For more than 30 years, Northern Illinois University and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) have been partners in their commitment to promote the entry of underrepresented populations into professorial and professional careers. This week, NIU faculty, staff, students, and alumni will join the Chicago Branch and other ASALH chapters across the country in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the founding of the organization.
Founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson in Chicago on Sept. 8, 1915, ASALH has long been one of the nation’s most important and influential contributors to today’s growing understanding about the life, culture and many accomplishments of African Americans. NIU worked with ASALH in 1984 to establish the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Program to provide academic and financial support to underrepresented students who wish to pursue full-time doctoral study at the university.
The NIU Woodson Scholars Program will be highlighted during one of the Centennial Celebration events of the Chicago Branch of ASALH on Saturday, September 12.
Associate Vice President for Process Improvement & Operational Effectiveness, La Vonne I. Neal, will deliver a presentation on the “Black History Bulletin: Research to Practice in P-12 Settings” during one of the Centennial Celebration events of the Chicago Branch of ASALH on Thursday, September 10. Neal says the organization has been a leader in raising public awareness of the positive influence and many contributions that African Americans have brought to the nation’s culture and society.
“Dr. Woodson was an early and highly influential voice on the significance and importance of education and scholarly pursuits by African Americans and other underrepresented groups,” said Neal who is an ASALH member. “Over the years, many gifted scholars at NIU have benefited from the support of the Carter G. Woodson Scholars Program. The university is proud to be a part of Dr. Woodson’s legacy, and we are excited to join the Chicago Branch of ASALH in celebrating the 100th birthday of the organization.”
Other activities being planned by the Chicago Branch of ASALH for the Centennial Celebration include:
- Installation of a commemorative plaque on the site of the ASALH founding at the Wabash YMCA, 373 S. Wabash Ave beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9. A photo session will follow beginning at 11 a.m. at the George Cleveland Hall Library, 4801 S. Michigan Ave., which is the location where many early ASALH meetings were held.
- A commemorative lecture entitled “Librarian as Cultural Broker, Vivian Gordon Harsh and the Creation of an Archive” will be delivered by Rutgers University historian Brittney Hall in memory of ASALH and Woodson, who is also the founder of Black History Month, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Carter G. Woodson Library, 9531 S. Halsted St., Chicago.
- A program and panel discussion on “Institution Building in Chicago” will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 11 in the Chicago State University Library, 9501 S. Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago.
- A panel discussion on “The Life and Legacy of Carter G. Woodson and the Importance of Black Institution Building” will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Du Sable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago.
All ASALH Centennial Celebration events in Chicago are free and open to the public.
Additional information about the ASALH Centennial and the history of the organization can be found online at http://asalh100.org or by contacting Lionel Kimble at 773-495-1125.
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