On Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021 at 2:30 p.m., the Park Forest Historical Society will air on its YouTube channel a program, “Early Integration and the History of the Commission on Human Relations. Former Village President, Ronald Bean spoke and moderated this informative historical society program which was originally recorded on Feb. 2, 1992. A videotaped interview with former Village President Robert Dinerstein will be played, as it was at this program. Mr. Dinerstein was Village President during the move-in of the first African American family in December 1959. Panelists Fran Naughton, realtor; Anthony Scariano, Sr. who acted as attorney for the sale, and Anthony Scariano, Jr. who related reactions toward his family; Bonita Dillard, Myrtle Martin, Jerry Knight, Barbara Moore, and Fred Peterman spoke from the audience in a roundtable session. Fred Peterman was an employee of Park Forest Homes, Inc., and related the part of the builders of Park Forest in this story of the first African American move-in.
A number of the roundtable speakers are no longer living to tell their stories. Other accounts of early integration in Park Forest are available through transcripts held by the Park Forest Historical Society, with a number of them being on Illinois Digital Archives at http://www.idaillinois.org/digital/collection/pfpl. Transcripts are available through the society for Robert Dinerstein, Anthony Scariano, Sr., Jerry Knight, and Fred Peterman.
This program will remain on the YouTube channel indefinitely. Other programs on the YouTube channel include a 1998 interview by Jane Nicoll, archivist, with four women pioneers of Park Forest, an audio interview with the late Edwin Fizer who was one of the first African American United States Marine with the Montfort Point Marines in World War II, and the virtual induction of the 2020 Park Forest Hall of Fame.
Information is with Jane Nicoll, 708-481-4252, or via email on the society website, www.parkforesthistory.org.