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“We’ve got to tell the unvarnished truth.” — John Hope Franklin



Unvarnished: Housing Discrimination in the Northern and Western United States is an educational exhibition under the direction of the Naperville Heritage Society.  

We are indebted to the people who contributed to this project in a myriad of ways.  This collaborative effort included the consortium project team, community members, scholars, content advisors, museum practitioners, researchers, K-12 teachers and administrators, Naper Settlement staff, technical designers and developers, artifact and archival material lenders and those who shared their stories with us. 

We are thankful for every person and organization that helped us to share this important and often overlooked history that defined, and is still impacting, many of our communities.  


This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Grant #MG-20-17-0022-17.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.govExternal Link and follow us on FacebookExternal Link and TwitterExternal Link.

The views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this on-line exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Additional funding provided by:

The Unvarnished Consortium Project Team

Naper Settlement, administered by the Naperville Heritage Society, Naperville, Illinois

Unvarnished Project Director, Donna K. Sack, Vice President and Chief Program Officer 
Andrea Field, Ph.D., Curator of Research  
Jeanne Schultz Angel, Associate Vice President 

African Heritage, Incorporated, Appleton, Wisconsin

Omobolade (Bola) Delano-Oriaran, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Public History and Archives Committee, Co-Chair
Nicholas Hoffman, Public Historian, Public History and Archives Committee, Co-Chair
Sabrina Robins, Ph.D., Board Member, Public History and Archives Committee, Co-Chair

Brea Museum & Historical Society, Brea, California

Linda Shay, Ph.D., Executive Director and Curator 

Ohio History Connection, Columbus, Ohio

Eric Feingold, History Curator  
Anthony Gibbs, Donor Relations Manager  

Oak Park River Forest Museum, operated by The Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest, Oak Park, Illinois

Sarah E. Doherty, Ph.D., Board Member 
Frank Lipo, Executive Director 

Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society, West Hartford, Connecticut

Sheila Daley, Curator and Director of Special Projects
Jennifer DiCola Matos, Executive Director  

Cultural Advisor

Charmaine Jefferson, J.D., Kélan Resources, Los Angeles, CA




Dennis H. Cremin, Ph.D., Lewis University, Naperville, IL 
Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Ph.D., Creative Strategies 360°, Santa Fe, NM
Gretchen Sorin, Ph.D., Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta, Cooperstown, NY
Thomas J. Sugrue, Ph.D., New York University, New York City, NY
Noelle Trent, Ph.D., National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN




Susie Wilkening, Wilkening Consulting, Seattle, WA  



Night Kitchen InteractiveExternal Link




Karin Tweedie, KK Tweed Creative LLC, Chicago, IL




William Adair, Museum Education Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Melanie Adams, Ph.D., Museum Leader, Washington, D.C. 
Dina Bailey, Consultant, Mountain Top Vision, Atlanta, GA 
Jamie Christopher, Educator, Batavia, IL 
Ann Cluxton, Educator, Aurora, IL 
Sarah E. Doherty, Ph.D., Historian, North Park University, Chicago, IL 
Robert Fieseler, Journalist, New Orleans, LA 
International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, New York City, NY 
James W. Loewen, Ph.D., Sociologist, (1942-2021)  Washington, D.C. 
Matthew Norvell, Researcher, Chicago, IL 
Martha Norkunas, Ph.D., Historian, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 
Michelle Moon, Saltworks Interpretive Services, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 
Sarah Pharaon, Dialogic, South Orange, NJ 
Jennifer Rowe, Ed.D., Equity Specialist, La Grange, IL 
Jennifer K. Shah, Ed.D., North Central College, Naperville, IL
Margo Shay, Ph.D., Historian, Salem State University, Salem, MA
Doreen Uhaus Sauer, Local History Consultant, Columbus, OH
Ginny Voedisch, Educator Resources’ Copy Editor, Skokie, IL
Jessica Walsh, Educator, Aurora, IL




Eddie Bedford, Naperville, IL
Mayor Shari Cantor, West Hartford, CT
Nancy Chen, Naperville, IL
Dennis H. Cremin, Ph.D., Naperville, IL
Mary Donahue, West Hartford, CT
Omobolade (Bola) Delano-Oriaran, Ph.D., Appleton, WI
Sarah E. Doherty, Ph.D., Oak Park, IL 
Donald Elder (1928-2022), Columbus, OH 
Paige Glotzer, Ph.D., Madison, WI
Antonia Harlan, Naperville, IL
Melvin Harris, Columbus, OH
Betty Hoffman, Ph.D., West Hartford, CT
Charmaine Jefferson, J.D., Los Angeles, CA
Saily Joshi, J.D., Naperville, IL
Bernard Kleina, Wheaton, IL 
Ray Odom, J.D., Wheaton, IL
Sarah-Long-Radloff, Appleton, WI
Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Ph.D., Santa Fe, NM
Sherlynn Reid (1935-2021), Oak Park, IL (Courtesy of the Village of Oak Park, IL) 
Sabrina Robins, Ph.D., Appleton, WI
Alan Rossell, Oak Park, IL (Courtesy of the Village of Oak Park, IL)
Donna K. Sack, Naperville, IL
Kathi Seifert, Appleton, WI
Reita Smith, Columbus, OH
Macarena (Rena) Tamayo-Calabrese, J.D., Naperville, IL
Tracey Wilson, Ph.D., West Hartford, CT
LaDale C. Winling, Ph.D., Blacksburg, VA




Regina Mitchell


African Heritage, Incorporated
Alliance of Latinos Motivating Action in the Suburbs (Naperville, IL)
Appleton Evening Crescent (Appleton, WI) 1870-1920
Ball State University
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 
Brea Historical Society
Chicago Defender (Wikimedia Commons)
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Housing Authority
Chicago Tribune, Tribune Content Agency, LLC
City of Aurora, Illinois, Information Technology Department 
City of Euclid, OH
City of Naperville, IL
Columbus Museum of Art
Connecticut Historical Society
Connecticut State Library 
Corbis Images
Cornell University Library
Daily Picayune (New Orleans, LA) 1837-1914 (
DC History Center
DC Public Library
Denver Public Library 
Dietmar Rabich, Wikimedia Commons
Edmond Historical Society and Museum 
Federal Housing Authority, Department of Housing and Urban Development
Getty Images
Hartford Courant, Tribune Content Agency, LLC
Hartford History Center, Hartford Public Library
Hennepin County Library (Minnesota)
Herblock Foundation
History Colorado-Denver
History Museum at the Castle 
The Historic New Orleans Collection
Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest 
J.T. Lambrou,
Journal of Urban History
Kansas Historical Society
Bernard Kleina
Land Records, West Hartford, CT
Lawrence University 
LBJ Presidential Library 
Library of Congress
Life Magazine
Lincoln Hill Cares
Los Angeles Public Library 
Los Angeles Sentinel (Los Angeles, CA) 1934-2005
Mapping Inequality 
Maryland Center for History and Culture
The McAuley, West Hartford
Midpointe Library System and Digital Public Library of America
Minnesota Historical Society
Minnesota Streetcar Museum
Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center
Missouri State University 
Museum at the Castle
Museum of History and Industry
FrancisNancy, Wikimedia Commons
National Archives 
National Association of REALTORS®
Naperville Heritage Society Archives 
Naperville Neighbors United
National Japanese American Historical Society 
National Park Service 
Newberry Library 
New York Public Library Digital Collections
New York Times
New York Times Digital Archive
Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
North Central College Archives 
Oakland Museum of California
Ohio History Connection 
Ohio State University/Hathi Trust
Ohio University
Oklahoma Historical Society
Orange County Public Records
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, State Historic Preservation Office
Oshkosh Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI) 1875-1885
Oshkosh Public Museum 
photo-fox/Alamy Stock Photo
Lee Porter, Bergen County, NJ
Ray Chinese School (Naperville, IL)
Santa Fe Reporter
Seattle Municipal Archives
Kathi Seifert Personal Collection 
Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research
Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries
The St. Louis Post Dispatch/Polaris
State Historical Society of Missouri  
Tribune Content Agency, LLC
University of Buffalo, The State University of New York
University of Chicago Map Collection 
University of Minnesota
U.S. Census
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Village of Oak Park 
Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University
Washington State Historical Society
West Hartford Public Library 
Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Wisconsin Historical Society
Wisconsin Veterans Museum 
Wisconsin Weekly Advocate
Wyckoff Historical Society




African Heritage, Incorporated 
Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Brea Museum & Historical Society
Cambridge Historical Society
Campbell Museums
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Chicago History Museum
Cincinnati Museum Center
Connecticut Landmarks
Conner Prairie
Coronado Historical Association
Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
Discovery Museum
Ford’s Theatre Society 
Genesee Country Village & Museum
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Harriet Beecher Stowe House
Hennepin History Museum
Historic New England
Historical Society of Mount Pleasant
History Center Washington County
History Museum at the Castle
History Nebraska
Illinois Education Association
Illinois Equity Teachers Working Group
James Madison's Montpelier
Johnson County Museum
Mansfield Historical Museum
Michigan History Center
Minnesota Historical Society 
The Museums at Lisle Station Park
Museum of Science & History of Jacksonville
Naper Settlement
National Civil Rights Museum 
National Museum of American History
Newport Historical Society
Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society
Oak Park River Forest Museum
Ohio History Connection
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum
Tampa Bay History Center
The Tenement Museum
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
Virginia Museum of History & Culture 
Washington State Historical Society
Western Museum of Mining & Industry
Wisconsin Historical Society 
Workman & Temple Family Homestead Museum