Category Archives: African American

Shamar Betts: Caught in a Legal Drama that Started Before He was Born

No one wants to be the poster child for a Supreme Court challenge. However, finding his case before the Supreme Court could not only help Urbana resident Shamar Betts resolve his own situation, but it could redraw the legal lines … Continue reading

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Countering Disinformationhttp://publici.ucimc.org/wp-admin/edit.php to Build a Just Society

We have heard a lot about disinformation during this past year, but learning more about how information is manipulated, distorted and deployed to shape social debates can help you recognize when you are being targeted in a disinformation campaign. It … Continue reading

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What Educational Values and Beliefs Underpin a Decision to have Armed School Resource Officers?

This article was previously published in Smile Politely,  On December 17, 2019, the Urbana Board of Education (BOE) signed an intergovernmental agreement to approve funding of two full-time armed police officers (called School Resource Officers, or SROs)—one at the middle … Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter in the Middle East

George Floyd’s murder horrified people of the Middle East just as it did many in the US and, just as in America, the outrage that followed exposed cultural fault lines, forced uncomfortable introspection, and was sometimes exploited for political purposes. … Continue reading

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African American Cultural Center Gets a New Building

After 50 years of political struggle, the African American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois has a new building. In 1969, the Black Student Association (BSA) and Black Champaign-Urbana activists, with support from white students, presented 41 demands to … Continue reading

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Remembering Willeta Donaldson

Urbana has lost one of its most distinguished citizens, Willeta Mae Hassell Donaldson. She passed away on February 2. Willeta, who worked at the University of Illinois in the Office of Admissions and the School of Social Work, also served … 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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Hidden African American Films

The popular film “Hidden Figures” tells a great story based on real figures, three important Black American women who work for NASA in key positions, as mathematicians and engineers, during the segregated 1960s. Contemporary audiences are celebrating this film that … Continue reading

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The Extremes of Struggle at the Monster’s Heart: The Black Working Class and Socioeconomic Realities under Obama’s Neoliberalism

“International capitalism cannot be destroyed without the extremes of struggle. The entire colonial world is watching the blacks inside the U.S…We are on the inside. We are the only ones who can get at the monster’s heart…”  — George L. … Continue reading

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Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliance

By James Kilgore Yusef Shakur is a Detroit community organizer who spent several years in Michigan state prisons. “The prison-industrial complex has found the right person to feed it,” he said in response to the election results. “Trump is of … Continue reading

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