Logan Family Gymnasium Groundbreaking Ceremony Celebrates Peace, Justice and Unity

The Town of Evanston and Friends of the Robert Crown Center officially opened the Logan Family Gymnasium earlier this month in a ceremony attended by members of the Logan family, the Evanston Parks and Recreation Board and friends of the Robert Crown Center.

The public was invited to attend the virtual celebration by joining the Friends of the Robert Crown Center Facebook page.

The 10,238-square-foot gymnasium – located in the new Robert Crown Community Center at 1801 Main Street – is named after the Logan family, for whom service is not an option, but a way of life .

Three generations of community service

“Their legacy and footprint on this community speaks for itself with… three generations and is expected to have an impact on the quality of life in our city,” said Evanston Parks and Recreation Board Chair and Member of the Robert Crown Center Board of Directors, Denise Barreto, who chaired the dedication, with remarks from Fourth Ward Alderman Don Wilson.

Ms Barreto said she had the pleasure of serving on the Parks and Recreation Board of Directors with Bill Logan, who was “super welcoming, modest and encouraging” to her when she was a new Evanstonian and a young black leader. in the community.

“It wasn’t until he retired from the board of directors that I realized who he was and all he had done here in the town of Evanston… moving mountains slowly but mightily to bring justice and equality in our community, ”said Ms. Barreto.

Friends of Robert Crown, Chairman of the Board Daniel Stein, Gilo Kwesi Logan and Retired Evanston Police Chief Bill Logan Photo by Heidi Randhava

As a member of the Friends of the Robert Crown Center board of directors, Ms. Barreto was involved in the decision to name the gym for the Logan family.

” Let’s be realistic ; few buildings or monuments bear the names of people who look like me in the United States unless they are murdered or somehow linked to the struggle of black people. The historical and systemic inequalities that continue to this day prohibit many members of the American black community from sponsoring and naming entities.

“It is therefore a pleasure to serve alongside people who relish the opportunity to honor the living legends among us by naming this community resource after a family who have worked through generations to ensure a safer Evanston,” better educated and fairer for all, ”Ms. Barreto mentioned.

Ald. Wilson addressed the Logan family in his remarks.

“When I think back to… when we envisioned this facility… above all, I wanted a space that would serve generations of families and community members.

“When I heard that it was envisioned that your family be honored for their dedication, I thought it was extremely appropriate because, to me, it was a metaphor. Your family has served our community for generations. , and I expect generations to come, ”said Ald. Wilson.

“A responsibility as much as an honor”

Responding to the honor on behalf of the Logan family, Dr. Gilo Kwesi Logan said, “We all want to thank you for this honor… We want to thank our community of Evanston. We are so grateful.

In his remarks, Dr Logan said the gymnasium’s nomination is a responsibility as well as an honor. “We have a lot to do and we’re going to do our best,” said Dr. Logan, who heads Logan Consulting Services, a leadership and diversity consultancy.

The firm has worked with over a dozen Evanston organizations such as McGaw YMCA, Evanston Public Library, Evanston Police Department, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and Connections for the Homeless and others.

Mr. Logan also founded SOUL Creations, which has performed in over 75 musical and theatrical productions for Evanston schools. He has served on boards of directors including the McGaw YMCA and is currently a FAAM coach and a member of the Town of Evanston Repair Education Subcommittee.

In addition to the Logan family, in-person attendees included Lawrence C. Hemingway, Director of the City of Evanston Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, and Daniel Stein, Chairman of the Friends Center Board of Directors. Robert Crown, Amina DiMarco, Vice President of the Board of Directors, and the Board of Directors. Secretary Peter Giangreco.

A naturally light-flooded space with windows that overlook the community centre’s Turf Park, the Logan Family Gymnasium is both impressive and welcoming, with two full-size basketball courts. The space can be rented for events or sporting activities.

“It’s Evanston’s largest event space. You can have up to 499 people here, ”Giangreco told the Round table.

“Pomp! The Evanston Fellows’ annual benefit would have been the first event held in space without the cancellation of large in-person gatherings due to the pandemic.

“We were really excited to be the first there. It’s an incredible and beautiful space, located in the center of Evanston, ”said Evanston Scholars Founder and Executive Director Steve Newman. Round table. He added that Evanston Scholars looks forward to using the space when public health measures permit.

Three generations of the Logan family were present for the dedication, including the retired children of Bill Logan, Billy Logan III, Cheryl Logan and Gilo Kwesi Logan; son-in-law James Bottoms, daughter-in-law Miah Logan and grandchildren Ulai, Olu and Ali Logan.

Many “firsts” for William Logan

Bill Logan has a long list of “firsts” dating back to his years at Foster, Haven and Evanston Township High School, where he was a star athlete in three sports and the first African American college football captain. He received a football scholarship to Western Illinois University, where he attended college until he joined the US Air Force during the Korean War.

In 1957 he began a 30-year career with the Evanston Police Department, where he became the first African-American lieutenant, captain, deputy chief and chief of police, receiving the department’s highest award for bravery.

Early in his tenure with the police service, he was chosen to be the police bodyguard for Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. when Dr King arrived in Evanston in 1963.

Many years later, in an MLK day speech to ETHS, Mr Logan shared a personal conversation the two had as they waited for a car to take Dr King to the airport.

“Dr. King told me, ‘You can be whatever you want in life – but you have to be prepared – and your education will be the key to your future,” “Mr. Logan told students at the ETHS.

He said he took Dr King’s advice and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. He was prepared, with the requisite degree in hand, when he became Evanston’s first African-American police chief in 1984.

After retiring from the Evanston Police Department, Mr. Logan was Director of Security at the Township of Evanston High School.

Mr. Logan’s commitment to service is a shared family value – something he learned from his parents and that he and his late wife, Marcia, passed on to their children.

Marcia Logan was a health assistant at Haven Middle School for 22 years, a dedicated volunteer in District 65 schools, and a member of the fundraising committee for the Community Hospital, which served the African American community of Evanston at a time when Evanston hospitals rarely admitted African American patients. Mr. and Mrs. Logan were also co-owners of B&J Grocery Store and Meat Market at Church Street and Dodge Avenue.

“I always remembered a saying my father taught me that I tried to live: ‘There is a fate that makes us brothers. None go their own way. What we give in the lives of others is up to us, ”Mr. Logan said in a speech to members of the Chessmen Club, a service organization he co-founded in 1958.

In 1967, he co-founded the Fellowship of African American Men (FAAM), an after-school basketball league that includes a diversity of young people across the region. He has been a dedicated board member of numerous organizations including the Evanston Community Foundation, the Evanston History Center, the McGaw YMCA, the Illinois State Human Relations Commission, and the Rotary Club of Evanston.

Mr. Logan has been recognized by many community, state and national organizations for his exemplary service to his community and country, such as the State Board of Education “Those Who Excel Award”, ETHS Distinguished Alumni Award, NAACP Living Legend Trailblazer Award and Northeastern Illinois University Life Achievement Award, to name a few.

Community service has long been a part of the daily lives of members of the Logan family, with a particular emphasis on serving the young, the elderly and those in need.

“The Logan Family Gymnasium will host events, pre-kindergarten classes, learning camps and recreational activities for the next 50 years and beyond. We hope all who use it will be inspired by the Logan family’s commitment to peace, justice and unity, ”Mr. Giangreco wrote in a live broadcast announcement.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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