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September 22, 2019

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Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Camille Blachowicz, Ph.D.

‘Outstanding’ Article on Redlining
The article on redlining was outstanding. Thank you so much for
such a clear historical perspective and kudos also to Dino Robinson.
The RoundTable is a terrific community resource.
Thanks for the work you do.



Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Leslie McMillian and Mary R Mary Rosinski

Neighborhoods vs. Northwestern Profits
Northwestern is lobbying Evanston to be able to host for-profit concerts/professional sporting events and to sell alcohol in the U2 zoning district, their stadium/arena complex. In the past, Evanston stood with residents and fought against this change. From roughly 1970 until 1978, Northwestern repeatedly held illegal events in the stadium and sued Evanston over attempts to stop them. In 1978, the Illinois Supreme Court sided with Evanston and its residents. Evanston denied a subsequent attempt by Northwestern to host such events in 1996.
Northwestern’s renewed request to host for-profit events occurs at a time of heightened concern about Evanston’s budget. The amount of money that these currently banned events will raise for Evanston is small. Moreover, it is extremely cynical of Northwestern to use Evanston’s budget problems to try to trample on the long-settled rights of Evanston’s tax-paying property owners.
Why is it cynical? Northwestern’s history of not making financial contributions to Evanston speaks for itself. If past is prologue, Northwestern asks Evanston for preferential changes while simultaneously working to minimize their payments to Evanston. Northwestern is worth over $12 billion and is one of the wealthiest universities in the world. As a nonprofit, they pay effectively no local taxes (of note, Northwestern won this benefit by suing Evanston all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court). Northwestern’s sports programs generated $92 million in revenue in 2017. Most of that revenue is tax exempt, so Evanston’s share was roughly $1.5 million in ticket taxes. In comparison, the Evanston homes around the stadium pay roughly $7.1 million in taxes to Evanston.
Evanston estimated that Northwestern avoided roughly $28 million in property taxes in 2017. Updating for this year’s property tax increases, Northwestern could now be dodging $56 million in property taxes. Because most other Universities are nonprofits, they are also exempt from property taxes. But many Universities make “Payments In Lieu of Taxes.” Northwestern’s student magazine notes that Northwestern’s donations to Evanston are stingier than the donations of effectively all of Northwestern’s peer universities to their surrounding communities (including Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, Cornell and Boston University).
I hope Evanston will reaffirm their past decision to stand up for local property taxpayers and maintain the ban on for-profit events and the sale of alcohol on Northwestern’s stadium complex. For those looking for a brief history of Northwestern’s financial relationship with Evanston, I suggest this article by Northwestern’s student magazine: apps.northbynorthwestern.com/magazine/2014/fall/evanston



Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Lewis Walker

Ways to Think About Reparations
Addressing reparations in this country leads participants in problematic directions. The practical details of reparations as a nationally administered program elicit numerous thorny questions about their application on a grand scale.
While local impacts of slavery should ideally take into account national factors, a program that addresses reparations at a local level makes more sense, especially when local history has been documented.
Apart from the preceding is the fundamental statement made when deciding to press the subject in the first place. Dramatically differing results may be reached when reparations are viewed in the context of a business or a family.
A “business model” would assess impacts over time in a fashion that could resemble actuarial accountings. The result would be a bill for damage done and for services not rendered, both intentionally and due to neglect.
Family relationships that go awry and wreak deep damage do end up in court, where a business model gets applied. But in other instances, very non-business methods result in amelioration of debts and, in extreme cases, in forgiveness of them in toto.
Have there been positive interracial dynamics in Evanston’s past? If significantly so, while that wouldn’t necessarily impact the process, the weight a non-business accounting of them might merit could come into play.
But I think it is a fair and, for the moment, an open question.



Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Lewis Walker

Ways to Think About Reparations
Addressing reparations in this country leads participants in problematic directions. The practical details of reparations as a nationally administered program elicit numerous thorny questions about their application on a grand scale.
While local impacts of slavery should ideally take into account national factors, a program that addresses reparations at a local level makes more sense, especially when local history has been documented.
Apart from the preceding is the fundamental statement made when deciding to press the subject in the first place. Dramatically differing results may be reached when reparations are viewed in the context of a business or a family.
A “business model” would assess impacts over time in a fashion that could resemble actuarial accountings. The result would be a bill for damage done and for services not rendered, both intentionally and due to neglect.
Family relationships that go awry and wreak deep damage do end up in court, where a business model gets applied. But in other instances, very non-business methods result in amelioration of debts and, in extreme cases, in forgiveness of them in toto.
Have there been positive interracial dynamics in Evanston’s past? If significantly so, while that wouldn’t necessarily impact the process, the weight a non-business accounting of them might merit could come into play.
But I think it is a fair and, for the moment, an open question.



Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Gail Schechter

Another Piece of Evanston’s History of Activism
That the City raised to a level of prominence an exhibit within its own walls on the history of racial discrimination in Evanston is a sign of hope. That the Evanston RoundTable devoted three full pages to reporting that history as compiled by Dino Robinson of Shorefront reinforces a moral truth: We deliberately created a vast system of white advantage in housing, and it is a wrong that we can and must right.
There is another aspect to the history that was not mentioned: organized grassroots activism for open housing. It was not lost on hundreds of Evanston and North Shore residents during what in the 1950s and early ’60s was called the Southern Freedom Movement that the housing segregation rampant in cities north of the Mason-Dixon Line was just as insidious for black Americans.
In 1965 these residents organized the North Shore Summer Project as an interracial and interfaith movement patterned after the Mississippi Summer Project, except instead of focusing on voting rights, they focused on ending the North Shore Board of Realtors’ policy and practice of racial steering. These activists, led by Reverend Emory Davis of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Evanston, opened “Freedom Centers” in different suburbs, from Evanston to Winnetka, Wilmette to Highland Park, to hold pickets and marches, publish full-page open letters, advocate for fair housing laws, hold interracial Sunday gatherings, and help African Americans buy homes. Nina Raskin, who led the Evanston Freedom Center, and Bennett Johnson, who was also part of the Summer Project, remain outspoken today. These individuals and their progeny are the conscience of Evanston.
Mr. Robinson is absolutely right when he is quoted in the article saying, “We need people who are affected to be at the table to participate in making those decisions” affecting housing. I would add that we need allies to reinforce a sense of enlightened self-interest in ending racial discrimination, building a broad base. That is the lesson of movements that win: They shape new social norms.
Although local governments and the real estate industry found ways to circumvent or water down equal housing laws since 1968, it’s important to note that a critical mass of people in every generation continues to fight for housing justice, and that support grows.



Posted: Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Guestbook entry by: Judy Malik

‘We’re Still Living This Legacy’
The Sept. 5 lengthy and extremely informative article made your readers greatly aware of Evanston’s History of Segregation and Redlining. It would be worth it for readers to read and reread it again. Mainly, about the part where Mr. Morris “Dino” Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of Shorefront Legacy Center, brings into focus the early years of Evanston noting that there wasn’t a problem with African Americans living anywhere in Evanston.
African Americans were very hard-working people, professionals or non-professionals with close families and community coming first.
It was only when new people started moving into or wanting to move into Evanston that things changed for African Americans. Mr. Robinson and I had discussed this topic a number of years ago.
Mr. Larry Gavin, one of the editors of the Evanston RoundTable, has done a remarkable job in great detail with exhibits along with Mr. Robinson.
Yes, we will continue to have this horrible legacy until it is stopped now with new people and old negative thinking that people with financial means political favoritism, etc. come together. Stop destroying my hometown of Evanston.
Jewish people weren’t allowed to live in Evanston during its establishment. They established a community of their own, Skokie, Illinois. As you see times have changed greatly. We are diverse.
Evanston was a Republican community until the Presidential Election of 1964. Now, there are about 6,000 Republicans in Evanston with a population about 70,000.
The Harley Clarke Mansion and Coach House Property was a gift to the African American residents of the Fifth Ward.
Mr. Harley Clarke and his wife were very, very saddened to see and know how the African Americans, at that time called Colored people, were disrespected and not allowed to move freely about as before.
Again, thank you, Mr. Gavin, Co-editor and Staff.



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