Friday, November 17, 2017

Event: The Carver Center in History and Memory

The Carver Center in History and Memory

Saturday December 2
10:00 - noon 
Central Congregational Church (on the square in Galesburg)

Come hear members of our community celebrate the history in memory of the Carver Center. This event is a celebration of the vital role the Carver Center played in the lives of our community in the early years, 1945-1965.

Come early with any photographs you wish to share. Photos can be scanned and put online in the Struggle and Progress digital collection. View these clippings about the Carver Center in the online project:
This event is sponsored by the Knox College Library and the Support Group for African-American Affairs. Refreshments will be served. Portions of the event will be recorded.

This program has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Galesburg's Colored Women's Clubs

Adah Davis
African American women in Galesburg actively organized and worked in various women’s clubs from the end of the 19th century through to the mid to late 20th century. Colored Women’s Clubs, as they were known, allowed women to develop leadership skills, advocate for racial uplift, care for their communities through benevolent and service activities, and then later in the early 20th century, develop political awareness and acumen. Several women from Galesburg Colored Women’s clubs served in leadership positions as officers of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs in the early 20th century: Susan Allen, Eva Solomon, Adah Davis, and Mignon Watkins. (See the book The Story of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs by Elizabeth Lindsay Davis.)

The earliest women’s club in Galesburg was the Autumn Leaf club, organized in June 1890. Eva Solomon was instrumental in organizing the club, and she recounts the history of the club in an interview she had with Knox College professor J. Howell Atwood. The club’s motto was “Love One Another.” Some women from Autumn Leaf actively participated in district, state, and national associations of Colored Women’s Clubs. By the 1930s the club's membership waned upon the deaths of many of the original members. 

The next oldest Colored Women’s club to be organized in Galesburg was the Thimble Circle in 1894. Mary A. Botts was president and the corresponding secretary was May Catlin Green. No documents exist in our present collection that trace the history of this club. 

Eva Solomon
Eva Solomon recounts the history and activities of the Woman’s Progressive Club organized in 1909 which had the object of “study and uplift.” This club was affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs and with the Illinois Federation of Colored Women and was a charter member of the District Association of Colored Women. Solomon goes on to say that the club faithfully sent representatives to the District, State and National conventions, and that "all important offices of the District have been held at some time by local members."

Knox College professor J. Howell Atwood interviewed Addie Garnett about the Culture Club, which was organized in Galesburg in November of 1909. The objective of the Culture Club was “social service and literary improvement.” Mrs. Booker was also interviewed, saying, 
“I wanted to see a club with several objectives. Boys & girls after leaving school here ceased to have any literary interests. They had to earn a living. Got into the rut. You don't have to study to learn to sling pots. I quoted to them the thought Lincoln advanced. ‘I'll be ready when opportunity comes. If it doesn't come, I'll be ready anyway.’ Why not help crystalize opportunity along with having a good time club.”
The Phyllis Wheatley Club was organized in 1910 in the home of Eva Solomon. The club’s membership was originally limited to girls age 12-16 but later the age limit to join was raised to 21. The club focused on raising money for Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church and other churches, but its broader objective was “charitable, civic, moral uplift”. The Galesburg club was a charter member of the district association of the Illinois Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs. The club celebrated its 51st anniversary in 1962.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Struggle and Progress Content Now in Umbra Search


Content from the Struggle and Progress digital collection is now available in the Umbra Search project. Umbra Search brings together more than 500,000 digitized materials from over 1,000 libraries and archives across the country. Umbra Search is developed by the Givens Collection of African American Literature at the University of Minnesota Libraries' Archives and Special Collections, with Penumbra Theatre Company.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Digitization Event

The library will be digitizing materials related to African American history and culture in Galesburg on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017 at Allen Chapel AME Church, 153 W. Tompkins St. starting at about 1:00 pm. We hope to discover materials related to the history of Allen Chapel, among other things.

Allen Chapel was organized in 1857, principally by Susan Richardson (Allen), who, according to the church record, "... So great was her desire for Galesburg to have an African Methodist Episcopal Church that she sold her only hog to get railroad fare to the city. She went to the conference and the Bishop sent us our first pastor Rev. Woodfork."



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Collection Highlight: Joseph H. Barquet

   Joseph H. Barquet (or sometimes, Barquette) was a resident of Galesburg, having moved to Illinois some time in the 1850s from his place of birth, Charleston, South Carolina. Barquet lived in Chicago for a time, becoming active in political and human rights issues. He penned a letter to the Western Citizen in March, 1853 criticizing the Fugitive Slave Law. 

   Barquet was living in Galesburg by 1855. In February of that year he wrote to the Galesburg Free Democrat newspaper, beginning his thoughts with an acknowledgement of being “a stranger to your many readers.” In his letter advocating a rejection of colonization scheme proposed by the Colonization Society, Barquet makes a strong case for the ideal of America as a haven for those seeking freedom:
“We will not leave thee, no, never. When God led Columbus to pierce the seas of old Neptune to discover America, he meant this for an asylum—the political or religious altar for all—too long had this continent been hid from the oppressor’s eyes, and scarce had monarchy touched the virgin soil, when man proclaims life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the birthright of all.”
   It is interesting to note that while Barquet did not favor colonization to Liberia in 1855, he favored exile to Hayti in 1859. On May 11, 1859 Barquet offered a motion at a meeting of the colored people of Abingdon, Knoxville and Galesburg expressing the sentiment that these citizens would accept the offer of asylum from the President of the Republic of Hayti, “deeming exile preferable to slavery.”

   Barquet is listed in the Galesburg city directory in 1861 living on Brooks Street, north side, first door west of Henderson. He was a mason by occupation; he was marred and had four children. Local newspapers reported on his activities, especially noting when he spoke on issues of the day. On Dec. 3, 1859 African Americans in Galesburg met at the AME Church to honor the memory of John Brown who was executed the previous day. The Galesburg Semi-Weekly Democrat gave notice that “Mr. J. Barquet fully sustained his reputation as an eloquent speaker.”

   Barquet enlisted in the Union Army in April, 1863 in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, serving until August, 1865. He mustered out as a sergeant. Hermann Muelder recounts the lives of some of the 54th Massachusetts soldiers, including Joe Barquet, in his publication A Hero Home From the War. Barquet continued writing during his time in service, contributing regular letters to the Weekly Anglo-African newspaper about his experiences in, and progress of, the war.

   After the war, Barquet returned to Galesburg. He participated in politics and continued to speak out on issues important to the African American community such as integration of the public schools. He chaired the State Convention of Colored Men in 1866, which was held in Galesburg, and he attended the National Convention of Colored Men in St. Louis in 1871 as a delegate from Galesburg. Barquet died on March 15, 1880 and is buried in Davenport, Iowa.

   Please contact us (email lsauer@knox.edu) if you have any documents, especially photographs, that you would like to contribute to help us understand more about Joe Barquet. We'll make copies and let you keep the originals.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Upcoming Community Digitization Day


The Knox College Library invites you to a Community Digitization Day to be held Saturday, November 5, 2016 at the Galesburg Public Library (40 E. Simmons St.) from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm. Bring your materials related to African-American history in Galesburg and we can scan them and place the digital copies in the online collection (you keep the originals). 

Printed material such as letters and diaries, brochures from clubs and organizations, church programs are the kinds of materials rich in historical information. Photographs, especially ones dated pre-1950, are also valuable pieces of the historical record. We are especially looking for issues of The Illinois Star newspaper, a paper published in Galesburg for the African-American community in the 1930s and 1940s.

We will have samples of preservation materials on hand, and material explaining how to properly care for historical artifacts.  

The Struggle and Progress project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.


Friday, June 3, 2016

Community Digitization Day: June 18

The Knox College Library invites you to a Community Digitization Day to be held Saturday, June 18, 2016 at the Galesburg Public Library (40 E. Simmons St.) from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm. Bring your materials related to African-American history in Galesburg and we can scan them and place the digital copies in the online collection (you keep the originals). 

Printed material such as letters and diaries, brochures from clubs and organizations, church programs are the kinds of materials rich in historical information. Photographs, especially ones dated pre-1950, are also valuable pieces of the historical record. 

We will have samples of preservation materials on hand, and material explaining how to properly care for historical artifacts.  

The Struggle and Progress project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.