In the mid-nineteenth century a group of Methodist ministers founded Northwestern University infusing Evanston’s economic, political, and cultural life with a religious morality. Chapter 1 presents an overview of the town’s early history. Wealthy whites moved north from Chicago seeking respite from the growing metropolis building mansions with spectacular lakefront views. Evanston’s westside was already home to a well-established black community when the Great Migration began. Blacks were agents in the process moving to escape southern racism, rejoin family, purchase homes, enroll their children in better schools, and find work. In this case the destination was a suburban city not a colossal metropolis. They built a community noted for stability and homeownership opportunities. By the 1960s Evanston’s black population was greater than the national percentage. Whites were arriving from northern cities across the country. They sought out Evanston precisely because of its liberality, racial diversity and good schools. Our parents were among these new migrants.
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