Being Black at Illinois

Written by Caitlin Stamm

In addition to collecting physical items and materials on paper, the Student Life and Culture Archives also collects digital materials, like the photographs and videos in the new Being Black at Illinois record series.

This series documents the efforts of individual students and student groups to bring awareness of racial and political issues to campus in recent months. There are videos, for example, from the #BlackLivesMatter march through campus in December, allying the campus with the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and across the country against racially-charged police violence.

Also included are images from the die-ins that took place on campus in December, in which students can be seen lying around the statue of Alma Mater at the center of the University of Illinois campus.

The new series also contains photographs of students from #BeingBlackatIllinois, the silent demonstration on the University quad that occurred in mid-April 2014. During the demonstration, students stood with signs describing their experience as black students at the University, including being profiled by other students, professors, and employers. Demonstrators shed light on the treatment of black students while also highlighting their successes and achievements as students of the University.

The students are encouraging discussion and change of the campus’ attitude towards race, and improving the representation and visibility of African American and underrepresented groups on campus through courses, a modernized and accessible African American Cultural Center, and campus-wide discussion.[1]

For more information, the #BeingBlackatIllinois community can be found on Facebook and on Tumblr.[2] The Being Black At Illinois record series held at the Student Life and Culture Archives will be publicly available shortly.


[1] #BeingBlackatIllinois mission:

[2] #BeingBlackatIllinois Facebook:

#BeingBlackatIllinois Tumblr:

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