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The Fight to Integrate Deerfield: 60 Year Reflection

DPL Integrate Logo Final 9 24 18 1Announcing our new, unique program series related to Deerfield’s history: The Fight to Integrate Deerfield: 60 Year Reflection. Continuing a community tradition, the Library is inviting residents, historians, and experts to offer new insights into the fight over an integrated housing development that was planned for the village in 1959. The series runs January 21 – May 2, 2019.

We invite you to join us for a series of discussions, lectures, exhibits, and other opportunities to reflect on the 60 years since the fight to integrate Deerfield began. We have updated and digitized our archives and made new acquisitions and discoveries. The Library is also partnering with Deerfield schools to enhance existing curriculum.

You can find a full listing of our adult and youth programs for this series at our website There you can also access our archives and a detailed timeline and history.

Registration for our Winter programs is now open and registration for our Spring programs will open February 13, 2019. If you have a story you’d like to share with the library connected to this history, please email to get started.

We hope you’ll join us in reflecting on this important chapter in Deerfield’s history.

The History

In November 1959 residents of Deerfield, IL learned a housing developer planned to sell homes in the village to black and white buyers. Many residents opposed integration and sought reasons to halt the development. A smaller group, the Deerfield Citizens for Human Rights, formed in support of the development. In the weeks that followed, Deerfield residents passed a park referendum to condemn the developer’s land. The crisis in Deerfield became a national story, attracting the attention of Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. After years of demonstrations and legal battles, the land became parks that stand today.

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