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Black women and civil rights the focus of talks and film at U. of I.

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The role of black women in civil rights and in 20th-century black history will be the focus of three presentations on Nov. 8 and 9 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The two talks and one film are part of a symposium titled “Black Women and Activism,” sponsored by the African American Studies and Research Program at Illinois.

All three events are free and open to the public.

The symposium will open at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 with the Ida B. Wells-Barnett Lecture, given by Darlene Clark Hine, the director of the Center for African American History at Northwestern University. The lecture will be in the auditorium of the Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory St., Urbana.

Hine, considered a leading historian of the African-American experience, will speak on the topic “From Respectability to Respect: Black Women’s Civic Culture and Consciousness in Jim Crow America.” The lecture will focus on the political, social, economic and health care activism of black women during the first half of the 20th century, before the height of the civil rights movement.

The second lecture, at noon on Nov. 9, will feature Julieanna Richardson, the founder and executive director of “The HistoryMakers” initiative, based in Chicago. Richardson will talk about her organization’s effort to record and archive interviews with thousands of both well-known and unsung African-Americans, making the archives available to both researchers and a wider audience. Her talk will be in Room 151 of Everitt Lab, 1406 W. Green St., Urbana.

At 7 p.m. that evening, the symposium will show the film “Standing on My Sisters’ Shoulders,” an award-winning documentary about the civil rights movement in Mississippi during the 1950s and ’60s, told from the point of view of the women who lived it and emerged as its grassroots leaders. The film will be shown in Room 228 of the Natural History Building, 810 S. Wright St., Urbana, and will be followed by a discussion led by African American Studies faculty members.