Here is a way you can honor Black History Month: read about African Americans growing up on the North Shore.
During a Dr. King celebration in January at St. Paul AME Church in Glencoe, author Robert Sideman received an award recognizing his book “African Americans in Glencoe, The Little Migration.” Sideman has lived in Glencoe for over thirty years and has witnessed its strong and lively African American population decrease in numbers, which prompted him to write this book. Between the 2000 and 1990 censuses, one third of Glencoe’s African American population disappeared.
He says, “The African American population has been shrinking and when I saw that, it seemed time then to tell a story about part of the North Shore we don’t know.”
“African Americans in Glencoe, The Little Migration” has narrative, but the reader more often stumbles upon oral histories from African Americans whom have lived in Glencoe. Sideman says, “I tried to choose people who were some way active in the community. The book itself is an African American history, but you could also consider it a story of community involvement. People who go out after dinner to make the community better.”
Many famous African Americans and civil rights themes appear throughout this quick read. Sideman says, “It’s striking how many famous African American people touched Glencoe in some way or another.”
The book provides historical nuance outside of the more expected depictions of African Americans in large urban sections of Chicago. Sideman says, “We tend to think of the North Shore as being all very much alike, very homogeneous, and it really isn’t. Glencoe, one of the smaller communities on the North Shore, has had a history of diversity for a long time.”
It is clear that economic factors have contributed to the diminishing of African American populations along the North Shore and when asked what he wants readers to think about after reading the book Sideman says, “How to maintain any kind of racial diversity in a time of tremendous economic pressures.”
While Black History Month celebrates the rich history of African American culture, it also serves as a reminder of how rewarding any type of diversity can be.
To purchase Robert Sideman’s book, follow this link:
For more information about African American’s in Glencoe: