University Park, IL,
13:20 PM

Governors State University to host Feb. 25 ceremonial groundbreaking for the Illinois Black Hall of Fame

Dr. Timuel Black, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Spencer Leak, Sr. among those to be featured


For Immediate Release

(UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill.) – The lives and legacies of five African American trailblazers, including Dr. Timuel Black and the  Rev. Jesse Jackson – both 2021 Illinois Black Hall of Fame (IBHOF) inductees — will be celebrated during a historic  ceremonial groundbreaking at Governors State University on  Feb. 25, 2022.

The  V.I.P. event will be held at the future site of the cultural showcase just inside the main entrance of the university, where portraits of all IBHOF honorees will be housed. Black and Jackson, along with Spencer Leak, Sr. Bessie Coleman, and Harold Washington were announced during a historic Juneteenth celebration in 2021. The 2022 class will be announced during the second annual Juneteenth Gala on June 19.

Governors State University President Cheryl Green, Ph.D., IBHOF Honorary Co-Chair with U.S. Representatives Danny K. Davis and Robin Kelly said the university proudly serves as host to advance the initiative’s mission: “Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present and Inspiring Future Generations.”

Dr. Green, the university’s first African American president, said the Hall of Fame will serve as a constant reminder to students.

“We are deeply honored to recognize the legacy and achievements of African American trailblazers whose vision and innovation will continue to inspire our students and future generations,’’ said Dr. Green, who was honored as a First Lady of Distinction during the inaugural ceremony in 2021.

WHAT: Illinois Black Hall of Fame to “break ground” on 2021 inductee showcase featuring Chicago Civil Rights Activist Dr. Timuel Black, who died at the age of 102 in 2021,  the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., pioneering Funeral Director Spencer Leak, Sr., the first African American female pilot Bessie Coleman, and Harold Washington, Chicago’s first Black mayor.

WHO:  U.S. Representative Davis and U.S. Representative Robin Kelly, will join IBHOF General Chair Richard Boykin, University Park Mayor Joseph Roudez and Dr. Green for the celebration, a champagne toast and light refreshments will follow.

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Governors State University, 1 University Parkway, D Building

WHY:  Chair Boykin has worked closely with GSU Alumna and IBHOF Founder Ceola Davis Barnes (’75), to realize her vision. “I am proud that Dr. Barnes has allowed me to participate in her life-long dream to honor African American trailblazers.  We stand on their shoulders and their work will inspire young hearts and minds. This historic hall represents hope for our children and future generations.”


Zion Banks

Governors State University