Abdul Alkalimat, a professor with a joint appointment in African American Studies and Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is leading a project which aims to document the history of Black Studies programs in Illinois (and beyond) by means of archival research and interviews with program leaders. So far, the Illinois Documentary History of Black Studies project has yielded four volumes of case studies, which are available now at the University’s Library.
The volumes consist of documentary case histories from Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University, South Suburban Community College, and the University of Illinois Springfield. Professor Alkalimat envisions working with faculty and grad students, including some librarians and archivists, at campuses across the country, and plans on having 15 volumes in place before the end of the year. His ultimate goal is to have volumes from at least 25 campuses in Illinois and close to 200 campuses nationwide.
“Our focus is on how to re-value the actual founders of Black Studies–campus by campus. In order to liberate this history, we must go into the libraries and archives and return to the source,” said Professor Alkalimat. “A large enough sample of detailed case studies will firmly anchor this field of study in the kind of data required to sustain serious scholarship.”
The four volumes reside in hard copy in the African American Research Center of the University’s History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library . In addition, the bound volumes are located in the Vivian Harsh Collection at the Chicago Public Library . Each participating institution will also house its own volume.
The Illinois Documentary History of Black Studies is available in digital form at www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/14912 via the Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) repository. IDEALS collects, disseminates, and provides persistent and reliable access to the research and scholarship of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty, staff, and students. Although central to the University of Illinois, anyone can access and benefit from IDEALS collections and services.
The four Illinois Documentary History of Black Studies volumes were presented to the University Library on March 30, 2010.
Front row: Ph.D. students Tony Laing and Jonathan Hamilton
Back row: Associate Professor Sarah Shreeves, Associate Professor Sue Searing, Associate Professor Thomas Weissinger, and Professor Abdul Alkalimat
Not pictured: Ph.D. students Ruth Hoffman and Marie-Edith LeNoble