By Sheri Reda, Youth Services librarian
Juneteenth is the annual commemoration of the official end to slavery in the United States. In honor of the celebration this year, you may be interested in learning about locations throughout the North Shore that have had significance to the Civil Rights movement.
Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka: In 1946, shortly after the end of World War II, a group of residents organized an interfaith, interracial group called the North Shore Citizens’ Committee, which met at the Winnetka Community House and actively promoted integration.
Beth Emet Free Synagogue, 1224 West Dempster Street, Evanston: On January 13, 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave a speech at Beth Emet about the difficulties and promise of the civil rights movement. It was entitled, “It’s a Great Time to Be Alive.”
The Wilmette Human Relations Committee (WHRC): Formed in 1963, the WHRC aimed “to promote social harmony and thereby end prejudice, discrimination, and intolerance in whatever form these shall appear.” WHRC members worked to help secure passage of the civil rights Act also traveled to Alabama to participate in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March led by Dr. Martin Luther King. The WHRC was housed at 1200 Wilmette Avenue.
First Methodist Church, 526 Church Street, Evanston: In May of 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spoke at the First Methodist Church on the parable of the Good Samaritan and challenged his interracial audience to consider whether they are good neighbors.
Sacred Heart School on the North Shore, 1095 Gage street, Winnetka: In April 1964, a busload of sixth- and seventh-grade Black kids from Raymond School, on the South Side, spent a week living with Winnetka families and attending Sacred Heart School and living with Winnetka families.
610 Melrose Avenue, Kenilworth: In 1964, Lilian Calhoun and her husband were the first Black couple to purchase a home in Kenilworth, on Melrose Ave.
New Trier High School, 385 Winnetka Avenue, Winnetka: In 1964, New Trier Graduate Linda Davis volunteered for the "Mississippi Summer Project of 1964."
Village Green, 525 Maple Street, Winnetka: In July 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at the Village Green to encourage the 1965 North Shore Summer Project. The project was intended to end discriminatory housing practices in Wilmette and Winnetka.
Evanston: On April 7, 1968, an estimated 3,000 Evanston residents took part in a march that combined a tribute to King with a stand for fair housing. The march began at Emerson Street and McCormick Boulevard, proceeded through the downtown area, and ended in Raymond Park at Chicago Avenue and Grove Street, where a memorial was held.
photo via Winnetka Historical Society