of a cast-iron marker by Bryan Stevenson; and a community-wide scholarship award service. There were roughly three hundred attendees at each event.

Filmmaker Keith Beauchamp noted, “The family of wealthy Black farmer Anthony Crawford just made history again”, harkening back to their role in the apology for lynching by the United States Senate in 2005. This time, they secured funding for the permanent marker at the site of his lynching in Abbeville, South Carolina on the centennial of his death. Many folks in Evanston have a connection to Abbeville, and the 1916 brutal mob lynching of Crawford fueled a large outmigration beyond the chain from Abbeville to Evanston, to all across the United States.

We made history today. No longer can folks walk into government buildings in Abbeville without first encountering Grandpa Crawford. – Doria Johnson

The American South is littered with physical representations of the Confederacy, an increasing controversial issue, especially in light of the 2015 racial terror Charleston shootings by Dylan Roof of eight praying Black church members, and the assassination of their pastor South Carolina State Senator, Clementa Pinckney. Abbeville district AME Bishop Samuel L. Green, Sr. said “these killings are the evidence that we are experiencing a new lynching era”.

A few months earlier just up the road in North Charleston, unarmed African American Walter Scott was gunned down by white Officer Michael Slager. Despite video and strong evidence that Officer Slager hunted Scott as if her were a deer, rabbit or turkey, Scott was granted a mistrial, even though Slager can be seen planting a Taser gun on Scott, in front of other officers. Roof was recently convicted and is eligible for the death penalty; he will be sentenced January 17, 2017. From Crawford until now, racial terror is as American as apple pie.

Joining the Crawford family members were the families of Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Emmett Till, as well as students from Kenyon College in Ohio, national and local activists, human rights workers, historians, sociologists and faith leaders. Many people from all walks of life descended on Abbeville to bear witness to the terror and trauma of the survivors of the Crawford lynching.

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Doria Johnson presenting at the Septima Clark Freedom School

On the first day of the event, Friday morning, The Septima Clark Freedom School was opened in the Jefferson Davis Park with undergraduate students from Kenyon College, teachers, activists and Crawford family members leading classes. Later at dusk, the soil collection interdenominational service included clergy from around the country, including Rev. Dr. Jim Forbes, Riverside Church; Rev. Dr. Freddy Haynes, Friendship West Baptist Church; Rev. Dr. Dale T. Irvin, World Churches, and Evanston native Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, who wrote the service of sacred memory.

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Doria Johnson with Bryan Stevenson

On Saturday morning, Bryan Stevenson unveiled the marker in front of a large crowd, including many press members and filmmakers. Stevenson not only congratulated the family for their steadfastness, but he also told stories of survival and racial conflict. One story was about a woman who could not enter a Southern courthouse after being terrorized by police dogs during the Black Freedom Movement demonstrations in her childhood in the 1960’s. She had been on Edmond Pettis Bridge in Alabama when police brutally beat marchers and set dogs upon them, and the trauma of those dogs followed her entire life. In front of Stevenson, she finally mustered the courage to attend a trial of an innocent Black neighbor, and declared “We are here!”. Stevenson asked the crowd to chant ‘we are here’ over again to demonstrate to attendees, ‘the region and the nation’ that the victims of lynchings did not disappear and are still affected by the aftermath.

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Doria Johnson holding a jar of soil collected near the site where Anthony Crawford was lynched

In the afternoon, the community gathered at the Crawford family church, 149-year old Cypress Chapel AME Church (which borders the Crawford homestead). Several local teenagers were awarded scholarships by the Equal Justice Initiative, and Crawford family members from around the country spoke about their legacies.

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Dance performed by Gail Hutchison before the unveiling of the marker

Local Evanston residents also participated including Second Baptist Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Michael C.R. Nabors, District 65 teacher Pat Gregory, Museum of Science and Industry/Yoga Instructor Gail Hutchison as well as 98-year old Lois Johnson, who attended as a salute to her dear late friend, Annabelle Frazier, Crawford’s granddaughter and family culture keeper.

Today, the Crawford family has made major strides towards recognition and justice. Just a few weeks later, Abbeville, the “birthplace and deathbed of the Confederacy” elected its first Black mayor, Santana Freeman. White City Manager Dave Krumwiede, and his assistant Blake Stone, provided critical leadership, ensuring the installation’s realization and also comfort for the family. Krumwiede said it was time for ‘generational change.’ The Crawfords, and the institutional collective, has plans for other actions which should change the lives of the Abbeville community. Program partners “We Say Enough”, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference all contributed significant support ensuring a successful event.

 

Note: All photographs courtesy of Doria Johnson

For more information: 

Dedication of Lynching Marker to Anthony Crawford (Equal Justice Initiative) http://eji.org/news/hundreds-d edicate-lynching-marker-anthon y-crawford-abbeville-south- carolina

The Evil of Lynching Exposed (Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ entry/the-evil-of-lynching-exp osed_us_5802960ae4b0985f6d1571 f7

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Hands of Time: Hands on Pageantry

—by Dino Robinson

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The Hands of Time: Bobby Caldwell, Barry Young, Lenard Perkins and Billy Giles.

. . .Look to this day!
For today your child has became a Woman!
A Beautiful  B L A C K  Woman! . . .
—Excerpt from “Miss Black Evanston” 1971-72, composed
by Maryland L. Williams and Morris McCorvey

Four men with aspirations to join the ranks of the many singing groups, made their stamp in history in a venue that was far from the music industry, in sponsoring a beauty pageant.

Four Evanston Township High School friends, Billy Giles, Bob Caldwell, Barry Young and Lenard Perkins shared in their interest in singing. After Giles and Caldwell served in the army, they formed a singing group known as the Devotions in 1967. One day, while the group was walking down Dempster Street, they stopped in front of a clock store. Inspired by the display, the group changed their name to the Hands of Time.

For the next several years, the group performed in local and Chicago metro area clubs and venues. Because of obligations to work and raising families, the group never devoted the time and energy needed to go further. “After many performances, we came out of it with $200, split between the four of us”, Mr. Young shared.

The Hands of Time performed at the former 1623 Club, Bobby Jones Club, venues in Chicago. The group also organized a singing venue at the former Student Lounge once located on Church Street and Maple Avenue. The headliner for the event Sonji Clay, the then ex-wife of the late Muhammad Ali.

It was at one venue in Chicago where the group came upon a request to sponsor a pageant. It was early 1971 after performing during a womans’ “society” club event where the group was approached and asked if they may be interested in sponsoring a competition in the North Shore. The winner of the pageant would then compete in the Miss Black Illinois pageant, then from there, advancing to Miss Black America pageant to be held in New York.

The Hands of Time took on the task, and they only had less than six months to pull it off. Under the name H.O.T. Production, short for their group name, they passed out flyers to Northwestern University Students, Evanston Township High School, and National Teacher College.

“The ladies group gave us the information of what criteria was needed for the ladies. They had to be in high school or college and from this area only. And they had to be under 21.” Said Mr. Young.

In the end, H.O.T. Productions attracted around 25 applicants that were narrowed down to 14 contestants: Joyce Ashford, Vernetta Bell, Linda Bowman, Sandra Childress, Rose Maria Eady, Betty Hill, Eva Holland, Loretta Lewis, Joyce Newman, Linda Jean Paul, Carola Payne, Debbie Pemberton, Bertha Pride and Earlene Spotsville were the final contestants for the first Miss Black Evanston pageant.

Throughout the coming months, the young ladies had an instructor that guided them in form, presentation and pageant venues. Eleanor Frazier, who for years had been working with the NorShore 12 cotillions, also helped in the process. Sponsors came from the Student union, the Foster Club and the 1623 Club and the final event was held on July 25, 1971 at the Orrington Hotel in downtown Evanston.

The events formal program, like most pageants, consisted of Music from Fred Hunter Jr. and his Orchestra, the opening procession of contestants, evening gown and swimsuit review and performance by the Hands of Time.

The event was documented in multiple issues of the Chicago Daily Defender, the North Shore Examiner, the Evanston Review, Chicago Tribune and the CCC Newsette. The CCC was quite excited about the event:

missblackevanston
Unknown publication

“. . .Never before has Evanston seen such a spine-chilling event as the H.O.T. Productions’ Miss Black Evanston Beauty Pageant. Judges simply had to be hard-put to decide on the winners. So diversified were their presentations that judges would have been justified in selecting any one of them.
We Learned that by a very narrow margin, . . . they announced to the suspense-filled audience of 300 or more patrons that the lovely Joyce Ashmore was their choice for Miss Black Evanston of 1971.”

Miss. Ashmore, a student at Emerson College, would go on to compete at the Miss Black Illinois that would be held the following month at the Playboy Towers. There she would finish as second runner up to a contestant from Chicago, Illinois. Miss Ashmore, an aspiring poet read one of her piece during the Evanston event entitled “The Black Woman’s Struggle to Adapt to the Changing Realities of Being Black”, with the ending verses:

My character has been molded to fit the survival needs of my people.
So I will change once again to fit their needs.
Mine will be a role of continual change, ever growing with my people,
Assisting them on their way, rather than becoming a stagnant burden.
So, too, must the Black man change.
We both must re-examine and re-define our roles,
For WE have a commitment for the future.
—Joyce Ashford

Though the event was a successful event, in the end, the Miss Black Evanston Pageant would be its first and last pageant from H.O.T. Productions. As Mr. Young simply stated, “We had the best event that year, among the other groups. But for some reason, we were not invited to participate the following year. That ended the effort. . .”. The Hands of Time continued to perform from time to time after the pageant. However, today it is just a memory left back at that time to be replaced with family and careers. There were only a few home recordings of the group, but none exist today.

 

Images: Hands of Time, courtesy of Mr. Barry Young. “Miss Black Evanston”, August 1971, Publication unknown.
Source: Interview of Barry Young conducted by Dino Robinson at Shorefront, September 27, 2014. Miss Black Evanston program book. The Daily Defender, Monday, August 7 and 9, 1971; The North Shore Examiner, August 2, 1971; The Evanston Review, August 5, 1971; Concerned Citizens Commitment (CCC), 1971. “Miss Black Illinois pageant dazzles Playboy Towers audience”, Daily Defender, August 21, 1971, p. 19.

Juneteenth: Celebrating and Honoring a Heritage

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2016 Juneteenth celebration in Evanston

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth is a day of celebration or… jubilation. A day filled with: Entertainment, recreation, reflection on education and self-improvement, guest speakers and prayer services. A time where we recognize and honor our elders. . .and our youth.

But lets think back for a moment here and reflect on how Juneteenth came about. Imagine with me if you may:

June 19th, 1865. Union soldiers arrived at Galveston, Texas with news for the community: The war had ended and that all who were enslaved are now free. Keep in mind that this news arrived two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.

Slavery was allowed in Southern Illinois

Union enforcement in Texas was negligible and was unable to enforce the Executive order until after the surrender of General Lee in April 1865 and stronger Union forces arriving in Texas. Read to the people of Texas was General Order Number 3, which began with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this news ranged from shock to immediate jubilation. With nowhere to go, former enslaved Blacks choices were few; remaining where they were or migrate to other parts of the country – as – free – people.

Many families migrated to the North Shore directly from the south and from Canada immediately after the Civil War. And to think, Illinois was almost a slave state. Before 1865, one could not really be a “free person of color” in Illinois as the Black Codes were in effect that kept a person of color as a registered indentured person. Slavery was allowed in Southern Illinois.1

Violetta Cullen delivering the speech
Violetta Cullen delivering the speech

I think about Maria Murray, Daniel Garnett and Hettie Corn before 1865- and other families that arrived shortly after the end of the Civil War –George Robinson, Nathan Branch, Andrew Scott of Evanston; The Mathews family in Lake Forest; the Calhoun family in Kenilworth; the Smith family in Wilmette; the Wilson family of Glencoe … Their struggles, life stories, tenacity and perseverance… and with luck… they lived and forged a new history as – free – people.

In this early history here on the north shore, these communities had:
Established five churches (and we celebrated)
Established Evanston Sanitarium – Hospital (and we celebrated)
Established Emerson Street YMCA (and we celebrated)

Early in our history on the north shore, this community had:
Fought Jim Crow (and we persevered)
Fought segregation (and we persevered)
Organized dozens of civic and social clubs to combat injustices and service our community (and we persevered)

Our local communities have accomplished much throughout its history on the North Shore. We have made history. And we should celebrate.

16-182-001So we celebrate Juneteenth, celebrating African American freedom, achievement, self-development and remember that we must show respect for all cultures. As Juneteenth celebrations continue across this nation, the events that have transpired back in 1865 in Texas, will not be forgotten. For all of our roots tie back to this fertile soil from which many were delivered to, worked on, built on, and we all should celebrate, a national day of pride that is embodied as Juneteenth.

 

Note: A public speech written by Shorefront staff for two separate Juneteenth community celebrations in 2015 delivered by Dino Robinson and in 2016 delivered by Violetta Cullen.
All photographs by Evanston Photographic Studios.

  1. Douglas Harper, “Slavery in the Northhttp://slavenorth.com/northwest.htm

Shorefront Update #008

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

2014 Black History Month Wrap Up

"Creativity in the Black Community"
“Creativity in the Black Community”

Carter G. Woodson, who established Negro History Week in 1926, created the event not to rattle off a series of “firsts”. Instead, it is to recognize as a way to provide resources to teach a history that was largely excluded in American history. In essence, study Black history throughout the year, then present your findings to the community during the second week of February. In 1976 the week was expanded to encompass the entire month of February.

African American Achievement Awards
African American Achievement Awards

Across the country, citizens organize programs, classroom exercises and various celebrations in recognition of the history and achievements of the Black community. Shorefront made it its point to go out into the communities and present new findings and join others in celebrating Black history with its first involvement with the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center’s kick-off celebration on February 2. In addition, Shorefront was asked to present the “Living Legend – Trailbrazer Award” to Leon Robinson, Jr. at the African American Achievement Award held at Evanston Township High School on February 28.

Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Chi Omega Chapter
Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Chi Omega Chapter

Shorefront had a jumpstart just before February hosting a January 30th reception at the Legacy Center with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Delta Chi Omega chapter with the official handoff of materials to be incorporated into Shorefronts archive. On January 31, Shorefront founder, Dino Robinson delivered seven back-to-back 40-minute discussions on local history and findings at Niles North High School in Skokie. Dino revisited the high school on February 19 to discuss “tell your own story” and how online blogs can help disseminate your own story.

Shorefront gave additional presentations to Evanston’s noon Rotary club on February 20th and to over 100 employees at PACE Transportation headquarters in Arlington Heights during their Black History Month luncheon celebration on February 28. On Feb 27, Shorefront was part of a panel during a joint 5th and 7th ward community meeting entitled “Evanston Myths”. Sponsored by the City of Evanston and hosted on Northwestern University campus, the event was live tweeted. You can follow Shorefront via twitter @SFLegacy.

Session Three
Session Three

Shorefront, the Evanston chapter NAACP, the African American History and Genealogy Study Group of Evanston and the Haitian Congress sponsored three consecutive discussions related to local, national and global action and historical influences within Black communities. Held during the first three Saturdays in February, the topics were: “Restoring Voting Rights, Political Power in the Black Community”, Valuing Creative Arts in the Black Community”, and “The Continuing Legacy of Pan-African Resistance”. Each two-hour session engaged community members in thoughtful insight and conversation with 12 speakers addressing the subjects.

Shorefronts resident Scholar, Doria Johnson, has been involved in several lectures on and about her work entitled “I Am Not What You Think I Am: African American Women and Domestic Service in Suburbs: Evanston, Illinois, 1910-1945”. Doria gave presentations at the Evanston History Center of February 13 and at Sherman United Methodist Church on March 2. In addition, a Medill School of Journalism student also interviewed Doria for an informative PSA on her and Shorefront’s work.

North Shore Chapter Jack and Jill
North Shore Chapter Jack and Jill

Shorefront began a new filming project on and about participants of the North Shore Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. The project focuses on memories, thoughts, reasons for involvement, and influences experienced growing up in areas of the northern suburbs that were predominantly white in social makeup. On February 22, participants and mothers of the North Shore chapter visited the Shorefront Legacy Center for a tour, a documentary screening and a Q&A moderated by Rev. Gessel Berry, Jr. and Doria Johnson.

KOI fundraiser dinner outing
KOI fundraiser dinner outing

Wrapping up the month, Shorefront board members, staff and advisors, celebrated at KOI restaurant on February 26th. During the month of February, KOI identified Shorefront as recipient of their monthly fundraising activity. Patrons who at table 23 or ordered take out, a percentage of the bill went to support the activities of Shorefront.

Carpet Square Donation
Carpet Square Donation

Shorefront also received a donation from the good folks over at FLOR.com, a Chicago based company. FLOR awarded the Shorefront Legacy Center with a gift of carpet tiles through their “FLOR Carpet for a Cause” rug donation. The Plug— FLOR carpet design squares let you create area rugs, runners, even wall-to-wall designs that are easily custom-sized to fit any space. You can also choose from pre-designed area rugs and runners or mix and match FLOR carpet design squares to create your own.

Chris Greene
Chris Greene

Additional archive donations to Shorefront came from the Noyes Cultural Arts Center involving the International Black Arts Museum, musician Chris Greene consisting of his new CD “Music Appreciation” and items about the North Shore chapter of Jack and Jill from Carmen Corbett. The North Shore communities also lost several people who have left a mark in history. A few include Dr. Betty Burns Paden, community activist Rosetta Gradford and Carl Davis – all long-term supporters of Shorefront.

If you know of families with interesting histories, consider having an archive at the Shorefront Legacy Center where future generations can research and learn about the Black communities on Chicago’s suburban North Shore.

Shorefront Update #003

LeeAnn Trotter and Dino Robinson
LeeAnn Trotter and Dino Robinson

Shorefront had a busy first quarter of 2013. In forging partnerships and new relationships, the Shorefront Legacy Center had the role as “host site” for many of these exciting collaborations.

Evanston Scholars
Evanston Scholars

In January, the center was the site of the Evanston Scholars reception, recognizing more than a dozen participants in their college bound accomplishments to an audience of more than 50 guests. During the same month, Shorefront founder was interviewed by Lee Ann Trotter of Channel 5 and later appeared for a second interview at the Channel 5 studio.

Shorefront was featured on NBCs Channel 5 News

The month of February included three well-attended consecutive lecture discussions in partnership with the Evanston Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. and the Evanston African American Genealogy Consortium. Guest panelists and moderators led discussions on the following topics: “150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation”, “Global

Symposium Series 2013
Symposium Series 2013

Migration”,  “The History of African Americans on Evanston School Boards”, and “Historical Contributions of Blacks in the Military”. Each of these sessions were recorded and can be listen to on Shorefront’s website by clicking on each topic.

February also brought an wonderful opportunity to assist Evanston native, actress Tina Lifford, who’s performance of “The Circle Play” was her give back to the community that raised her. Proceeds of the performance in Evanston were awarded to Shorefront for its efforts and dedication to preserving local Black history.

There were so many activities to do, important Shorefront led venues had to be pushed to later months. Watch for them!

Zeta Xi Lambda Chaper
Zeta Xi Lambda Chaper

New to Shorefronts archives are the Evanston Branch N.A.A.C.P. files consisting of more than 25 boxes dating back to 1952. In addition to the new acquisition, a renewed investigation to determine its charter date has begun. Though there is the charter of 1928 for the Evanston Chapter, there may have been an earlier charter as early as 1915. This new acquisition will add to Shorefronts early catalog of N.A.A.C.P. files. Shorefront also received items to be included in the Zeta Xi Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity collection. The new addition includes letters c1950s, rosters, general minutes, a photo and several “Sphinx” magazines c1930s.

Thank You for Following Shorefront Journal!

Shorefront Journal has been alive now for almost nine months. As of this writing, the site has received over 5,100 views. The journals launch month received 951 views. Halfway through April 2013, the site received over 1,000, views.

If you want to receive notifications when we post, just click on “+Follow”(usually on the bottom right corner) and an email will be sent to you every time a new post appears. We encourage comments! It adds to the article and has already proven useful in research. So be sure to post them below the article. Sharing new information is an important part of the process! If you have a story or an idea for a story, please visit our submissions guidelines.

Don’t forget to like Shorefront on Facebook! It is the best way to get updates on Shorefront activities.

Jamaican Community of Chicago’s North Shore celebrates the island’s Golden Anniversary‏

by Petina Dixon-Jenkins

Sunday, August 5th, 2012 was a bright sunny afternoon in Evanston’s James Park. . . perfect temperature, light breeze, reggae music filling the air. Happy children run and play, older men play dominoes, food, fellowship and festivity in a sea of black, green and gold. . . the celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence in the heart of the midwest.

Evanston’s 2012 Jamaican Independence Festival was sponsored by the Evanston Cricket Club with support from members of the community. And by all indications, it was a true success. The Cricket Club counted more than 1,000 visitors pouring through the park throughout the event, which ended after 9:00pm.

“It’s about bringing all the people together,” said Mildred Louis, President of the Evanston Cricket Club. “Other [ECC events] have been good but this was the largest, because it was the 50th year of Jamaican independence. So all the people around Evanston- Jamaicans and others— came to celebrate. It was just a great day with everybody out there enjoying themselves, and it was peaceful.”

We celebrate to remind ourselves and the world that Jamaican culture is important to world culture.

The afternoon’s program included entertainment by local reggae DJs and live music including gospel singers from an Evanston church, as well as soccer and dominoes tournaments. The day started off with a win for the Evanston Cricket Club in a match against the Illinois Cricket Club.

“The Jamaican Independence Celebration was like a reunion— to see all Jamaicans from different walks of life, church, school, cricket, soccer communities gathering in the park to celebrate Jamaica was really wonderful,” said Christine Brown, a Jamaican-born Evanstonian and founder of multicultural organization Unieros. “I saw people I hadn’t seen in a long time. People I went to school with and church and various activities made it very special.”

Jamaicans and Jamaican-Americans throughout the diaspora used the historic anniversary as an opportunity to share and celebrate the island’s history and culture.

“It is important to celebrate Jamaica because we are small in numbers but big in influence,” said Brown. “We celebrate to remind ourselves and the world that Jamaican culture is important to world culture. By celebrating we keep this alive for years to come.”

The festive mood of the day was amplified by an Olympic 100 meter gold medal run by Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt earlier that afternoon in London.

“Independence and freedom is a beautiful thing,” said Brown. “Jamaica’s 50th [anniversary of independence] was paramount reason to celebrate. Jamaica has given the world reggae, and the world’s fastest man and fastest woman. Celebrating this at a time when world is also celebrating Jamaica at the London Olympics was icing on cake.”

“[Bolt’s race] was the highlight of the day,” said Louis. “People said they felt like they were celebrating in Jamaica. . . like it was a home away from home.”