History of Shorefront
The early work of Shorefront began in 1995 as an interest group known as “Through The Eyes of Us”, in an attempt to capture and record the early Black communities on Chicago’s suburban North Shore. The early work focused on gathering oral histories, researching historic names, businesses, organizations and migration patterns.
In 1999, after two publications on the local Black community, the group introduced the quarterly Shorefront Journal, a contributed collection of historical information, with a circulation of just 300 per issue. In 2012, the journal transitioned to an online blog for greater discoverability. From there, the efforts grew in organizing and officially became known as Shorefront in June 2002.
Shorefront expanded its work to include youth programming, exhibits, public presentations and building an archive representing the historic Black communities north of Chicago. Currently, the collection consist of over 500 linear feet of documents, photographs, moving images and ephemera.
The Shorefront Legacy Center has been widely used as a resource to the benefit of historical and educational institutions, students the community and historians. Since 2010, Shorefront has worked closely with the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC), assisting us in becoming a model community based archive.
The work of Shorefront remains true to its core mission values: Collect, Preserve, Educate, validated by visitors, educators and community members who have all shared in a common response, “I did not know…”.