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CSU Celebrates History of Illinois Black Legislators with Exhibit Rededication Event

CSU Welcomes Community Leaders, Elected Officials, Past & Present Legislators for an evening of celebration

CSU Celebrates History of Illinois Black Legislators with Exhibit Rededication Event

CHICAGO, IL (Sept. 19, 2022) - Chicago State University hosted a rededication of its Illinois Black Legislators exhibit with an on-campus event in the Gwendolyn Brooks Library. Attendees included local leaders and special guests who took part in an opening event, panel discussion and ribbon cutting ceremony.

The event opened with messages on the importance of recognizing and preserving Illinois history regarding the participation of Black legislators in State of Illinois government from CSU President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq., along with Illinois State Representative Nicholas Smith, and  Perri Irmer, President of the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Dr. Lionel Kimble, Associate Professor of History at CSU, then moderated a panel discussion with local leaders Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, the former Illinois Senate President Honorable Emil Jones, the Honorable Donne Trotter, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, and President & CEO of the Chicago Urban League Karen Freeman Wilson. An informative discussion covered the topical issues of civic engagement in our community and beyond, as well as access to voting rights.

The evening concluded with the recognition of Dr. Erma Williams, the former CSU leader who created and established the original Illinois Black Legislators exhibit at the university, and a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the updated exhibit.

What they are saying:

“CSU is a great Illinois educational institution nested in my community, intrinsically connected to my community and I’m glad that President Z Scott chooses to highlight leaders proudly connected to CSU. We must inspire the next generation and stoke the flame of courage and curiosity of our CSU scholars so they can go out and change our community and the world,” Marcus C. Evans, Jr., Assistant Majority Leader, State Representative 33rd District of Illinois.

“Representation matters – and through the Illinois Black Legislators Exhibit, Chicago State University is signaling to young Black men and women that their voices are vital to shaping this state into an inclusive and equitable place for all to thrive. Through this effort and further discussions about the importance of civic engagement, we are working toward providing positive opportunities to help young people make a difference in their communities,” State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr., 17th District of Illinois

“I am honored to be a part of the newly renovated Black Legislators exhibit at Chicago State University. As an alum and legislator, I am proud to be among this exhibit that highlights past and current legislators and their contributions to the state. I want to thank CSU for this recognition, and I look forward to celebrating this historic exhibit,” State Representative Nicholas Smith, 34th District of Illinois

About Chicago State University

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois. The University’s continued value to students and the State of Illinois is demonstrated by the ranking by a Harvard economist that places CSU in the top 4 percent of public and private universities nationwide in supporting its graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent community anchor and civic space on the greater south side of Chicago by leading a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities.