Preservation and Access: Common Heritage

Period of Performance

1/1/2016 - 6/30/2018

Funding Totals

$10,700.00 (approved)
$6,882.01 (awarded)

Struggle and Progress: Documenting African-American History in Galesburg, Illinois

FAIN: PY-234421-16

Knox College (Galesburg, IL 61401-4938)
Laurie Sauer (Project Director: June 2015 to June 2019)

The digitization of privately held historical sources relating to the African American experience in the western Illinois city of Galesburg, which served as a stopping point along the Underground Railroad in the 19th century. Among the materials anticipated for digitization are memoirs, photographs, news clippings, and records from African American businesses and churches documenting the local black community’s participation in the Civil War and World War I, along with 20th century civil rights activities and daily life in the community. New content would be contributed to digital collections maintained by a statewide academic library consortium. The project would also include several public programs, including a media production of the digitization events, an exhibition of selected sources gathered from the community, a public lecture, and a panel discussion bringing together humanities scholars and community members at the Galesburg Public Library.

Knox College and its partners propose to document the experience of African American citizens in Galesburg, Illinois. The project will offer three community digitization days; the resulting digital objects and associated metadata will enrich a publicly accessible digital repository entitled Struggle and Progress. Five public humanities events will be offered over the grant period, from the screening of video from the community digitization days, to a lecture on the history of African Americans in Galesburg, to an Oral History Story Day, at which citizens who contributed objects for digitization will discuss their particular experiences, personal and family stories of struggle and progress. Themes about African Americans to be explored include civic, social, religious and business life; participation in wars; prejudice, discrimination; segregation, integration; public education; and voting rights. The project goal is to enhance a sense of inclusiveness in the Galesburg community.

Media Coverage

Knox aims to uncover 'hidden history' of Galesburg's black community (Media Coverage)
Publication: Galesburg Register-Mail
Date: 2/4/2016
Abstract: Newspaper story about the grant award

Shining a Light on Hidden History in Galesburg (Media Coverage)
Author(s): T.J. Carson
Publication: TriStates Public Radio
Date: 2/8/2016
Abstract: Radio interview plus web story about the grant award.

Knox College Digitizing "Hidden History" of Black Community (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Sarah Ritter
Publication: WVIK radio
Date: 2/10/2016
Abstract: Radio interview and web story about the grant award.

Associated Products

Struggle and Progress digital collection: (Web Resource)
Title: Struggle and Progress digital collection:
Author: N/A
Abstract: At a series of five Community Digitization Days, community members were invited to contribute personal items to be digitized for inclusion in the publicly available online collection, Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois; 198 items were added to the collection available at
Year: 2012
Primary URL:

The Carver Center in History and Memory (Web Resource)
Title: The Carver Center in History and Memory
Author: Laurie Sauer
Abstract: The Carver Center in History and Memory was a panel discussion about the importance of the Carver Community Center in the lives of African Americans in Galesburg circa 1945-1970. This event was captured on film and is available online in the Struggle and Progress digital collection
Year: 2017
Primary URL:
Secondary URL: