Through the years collections of papers, photographs, documents of individuals, families and organizations of the African-American community have been discarded or lost because there were no local programs to seek out and preserve such materials. Recognizing this fact, the Champaign County African-American History Committee, a volunteer committee under the sponsorship of the Early American Museum and the Champaign Park District, was organized in 1992. The committee worked with local organizations and individuals from Champaign County and surrounding areas to help organize and preserve historical records dealing with the African American experience in Champaign County.

The Committee defined four areas of importance: (1) raising the public consciousness of the diversity and strength of African American contributions to Champaign County's and Illinois' heritage; (2) developing a brochure for the general public; (3) working with curriculum directors of schools to facilitate the integration of Champaign County African American history into the curriculum; and (4) securing space for storage of research materials and artifacts. The Committee published a biannual newsletter, Through the Years,which normally featured an individual, a family, community group and institution; was involved in an ongoing project of collecting oral histories; and provides an exhibit at the yearly Champaign- Urbana Day for the Park District. The Committee also provided an exhibit for a week-long event at the Douglass Center; worked with the UIUC Krannert Art Museum and University High School on a quilting exhibit; and with the Early American Museum in integrating Champaign County African American history into exhibits. Members also conducted lectures and discussions at local schools.


Committee Members

Mrs. Mary Alexander, Community 

Mrs. Carrie Banks, Community 

Mr. Roland Brown, St. Luke CME Church 

Mrs. Jean Burkholder, Urbana School District 

Mr. Nathaniel "Nate" Dixon, Champaign County Park District 

Mrs. Linda Duke, UIUC Krannert Art Museum 

Mrs. Viktoria Ford, UIUC Krannert Art Museum 

Mrs. Doris Hoskins, Community 

Mrs. Kathryn Humphrey, Community 

Mrs. Cheryl Kennedy, Early American Museum 

Mr. Cal Lee, Champaign School District 

Mrs. Hattie LeNoir-Price, Parkland College 

Mrs. Val Littlefield, UIUC Afro-American Studies & Research Program 

Mrs. Cheri Mayberry, Champaign/Urbana Visitors Bureau 

Mrs. Barbara McGee, Champaign County Park District 

Mrs. Estelle Merrifield, Community 

Mrs. Dorothy Moreland, Community 

Mrs. CharLotte Nesbitt, Champaign Public Library 

Mrs. Hester Suggs, Community 

Mrs. Mary Grace Thomas, Community 

Mrs. Barbara Wysocki, University High School