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UIS HistoryMakers exhibit celebrates black achievement

April 18, 2008

Contact: Kamau Kemayo, 217/206-8248, kkema2@uis.edu

SPRINGFIELD — "African-American History Makers: Agents of Change" is the subject of a multimedia exhibit on display through April 30 in the Public Affairs Center lobby at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The exhibit is a production of the University of Illinois and The HistoryMakers, a Chicago-based independent nonprofit oral history archive that chronicles the lives of African Americans. One exhibit will be installed at each U of I campus – in Springfield, Chicago, and Urbana-Champaign.

Banner depicting Sen. Barack Obama
A banner profiling Sen. Barack Obama is one of 10 on display at the UIS "History Makers" exhibit.

The Springfield exhibit features ten 3-feet by 8-feet standing banners with original illustrations and short biographies. The banners are the creation of John Jennings, an assistant professor of art and design at the UIUC campus.

Profiled in the UIS exhibit are architectural critic and writer Lee Bey; former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun; educator and U of I trustee Frances Carroll; educator and University of Maryland president Freeman Hrabowski; Illinois Senate president Emil Jones; political campaign manager and media consultant Avis LaVelle; Chicago Federal Reserve Bank chairman and U of I Board of Trustees treasurer Lester McKeever; U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama; poet and former UIC faculty member Sterling Plumpp; and Illinois legislator Monica Faith Stewart.

The HistoryMakers, founded in 1999 by Juliana Richardson, has completed in-depth videotaped interviews with more than 1,800 black American achievers in such areas as art, business, law, entertainment, medicine, the military, politics, sports, and religion.

Opening receptions for the exhibits kicked off the first year of a collaboration between the University and The HistoryMakers, which U of I President B. Joseph White helped establish.

"Julieanna's achievement in putting this collection together is remarkable," said White, "but she knew the collection needed a permanent home and the archiving expertise and educational reach of a good partner. She chose the University of Illinois, and we're thrilled."

"We are extremely pleased with the collaboration with the University of Illinois," Richardson said. "I'm especially happy that we are able to make the collection available to professors and students on all three U of I campuses."

More information about The HistoryMakers is available at www.thehistorymakers.com.

For more information about the Springfield exhibit, contact Kamau Kemayo, UIS assistant professor of African American Studies, at (217) 206-8248 or kkema2@uis.edu.



The University of Illinois at Springfield, one of three U of I campuses, is a small, public liberal arts university that offers 42 degree programs: 21 bachelor's, 20 master's, and the Doctorate of Public Administration. UIS has a special mission in public affairs and service and is known for extraordinary internships, a wireless campus, extensive online offerings, and a commitment to teaching.

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