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Weeklong commemoration of 35th anniversary of Project 500 begins today

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
217-333-1085; junger@illinois.edu

10/13/2003

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is marking the 35th anniversary of the inception of Special Educational Opportunities Program – also known as Project 500 – with a series of events this week.

Project 500 was the first major attempt by the campus to provide equal educational opportunity for the families of children in Illinois.

In 1968, following the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., students and community residents pressed the university to enroll students traditionally underrepresented on campus. Ultimately, 565 newly admitted African American and Latino students began as U. of I. students that year.

This week’s events:

orange dot Today (Oct. 13), 7 p.m., Education Building, Room 2, 1310 S. Sixth St., Champaign; Margaret Burrows, curator of the DuSable Museum, Chicago, will discuss "Building on a Strong Foundation."

orange dot Tuesday (Oct. 14), 6:30 p.m., 314 Altgeld Hall, 1409 W. Green St., Urbana; a teach-in, slide show and forum, "Remembering and Understanding Project 500," with Kamau Laraviere.

orange dot Wednesday (Oct. 15), noon, Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Program, 708 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana; Lunch and Learn: "What Does Project 500 Have to Do With Us Today: The Need for Present-Day Activism," with Kamau Laraviere.

orange dot Thursday, (Oct. 16), noon, YMCA, 1001 S. Wright St., Champaign; reading by Joy Williamson, the author of "Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois,
1965-1975."

Also on Thursday: commemorative walk, beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the Illinois Street Residence Halls, 918 W. Illinois St., Urbana; U. of I. students will take participants from the halls to the Anniversary Plaza south of the Union for a presentation at 5:30 p.m.

orange dot Friday, (Oct. 17), 4:30-6 p.m., Authors Corner, Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., Champaign; book signing and reading by Joy Williamson, the author of "Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965-1975."

orange dot Saturday (Oct. 18), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bruce Nesbitt African American Cultural Program, 708 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana; continental breakfast and open house for Project 500 alumni and guests.

Also on Saturday, 2-5 p.m., South Lounge, Illini Union, 1401 W. Green St., Urbana; reception and recognition of Jean Hill, John Lee Johnson, former Chancellor Jack Peltason, Clarence Shelley, Joseph Smith and William Smith; dedication of commemorative artwork; alumni panel discussion; performance by the Black Chorus.

7:30-9 p.m., Lincoln Hall, 702 S. Wright St., Urbana: "An Evening With the Freedom Riders: Ed Blankenheim, Ben Cox and Hank Thomas." Free and open to the public.

9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., Third floor, Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana; African American Cultural Program reception for all Project 500 alumni.

orange dot Sunday (Oct. 19), 8 p.m., Great Hall, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana; William Warfield commemorative program; tickets required.