A Note from Madison Essentials

In our September/October 2021 issue, we ran Part I of a two-part series featuring the homes in Shorewood Hills. It was meant to be an interesting addition to our ongoing landmark series, but we realized there was more to it when we received an email from a reader:

In the same issue as the “Power and Privilege” article, the “Shorewood Hills” article by Jeanne Engle chooses to focus on providing yet more voice to the very power and privilege that formed and continues to govern this well-educated elite (e.g., white, rich) village.

The article blatantly ignores the longstanding deed restriction (voted on recently by the board to keep in writing) that “no negro may buy or own property” here.

To challenge readers to be authentic and truly “responsible for the culture we live in and for the changes that need to be made,” perhaps Madison Essentials could lead by example.

We hate to plead ignorance, but the email certainly caught us off guard. The reader is absolutely correct—those words are not just part of the Shorewood Hills deed restrictions but of other deed restrictions across the state. It’s something we were unaware of at the time.

We’re happy to report that the Wisconsin REALTORS Association is working to remove the verbiage statewide. But why wasn’t it removed decades ago? And why would it take any significant amount of time to get it done?

Everyone has their own answers. For those of us at Madison Essentials, it reminds us of the ongoing work left to do regarding racism in the state. Wisconsin adopted the state motto “FORWARD” in 1851, but every now and then it feels like this is merely the direction we tripped into the 21st century.

This is why we have chosen to feature Sandy Eichel’s articles the past years. They’re a voice in the community focused on equity in all its forms. There are readers who don’t agree with everything Sandy says, but it’s our hope that people pause and ask some tough questions of themselves, friends, and community—believing reflection is key to personal growth.

That’s really what Madison Essentials is. We’re not journalists. We’re not trying to break stories in hopes of getting clicks. In fact, each issue’s stories are written a few months before they release. What we are is a collection of voices in the community in love with the Greater Madison area. Local restaurants, events, people, art, these things make up the bulk of our content.

But to complete the circle, we embrace direct reader feedback. Most is positive, but there is the occasional piece of pointed criticism. The above email fits the latter, and we become a better publication for it.

Thank you.