The eBlackChampaign-Urbana Website Essay

The eBlackChampaign-Urbana Website Essay

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The history of African-Americans in Champaign-Urbana has gone virtual! A new project, called eBlackChampaign-Urbana, is working to bring together the documentation of this important history online to find new ways to celebrate, remember and use it into the present and future. The eBlackChampaign-Urbana website (http://www.eBlackCU.net) features digitized newspaper clippings, photographs, church programs, obituaries, research papers, scrapbooks, maps and more on the local African-American experience. All are welcome to add to this database and use whatever content is in it for whatever purposes they wish.

Why a website? By 2012 most homes in the historic "North End" of Champaign and Urbana will have access to low-cost high-speed broadband Internet connectivity through the Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband (UC2B) initiative, http://uc2b.net. At the eBlackCU project we want to create the digital infrastructure to enable all past, present and future residents of Champaign-Urbana to become inspired by the rich heritage of the local African-American community and its struggles for equality in housing, education, employment, financing, as well as for an end to discrimination and racism. Through this project and others we hope to involve and engage everyone in the use of digital technology for life-long learning. The technology enables us to share this history across Champaign-Urbana, and across the globe, but everyone has to be an active participant in the technology for the project to matter.

The eBlackCU project is experimenting with the best ways to animate this archive of local history. Projects so far have included creating bibliographies/webliographies of local African-American history; creating research guides to primary so...


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...CU team. Front row (l to r): Rachel Harmon, Dominique Johnson, Deidre Murphy. Bak row: Project Director Noah Lenstra, Jaime Carpenter, Reginald Carr, Supervising Investigator Abdul Alkalimat and Jelani Saadiq.
Photo2 - Tinsley's Cleaners - located on North First Street in the 1950s and 1960s, one of many African-American owned businesses over the years in Champaign-Urbana.
Photo3 - The eBlackChampaign-Urbana logo.

Historical Facts
Did you know...
...that Champaign county has continuously had an African-American population since the late 1840s?
...that there were over ten African-American newspapers and newsletters in Champaign-Urbana throughout the Twentieth Century?
...that there have been African-American communities not only in Champaign-Urbana, but also in places such as Sydney, Homer, Broadlands, Rantoul and other places throughout Champaign County?

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