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Evanston’s Living History: The Fight to Escape Racial Discrimination

January 12 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


“Evanston’s Living History: The Fight to Escape Racial Discrimination”
A presentation by filmmaker Craig Dudnick
Thursday, January 12, 2023, 7pm-8pm
Online event
Registration Required:
Admission: Free
Join us for a special online event in celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

“Crawford’s murder is left out of history books. I learned about it only when I started talking with members of Evanston’s African American community. I began to understand that their stories, past and present, can help us change our thinking about the kind of society and future we want. I think we all benefit when we open our minds, no matter how uncomfortable it is, to other viewpoints and other ways of understanding each other. That’s what gets us to a new idea, a new truth.” – Craig Dudnick

Between 1910 and 1920, roughly 6,000 people moved to Evanston from Abbeville, South Carolina. Among them were family members of a prominent Abbeville resident, Anthony Crawford (c.1865-1916). Join us for a presentation by filmmaker Craig Dudnick whose film “Evanston’s Living History: The Fight to Escape Racial Discrimination” examines the story behind this migration and its reverberations over the decades.

Anthony Crawford was born into slavery in Abbeville, South Carolina. After the abolition of slavery, the Crawford family prospered, acquiring property that Anthony developed into 400 acres of prime cotton land. On October 21,1916, Anthony Crawford was arrested after a disagreement with a white store owner. He was released on bail only to be attacked by a white mob of hundreds of Abbeville residents. Members of the mob beat him severely and then lynched him. Two days later, the Crawford land was seized and the Crawford family was ordered to leave town. They went north to Evanston where they started new lives and also confronted the institutionalized racism of the North. Through interviews with various Evanston residents, including Crawford descendants, Dudnick’s film explores the experiences of Crawford’s descendants, their lives in Evanston, and the rise of prominent Black leaders in Evanston who worked for social justice. Their work would eventually help bring about the 2005 passage of U.S. Senate Resolution 39: “A resolution apologizing to the victims of lynching and the descendants of those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-lynching legislation.” Dudnick will discuss his own experience of moving to Evanston and his encounters and long-lasting relationships with Crawford’s descendants and others who came to Evanston in the early 20th century.

Before or after the event, you can view Dudnick’s film, “Evanston’s Living History: The Fight to Escape Racial Discrimination,” before or after the event for free on Kanopy: For those with an Evanston Public Library card, the film can be found here:

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January 12
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Evanston History Center

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