Vivian G. Harsh: Librarian of the Chicago Black Renaissance

In January 1932, the George Cleveland Hall Branch of Chicago Public Library opened at 48th Street and Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, during an era that would later come to be known as the Chicago Black Renaissance. The previous summer, the Chicago Defender newspaper announced that a Miss Vivian G. Harsh, with 20 years of service “and considered […]

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AME Church Celebrates 200 Years of Spiritual and Social Salvation

This month, the African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrates its 200th anniversary. The church has a long history of social activism and spiritual edification. Many AME churches served as stations on the Underground Railroad, helping to usher fugitive slaves to freedom in places like Michigan or Canada. One such station was Chicago’s own Quinn Chapel AME Church. […]

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African American Life and History Association Turns 100

When visiting Chicago for the Exposition of Negro Progress in summer 1915, Howard University educator Carter G. Woodson stayed at his usual place in town: the YMCA on 37th and Wabash in Chicago. As was the custom in Bronzeville, Woodson met and interacted with a number of like-minded intellectuals and activists, all keen on celebrating […]

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Dogs Can Get the Flu Too!

A couple of weeks ago we were all set to spend a Saturday in Michigan and decided to board the dog overnight at his usual doggie day care. But the Monday before the trip we received an urgent email from the day care warning us about a recent outbreak of so-called “kennel cough” at the […]

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The WPA’s “Negro in Illinois”

Summer usually calls to mind family vacations, beaches and barbeques. But for many graduate students and academics, summer means endless days of research in overly air conditioned libraries. One of our most frequently accessed archival collections here in the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection is The Illinois Writers Project: “Negro in Illinois” Papers. A large […]

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