Blake Wood
Publish Date

“The Struggle for Change,” a new exhibit by the University of Illinois Springfield’s Sangamon Experience, will tell the history of underrepresented people in central Illinois when it opens on Jan. 12 on the lower level of the UIS Public Affairs Center. The exhibition will run through Sept. 6.

“The exhibit is part of a critical process toward creating new narratives and symbols of central Illinois that represent our collective vision and honor the underrepresented histories of the people, places, movements and events that have made up the past 200 years as we look to the future,” said Anne Moseley, director of engagement and curator of the Sangamon Experience.

In the face of challenges that spanned eras, countless individuals and organizations have emerged as beacons of hope and catalysts for transformation. The groups of individuals mentioned in this exhibit are a small sample of many citizens who have fought for women's rights, underrepresented groups, LGBTQ+ individuals and those with disabilities. From civil rights activists advocating for equality to pioneers who challenged societal norms, each narrative contributes to a complex tapestry of struggle and triumph. This exhibit serves as both a commemoration and an education, inviting participants to engage with the narratives of those who dared to question the status quo and pave the way for a more just and equitable world.

“As visitors navigate through these corridors of history, they should be prepared to confront uncomfortable truths, celebrate milestones of progress and acknowledge the tenacity required to confront systemic injustices,” Moseley said. “This exhibit is a reminder that the pursuit of change often comes at a high cost, but it is through these very struggles that societies evolve and progress.”

Partners for this exhibit include Hope Institute, the Illinois State Archives, Springfield NAACP, Phoenix Center, Sangamon Valley Collection at the Lincoln Library, SIU School of Medicine’s Pearson Museum, Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, Springfield Immigrant Advocacy Network (SIAN), the UIS Archives and the UIS Diversity Center.

For more information on the exhibit, visit the Sangamon Experience website.

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