What are the challenges to running a successful business in rural America? There's a thousand different ways you can answer this question, and the answer really depends on the community you live in. But when it comes to who you should ask, I don't think there is any one better than Chris Merrett, the Director of the Illinois Institute of Rural Affairs.
This month, we are exploring the topic “What it Takes to Run a Successful Business in Rural America.” The following blog post features key takeaways from our recent interview with the owners of Forgottonia Brewing in Macomb.
It is time for all Americans to confront the ideas of segregation and racism today and all over and remember that this is not an issue constrained to a specific time or a specific geographic location. This is not a southern problem, this is an American problem and this is not just in the past, the legacy of housing discrimination and segregation is still present in many American neighborhoods and schools.
One of the things we enjoyed most about Dr. James Loewen book Sundown Towns, is how he encourages readers to do their own research. This is also an outstanding opportunity to put into practice that history is something you do, not simply something you remember. Gather what evidence you can and determine for yourself if …
These past few weeks, we’ve been learning about sundown towns and the impact they’ve had on rural America today (Check out the links below to other blog and podcast topics around this topic). We were stunned to learn that our informed expert Dr. James Loewen (author of Sundown Towns & Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong”) spent many hours conducting research for his book right here in our own neck of the woods. Although Dr. Loewen lives on the east coast and conducted research throughout the country, a large portion of his work focused on his home state of Illinois; including the communities of western Illinois, collectively known as Forgottonia. Dr. Loewen poured over census records, studied maps, and visited with local historians, librarians, and anyone else willing to speak to him. We recommend you get a hold of the book to read for yourself. We’d also encourage you to check out the sundown town database on Loewen’s own website linked here - Loewen’s website - Sundown Towns Database.
As mentioned in our podcast interview, Dr. James Loewen didn’t just write a book about sundown towns, he wrote THE book. He did a lot of research in small towns--especially in Illinois--which has enabled us to learn a lot about our own communities. (By the way, if you haven't already, Loewen has a massive database …
When Dr. James Loewen decided he was going to research sundown towns, he figured he might find about 50 or so of these communities spread across the country. To his surprise, he claimed to uncover more than 500, and that was just in his home state of Illinois! He estimates that at its peak in 1970 there were approximately 10,000 sundown towns throughout the country. So what exactly are sundown towns?