• Identification00064694
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Black Women in the Middle West Project collection, ca. 1924-1985
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • LanguageEnglish.
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationBlack Women in the Middle West Project Ida Roberta Bell Ida M. Cress Darlene Clark Hine Willa Saunders Jones Emma J. Kemp Minnie Adams Norman La Julia Rhea Mattie Mae Rucker Eunice Sims Clementine Skinner Glennette Tiller Turner Thelma Kirkpatrick Wheaton Alpha Gamma Pi National Endowment for the Humanities University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Date1924-1985
  • Physical Description
    • 3.5 linear ft. (10 boxes)
    • 1 oversize folder
    • 3 sound cassettes
  • Location
    • MSS Lot B
    • MSS Oversize B
    • 0MM.75

Processed with funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Box 8 is closed until 2035.

For listening purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available).

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Project administration files were donated by Darlene Clark Hine (accession #: 2010.0032

Black Women in the Middle West Project collection (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Correspondence, lists, publicity materials, and other records of the Black Women in the Middle West (BWMW) Project, a grant-funded project to document the lives of African American women and organizations in Illinois and Indiana and to encourage the donation of their historical records to research repositories. Includes files created by the project under the administration of Darlene Clark Hine, an academic historian and the project director; and through the participation of Emma J. Kemp, a Chicago librarian and one of the organizers of the project; and by Clementine Skinner, a school teacher and librarian who helped promote the project. Includes audio cassettes of radio broadcasts of interviews by Kemp and by Skinner publicizing the project. The collection also includes questionnaires and interviews completed by many women at workshops sponsored by the project, original historical items brought by the women to these workshops, and materials acquired through the efforts of project representatives Barbara A. Clark, Ida M. Cress, Emma J. Kemp, and Clementine A. Skinner, as well as the Black Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This original documentation dating from about 1924 to 1985 includes biographical materials, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, yearbooks, and brochures from a variety of people, including Ida Roberta Bell, Willa Saunders Jones, Mother Minnie Adams Norman, La Julia Rhea, Mattie Mae Rucker, Eunice Sims, Glennette Tilley Turner, the Black Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and others.

The Black Women in the Middle West (BWMW) Project gathered information about Black women in Illinois and Indiana through questionnaires and interviews, many filled out during workshops sponsored by the project (1984-1985), and gathered historical materials, some of which were brought by the women to these workshops. It also encouraged African American women and organizations in Illinois and Indiana to donate their historical records to local repositories.

The project grew out of efforts (ca. 1977-1981) of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW), Indianapolis Section, to collect materials documenting the lives of African American women in Indiana. Two members of NCNW, schoolteachers Virtea Downey and Shirley Herd, contacted Darlene Clark Hine, a faculty member at Purdue University. Hine obtained funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to plan (ca. 1982-1983) and implement (ca. 1984-1985) the BWMW Project, whose collecting scope was expanded to include Indiana and Illinois.

The project resulted in the publication of Black Women in the Middle West Project: A Comprehensive Resource Guide, Illinois and Indiana, by Darlene Clark Hine (1986).

Some other collections at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, were acquired with assistance from the collecting activities of the project. These collections are cataloged and arranged as stand-alone collections, separate from the Black Women in the Middle West collection: Alpha Gamma Pi records; Clementine Skinner papers; Louise Overall Weaver papers; Thelma Kirkpatrick Wheaton papers; and Mahalia Jackson papers.

  • Names
    • Hine, Darlene Clark--Archives
    • Black Women in the Middle West Project--Archives
  • Subject
    • African American women--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • African American women--Illinois--20th century
    • African American women--Indiana--20th century
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--20th century
    • Illinois--Social conditions--20th century
    • Indiana--Social conditions--20th century

The collection is arranged in two series: project files and participant files.

Series 1. Project files, 1982-1985 (Box 1-3, oversize folder, Box 11 with audio)

Series 1 consists of questionnaires, information sheets, participant lists, progress reports, promotional materials, and other administrative records of the BWMW Project. Includes materials on the participation in the project of Clementine A. Skinner and Emma J. Kemp, a Chicago librarian, including audio cassettes of two radio programs publicizing the project, one featuring Skinner (1984 Oct. 13) and one featuring Skinner and Kemp (1985 Feb. 24); and folders of Kemp's correspondence and public relations information. Also includes an oversize project poster.

Series 2. Participant files, ca. 1924-1985 (Box 4-10)

Series 2 consists of papers of project participants. Included are awards, biographical materials, certificates, correspondence, diplomas and report cards, newspaper clippings, photographs, yearbooks, etc. Individuals and organizations represented include: Alpha Gamma Pi sorority, Ida Roberta Bell, Willa Saunders Jones, Mother Minnie Adams Norman, La Julia Rhea, Mattie Mae Rucker, Eunice Sims, Clementine A. Skinner, Glennette Tilley Turner, Thelma Kirkpatrick Wheaton, and others. Includes an audio interview with Glennette Tilley Turner and oversize items pertaining to Willa Saunders Jones. Participant files were collected and donated by project participants; family members of participants; project representatives, including Clementine A. Skinner, Barbara A. Clark, Ida M. Cress, and Emma J. Kemp; and by the Black Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Boxes 5-6 contain materials collected by the Black Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago; box 7 contains materials donated by Ida M. Cress; box 8 contains a police report that is closed until 2035.