Hawthorne Lane floods again on May 17, but by morning the water had drained away.

It’s May 18, the 139th day of the year. Yesterday’s temperatures of Lake Michigan were 51 degrees the Chicago crib and 53 degrees at the Chicago shore.

Yesterday was the last day the use of backpack-mounted or handheld gasoline-powered leaf-blowers was permitted until Sept. 30.

Also today, all non-essential City services will be shut down today, one of several mandatory furlough days to help the City offset the unforeseen expenses from COVID-19.

 This day in history (from history.com):

1860, Abraham Lincoln nominated for presidency at Republican Convention. On Nov. 6, Mr. Lincoln defeated his opponents, Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckenridge and John Bell, with 40% of the popular vote and became the first Republican to win the presidency.

Many residents may know the Evanston footnote to that bit of history. Mr. Lincoln spent the night before the convention here, at the home of his friend Julius White. The house, originally located on Church Street, was later moved to Dodge Avenue. Mr. White became a brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War. 

1896, The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson, giving approval to the doctrine of “separate but equal.” In fact, for many years, the “separate” ruled and “equal” ebbed.

Perhaps as notable as the decision was the dissent by Justice John Marshall Harlan, which reads in part, “But in the view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens.  … Our Constitution in color-blind and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens.  In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.”

And yesterday marked the 66th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling that ended the separate but equal doctrine – Brown v. Board of Education, argued before the Court by Thurgood Marshall. According to history.com, the Chief Justice at that time, Fred M. Vinson, was of the opinion that the Plessy v. Ferguson case should not be overturned. He died before the case was heard, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren as the new Chief Justice. The Court’s decision to overturn Plessy was unanimous.

Welcome to the ninth week of lockdown. Despite the frequent dips in temperature and chilly rain, the trees and flowers here are is getting lovelier by the day. Virtual meetings continue, as do curbside pickups and home deliveries of goods and groceries.

The Dar Us Sunnah Masjid & Community Center continues its outreach to its Fifth Ward neighbors, offering food boxes on a first-come, first-served basis to those who could use some extra food to feed their families and loved ones.

Vendors at the downtown market are welcoming customers every Saturday.

On Sunday, the Evanston Township High School class of 2020 will graduate in a virtual ceremony. Be on the lookout for a special RoundTable salute to these graduates, coming next month.

This region, the Northeast Region of Illinois – per Governor J. B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, will not likely pass from its Phase 3 status until later this month, at the earlier. As folks and businesses are starting to stretch from a long spring lockdown, masks are becoming even more crucial for everyone’s safety.

Perhaps not as immediately important but something to think about is what is behind the mask. People are right to be wary and distant but these things do not have to fold over into suspicion.  

Wave at whoever just moved off the sidewalk and onto the parkway to maintain the six-foot distance. Smile, even though your mouth is covered and your eyes are veiled by the fog of your glasses. Friendliness can be contagious even from afar.  

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...