Author Archives: Vanessa Rouillon

Emma Scott Bridgewater: Lived Experience Marked by Race and Discrimination

I met Mrs. Erma Pauline Scott Bridgewater (1913-2013) in Spring, 2009, during my research visits to Bethel A.M.E. Church. She led a life of service, racial work, and local activism in Champaign, being, arguably, the most interviewed and celebrated local … Continue reading

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The Nelson Sisters: “On their Way Up”

Early African American settlers from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri who relocated to the outskirts of Champaign County and became farmers and teamsters, ultimately moved to Champaign as early as 1863, built churches (Bethel A.M.E. and Salem Baptist) and railroads, became … Continue reading

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Celebrating Albert R. Lee: An Early Beacon for Civil Rights in Champaign County

The African American community in Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois community gathered this fall on several occasions to celebrate the life and contributions of an outstanding African American man: Albert R. Lee (1874-1948). Lee was the son of a slave, … Continue reading

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