Timeline of visiting activists

Human Rights Activists @IWUFor quite some time I have marveled at all the prominent human rights speakers who have visited campus. I’ve done physical exhibits in the library on this topic but have also wanted to be able to share this information online and, hopefully, reach a wider audience. This timeline contains a compilation of my research on the topic.

A good overview can be found on pp. 49-53 of Through the eyes of the Argus: 100 years of journalism at Illinois Wesleyan University by Barrell, Jennifer and Christopher Fusco, but coverage ends in the 1970s. The present work contains sources that take our understanding closer to the present.

This is only a start. Someday I hope we’ll have a comprehensive view of the amazing speakers who have come here. If you know of more I’d love to hear it!

Resources for #ScholarStrike @ IWU

#ScholarStrike

This blog post is a response to the #Scholar Strike that’s being organized by Dr. Anthea Butler of UPenn and Kevin Gannon, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Grand View University.
I am compiling a selection of e-texts here and plan to sit in front of The Ames Library (Tues 9-12:30, Wed 11-2:30). I will be happy to listen to and/or share them with anyone who passes by. Masks and social distancing will be observed!
Many of these links go to IWU sources but anyone in IWU’s community can contribute to this list anonymously and is welcome to read them aloud in front of the library or reflect on them individually.
1) The organizers of this event developed this resource page.
2) Closer to home, Dr. Nicole Brown ’99 gave a stirring address titled “All the Lies are White” during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Teach-In on January 16, 2017. She provided an oral history to the archives’ collection in which she relates examples of IWU’s lack of progress on lasting change with regard to hiring and retaining Black faculty.
3) March 8, 1985 Argus coverage of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy with the headline “The greatest problem in America is racism.” He also spoke at IWU’s Chapel Hour on April 13, 1977. “In a speech entitled ‘A Nation in Crisis,’ Abernathy addressed the issues of unemployment and national health insurance.”
4) Titled “Lest We Forget”, this is a recording of a 1963 meeting in Birmingham, Alabama that includes Revs. Abernathy and King and others. Available though a library subscription.
5) Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press, 1984.
6) Smithers, Gregory D. Native Diasporas : Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
7) Pimblott, Kerry. Faith in Black Power : Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois. University Press of Kentucky, 2017.
8) During an October 23, 1967 speech at IWU, Dick “Gregory names U.S. prime racist country.”
9) Sullivan, Denise. Keep on Pushing Black Power Music from Blues to Hip-Hop. Lawrence Hill Books, 2011.
10) “Reform Jewish Movement Votes to Support Reparations for African-Americans.” Israel Faxx, Electronic World Communications, Inc, 2019.
11) Nolen, Claude H. The Negro’s Image in the South: The Anatomy of White Supremacy. The University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
12)This oral history interview Paul Bushnell: Nashville Memories is with Emeritus Professor of History Paul Bushnell and includes memories of training for non-violent protests and being part of lunch counter sit-ins. The interview is conducted by Professor of English Pam Muirhead ’68, who has also been interviewed: once in 2016 (this is the only one with a transcript so far), once in 1997, and once at an unspecified date for an IWU promotional purpose. She gave a presentation in 1989 when she received IWU’s award for teaching excellence.
14) TBD. Additions this list are welcome!]
Still under development as of posting time: a timeline of Civil Rights and other activists who have spoken at IWU. Check back in on it to see additions. You can also use the comments field to suggest people/events you know of that haven’t been included yet!

New story collection initiative: Racism, COVID-19 & the IWU curriculum

Black Lives Matter logoIn March, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era and in May I created a collection of the responses to that call. I set a deadline for those initial collections as the time when IWU’s campus started in-person classes again. That date was August 17th. This post announces the beginning of a second story-seeking initiative that expands on that call.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. At the time, this latest incidence of anti-Black racism brought a global response that continues. More anti-Black violence has taken place and just last night a police officer in Kenosha, WI shot Jacob Blake multiple times. He is in the hospital as of this writing on August 25, 2020.

Protests in response to Floyd’s killing have increased public attention on anti-Black violence and other forms of racism. Throughout the summer and into our early times of gathering as a campus this fall, the issues of racism and white supremacy are being called out and named in our community. The pandemic has also unevenly affected communities of color and people who had fewer personal resources to begin with.

Protests have also taken place virtually and physically at IWU regarding recent announcements of program closures and termination letters that are being sent to faculty. Issues of power and privilege are evident in the responses from alumni, administrators, faculty (current and retired), and in the local press.

IWU community members (alumni, students, staff, faculty and administrators) are invited to share their experiences of these events or other, similar periods in history they have been involved in.

CURRENT IWU students may complete this brief form and/or submit reflections by the methods below. (Note that the form allows you to request a copy of your responses.)

Everyone in our community is invited to share reflections on these events:
Have you observed or experienced racism or other forms of social injustice on our campus and/or in your home community? In what ways has the pandemic affected your life? How is distance learning affecting your perspectives on your classes? What are your views on IWU’s responses to the pandemic and/or incidents of racism? How are you reacting to the recently announced program/curricular changes? If you have you participated in any activities related to these events as a volunteer or activist, please describe them. Anything else you’d care to share?

Other ideas are welcome and physical items may be accepted at a later date, but here are a few ideas on how you can make contributions now:

  • recollections–in text, audio or video (for video, please limit submissions to <5 minutes);
  • photographic images of physical art you create; and/or
  • copies of digital art or performances.

You may only submit material created entirely by you and not copied from or based, in whole or in part, upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law.

Please include a signed/e-signed copy of this form with your submission to archives@iwu.edu. IWU’s archives is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.  Decisions to decline submissions will adhere to the guidelines of our collecting policy.

If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact Meg Miner at mminer@iwu.edu.

U.S. Suffrage history poster exhibit

As has so often been the case at Illinois Wesleyan University, student activism is a vital force in any force for change. This post announces the opening of a poster exhibit that explores the long road through U.S. history for women’s suffrage. There are ten posters in the exhibit and they are now on the walls around the library’s entry level.

College Women Picketing

College Women Picketing at White House (click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2020 marks the Centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The Ames Library is pleased to host the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence.  The crusade for women’s suffrage is one of the longest reform movements in American history. Between 1832 and 1920, women citizens organized for the right to vote, agitating first in their states or territories and also, simultaneously, through petitioning for a federal amendment. These ten posters address women’s political activism, explore the racism that challenged universal suffrage, and document the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment which prohibits the government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of gender. They also touch upon the suffrage movement’s relevance to current conversations on voting and voting rights across America.
 
More information on the topic is available through Ames Library collections. Contact a librarian for assistance!
 
This exhibit was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Commencement history

Today’s Commencement marks a new milestone in IWU history. Due to the pandemic, Titans are gathering online across the globe to celebrate. This is definitely a first! This post traces the other ways in which IWU Commencement has changed over the years.

Commencement_19501960

ca 1950-60 in front of Duration Hall in the center of the Quad (click to enlarge)

Although Commencement is sometimes held inside due to inclement weather, IWU has a tradition of holding the ceremony outdoors going back to the early 1900s. The second building IWU built served as backdrop and it was positioned on the northern end of what we now know as the Quad. It was first known as Main and Old Main (1870), the Hedding Hall (1936) and finally Duration Hall (1943).

Commencement1970

Commencement 1970

Sometime between 1960-1970 the location changed to McPherson Beach, on the north side of the School of Theatre Arts.

In 1990, the location for Commencement changed from McPherson Beach to its present location.

ca. 2002 In our current Quad location but note the arches of Sheean Library in the foreground

 

The backdrop for Commencement from 1990-2011 was Sheean Library until it was razed in 2011 and replaced with State farm Hall, which was built on Sheean’s footprint. This location was named Kemp Plaza in 2013, the same year that State Farm Hall opened.

Commencement 2019

State Farm Hall, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a selection of Commencement photos from days gone by. We have also made it possible for programs and some recordings from 70 Commencements of IWU’s 170 year history to be available online.

Below are some fun facts about IWU customs and graduation requirements. In looking at how they have changed over the years, just imagine what will happen in future Titan times!

Did you know that

  • Commencement festivities used to last for a week? They involved performances, Baccalaureate sermons, Class Day celebrations (for Juniors AND Seniors), alumni reunions, and dinner at the President’s house.
  • students used to be required to deliver a speech, without notes, as part of the ceremonies? The text had to be 1000 words long!
  • classes sometimes issued their own elaborate invitations, created Class mottos and chose Class colors?
  • alumni from the 1930s-1966 had to pass a swimming test?

Interactive view of IWU’s multicultural history

Check out this compilation of sources in a timeline of the currently known events in IWU’s multicultural history.*

*Note: Records by and about student groups and events are sparse after the 2010s. If you have information to share, contact archives@iwu.edu!

Earth Day @ 50

Argus issue with complete schedule for IWU Earth Day events (click all images to enlarge)

On April 17, 1970 Argus writer Paul McVicker (’72) introduced readers to the IWU activities planned for the first-ever United Nations Earth Day by saying, “The purpose of the program is to educate students and the community…about what they can do to help solve environmental problems.” McVicker was also a member of the College Republicans and the Chairman of the Intercollegiate Information and Programming Commission and so must also have been at the planning meeting for the event on March 20th.

March 20, 1970 announcement, briefly previewed on page 3.

The meeting announcement in the Argus on that date shows this was a student-driven effort organized by a “Special Pollution Committee” but that group is only mentioned once in IWU’s digitized news sources and the extent of its members is not know. The April 24, 1970 Argus reported on all the campus activities that took place that first year.

Curiously, the only student to list Earth Day as an organization he wanted commemorated in his yearbook list of activities is Kevin Jones, whose entry in the 1971 Wesleyana shows he was a Sophomore.

clip from 1971 WesleyanaThe 1971 Wesleyana carries a story by Kathy Larey Lewton (’70) that sets Earth Day into the larger context of student activism taking place in the 1969-70 academic year. The close ties between IWU and ISU are apparent in this article, and IWU also holds primary sources that we can consult to get a broader view on community activities involving the environment.

 

This April 23, 1971 issue is the first time The Argus reports on the community-based organization Operation Recycle.

Sophomore Vicki Wenger is the only student who lists Operation Recycle among her activities in the 1971 Wesleyana or any of the yearbooks that were published afterwards. But Anne McGowan (’76), community activist and spouse of Emeritus Professor of English Jim McGowan, provided an interview in 2013 about her experiences. The excerpt below contains just the part of her remarks that include her involvement with the community-based Operation Recycle and the origins of her interest in recycling.

IWU’s archival holdings also include contributions from Abigail Jahiel, Professor of Environmental and International Studies, who led a May Term 2003 course on Environmental History in which her students interviewed local citizens who influenced the ecological health of our community. Dr. Jahiel deposited these materials to complement IWU’s existing special collections that are related to Environmental Studies. An online collection is now available of the recordings that could be digitized and whose subjects gave permission for their interviews to be released:

If you have additional information about these people or groups, comment on this post or send an email to archives@iwu.edu. And visit this page if you would like to know more about the records of local organizations that are held in Tate Archives & Special Collections.

Share your thoughts and experiences with the future!

[August 25, 2020 Update: The forms used to collect stories prior to today’s date are now inactive. See the new call for stories at https://blogs.iwu.edu/asc/2020/08/25/new-story-initiative/.]

sharing-thoughtsIllinois Wesleyan University’s archives is creating a digital record of IWU community members’ (students, staff, faculty, alumni and trustees) experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning with the first campus communication on February 3, 2020 (or earlier, for Titans who are further afield!) and extending through the time that in-person activities resume on campus.

CURRENT IWU students may complete this brief form [link removed] and/or submit reflections by the methods below. (Note that the form allows you to request a copy of your responses.)

Everyone in our community is invited to share reflections on this global public health emergency:
What are you doing during your time away from campus? How are you staying connected with people you care about? Where are you getting information from about IWU, your extended community and the larger world? How is distance learning affecting your perspectives on your classes? How is telecommuting affecting the way you view your work? Anything else you’d care to share?

Other ideas are welcome and physical items may be accepted at a later date, but here are a few ideas on how you can make contributions now:

  • recollections–in text, audio or video (for video, please limit submissions to <5 minutes);
  • photographic images of physical art you create; and/or
  • copies of digital art or performances.

You may only submit material created entirely by you and not copied from or based, in whole or in part, upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law.

Please include a signed copy of this form [link removed] with your submission to archives@iwu.edu. IWU’s archives is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.  Decisions to decline submissions will adhere to the guidelines of our collecting policy.

If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact Meg Miner at mminer@iwu.edu.

The 50th Anniversary of “The Last Shot”

ISU_scoreboard

Scoreboard image captured from the film linked in this post.

January 13, 2020 marks an historic day in Titan Basketball history. Fifty years ago IWU’s annual cross-town rivalry came to an end with a last second shot by team Captain Tom Gramkow, Class of 1970. His top-of-the-key jumper was called “The last second, last shot, last game!” by the editors of the 1970 Wesleyana.

According to the January 16, 1970 coverage in The Argus, “This victory gave the Titans a final 69-42 .series lead. In coach Jim Collie’s first year at ISU and in this his last year, the Titans beat State by one point. In 1958, Collie’s first year, the score was 62-61, IWU.”

This silent film shows segments of the last half of the last game IWU played against ISU. The creator of the film is unknown but at some point a copy was made on VHS and this file contains all of the game that was donated to the archives.

This link leads to photos of the team in the locker room after the game and an additional link to the film. The film is also briefly shown during an interview Dennie Bridges and Coach Jack Horenberger recorded in 1991 about the history of IWU athletics. Other items related to athletics history are available online through the University Archives’ collections of photos and documents as well as the official IWU Athletics website.

If you have additional photos or more information about this event, please contact archives@iwu.edu or 556-1538.

 

Research Files: The Mission of IWU

This post records an answer to a question regarding the process for drafting the most recent IWU Mission Statement. It extends that question further to explore the origins of the phrase “liberal education” that appears in the IWU Mission statement.

Most recently, CUPP was charged with revising the Mission Statement as part of the Strategic Planning work done from 2000 to 2003 (see Record Group 10-2/16/6 Strategic Planning Committee, 2003-2004 (Folder1). The first page lists all committee members for the final year and even though the minutes reference a draft revision being circulated, there isn’t one in the packet.

[N.B., Many governance records, like CUPP minutes, are accessible online. If using the site from off campus, an IWU login is needed. I have summarized my findings for those who lack the necessary credentials.]
     We have to go to the CUPP Minutes from August 27, 2003 that note Wes Chapman was taking on the revision work of an earlier version. I have not attempted to find what version they started out with in their minutes because it must have been the published version from the 1990 catalog which shows the most recent wording differences. The only real discussion I saw recorded on the work is in the Faculty Meeting for September 8, 2003 (see pdf p. 5). Most minutes just mention discussion and don’t detail them but a few refer to minor word changes that have nothing to do with the use of the word liberal.
The Board of Trustees made minor revisions at the October 20-21, 2003 meeting and then approved the version adopted by the Faculty (see RG 1-2/9/29 : 2003 Oct. 20-21
Board of Trustees Meeting Packet). The Faculty minutes on this topic are for October 6, 2003 (see p. 3).
AACU Statement on Liberal Learning

The first paragraph of the “AAC&U Statement on Liberal Learning,” 1998 (the complete document is at https://bit.ly/2tZIeFL)

This image is from a document in the Feb. 9-10, 2004 Board of Trustees Meeting Packet. It is part of what the Academic Affairs Committee presented to the full Board for approval of the recent Mission changes. The fact that the back of the AAC&U document has the BOT approved version signifies a relationship between what the AAC&U advocates for and what the Board approved.

     Regardless, the phrase “liberal education” in the context of IWU curricular offerings predates all of this. Skimming backwards from 1989 in the printed catalogs, I find the mission statement using the phrase going back to the 1960s (where I stopped looking).
     I conducted a search of our old catalogs (1851-1954 are freely available online) and the first use of the phrase “liberal education” is in regards to offerings listed by the Women’s Education Association in 1879-80 catalog (p. 50). The next area of IWU to use the phrase is the School of Music in the 1891 catalog (p. 62). Our Home Economics program used it in 1916 (p. 70) and the first use in describing the University as a whole is in 1920 (p 25).
So if the question is how long have we embraced the phrase “liberal education” I’d say it’s been a good, long, time!
1920 Type of Institution statement

1920 Course Catalog, p. 25 (click to enlarge)