University Park, IL,
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Governors State to host Black Hall of Fame June 18 Ribbon Cutting



Ariel Investment Founder John Rogers and Sen. Debbie Meyers-Martin among 2022  honorees to be celebrated

IBHOF Logo Design - Partnership

(UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill.)  A year after U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis virtually launched the Illinois Black Hall of Fame — hosted at Governors State University (GSU) — organizers are planning to unveil the exhibit during a VIP reception on June 18, 2022.  The Juneteenth celebration will also honor eight African American trailblazers, as well as two pioneering women, and  will include dinner and performances on the iconic stage of the Center for Performing Arts.

From entrepreneurs to educators, each honoree’s body of work serves as an example of excellence and innovation to advance IBHOF’s mission to honor the past, celebrate the present, and inspire the future.

In February 2021, Davis joined other local and national dignitaries to announce (virtually) Chicago icon Dr. Timuel Black would be the first inductee into the Illinois Black Hall of Fame. A year later, the 2021 inductees and/or their family members met at GSU to “break ground” on the historic exhibit.

WHAT:  Governors State to host ribbon cutting ceremony for Illinois Black Hall of Fame, followed by  2nd annual gala to honor African American trailblazers and Juneteenth historical legacy, recognized just days before the 2021 virtual gala.

WHO:  Ariel Investment Chair John Rogers will join eight other honorees to be recognized by the Hall of Fame Committee, chaired by Richard Boykin.  U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis serves as Honorary Chair. Founder Ceola Davis-Barnes earned a master’s degree in urban education in 1975 from Governors State and enjoyed a career as a lifelong education. As founder and president of African-American Ladies’ Legacy Foundation, Davis-Barnes has long dreamed of creating the Illinois Black Hall of Fame to inspire future generations.

In addition to Rogers, other honorees are:

  • Derrick Taylor, president of Black McDonalds’ Operators Association
  • Dr. Willie Wilson, philanthropist and CEO Omar Medical
  • Linda Murray, past president of American Public Health Association, and community activist,
  • Dr. Blondean Davis, CEO and founder of Southland College Preparatory High School and Superintendent Dist. 162
  • Emil Jones, retired president of the Illinois State Senate and CEO of Strategic International Group
  • Dorothy Leavell, editor and publisher of Chicago  Crusader Newspaper
  • The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor emeritus, Trinity United Church of Christ

Receiving the Women of First Distinction Awards are State Senator Debbie Meyers-Martin, the first Black woman mayor of Olympia Fields, and Tracey V. Bell, first Black woman digital radio station, the FM Omni Channel.

WHEN: Saturday, June 18, 2022 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. (ribbon cutting) Dinner begins at 7:30.  Packages begin at $150 and are available for purchase at Eventbrite.

WHERE:  Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, University Park, IL 

WHY: Aspiring to become a cultural destination, the Illinois Black Hall of Fame will draw visitors from across the state and region, said Chair Richard Boykin. The Illinois Black Hall of Fame, housed at Governors State University, will advance our goals to promote African American culture and excellence through education,’’ he said.

Boykin has worked closely with Davis-Barnes to realize the lifelong vision to elevate the image of African American educators, artists, politicians and entrepreneurs. “This has been a dream of mine for years, to teach our children about their rich history and encourage them to reach for greatness.”

Governors State President Cheryl Green, the university’s first Black president, was honored as a First Lady of Distinction in 2021. She called the recognition humbling and fuel for her passion to seize this unique moment in history.

“When students are empowered through education, we create change to transform lives by creating access to economic power and enlightenment about their rights. That is why I am excited to host the Illinois Black Hall of Fame at Governors State University. There is no better time than now.”

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Zion Banks