Oak Park River Forest Museum will participate in the community’s Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 19 by debuting a free bicycle tour of sites that tell some of the many stories of African-American life in Oak Park.
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., visitors are invited to come to the corner of Lake and Lombard in front of OP-RF Museum to pick up free paper copies of a map that includes stops at the site of the legendary Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, the homes or home sites of several prominent African-American residents, and some more contemporary stops like the Black Lives Matter street mural near OPRF High School.
The tour will be self-guided but we will have volunteers at OP-RF Museum and some of the stops to offer details about some of the many stories of the contributions of Black residents and the discrimination many faced through the decades and the fight to make Oak Park a more welcoming and fair community.
Not a cyclist? Or is the weather too bad for biking? While the tour covers too much distance to be walkable, you could easily do it by car if you prefer.
Telling the stories of Black residents in our community’s history is important all year long, not just for one day, so after the Juneteenth celebration is over this year, we will post the map on our website so it can be downloaded free of charge at oprfmuseum.org. We also will work to promote it to schools, residents, and visitors to our community.
Frank Lipo, Executive director, Historical Society of OP-RF