By Anne West
Not many people know that Winnetka was the site of the first-ever civil rights rally in an all-white suburb and that Martin Luther King spoke here before a crowd of more than 8000 supporters on the Village Green exactly 50 years ago today.
It might surprise you that King would come to Winnetka, of all places, to speak, and that he would find such a receptive audience here in the summer of 1965. King came at the invitation of a group of suburban mothers, who had formed the North Shore Summer Project to expose housing discrimination and encourage greater diversity in their community. Until that time (and for some time afterwards, sadly), it was common practice for real estate agents to steer black and Jewish families away from the North Shore’s affluent and predominantly white Anglo-Saxon neighborhoods.