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Why Does North Side Bakery Star in Obama Library Video Touting South Side?

By  Benjamin Woodard and Sam Cholke | May 14, 2015 5:35am 

 Sauce and Bread Kitchen owners Mike Bancroft and Anne Kostroski (foreground) were featured in the Obama Foundation's announcement it would move to Chicago.
Sauce and Bread Kitchen owners Mike Bancroft and Anne Kostroski (foreground) were featured in the Obama Foundation's announcement it would move to Chicago.
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EDGEWATER — The Obama Foundation ventured to a curious spot in its video announcing the Barack Obama presidential library will be built on the South Side: the Far North Side.

Sauce and Bread Kitchen, at 6338 N. Clark St., appears three separate times in the nearly three-minute video released early Tuesday during which the president and Michelle Obama discuss how the South Side made them who they are today. Washington Park and Woodlawn — the two neighborhoods vying for the library — make only one brief appearance between them.

Among South Siders talking about the resilience of South Side communities, Sauce and Bread owners Mike Bancroft and Anne Kostroski are shown mixing dough, baking bread and posing for the camera along with customers drinking coffee inside the bakery and brunch spot located in the heart of Edgewater.

"All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago," Obama said. "... And the people there, the community, the lessons that I learned, they are all based right in this few square miles, where we'll be able to now give something back and bring the world back home after this incredible journey."

So why is Sauce and Bread — instead of any number of similar businesses on the South Side — featured so prominently?

Obama Foundation spokeswoman Olivia Dalton said Wednesday that Bancroft and Kostroski spend a lot of time working throughout the city, including with South Side kids.

"We felt they were a great example of business owners from the North Side who are personally and professionally invested in the South Side community," she said in a written statement. "The foundation hopes to create a center where all Chicagoans and all people can come together, and their work conveys that."

Bancroft, who runs Co-Op Sauce from their North Side kitchen, said Wednesday the foundation contacted them about a month ago about being in the video.

"They were pretty quiet. They mentioned it was definitely something for the library, but were pretty vague," he said.

Bancroft said their bakery was a small part of what he and Kostroski do — and their specialty goods created in Edgewater end up all over the city, including at the 61st Street Farmers Market near the future site of the two possible Obama Library locations.

"It is born here, and goes elsewhere," he said.

Many South Side Faces

Other faces in the video are more familiar to many on the South Side, where the Obamas are choosing between sites in Woodlawn and Washington Park for the presidential library.

Rev. Richard Tolliver of St. Edmund's Episcopal Church in Washington Park said he got up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday to watch the video and immediately recognized two South Side faces, Maya Hodari of the Woodlawn Neighbors Association and Bronzeville historian Timuel Black.

The video opens on a shot of the 7700 block of South Evans Avenue in Grand Crossing before fading to Black reminiscing at his home in Kenwood. It then cuts to Hodari, a project manager with the Chicago Housing Authority and secretary on the board of the South East Chicago Commission, at her home in Woodlawn.

From there, the video leaves Woodlawn and never returns to either of the two neighborhoods being considered for the Obama library.

The video introduces us to Yahtzeni Gonzales, a 23-year-old Mexican immigrant in Little Village who recently graduated from Harold Washington College with an associates degree in social work, and Daweed Abdiel, a senior at Westinghouse High School, on the steps of his parents' home in Englewood.

Over scenes of two boys playing basketball in front of the "Feed Your Children the Truth" mural at Jessie "Ma" Houston Park in Grand Boulevard, we hear about the South Side's resilience from Chloe Glispie, a third-year comparative human development student at the University of Chicago.

"I knew what it was about, but I was sworn to secrecy," Glispie joked about filming her part.

She said her scenes were shot on Thursday in her home in Oakland.

In the video, Glispie talks about the potential she sees in small businesses on the South Side as two women, which Edgewater Glen Daily identifies as Patricia and Sherry of Edgewater, talk over coffee at Sauce and Bread Kitchen.

Oakland, Hyde Park Make Cameos

Then there is another glimpse of the South Side, a baseball game on the northern field at Mandrake Park in Oakland.

As Obama talks about coming home to the South Side, the video revisits many of the now-familiar faces and again shows Black, this time from April 25 at University Church in Hyde Park talking to Kim Hunt of Affinity Community Services in Hyde Park and Rev. Jamie Frazier of the Lighthouse Church in the South Loop.

The video ends having never shown Washington Park and only showing Hodari's stoop in Woodlawn.

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