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!

First African-American PhD in Sociology

This guest post was contributed by Carl Teichman, Director of Government and Community Relations, IWU President’s Office, and member of the Class of 1980. Teichman created this biographical summary through information found in Randall K. Burkett’s book Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Temple University Press, 1978).

James Robert Lincoln Diggs, Ph.D., 1906
James Robert Lincoln Diggs, Ph.D., 1906

James Robert Lincoln Diggs was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1906, thereby becoming the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in that discipline and the ninth to earn a Ph.D. in any field in the United States.

Diggs, whose Ph.D. thesis was titled “The Dynamics of Social Progress,” graduated from Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C., in 1866, and went on to earn the A.B. and A.M. degrees from Bucknell University in 1898 and 1899.

After completing his academic training, Diggs was the head of several small black Baptist colleges in the south, including State University in Louisville, Ky., Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va., and Selma University in Selma, Ala. In 1914, he was named president of Clayton-Williams University in Baltimore. A year later he was called to the pastorate of Trinity Baptist Church in Baltimore, and he served as the minister there until his death in 1923.

Diggs was a colleague of W.E.B. DuBois and was one of the few black educators to participate in the Niagara Movement. Diggs was among the group of 29 prominent African-Americans who met secretly in Niagara Falls, Ont., in 1905 and drew up a manifesto that called for full civil liberties, abolition of racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. The Niagara Movement was the forerunner of the NAACP.

At the Niagara Movement’s Harper’s Ferry Convention in 1906, the year he received the Ph.D. from Illinois Wesleyan, Diggs lectured alongside Du Bois and Reverd D. Ransom. He was also a principal financial backer of the Niagara Movement’s journal, the Horizon. An early member of the NAACP, Diggs was president of the Baltimore division. He was also a member of the national Equal Rights League and served as its national vice president. Diggs was regarded for his scholarly sermons, including an eloquent defense of Marcus Garvey during the third International Convention of Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association in August 1922.

Research files: MLK Day Teach-in history

This post provides a timeline for the student and faculty activism that led to the designation of an annual Teach-In day in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

[N.B., Many governance records, like Faculty and Student Senate Meeting 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.]

First mention of the issue being raised is in January 17, 2000 (pdf p. 3) by Faculty Meeting by Jared Brown. The minutes note that “a large number of faculty supported closing the university on this date. Other faculty spoke against closing fearing a lack of student participation in the many events the university plans to celebrate this day. “

Corresponding Student Senate minutes for March 5, 2000 (pdf p. 5) ask for a Senator’s participation on CC to draft a proposal.

There is a call-to-action in a January 20, 2006 Argus (p. 4) Editorial that provides some comparisons to the 2000 proposal but emphasizes that classes should be canceled on this national holiday as is the practice elsewhere.

A Faculty Meeting packet dated February 13, 2006 (pdf p. 17) contains a CC proposal from 2000 that suggests several ways in which the holiday might be celebrated:
“Curriculum Council recommends that IWU expand its current celebration by creating a three-day symposium that would celebrate King’s life and values in a variety of ways.”

Discussion on Martin Luther King day continues at the March 6, 2006 (pdf p. 8) Faculty Meeting.

Political Science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha sponsors a teach-in, reported in the January 19, 2007 Argus (p. 1) and some faculty bring their classes.

The issue is brought up in Senate again February 25, 2007 (pp. 10-12) and in the March 11, 2007 (p. 6) minutes, the Senate President announces the group reached a consensus on their desires for the day that will go to the President’s Office but the statement is not explicitly defined. At the October 7, 2007 (pp. 8-9) meeting, Senators state they want to revisit the issue.

The Action Research Center and Pi Sigma Alpha sponsor the next Teach-in. The January 18, 2008 Argus Editorial (p. 4) again calls for a day off.

The Teach-in became a regular, cross-campus offering in 2010. (See Argus article on January 22, 2010.) The class schedule for the day remained unchanged but the Argus notes that “Students came in waves from their classes….”

Digitized history of the Muslim Student Association

The archives continues to bring new life to old media. The latest result of this work is a brief but excellent history of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) that is now available online. It was created by the 2005 Summer Enrichment Program students who researched different student organizations and interviewed alumni. Two alumnae were part of this portion and their recordings are also available now:
Hyder Alyan,Class of 2006 and
Muneerah Maalik
,Class of 2000

Muneerah Maalik ‘00

Muneerah Maalik ‘00, co-chair of the Minority Alumni Network, led a mentoring session that paired alumni with current students. Photo from IWU Magazine, Winter 2008-09

Readers should know that the archives is always interested in working with everyone in the IWU community to make sure the history they are making here is known to the future. Contact Meg (mminer{at}iwu.edu), IWU’s archivist, to start discussing your and/or your group’s work today!

Beat Writers Collection in Special Collections

Within The Ames Library’s 4th floor department called Tate Archives & Special Collections are thousands of unique materials and all are available to benefit people in the IWU and surrounding communities.

Click to enlarge

This image contains parts of a collection consisting of books and periodicals (24 linear feet) published by members of the avant-garde literary movement known as “Beat Writers,” whose counter cultural and non-conformist attitudes helped shape the hippie culture of the 60’s. Some of the writers represented in this collection are Diane diPrima, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, LeRoi Jones, and Jack Kerouac. There are approximately eighty others.

The items displayed in these posts are just a small portion of the kinds of materials found in Tate Archives & Special Collections. These collections are in a variety of languages and formats (artifact, book, manuscript, and media) and creation dates range from the 11th-21st centuries. Some collections are completely described and identified and some have yet to be thoroughly organized or examined.

Although many holdings do have a direct connection to the University, many are distinct and unrelated to the others such as the supporting materials for research on the people who created and collected the pottery and basketry items displayed in the entry level rotunda.

Curious minds seeking inspiration for creative works and original research are welcome to stop by and explore the possibilities!

 

Two “new” alumni interviews

Last summer a diligent student assistant started evaluating our analog audiovisual recordings. Old media formats deteriorate or sometimes becomes unplayable just because the machines are no longer available. Before that happens we want to make sure we transfer content into new formats that are not media-dependent. Thanks to funding from the library we have started to digitize these selections.

The two interviews linked below were conducted by Development Officer Yvonne Jones in 1999 for the Minority Alumni Research Project. More information on the project is available in archives Record Groups 4-3/1/9 and 12- 2/1/3.

We don’t have transcripts for them yet but I’ve created robust abstracts and added links to related material whenever possible. Enjoy!

Edelbert Rodgers, Class of 1933, during a campus visit in 2001

Rodgers during a campus visit in 2001

 

Edelbert Rodgers, Class of 1933

This photo of Rodgers should be familiar to anyone who has visited Hansen Student Center. Dr. Rodgers is part of the mural that’s behind the information desk!

He was a Sociology major at IWU and in a previous blog post I provided links to campus news sources he appeared in. Rodgers earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at New York University and had a career in both private practice and teaching.

 

 

 

Below are two photos of Luther Bedford, Class of 1959. Bedford was a Physical Education major who lettered three times in varsity football and was also on the track team. After graduation he taught at Marshall High School, Chicago, IL and was Athletic Director for 33 of his 40 year tenure.

Luther Bedford in football uniform

Bedford in the 1958 Wesleyana

Luther Bedford receiving diplomma from President Eckley in 1959

Bedford in 1960 Wesleyana

 

 

Research files: First Black faculty member

John W. Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology,first African American faculty member.

John W. Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Sociology, first African American faculty member.

During a recent visit by some wonderfully curious Gateway students, someone asked about the first African-American professor. Our first Black professor arrived in 1961 when John W. Martin joined the Sociology faculty. This is documented on p. 176 of the Myers and Teichman book Illinois Wesleyan University: Continuity and Change, 1850-2000. Sadly, we don’t know much else about his life. Anyone who has records about him to donate is welcome to contact the archives (archives {@} iwu.edu).

In future posts I will share more of the questions posed by these students.

Frank Starkey

Frank Starkey, Ph.D., Professor

The next African-American faculty member (as researched by the archivist) was Frank Starkey, Professor of Chemistry, who taught from 1971-1980 and received the 1978 IWU Century Club Teacher of the Year Award. In comments he shared during the Black Fine Arts Festival, reported on in The Argus (p. 1) March 22, 1977, Starkey remarks on the need for the Black Student Union to improve on their efforts (re BFAF’s purpose) and also includes a critique of IWU’s poor recruiting efforts of Black students, faculty and administrators.

Research files: History of LGBT+

First known announcement for an activity related to LGBTQ+ students

The following are the findings from a recently asked question about the founding of  G.L.O.W. (Gays and Lesbians of Wesleyan). The archives holds no records created by group members. Anyone who has records to donate on this (or other) IWU organization is invited to contact archives@iwu.edu

1992-03-13 Argus p. 1 & 7 Announcing the formation of G.L.O.W. There’s mention of faculty endorsement at the end of the article and p. 2 has a letter from a faculty member about its formation.

1992 Wesleyana p. 48 Includes GLOW among the new student organizations for that year and confirms a founding date of early March 1992.

There are 23 occurrences of G.L.O.W.  in The Argus, but I didn’t look through them all. Explore the issues available at that link and let me know if you need anything else!

There’s a 1997 Wesleyana mention of a name change to Gay/Straight Alliance but I didn’t do any further searching for that name.

I did a search for events leading up to GLOW’s formation and came up with these articles:

1988-03-11 Argus p. 4 ad for Gay & Lesbian Awareness Week

There was a controversy after “Anti-Jeans Day” runs in this April 22, 1988 issue and at least the two after.

1989-04-28 Argus p. 3 Progressive Student Union (P.S.U.) Gay and Lesbian Awareness Day

1991-09-27 Argus p. 2 Editorial arguing for better institutional support for homosexuals

1991-12-13 Argus p. 1 and 7 article on campus forum about homophobia and refers to an unspecified incident of vandalism in Gulick. There could be information in other campus sources to shed light on this. The article closes with details about an ISU group (Gay and Lesbian Alliance, GALA) that IWU students were welcome to connect with.

International students at IWU during WWI

An exhibit currently on display in The Ames Library (in two cases, near the patio on the entry level) includes photos and written accounts by IWU faculty and students during World War I. These materials and much more are held in the University Archives.

Of particular interest in this exhibit are contributions from students in Professor Jim Matthews’ Fall 2016 FREN 301: Oral Communication class. In a recent conversation with Dr. Matthews, I mentioned that three French women joined students at IWU in the fall of 1918 and Matthews asked his students to learn more about the experiences of these women in the U.S. and respond in French; they contributed English translations for the benefit of visitors to the library’s exhibit.

1920 Wesleyana, p. 156

Idellette and Annette Baron and Jeanne Seigneur, pictured in the 1920 Wesleyana, p. 156

Dr. Matthews and his students discovered several interesting things about the lives of these women in Central Illinois and beyond. Stop by the library before the end of the month or visit th archives anytime!

Research Files: First African-American woman graduate

In an earlier post, we documented the first African-American men to graduate from IWU. Recently I came across an unknown author’s work on the subject of Black student history at IWU (this document is contained in Record Group 11-8/1/6). That author listed Josephine Mabel Jackson, Class of 1910, as IWU’s first African-American woman to graduate. There is no supporting documentation in the University Archives about the race of our students, but we can look elsewhere to confirm this particular claim.

With her name, I was able to ask the Illinois Regional Archives Depository staff for help. A birth registration book confirms that she was born on January 22, 1886 in Delavan, Tazewell County, Illinois, and lists her race as Negro. The entry also shows that her father William W. Jackson, from South Carolina, was a barber. Her mother Dora M. (nee Grady) Jackson was from Mississippi.

Jackson, 1909 Wesleyana

Jackson, 1909 Wesleyana

The photo to the left is our first image of her, where she is pictured among her Junior classmates. Only one source mentions she was involved in the YWCA but a few show that she participated in the Adelphic Society, one of the two literary societies on campus in her day.

No records of that group’s activities exist for this era but according to the 1907/08 Catalogue of Courses, students were advised to join such groups because “there is no single factor in college life that does so much to fit them for speaking in public and learning to think while in the act of speaking.”

 

Jackson cropped from Adelphic groups photo in 1909 Wesleyana

Jackson cropped from Adelphic group’s photo in 1909 Wesleyana

Adelphic Society members, 1909 Wesleyana

Adelphic Society members, 1909 Wesleyana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson's Senior class photo

Jackson’s Senior class photo from the 1911 Wesleyana

In the list of graduates published in the June 14, 1910 Argus, her full name is given as Josephine Mabel W. Jackson. There are no documents here that record her thoughts about her life but there are several indications that she remained connected to IWU after graduation. In one case, published by the Alumni Office among their brief class news reports, she sent a donation and greetings.

A brief note in April 1925 is the most substantive report there is on an important event in her life: the death of her mother. It ends with an enigmatic sentence: “Miss Jackson has been an unusually successful science teacher in various High Schools.”

A 1929 book called The Alumni Roll at least confirms the teaching part:
Jackson, Josephine M., B.S.  Graduate Chicago Training School, 1911, Teacher in High School, Harlan, Iowa; 1912-1913, Chicago Training School; Industrial teacher in Institutional Church, Chicago; Evangelistic work; Teacher; Student at State University of Iowa.  Box 67, Delavan, Illinois.

The last picture we have of her comes from a June 1960 alumni news source:

June 1960 IWU Bulletin, Alumni edition

June 1960 IWU Bulletin, Alumni edition

The last time Miss Jackson is mentioned in any of our publications is in September 1968. Bloomington’s Pantagraph says she died, aged 88, on Tuesday June 18, 1974 at Hopedale Medical Complex. The notice states she had been in the Hopedale Nursing Home “for some time.” (subscription needed to access: Wednesday, June 19, 1974 – Page 47).

I am sure there is more to be learned about Josephine Jackson’s life. Readers are invited to stop in and see the newly accumulated references to her in the University Archives. I would be happy to make suggestions for additional research strategies, and will gladly add more to her files with anything new that’s discovered!