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Illinois Lottery Black History Month

Illinois Lottery Black History Month

View the video and pictures below to learn some interesting information about our Black History Month trailblazers.
Your 2014 unsung heroes
Afro Bella

    AfroBella (Patrice Grell Yursik)

    Chicago, IL

    AfroBella is a prominent black blogger. Through her website, Afrobella.com, she seeks to empower women of all shapes, shades, and sizes. She has also been featured in various magazines, created a custom lip gloss, and is listed on Ebony’s Power 100 list.

Barbara Bates

    Barbara Bates

    Chicago, IL

    Bates is a self-taught fashion designer, who’s known as a leader in creating fashionable styles. She is also the founder of the Barbara Bates Foundation, an organization committed to providing economically disadvantaged youth with prom attire and creating awareness of Breast Cancer.

Brian Bell

    Brian Bell

    Champaign, IL

    Bell is a Project Coordinator and part time faculty member at Parkland Community College. Bell has made it his full time job to combat the digital divide within socioeconomically vulnerable communities. He takes donated computers, refurbishes them, and then redistributes them among communities in need.

Tyree Burks

    Tyree Burks

    Chicago, IL

    Burks is a former professional football player and the current founder and CEO of Team Interval. His company helps sports teams communicate more efficiently, and it is currently one of the fastest growing startups in Chicago. His mission is to create a world of connectivity and financial empowerment for everyone in the community.

Sally Carter

    Sally Carter

    Urbana-Champaign, IL

    Sally is the Founder & Director of TAP In Academy. Through her organization she has been able to provide after school and summer enrichment programs that aid youth in underserved communities.

Roy Curry

    Roy Curry

    Chicago, IL

    Curry is the current Dean at Urban Prep Academy in Bronzeville. His school has had a 100% graduation rate for three consecutive years. Through his leadership and guidance, Curry is helping his students maintain their standard of excellence.

Naomi Davis

    Naomi Davis

    Chicago, IL

    Davis is the Founder of the Chicago based award-winning economic development organization Blacks In Green. Her organization aims to reduce greenhouse gas levels, grow household incomes, and increase the number of successful neighbor-owned businesses.

Kareem Edwards

    Kareem Edwards

    Chicago, IL

    Edwards is the former Assistant VP of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He’s also the Director of the “Suit Dreams” mentoring program, an organization that seeks to advance the careers of young African-Americans in Chicago.

Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks

    Rockford, IL

    Hicks is the Executive Director of the Northwest Community Center. For nearly 60 years, NWCC has been a focal point for community development and an important resource for people of all ages. Hicks seeks to build upon and further this legacy.

Akili Lee

    Akili Lee

    Chicago, IL

    Lee is the Creator of the Digital Youth Network, a digital literacy program for Chicago’s youth. He is also the Co-founder of the iRemix Platform, a program that allows educators to leverage social networking for educational purposes.

Brian and Autumn Merritt

    Brian & Autumn Merritt

    Chicago, IL

    The Merritts are co-owners of the Sir & Madame Clothing company, a business that is setting the standard for premium apparel goods in Chicago. Through their store, the Merritts are an example of economic empowerment through entrepreneurial endeavors.

Mitzi Miller

    Mitzi Miller

    Chicago, IL

    Miller is the bestselling author of five books, an award-winning journalist, and the current
    Editor-In-Chief of JET magazine. Miller is also a skilled public speaker who has appeared on radio shows and delivered the keynote address at various events.

Eric Rice Nance

    Eric Rico Nance

    Chicago, IL

    Nance is the Founder of the Litehouse Wholefood Grill in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. Through his restaurant he is able to provide a healthy alternative to fast food to residents on the Southside of Chicago.

Audrena Spence

    Audrena Spence

    Chicago, IL

    Spence is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Family Services Calumet Center. She is also an active member on many boards including the Community of African American Mental Health Professionals and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Jackie Taylor

    Jackie Taylor

    Chicago, IL

    Taylor rose from humble beginnings to become a great success. Throughout her life she has distinguished herself as a director, actress, singer, and playwright. She is currently the Executive Director of the Black Ensemble Theater Company.

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Kareem Edwards

Chicago, Illinois

Edwards is the former Assistant VP of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He’s also the Director of the “Suit Dreams” mentoring program, an organization that seeks to advance the careers of young African-Americans in Chicago.

Illinois's Prominent Black History Facts, Figures, and Events.

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable

(“The Founder” of Chicago)
Point du Sable is the earliest recorded resident of the settlement that grew to become the city of Chicago. He is known from contemporary sources to have been of African descent. Many believe he was from Santo Domingo, specifically present day Haiti.

Shonda Rhimes

(Screenwriter, director, and producer)
Shonda Rhimes was born in Chicago, Illinois. She was raised in the University Park area and attended Marian Catholic High School. Rhimes is best known as the creator, head writer, and executive producer of Grey’s Anatomy, its spin-off Private Practice, and most recently the hit show Scandal.

Joe Louis

Considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time. Louis won his title June 22, 1937, in Chicago, and became the first black heavyweight champion since Jack Johnson. Louis’ championship reign lasted 140 consecutive months, during which he participated in 26 championship fights. “The Champ” Golf Course in Riverdale, IL is named in his honor.

Chicago Black Renaissance

A creative movement that blossomed out of the Chicago Black Belt on the city’s south side and spanned the 1930s and 40s. The writing of the Chicago Black Renaissance addressed the culture of Chicago, racial tensions, and issues of identity.

Music

Chess Records was an American record company based in Chicago, Illinois. It specialized in blues, R&B, soul, gospel music, early rock and roll, and occasional jazz recordings. Chess released material from artists such as Muddy Waters, Etta James, Bo-diddley, and Chuck Berry.

Timuel Black

(Prominent Social Activist)
Throughout his life he has served as an educator from the elementary school level up to the collegiate level. He was also a participant in over 100 community-based organizations and the recipient of Chicago’s first MLK Medal of Freedom.

The Chicago Defender

America’s most widely read black newspaper founded in 1905 for primarily African-American readers. The newspaper was published in Chicago and widely circulated in the South as well.

The Great Migration

The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million African Americans out of the rural Southern United States to the urban Northeast, Midwest, and West that lasted up until the 1960s. Many of them settled in Chicago.

Politics

Chicago is home to three of six African-American US Senators who have served after Reconstruction. They are Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999), current President Barack Obama (2005-2008), and Roland Burris (2009-2010).

William L. Dawson

Once regarded as America’s most powerful black politician. Dawson was a prominent politician and lawyer who represented Chicago, Illinois for more than 27 years in the United States House of Representatives.

Authors

Accomplished Illinois based writers include Richard Wright, Willard Motley, William Attaway, Frank Marshall Davis, St. Clair Drake, Horace R. Clayton, and Margaret Walker.

 
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