Publisher launches book that profiles African-American Chicago icons

Staff Writer

Hermene Hartman, media pioneer, founder, and publisher of N’DIGO a weekly newspaper, recently published a book that profiles iconic African Americans who have made an impact on the city of Chicago. Many of them were Hyde Park –Kenwood residents.

The book, titled “N’DIGO LEGACY: Black Luxe Profiles of Iconic Chicago African Americans” is a 420-page book featuring African-American figures across a spectrum of career paths including, politics, enterprise (business), legal scholars, entertainment, creative thinkers, designers and legal scholars, Hartman said.

“It’s a book that features African American icons, but it’s a book for everybody to note. Every coffee table should have one,” Hartman said. “It exists because there is nothing like it.”

The book also includes notable Hyde Park and Kenwood residents such as former President Barack Obama, the first African American Senator Carol Mosley Braun, Chicago’s first African American Mayor Harold Washington and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Hartman said “Black Luxe” grew out of the desire to feature and showcase positivity in the city, which has been pushed into the national spotlight due to gun violence.

“There’s much more to Chicago than the violence that we experience today,” Hartman said.

For over 30 years N’DIGO has interviewed countless individuals from all over the world. Hartman said the idea to produce a book comprised of past cover stories and features in the newspaper was an idea she’s had for quite a while.

The format of the book will include the original published articles from the pages of N’DIGO with an update on the people are featured and what has happened along the way.

“We were one of the first to cover Barack Obama and profile him,” Hartman said. “At the time Obama was a young state senator representing the 13th district in Illinois. The update is he went on to become a U.S. Senator and then President of the United States for two terms,” Hartman said.

Hartman said Chicago has a rich history and has afforded opportunity for African Americans in the city.

“Chicago has been a leader in the black community providing leadership in the clergy, in business, in media, and in politics,” Hartman said.

Hartman has plans to expand “Black Luxe” into a trilogy.

Other prominent Hyde Park and Kenwood residents that are incorporated into the book are Bishop Arthur Brazier, Claudette Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, Dick Gregory, Rev. Richard Tolliver, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., Jewel Lafontant-Mankarious. Mankarious was the first African American to get her law degree from the University of Chicago. She also served as the first female deputy solicitor general of the United States, an official in the administration of President George H.W. Bush.

N’DIGO was founded and established in 1989 to offer commentary that centers on issues facing the African American community. It features news profiles, business information, entertainment, education and mainstream news topics that are of importance to its readers.

There are two editions of “Black Luxe” that are available for purchase. For more information visit