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.

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!

COVID 19 exhibit

Back in March, as life across the world and at IWU’s campus changed dramatically, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era.

covid exhibit page

An exhibit with contributions from 15 students is now available. I  also added content from IWU’s webpages and made a personal contribution to the exhibit as a way of breaking the ice.

Students were given an option to answer as many of a set of pre-determined questions (see below) as they wanted to. They were also given the option of remaining anonymous online with the understanding that their identity would be associated with their remarks in the archives’ offline files.

Additions to this collection are welcome, and anyone who wants to keep their reflections offline may still participate. Participants may use the questions below if they’d like some ideas on how to start, but truly any way that people are comfortable expressing themselves for sharing their experiences is fine. Visit the project description for details or contact me (mminer@iwu.edu) if you have questions.

[Questions on student submission form]

Name (indicate if anonymity online is desired)
Class year
Major(s)/Minors(s)
Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?
What has been your experience with moving classes online?
If applicable, tell us a little about your thoughts and reactions to moving off campus or out of town.
How are you staying connected to your friends and wider community, through IWU or elsewhere?
How has the virus or the precautions taken to prevent it spreading impacted your daily life?
What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about what you’re feeling or experiencing right now?
Share a photo of yourself, or any photos, videos, or audio recordings you’d like to add to this historical record!

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.

June and William Eben Schultz Collection of Juvenile Literature 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.

Selections from the Schultz Juvenile Literature Collection (Click to enlarge)

This image shows selections of from the Schultz Collection of Juvenile Literature. The link opens a pdf that lists the titles comprised in this uncataloged collection of magazines, textbooks, fiction, and non-fiction works published from the late-19th to the early-20th Centuries (24 linear feet).

The books pictured are, from left to right: “Frank Merriwell’s Frolics or Fun and Rivalry at Fardale”, “Science in Your Life”, “Tip Top Weekly, The ideal publication for the American Youth”, and “Frank Merriwell in Europe.”

The collection is named for two people:
1) W.E. Schultz, who was Professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University from 1934-1964. He is the author of the “Alma Wesleyana,” written in 1935, and sung at every major campus convocation. Schultz also donated his collection of 18th and 19th century British plays, including several editions of The Beggar’s Opera. (All of the books in this collection are cataloged.)
2) Professor Schultz’s daughter, June E. Schultz, Class of 1944 and Alpha Gamma Delta member, who taught in Bloomington, Illinois and received IWU’s Loyalty Award in 1995. She also donated an autograph collection.

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!

 

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.

 

Evans’ time capsule contents

Although many more are known to exist, only three time capsules have been opened in IWU’s 169-year history. One was discovered accidentally when the iconic arch that still led into Duration Hall, last remnant of Hedding Hall/Old Main, was torn down. All that remains of the contents of that box are pieces of bank notes it contained and the description of its other contents as reported in the 1966 Wesleyana (p. 23).

The second was a much more purposeful removal from Sheean Library.The contents of this box were in excellent condition and are reported on in previous blog posts. The third was also a planned removal, this time in honor of the 50th anniversary of its placement rather than being due to the building’s destruction. This post describes the discoveries made as a result of this recent unveiling.

As previously reported, when the Evans Observatory’s time capsule was opened in preparation for the official unveiling at Homecoming 2019, much of the content was too deteriorated to salvage. Moisture interacted with a battery and food inside the copper box and the to the other material damage was extensive!

poster of damaged objects

A poster of several of the damaged objects (clockwise from top right): the thermal battery, a microfilm reel with the Bloomington phone directory (rolled and unrolled), close-up of a rolled map (enclosed in a plastic sleeve and closed by a metal snap; unrolled map in center), a long shot of the capsule’s damaged contents. (click any image in this blog post to enlarge)

Everything that was paper-based was congealed into a solid mass but fortunately, most of these were all widely distributed publications from the University and local businesses. We were able to separate two unique paper items:

Several unique objects survived their 50-year odyssey and one even went on the Apollo 8 mission, circling the moon ten times! Astronaut Frank Borman personally added the medallion picture below before placing the capsule in the Mark Evans Observatory.

Other items found in the capsule were donated by the Bloomington branches of several companies. Noteworthy among the survivors are a miniature engine, supplied by Caterpillar Tractor Co.; a vacuum tube and circuit board from the Admiral Corporation; a selection of electric relays from General Electric; and an integrated circuit, the kind which made putting a computer on the Apollo 8 flight possible, supplied by General Telephone.

Other views of the objects contained in this post are available in our Historic IWU photo collection. The objects themselves will be on permanent display in the Mark Evans Observatory.

list of time capsule contents

Contents list that was read by President Eckley on the day of the time capsule’s placement.