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Friday, April 5 • 8:15am - 9:00am
S202 Beyond Scholarly Work: The Use of Archives in/for Community Work

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The sesquicentennial celebrations (2017-2018) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign prompted much delayed recognition of African American citizens. Aiming to bridge a noticeable gap, the University funded a series of projects documenting contributions of the Black community amidst great apathy and discrimination locally  (early to mid 1900s). In September 2017, the University released a documentary detailing the experiences of Black students as they struggled to find accommodations and eating facilities on campus; this led to a mapping project, which identified these students living quarters off-campus. At the sesquicentennial closing (August 2018), the University and local communities acknowledged the contributions of an outstanding African American man who, having earned the trust of several Illinois Presidents, intervened in favor of Black students. All projects drew heavily from the University Archives, and, all were informed by community members.

The speakers on this panel, individually, were key authors, presenters, and organizers in these community recognitions. Two of them composed dissertations on the Black experience, which were crucial input for the Illinois mapping project developed by the third presenter. Their research spans a twenty-year period, encompassing three distinct disciplines, History and Archival Studies, Education, and Writing Studies. Through this multidisciplinary perspective, they explore their community engagements and use of various archives and methods in excavating early African American histories. Collaboratively, they emphasize the applicability of archival research in the crafting of stories about/with underrepresented populations. Ultimately, their talk illustrates the importance of scholarly and community collaborations anchored in archival work, memory, and overlooked rhetors.


Deirdre Cobb-Roberts

Chair, University of South Florida


Vanessa Rouillon

James Madison University

Jessica Ballard

University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Friday April 5, 2019 8:15am - 9:00am CDT
Nicolet A&B