Illinois Humanities invites you to join us IN PERSON
to celebrate our 2023 Public Humanities Awardees.
Register today Become a Sponsor Make a donation
Wednesday, May 17, 2023
838 West Kinzie Street
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Gathering and Connecting
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch, Awards, Conversation
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Celebration and Dessert
The event will take place on the first floor level of City Hall/Recess. This is a no-step entry location. Spanish language and ASL interpretation will be available.
Beacon Award recipient:
Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association
Public Humanities Awards recipients:
Rebecca Ginsburg, Director of the Education Justice Project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Stephanie Manriquez, Executive Director of Contratiempo and Producer at Lumpen Radio
Alyson Thompson, Library Director of Marshall Public Library
For information about the Public Humanities Awards, including sponsorships, please contact Morven Higgins at email@example.com or (312) 422-5584. Register for this event today or download the sponsorship form.
More about this year’s recipients:
Tracie D. Hall, Beacon Award Recipient
Tracie D. Hall is the tenth Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world with over 50,000 members serving library and educational institutions throughout and beyond the US. The first Black woman to helm ALA in its nearly 150-year history, Hall has served in numerous library and arts leadership positions nationwide. Her former posts include Culture Program Director at The Joyce Foundation where she was recognized for creating numerous programs to advance racial inclusion in arts administration and equitable funding for arts institutions including the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project; Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events where she oversaw the visual and performing arts, film, and community market programs and received citations for her work to expand arts access and neighborhood outreach; Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development at Queens Library where during her tenure she founded the NYC Early Learning Network; Community Investment Strategist and Chicago Community Investor for the Boeing Company’s Global Corporate Citizenship division; Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science; Community Librarian at Hartford Public Library where she curated the NEH-funded Festival of Caribbean Literature with the Connecticut Center for the Book and where then mayor, Eddie Perez, designated February 13 as “Tracie Hall Day” to acknowledge her service to the city of Hartford; Youth Services Coordinator at Seattle Public Library where she developed the long-running SCRIBES youth creative writing program for the Richard Hugo House; and other library, non-profit, and public sector roles across the country.
Holding dual bachelor’s degrees from University of California Santa Barbara, and master’s degrees from the Yale University School of International and Area Studies and the University of Washington School of Information, Hall’s work in library and arts administration has focused on advancing early and adult literacy, expanding broadband access, advocating for arts and educational programs and services for people who are incarcerated, and increasing socio-economic mobility in communities that have had limited educational or employment opportunities. In 2022, Hall became only the second librarian to be honored with a National Book Foundation Award for Lifetime Achievement. Most recently, she was named the 2023 recipient of the Literacy Leader Award by scaleLIT. A native of south central Los Angeles, Hall lives in Chicago where she makes time to serve on the boards of various arts and community-based organizations.
Stephanie Manriquez, Public Humanities Award Recipient
Stephanie Manriquez is an award-winning writer, radio producer, journalist, and teaching artist with a passion for highlighting social justice issues affecting Latino communities. Stephanie sees storytelling as a radical act for the Latinx community and has committed herself to develop spaces for diverse voices to be heard, with a larger goal of increasing representation on public and alternative radio. As a journalist, she consistently speaks on topics that most affect her communities and as an educator, she is passionate about mentoring the next generation of Latinx media makers, helping them to become civically minded and artistically innovative. Stephanie is an alumna of Illinois Humanities’ Odyssey Project.
She is the Executive Director at Contratiempo, a literary organization and Illinois Humanities’ grantee partner that highlights the cultural contributions of the Spanish-speaking diaspora through programs presented as a printed magazine, digital publication, airwaves, stage and workshops. As the Director of Lumpen Radio, Stephanie serves as the lead producer for the community radio station and highlights multilingual content through their leadership of the Communities Amplified radio initiative. Her previous work includes leading the National Museum of Mexican Art’s youth journalism program and as a member of the Social Justice News Nexus Fellowship at Northwestern University, Medill School of Journalism, as a reporter and as a youth mentor. She was recognized in 2020 by the Field and MacArthur Foundations as one of 11 “Leaders for a New Chicago.”
Rebecca Ginsburg, Public Humanities Award Recipient
Rebecca Ginsburg is a co-founder and current director of the Education Justice Project (EJP), a unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Through its educational programs, publications, and outreach, EJP supports higher education in prison and educational opportunities for individuals who were formerly incarcerated. She holds joint appointments in Landscape Architecture and Education Policy, with courtesy appointments in Afro-American Studies, African Studies, and Anthropology. Rebecca is a grantee partner of Illinois Humanities’ Envisioning Justice program and has also lent her support and expertise to the project.
Rebecca received her Bachelors degree in English from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, her JD from the University of Michigan Law School, and a PhD in Architectural History from the University of California at Berkeley. Her publications include Critical Perspectives on Teaching in Prison (Routledge 2019). She is currently working on a prison abolition reader (Lynne Rienner 2023). Rebecca has been a resident of Urbana-Champaign for 18 years. She shares a home with her husband, William Sullivan, and daughters Anna (15) and Isabella (12).
Alyson Thompson, Public Humanities Award Recipient
Alyson Thompson is Library Director for Marshall Public Library (a longtime grantee partner of Illinois Humanities and host to many Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentations) as well as the Marshall Area Public Library District, Friend of the Library, and Local Coordinator for IRS Tax Aide assistance. A strong advocate for preservation of local history, Mrs. Thompson has helped raise funds to preserve local stories, photos, newspapers, and most recently to acquire local Clark County Genealogy Library. Her professional work includes publications to library journals, educational workshops, building renovations, and host to nationally acclaimed exhibits. Her passion for local preservation can also be seen outside of her employment as she seeks to renovate existing local housing and beautify the community.
2023 Public Humanities Awards Host Committee
Governor JB Pritzker
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton
Michelle T. Boone
Commissioner Chris Brown
Felicia Davis Blakley
Brenda Langstraat Bui
Susan A. Manning*
Tracye A. Matthews
National Museum of Mexican Art
Last Updated: March 28, 2023
About Illinois Humanities’ Public Humanities Awards Ceremony
Established in 1984, the Public Humanities Awards Ceremony celebrates people who have made an indelible impact on our state through their work in and support of the humanities, honoring them with the Public Humanities Award. This event is Illinois Humanities’ most important annual fundraiser and enables us to provide grants and free public humanities programs throughout Illinois.
Launched in 2020 as part of the Public Humanities Awards Ceremony, the Beacon Award honors an individual or organization who has been a champion for – or investor in – the humanities in Illinois, elevating the work of humanists in ways that have improved the quality of the state for its residents.
Public Humanities Awards 2022
Revisit the 2022 Public Humanities Award Ceremony.
View the list of Past Recipients
2022 – Nicole Bond, Lorenzo Savage, and Sue Scott
2021 Beacon Award Recipient – Art for Justice
2021 – Tonika Lewis Johnson
2021 Beacon Award Recipient – Dawoud Bey
2020 – Sylvia Ewing and Eve L. Ewing
2020 Beacon Award Recipient – Weinberg/Newton Gallery
2019 – Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Kerry James Marshall
2018 – Danielle Allen and Mannie Jackson
2017 – Jeanne Gang
2016 – Dr. Walter E. Massey
2015 – Howard Tullman
2014 – Jay Franke and David Herro
2013 – Lisa Yun Lee
2012 – Bruce Sagan and Bette Cerf Hill
2011 – John A. Wing
2010 – Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
2008 – Carlos Tortolero
2007 – Barbara Gaines
2006 – Mary A. Dempsey
2005 – The Honorable Abner and Zoe Mikva
1994 – Martin E. Marty, Stanley J. Ikenberry, Richard J. Franke, Chicago Tribune
1993 – Francis J. Pettis
1992 – Nancy Anderson Stevenson
1990 – Bridget Lamont
1989 – Cyrus Colter
1988 – Brena and Lee Freeman
1987 – The Honorable Dawn Clark Netsch and Walter Netsch
1986 – Mary Ward Wolkonsky
1985 – J. Michael Lennon
1984 – John Hope Franklin, Stuart Steuver, The Honorable Jim Edgar, The Honorable Paul Simon, The Honorable Sidney Yates, Louise Año Nuevo Kerr
About Illinois Humanities
Illinois Humanities, the Illinois affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, is a statewide nonprofit organization that activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community and strengthen civic engagement. We provide free, high-quality humanities experiences throughout Illinois, particularly for communities of color, individuals living on low incomes, counties and towns in rural areas, small arts and cultural organizations, and communities highly impacted by mass incarceration. Founded in 1974, Illinois Humanities is supported by state, federal, and private funds.
Learn more at ilhumanities.org and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @ILHumanities.