For further research

There is so much more of this story to tell--the larger fair housing, open housing, and civil rights legislation and activism in the surrounding suburbs, in Chicago and in the nation; organizations and activists who helped to integrate Chicago’s suburbs; and the lives of the Black families that lived in Skokie. Below are a few resources for further research.

Lestre Brownlee

Award-winning journalist, Lestre Brownlee, and his family moved to Skokie from Evanston in 1962. Brownlee briefly describes his family’s move to Skokie in his autobiography.

Les Brownlee: The Autobiography of a Pioneering African-American Journalist by Les Brownlee, Marion Street Press, LLC, 2007

Richard Steele’s WBEZ radio interview with Les Brownlee’s widow Priscilla MacDougall, “Pioneering African-American Journalist Les Brownlee."

Dr. Gwendoline Y. Fortune

Gwendoline and Fred Fortune and their children moved from Hyde Park (Chicago) to Skokie in 1964. Dr. Gwen Fortune was a writer and educator and her family’s move to and life in Skokie, Outsider in the Promised Land, is available in this digital collection.

Outsider in the Promised Land: Black Family in Jewish Community by Gwendoline Y. Fortune. Manuscript, 2015. Also available in print at Skokie Public Library

Dr. Gwendoline Fortune Papers are archived by the Cushing Library at Texas A&M University. Finding Aid to the collection is available online.

Video interview with Gwendoline Fortune on North Carolina Bookwatch, 2007: Season 900 Episode 604.

Robert S. Basker

Robert “Bob” Sloane Basker and Hedda Basker were the Skokie couple who purchased the home in Skokie that they then resold to the Jones family in 1961. The Baskers were threatened and their own home was firebombed for their effort. The couple separated and the family moved away in 1962. Bob Basker later helped to found Mattachine West in 1965 and became a prominent gay rights activist.

The Robert S. Basker Papers are archived by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at the University of Southern California Libraries. The Finding Aid to the collection is available online.

A brief biography of Robert Basker is in Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago before Stonewall in the Skokie Public Library’s collection. 

Skokie Human Relations Commission

Don Perille and Herman S. Bloch, co-chairs of the Skokie Human Relations Commission during the drafting and enacting of the Fair Housing ordinance, were only two of the many Skokie officials active in changing laws and minds. Perille donated much of the material in this digital collection to the Skokie Public Library and the Skokie Historical Society. Bloch also fought for fair housing as a member of the Cook County Housing Authority. 

Biographical profile of Don Perille from the Chicago Tribune.

Biographical profile of Herman S. Bloch from the National Academy of Sciences

Fair housing in Skokie, Chicago and Chicago suburbs during the 1960s

Barr, Mary. Friends Disappear: The battle for racial equality in Evanston. University of Chicago Press. 2014

The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights activism in the north, University Press of Kentucky, 2016

Rubinowitz, Leonard S., Crossing the class and color lines: from public housing to white suburbia, University of Chicago Press, 2000

Satter, Beryl, Family properties: race, real estate, and the exploitation of Black urban America, Metropolitan Books, New York, 2009

Deerfield Public Library’s online exhibit Six Pivotal Points of "The Fight to Integrate Deerfield"

Videos and essay on the 50th anniversary of the North Shore Summer Project from public television station WTTW, 50 Years Later, Fair Housing Movement on North Shore Marches On 

Encyclopedia of Chicago: Open Housing