Loyola University Chicago, MuCuba, and Mizzou Solidarity

Last Thursday, Loyola University Chicago students held a demonstration in solidarity with the protesters at the University of Missouri. The resignation of the former president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe, and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, elicited a renewed national fervor for eliminating systems of intolerance from university administration. Loyola’s own protest mirrored similar demonstrations by sympathetic student bodies across the country and aimed to address problems with diversity prevalent on our campus. Protests that occurred at other institutions also voiced their discontent with less than desirable responses to racial insensitivities by university administrators.

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Recent protests at the University of Missouri and Loyola University Chicago, as well as the larger national Black Lives Matter movement and Concerned Student 1950, led me to think about the similarities between the demands of the student body now, and those of black Mundelein College students in the years following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Mundelein College, an all-women’s catholic liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) in 1929, proved a progressive stage for the discussion of race and diversity on college campuses in its time. Black Mundelein students effectively mobilized to promote administrative and academic diversity for the black community at the college, resulting in the creation of university programming, committees, and departments that addressed the concerns of black Mundelein students. Mundelein College affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991.

The Mundelein College United Black Association, shortened to “MuCuba,” was a student organization founded by black Mundelein students that emerged in the later 1960’s, but gained significant visibility in the early 1970s. MuCuba strove to create a unified black presence on Mundelein’s campus and worked in many forms to achieve this goal. Throughout its history, MuCuba hosted panels, fashion shows, and an annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. that attracted numerous attendees within the Mundelein community as well as interested Chicagoans. MuCuba students advocated for safe spaces to voice their ideas and hold forums for productive discussions of race and diversity on Mundelein College’s campus. Significantly, the association also fought for the inclusion of a Black Studies program into Mundelein’s curriculum to address historically oppressive practices and policies toward black Americans in the United States.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

In a forum held on May 15, 1970, MuCuba students presented the Mundelein community and administration a list of demands that addressed the institutionalized racism they saw and experienced as women of color on a largely white campus. MuCuba students gave the president of Mundelein, Sr. Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, and university administrators a ten day deadline to respond. The urgency exhibited by these students exemplified their belief that the administration must hold themselves both personally and professionally accountable for the livelihood of its black student body.

Gannon acted swiftly in response to the demands. According to a letter Gannon wrote a day after the presentation of the demands, the president expressed a hope that Mundelein would fulfill the demands in a manner that could satisfy the protesters and institute a response that had lasting influence for years to come. She wrote, “Your demands indicate that you trust us to respond and I expect us to respond to that trust.” On May 19th, Gannon scheduled a day long assembly of an ad hoc committee to discuss the demands of the black students. Within the deadline, Gannon presented a lengthy response to the demands and recommendations for their effective implementation on Mundelein’s campus. Many of those recommendations became official programs and departments implemented the next semester.

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

The demands and subsequent compromises resulted in the creation and eventual implementation of Mundelein College’s Black Studies program with a faculty interviewed and evaluated by black students. Beginning the fall semester of 1970, the new program aligned with MuCuba’s efforts to create a unified black on-campus culture. Creation of the Black Studies department at Mundelein also displayed an acknowledgement by the faculty that greater attention to problems of diversity on Mundelein’s campus was needed in order to eradicate racism and promote better understanding of the problems of black students on campus. A Human Relations Committee composed of faculty, administration, college staff, and students also emerged as a result of the ad hoc committee assembly held on May 19th. The Committee developed programming to aid the Mundelein community in recognizing personal prejudice and to help students, faculty, and administration better understand the experiences of black students. Furthermore, the demands resulted in a Black Scholarship Fund and a Black Scholarship Fund Committee that raised and dispensed funds for black students that wished to attend Mundelein.

MuCubaDemands01

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Both of the student bodies, Loyola University Chicago’s now and Mundelein’s in the 1970s, articulated similar goals and used comparable strategies to affect change on their campuses. Like MuCuba, Loyola University Chicago student protesters presented the interim president John P. Pelissero with a list of “concerns” as they relate to the experience of students of color on-campus. Although the list does not appear to be publicly available, a statement by President Pelissero stated that “the Office of Student Development, the Office of the Provost, and Human Resources will collaborate to advance this campus conversation.” Further, he remarked that University leaders will discuss the concerns and continue the dialogue in the coming weeks so that the “momentum” from last week’s demonstration is not lost.

Similarities between Loyola’s current atmosphere of racial protest and the actions of past Mundelein students are unmistakable. Both groups of students, past and present, expressed frustration and unhappiness with the culture of racial intolerance they saw enacted at their institutions. Each set of protesters presented demands to university administration with the expectation of campus leadership listening to their concerns and responding with appropriate action. Mundelein’s successful protests resulted in the creation of programs that endeavored to ease racial tensions and promote thoughtful dialogue about issues of diversity on their campus. Loyola’s present outlook is more uncertain, but I am optimistic the result will be the same.

It is important to place conversations such as these in a historical context. It is also undeniably important to advocate for students to be able to exercise their right for self-expression, especially as it relates to problems of diversity and race on our campus. Knowing that MuCuba successfully advocated for greater attention to their plight on Mundelein’s campus should provide student protesters in the present proper inspiration to continue their fight against racial injustice. Success stories like MuCuba’s will hopefully encourage the Loyola University Chicago protesters to continue to hold the administration accountable for their on-campus experience, and push further for substantive change so that demonstrations will not be so necessary in the future.

 


EllenProfilePicEllen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Ellen was a Kindergarten teacher in Louisiana. She enjoys brunch, procedural dramas, and pugs.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Explor(ing) Cool Chicago Collections

If you are a history buff, an experienced researcher, or have even a mild interest in Chicago history and culture– drop everything you are doing and go to the Explore Chicago Collections website.

Have you done it yet? I’ll wait.

Now that you are up to speed, let the gushing begin. Explore Chicago Collections is the newly launched digital portal that connects hundreds of collections from various archives, museums, and cultural institutions from all over the city of Chicago. Broken down into general topics such as, ‘Events,’ ‘Government,’ ‘Daily Life,’ etc., anyone with an internet connection can easily find collections of interest to them, or even stumble upon something they did not know existed. The collections are also divided by neighborhoods, so anyone with an interest in their community’s history can easily access related collections. Neighborhoods are listed alphabetically for researchers’ ease and convenience.

Even better, the attractive and user friendly interface of the website allows for students and researchers of all skill levels to interact with the archival material of Chicago. From the main page, you can easily choose a general topic and narrow your research from there. For example, are you interested in learning how Chicago residents spent their recreational time in the old days? Great! By clicking on the “Recreation & Leisure” tab, a viewer can see every member institution’s collections pertaining to that topic in one place. From there, researchers can use various tags to refine their search, or simply use the “search” bar at the top of the page! Did I mention it was all in one place? It is all in one place. Plus, it’s free!!

Picture courtesy of http://chicagocollections.org/. It’s so beautiful. I think I might cry

Picture courtesy of http://chicagocollections.org/. It’s so beautiful. I think I might cry

This excellent website was made possible by a grant awarded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Illinois at Chicago Library in partnership with Chicago Collections, the partnership organization comprising of all of the member institutions that make up the portal, ‘Explore Chicago Collections.’ Chicago Collections’ proclaims itself to be a “consortium of libraries, museums, and other institutions with archives that collaborate to preserve and share the history of the Chicago region.” To learn more about the initiative, click here.

At the moment, the Chicago Collections “consortium” is still growing. Eighteen members comprise the alliance, including such prominent institutions as the Chicago History Museum, the Art Institute, the Newberry Library, and of course Loyola University Chicago. It should be of no surprise that the Women and Leadership archives’ collections are featured on the Explore Chicago Collections website. Click here to see the WLA’s collections online. The promise of more institutions joining the collective is an exciting prospect for researchers of all ages and Chicago history lovers all over the country. As more institutions partner with Chicago Collections, more and more material will become known and accessed through the website. The age of scouring cities on the search for resource material for various projects is quickly and effectively disappearing.

Dear Chicago Collections, allow me to thank you on behalf of all harried and overly caffeinated graduate students frantically writing term papers and working on their dissertations. You are a lifesaver. I think I might cry.


 

EllenProfilePic
Ellen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Ellen was a Kindergarten teacher in Louisiana. She enjoys brunch, procedural dramas, and pugs.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Summer Researchers at the WLA or How To Spend Summer Vacation

Every summer is a busy time at the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) and this past one did not disappoint. Of the various folks who came to research, three spent a significant amount of time over multiple visits.

Researcher Jill Plummer

Researcher Jill Plummer

Jill Plummer, a Ph.D. student at the University of Notre Dame, is a 2015 WLA Summer Research grant recipient. In July and the first full week in August, Plummer immersed herself in the archives. She used the following question to guide her research: how did Catholic nuns turn out to be one of the few visibly active legacies of the 1960s New Left today? Plummer’s future dissertation project aims to answer this question by tracing the growth of American sisters’ religiously-inspired peace and justice activism against U.S. foreign policy in Central America and for anti-nuclear and disarmament campaigns.

 

. Dr. Suzanne Bost is a Professor in the Department of English and the Graduate Program Director for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola.

. Dr. Suzanne Bost is a Professor in the Department of English and the Graduate Program Director for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola.

The other WLA Summer Research Grant recipient visited the archives many times throughout the summer. Dr. Suzanne Bost is a Professor in the Department of English and the Graduate Program Director for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies at Loyola. WLA collections aided her analysis of the ways women religious write about their social justice work with Latina/o communities. Dr. Bost focused on exploring the reciprocity, identification, and affection established between the primarily white social justice workers and the Latinas they worked to serve.

Documentary Filmmaker Marleen McCurtis doing research.

Documentary Filmmaker Marleen McCurtis doing research.

 

Documentary filmmaker Marleen McCurtis came to the WLA this summer to delve into the collection of Margaret (Peggy) Roach. McCurtis is working on a film that details Wednesdays in Mississippi (WIMS), the only civil rights project organized by women for women. WIMS brought interracial, interfaith teams of northern, middle aged, and middle and upper class women to Jackson, MS, to meet with their Southern counterparts. Peggy Roach participated in WIMS and her collection is rich with details of the program.

 

 


 

IMG_0021-149x110

Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not at the WLA, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Graduation Time at Loyola and the WLA

Graduations have been in high swing here at Loyola University Chicago this past week. There are still a few more to come before the ceremonies wrap up. This is my third May at Loyola and I’ve decided graduation time is one of my favorite things. The campus is full of happy people who appear in waves during times of the morning and afternoon graduations. All over campus there are the graduates in caps and gowns, some carrying flowers. Family members and friends take pictures of the grad by the lake or other iconic locations around campus, by Piper Hall, where the WLA is located. The aura is one of happiness, excitement, and just plain fun. Even during light rain and gray skies that inevitably appears one or two of the days, the mood still feels jubilant, albeit a bit soggy.

What do my warm fuzzy graduation feelings have to do with an archives blog? Good question. First, the WLA holds the records of Mundelein College and, as you might imagine, the collection has many graduation pictures. Some of which are available here: http://content.library.luc.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/coll14 I imagine graduations at Mundelein also had the same sense of accomplishment and happiness. Closing my eyes, I see happy groups of graduates and family members, caps and gowns, and flowers everywhere.

Second, the WLA is staffed by Graduate Assistants (GAs) from Loyola’s Public History Program. The program is two years long and they end up with, hopefully, jobs in the public history field. It’s a lovely time for the graduating GA, although it can be stressful, depending on if there is a job to go to. I’m always happy to see a student succeed, graduate, and move on in a positive way

The flip side is that it is a mixed bag for the WLA and me. The WLA experiences turn-over every year as one or two GAs graduate. I’ve come to know, depend on, and honestly, become quite fond of the graduating GA. In a former position, I also had student staff and am very familiar with the cycle of student workers. They come, they work hard, they graduate, and they leave.

I confess, though, the cycle hasn’t become easier as the years roll on. I’m beginning to think just the opposite. The older I get, the more sentimental I become. Perhaps it’s because I have a child and the years fly by, giving me a heightened sense of time passing. I don’t know, really. All I know is I miss each one who leaves and feel a sense of sadness when I come to work and they are not there.

A friend of mine jokes that this is one of the times the chorus from the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof comes into the brain! She’s right. While I don’t know the students as children, I get to know them for one or two very formative years. I end up becoming close to each one, hearing about their lives and sometimes their struggles. In addition, I see them succeed, grow, and move on in a positive way.

This year, two WLA GAs graduated on May 5th: Mollie Fullerton and Jenny Pederson. Mollie began as a volunteer and then worked as a GA this last academic year. Jenny’s been with the WLA two years as a GA. Both will be sorely missed: Jenny for her great good humor and kindness; and Mollie for her sensitive ability to see truth in situations. Both are creative and intelligent with wonderful senses of humor. I wish them both all the luck and good fortune in the future.

WLA graduate students Jenny Pederson and Mollie Fullerton photographed in Piper Hall, 1st. Floor.  Photo taken by GA Caroline Lynd, who graduates in May 2016.

Jenny and MollieR

 

Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not at the WLA, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.

IMG_0021-149x110

Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Mundelein Remembers Selma

Mundelein Remembers Selma: March 12, 4:00pm-5:30pm, Piper Hall, Room 201

Confederate flags are visible. Just passed a gas station filled with police; national guardsmen are everywhere. Some are in bushes, some on the road, all with walkie-talkies and guns. – Judy Hilkin, Mundelein Student, journal entry upon arriving in Montgomery

MC Selma posterOn March 23, 1965, Mundelein College sent twenty-eight students, eight faculty, two guests, one priest, and one doctor to Montgomery, Alabama to support the participants of the Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery.

Today Mundelein College only exists in spirit with the Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, Center for Women and Leadership, and in archival records with the Women and Leadership Archives. The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) founded and began to operate Mundelein College in1930. They provided education to women until Mundelein affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991.

MC Selma009Reactions on campus to the Mundelein group joining the civil rights march ranged from enthusiasm to opposition. Despite this, the college still elected to send a delegation to participate in the final leg of the march. What made Mundelein, a Catholic women’s college in Chicago, so committed to civil rights? What prompted students to go to Alabama?

On March 12 Mundelein Remembers Selma will explore this question, with special attention to the college’s decision to send faculty and students to participate in the Freedom March. Panelists will include Nancy Freeman, the Director of the Women and Leadership Archives; Dr. Prudence Moylan and Dr. Ann Harrington, BVM, Loyola History Professors Emeritae and former Mundelein College Professors; Judy Fitzgerald, alumna of Mundelein College and march participant; and John Fitzgerald, alumnus of Loyola University Chicago and march participant.

Please join us for this wonderful program!

Mundelein Remembers Selma: March 12, 4:00pm-5:30pm, Piper Hall, Room 201

Be sure to stick around for the reception following the program!