|Map of Morgan Park, Illinois, as laid out by Thomas F. Nichols for the Blue Island Land and Building Company, 1870.|
They established their own churches, beginning with Beth Eden in 1891 which was the first of more than 19 churches organized by Negro families who lived in the segregated district east of Vincennes, near the main line of the Rock Island railroad. Public institutions such as the Walker Branch Library (founded in 1890) and the Morgan Park High School (built in 1916) were always integrated.
On the other side of the tracks near 117th Street, French Roman Catholics who worked in the local Purington brickyard established Sacred Heart Church (1904).
The battle over annexation to Chicago in 1911, which sharply divided the community, dragged on in court until 1914.
By 1920, 674 of Morgan Park's 7,780 residents were Negroes (11.5%). The official report published in the wake of the city's 1919 race riot (the Red Summer) noted that, while whites and blacks in Morgan Park “maintain a friendly attitude,” nevertheless “there seems to be a common understanding that Negroes must not live west of Vincennes Road, which bisects the town from northeast to southwest
|Second grade at Holy Name of Mary School. 1955|
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.