top of page

Pembroke PAST & FUTURE

The residents of Pembroke Township/Hopkins Park have been the succeeding stewards of what is now one of the most prized ecosystems in the state of Illinois referred to as the Kankakee Sands. This tradition of stewardship dates back to the care of the savanna by the indigenous people, the Potawatomi, who did controlled burns that maintained the savanna.

​Hopkins Park is in Pembroke Township. Pembroke is one of the oldest black rural townships. It was founded by a runaway slave named Pap Tetter before the Emancipation Proclamation. Folk history tells us that he and his family of 18 children escaped from North Carolina around 1861. He originally acquired 42 acres of what is now called Old Hopkins Park, and created a safe place for other runaway slaves and the Potawatomi who did not go to reservations.

​Hopkins Park was a terminal for the underground railroad and became a secure space for ethnic diversity among the indigenous people and those who migrated there. In the northern migration, Pembroke came to be the largest black farming community north of the Mason-Dixon Line. During World War II, these farmers answered the nation’s call for hemp. Pembroke farmers were contracted by the U.S. Navy to grow hemp for rope for the warships.  ​


The name Pembroke has Welsh roots and means “aqueduct.” It was a key spot along a trading route that linked Fort Dearborn in Chicago to Vincennes, Indiana.

While Pembroke has been said to be one of the poorest areas in the country, it is rich with history, heritage and generations who have committed to caring for the land.  

Pembroke's past is the foundation for a low carbon future.   

Our Mission

For residents of Pembroke and the world to access factual, true information about critical factors that are impacting life as we have known it in this northeast Illinois rural town & beyond.  

To unearth & share the legacies of this historic black farming community that has demonstrated impeccable environmental stewardship

For justice and equity to reign in a place that the civil rights movement did not reach.

To create strong bonds of transformation to realize our vision of a Renewable Future here in Pembroke Township, Illinois & beyond

Learn More

Girl Peeking Over Basket

Building a Zero Carbon Future

In partnership with forward whole systems resources and residents committed to a renewable future, our first step is to assess what are the best types of renewable energy sources, sustainable building supplies and biomass materials that could work best here.  How do we protect our water, soil and air?  What can bring the greatest return with the least harm?  The first step toward a Renewable Pembroke is assessments.  

Screen Shot 2023-02-16 at 12.47.34 PM.png


The world is making a conscious choice to protect the earth as we here in Pembroke have so diligently done. There has never been a greater need to embrace the low carbon life that we are able to enjoy. Pembroke has earned the right to be a model for Illinois and the world.

bottom of page