Martin Luther King Jr Celebration of Life Evanston IL

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker 475.140531

This Monday January 16th is Martin Luther King Jr day in America. Through out his short life Dr. King made a few visits to Evanston IL. As a child living on the Chicago South Shore I remember hearing MLK Evanston ILabout and reading events that happened such as Dr. King speaking at Solder's FIeld in Chicago. He could fill up the place like a Rock concert and it struck me as very interesting.

A very powerful person who is truly missed, this is a great time of the year to remember Martin Luther King Jr and what he did for America and the world. Here is some information about Dr. King and the visits to Evanston IL through out the years and what it meant to the people.

In the last decade of his all-too short life, Martin Luther King, Jr. made several visits to the north shore suburb of Evanston, IL.

The reason prompting each visit varied over the course of that decade. King’s first visit took place in January 1958. King dined in Evanston on the evening of January 13, 1958 at the home of Rabbi David Polish of Beth Emet, The Free Synagogue, on Ridge Avenue.  King had been invited to participate in the “Beth Emet Forum,” and he would give the forum’s opening lecture that evening, which he titled, “A Great Time to Be Alive.”[1]

A few months later in April 1958, King would return to Evanston to deliver a speech at Northwestern University. He was indeed a rising star, and, according to a 1957 Gallup Poll, “one of the most admired religious leaders in the world.”

That summer, Dr. Dwight Loder, president of the Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston offered King a position on the institute’s faculty. King turned it down, but not without considering it very carefully, writing to Loder that he was afraid that he must “reluctantly decline your gracious offer.” His work had become increasingly demanding, and more and more, King was taking on a variety of causes, expanding his vision to embrace a variety of social and racial justice issues. “I am doing all in my power to alleviate the tensions that exist between Negro and white citizens,” King wrote. “I have started on this challenging venture of love and non-violence.” [2]

This “challenging venture” would take King all over the country, and in October 1962, he would return to Evanston. The United Citizens Committee for Freedom of Residence in Illinois, (UCCFR) headed by Donald S. Frey, invited King to speak at the Unitarian Church at 1330 Ridge Ave on October 31, 1962. Before delivering his address at the church, King attended a dinner at the Orrington Hotel hosted by the UCCFR. Reportedly, Studs Terkel introduced King to the crowd.[3]
Not only would King receive a citation from the United Citizens Committee for Freedom of Residence that day, but, as Frey noted, King’s appearance was timed to “open a drive for freedom of residence law.”

“Freedom of residence” referred to the movement in communities around the country to bar discrimination in housing. Like many communities at this time, Evanston did not have a “comprehensive or effective” law to prohibit or punish discrimination in the sale or rental of housing.

King’s appearance in 1962 drew 700 people into the church. For some, King’s appearance was unwelcome. On the night of his talk, a number of protesters were present outside the church.

In May of 1963, King was again in Evanston to speak at the First Methodist Church on Hinman Avenue.[4] He had been invited by Reverend Dow Kirkpatrick, senior minister at the church, who had first met King while serving as a pastor in Atlanta.  Kirkpatrick had been in Evanston for just a year, and he would become known as a major voice in the anti-war movement and civil rights struggle.

The 1500 seat church was filled to capacity when Rev. Kirkpatrick introduced King who spoke about the parable of the Good Samaritan, relating it to issues of racial justice. “Life at its best,” King said, “is life that is complete on all sides—length, breadth and height.”

The Fair Housing Ordinance in Evanston

The grassroots movement to bring fair housing to Evanston and surrounding areas in the North Shore would continue over the years; in Winnetka in 1965, King spoke at a rally for the “North Shore Summer Project,” advocating fair housing and drawing a crowd of thousands.

In Evanston, the struggle to pass a fair housing ordinance continued.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Reportedly, Evanston government officials were concerned that violence would break out in Evanston, as it had in so many areas around the country following King’s assassination.

While Evanston remained relatively peaceful (a handful of incidences took place), two thousand Evanston residents took part in a march that began at Emerson Street and McCormick Boulevard, proceeded through the downtown area, and ended in Raymond Park at Chicago and Grove where a memorial was held.[5]

“The fittest tribute the city of Evanston can pay to Martin Luther King,” Reverend Jacob Blake, pastor at the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church, told the crowd, “is the immediate passage of an effective and comprehensive housing law.”

On April 11, 1968, the Fair Housing Act (Title XIII of the Civil Rights Act) was signed by President Johnson, expanding on existing laws and prohibiting discrimination in the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, and national origin.

In Evanston, the marches continued–daily reminders to the city that “freedom of residence” in Evanston had not yet been realized. Day after day, citizens marched from Jacob Blake’s Ebenezer AME Church to Kirkpatrick’s First Methodist Church in an effort to bring about a vote on a fair housing ordinance.

On April 29, 1968, nearly six weeks after King’s death, the marches and all the long hard work finally brought success: the city council would vote on the fair housing ordinance. Two hundred people packed into the city hall chamber; outside, a crowd of 600 gathered to await the vote.

Fifteen to 1, the city council members voted to pass the ordinance, forbidding discrimination in the sale or rental of housing and setting steep fines for brokers, realtors, and others who practiced discrimination.

After the vote, Reverend Jacob Blake, who was in the city council chamber, walked to the window and shouted out the result. A loud cheer erupted from the crowd. “I am overwhelmed,” Blake said.[6]

Jenny Thompson, PhD, Director of Education, Evanston History Center


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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the information. I hope others will read it too 

Jan 14, 2017 08:04 AM #4
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a fitting tribute to a man of great vision.  His words are very important and transcend time and trends.  A

Jan 14, 2017 12:38 PM #5
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Noah Martin Luther King, Jr was a great man with a great vision and the proper plan to carry out that vision.  Today's generation would be wise to follow the example he set.

Jan 14, 2017 01:30 PM #6
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Thanks friends.

Jan 14, 2017 02:10 PM #7
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Great tribute to a great man who did many wonderful things for our country and to whom we all owe much gratitude!  Enjoy your weekend, Noah!

Jan 14, 2017 06:20 PM #8
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

My mom was a psychologist and worked at the State Mental Hospital. She and her team evaluated James Earl Ray's mental capacity to determine whether he could stand trial. Years later after he died she told me that he was sane. I asked why he did it and she said he was full of hate and meanness.

Jan 14, 2017 06:22 PM #9
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

It's really a shame his life was cut short. He still had a lot of work to do. Great post, Noah. 

Jan 14, 2017 07:33 PM #10
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


On Monday January 16th America will Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr, life.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Jan 14, 2017 08:33 PM #11
Sybil Campbell
Long and Foster REALTORS® 5234 Monticello Ave Williamsburg, Virginia - Williamsburg, VA
REALTOR® ABR, SFR, SRES Williamsburg, Virginia

Noah, thanks for sharing this information.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man.

Jan 14, 2017 09:45 PM #12
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

MLK's leadership was a pivotal moment in American history. Somehow, he got us all on his journey either voluntarily or involuntarily. As a result of his quest, many today ARE living the dream; yet we still have a long way to go. 


Jan 15, 2017 05:13 AM #13
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

This is a timely history lesson and a very nice tribute. Thank you, Noah.

Jan 15, 2017 05:28 AM #14
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Such an amazing man he was, it would have been something to hear him speak in person.

Jan 15, 2017 05:39 AM #15
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Thanks friends

Jan 15, 2017 06:21 AM #16
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Hi Noah -- thanks for sharing this information about Dr King and his connection with Evanston.   I also thought Debbie Reynolds'  comment was especially interesting.

Jan 15, 2017 06:37 AM #17
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

I remember watching the march on Washington on TV Noah Seidenberg  what an historical event .A man with a Dream .

Jan 15, 2017 11:25 AM #18
John F Muscarella
Broker/Owner, Venice, FL, Florida's Suncoast


King had a connection to many people as do others who believe so strongly in their mission.  And like a select few, he knew how to put it into action.  Appreciate the blog and info on his ties to Chicago.

Jan 16, 2017 03:19 AM #19
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Noah, we have a huge Marade (March/Parade) planned in downtown Denver today to celebrate Martin Luther King!   

Jan 16, 2017 05:45 AM #20
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

Thanks friends. Think about what Dr. King has done for us.

Jan 16, 2017 06:01 AM #21
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of Manchester NH's Leading Agents

Good Morning Noah Seidenberg , stopping by to say hello, its been a crazy morning and not even 11am yet for me

Jan 17, 2017 07:48 AM #22
Noel Mayer


What a great way to honor his legacy. Great post

Thank you

Jan 17, 2017 06:05 PM #23
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