CLC Students take part in local museum’s effort to commemorate Lake County’s Black History

Stephen Kelley

The Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County plans to compile and display moments of beauty, creativity, and community in an upcoming display for 2021’s Black History Month.

In an effort to connect with the community of Lake County, the Dunn Museum approached CLC staff member and Multicultural Coordinator, Beverly Phelps, for her partnership in the project, giving her lots of input.

Photo courtesy of CLC Public Relations

Photo courtesy of CLC Public Relations

The museum invited Phelps and several CLC students to join the effort, including Jermaine Hilton, Willie Mitchell, Jr., and Phinas Alexander.

The idea of the museum’s endeavor is to showcase the many elements of Black History in the Lake County area. The project involves gathering students’ original works and art pieces, such as poems, pictures, stories, and similarly creative compositions. 

Additionally, plans include featuring prominent Black leadership voices in our communities by interviewing many leaders and community members in the Lake County area.

Among those consulted in student-led interviews were several leaders, including Mayor Billy McKinney of Zion, Mayor Sam Cunningham of Waukegan, and Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. of North Chicago.

Phelps remarked that the students “were able to hear these stories and ask questions… like: what does it feel like to be the first Black mayor in a major city, what are your thoughts about Black Lives Matter, what’s going on in the world and compare the civil rights movement to what’s happening now.”

She also noted the students’ have an opportunity to “get to know their community leaders” and “really feel good about their work” regarding the project itself.

Hilton is a second-year computer science major at CLC and is president of the college’s Black Male Xcellence club. 

When asked about his experience working on the displayed project and its interviews, Hilton commented that he “learned how many different ways leaders before my time have been inspiring, working and teaching the black youth, as well as everyone in our community.”

“They taught our history through different ways such as art, church, law, and civil service. It was an eye-opener for me,” he continued.

Photo courtesy of CLC Public Relations

Photo courtesy of CLC Public Relations

The video-graphic compilation will be on full display at the Dunn Museum as soon as it reopens to the public. However, the project will also be partially featured at the virtual museum event, Profiles in Excellence, at which Hilton himself will also be honored. The show itself is set to take place Saturday, Feb 6. from 3 pm to 4 pm.

Those wanting to learn more about the Lake County event can click here for more information.