My name is Adam Fletcher Sasse. I am a professional writer and speaker who runs a small consulting firm in Olympia, Washington. I am the author of North Omaha History Volumes 1, 2 & 3; the editor of NorthOmahaHistory.com; the host of the North Omaha History Podcast; and an artist focused on North Omaha’s built environment.
I grew up in North Omaha in the Miller Park neighborhood for more than a decade from the mid-1980s through the mid-90s. Growing up in these historical, predominantly African American neighborhood, I was a bit of an anomaly: I was a goofy white Canadian kid in cowboy boots and corduroy pants. But I devoured history, especially the stories of the place where I was growing up.
I graduated from North High School. While the leadership of the school was mostly African American, I don’t know if any of the teachers to have a specific appreciation or interest in the African American history of Omaha, and I don’t remember being taught anything about it. The history of the people who established the neighborhoods was hard to find, and that is part of what makes this history so alluring to me.
The other part of why I write this is because of my mentors and friends. One of my mentors was Idu Maduli, who taught me the neighborhood’s history when I was young. I also learned glimpses of the city’s history from other mentors, including Rev. Helen Saunders, many of the people at Pearl Memorial United Methodist Church, Von Trimble, and Mr. and Mrs. Hickerson, who I lived next to on Ellison Avenue. I owe all of them a debt of gratitude. My high school girlfriend was the first history sleuth I ever knew, uncovering the Trans-Mississippi Exposition when I had no idea there was a history where I lived. I can only hope to ignite young peoples’ imaginations the ways these people ignited mine when I was young.