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BLACK DESIGNERS: SHAPING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

A small-scale online exhibit by the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, presenting a select set of highlights from collections held at some of our member institutions. Many more artists, designers, illustrators, cartoonists, architects, artist organizations, and galleries are documented in these archives at museums, university archives and special collections, libraries, and community organizations around the Chicago area.

Get a taste of the creative work by Black designers working in various media preserved in nearby archives! Discover more through the BMRC Archives Portal.

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15TH ANNIVERSARY of the BMRC - WEB EXHIBIT

In 2021, the BMRC celebrated its 15th anniversary! This exhibit documents the origins of the BMRC, its efforts to aid discoverability and access to Black historical collections, and the consortium’s flagship Summer Short-term Fellowship and Archie Motley Archival Internship programs.

The exhibition, curated by BMRC Executive Director, Marcia Walker-McWilliams was set to unveil as a physical exhibition open to the public. However, due to Covid-19 precautions, we are only able to offer a web exhibit at this time. [NOTE: there are plans to mount the exhibit again soon!]

Special thanks to exhibition designer, Chelsea Kauffman of the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the University of Chicago and to Dan Meyer and Patti Gibbons of SCRC for their contributions.

To access the web exhibit, click the link to view it on the University of Chicago Library's website.

MORE FROM THE MEMBERS

Members of the Black Metropolis Research Consortium have created their own digital exhibits! The selected exhibits below are focused on topics related to Black history and culture. Note that these links will take you out of the Archives Portal and to the member institution sites. Please feel free to peruse the wealth of resources our members have created, on a variety of topics. Come back to the BMRC Archives Portal to learn more about materials you can view in person and in digital form at archival repositories near you.


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THEY DEMANDED COURAGEOUSLY: THE 1968 NORTHWESTERN BURSAR'S OFFICE TAKEOVER

On April 22, 1968, members of Black student organizations, For Members Only (FMO) and Afro-American Student Union (AASU), presented a list of demands to the Northwestern University administration in response to discriminatory campus policies and practices and to heighten the awareness of Black student’s experiences of racial insensitivity on campus.

They Demanded Courageously: The 1968 Northwestern Bursar’s Office Takeover is an online exhibit that tells the story of this transformative moment in Northwestern University history. It includes an overview of the trajectory of the reasons students of For Members Only (FMO) and Afro-American Student Union (AASU) presented demands to the University, to the legacy of the Takeover. It also features key documents found at Northwestern University Archives, a timeline, participant biographies, photographs, and bibliographic resources. All images and documents featured on this site live at Northwestern University Archives.

View the full digital exhibit on Northwestern University's website, with timelines, history, photographs, video and more.

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SHOREFRONT VOICE - Oral History Collection by Shorefront Legacy Center.

Shorefront Voice is Shorefront’s collection of oral histories recorded by its founder, Dino Robinson. Recordings prior to 2002 were produced during Shorefront’s early development under the name “Through the Eyes of Us” and several were part of a publication under the same name. Each file contains the mp3 file, and pdf transcription. Listen to conversations with Lawrence Brooks, Fred Hutcherson III, Barry A. Young, Mollie Davis, Walter Calhoun, and Alice Tregay, and others.

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REVEREND JOSEPH H. JACKSON: CIVIL RIGHTS THROUGH LAW AND ORDER

The Chicago History Museum has several Google Arts & Culture exhibits that focus on various aspects of Black history, including an exhibition on Chicago pastor Reverend Joseph H. Jackson, who rose to prominence in the early 20th century fighting for education, housing and economic and political equity.

"Reverend J. H. Jackson remains a key figure in the narrative of the civil rights movement. The arguments that Jackson made are still discussed in the struggle for Black liberation today."

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BLACK ORGANIZING IN PRE-CIVIL WAR ILLINOIS: CREATING COMMUNITY, DEMANDING JUSTICE

New web exhibit on early history of Black community building and activism, with a Chicago section called “Making Black Chicago,” covering Black migration into the city, early Black churches, schools/education, and the Underground Railroad. The exhibit was built by a team of Northwestern University students and staff led by Professor of History Kate Masur, as part of the larger Colored Conventions project of the Center for Black Digital Research at Penn State University.

Explore more stories through the 25 individual profiles, including well-known Black Chicagoans John and Mary Richardson Jones as well as other less known yet important figures, like Henry O. Wagoner and Mary Mann, the first African American to graduate from public high school and become a public school teacher (and principal) in in the city. The exhibit also tells the story of the first statewide Black political convention in Illinois, which met in Chicago in October 1853. Read more about the project on NU's site.