Blog Article

Illinois Humanities Grantee Spotlight with: Sherry Williams of the Bronzeville / Black Chicagoan Historical Society

PROJECT NAME:

Digitization of Jackson Funeral Home Records, 1922-1949 (awarded April 2019)

LOCATION:

Chicago, IL

Phillis Humphries and Sherry Williams
Phillis Humphries and Sherry
Williams in 1860s garments at
the Pullman State Site.

ORGANIZATION:

Founded in 1999, the Bronzeville / Black Chicagoan Historical Society (BHS) was started by a small group of enthusiastic family history researchers. BHS began due to an overwhelming concern for the diminishing historical sites in African American communities and continues to raise public awareness about endangered and unmarked historic sites in Bronzeville. The BHS archives include family documents, oral histories, memorabilia, quilts, objects, film, and photographs. BHS has recorded more than 20 oral histories about the Great Migration from community elders.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Since 2014, the BHS has managed the care of more than 200,000 individual burial records from the Jackson Funeral Home, which opened in 1867 and closed in 2012. Jackson was the oldest and longest surviving Black mortuary business in the United States. The documents are a resource for genealogists, scholars of burial traditions, community storytellers, and historians. BHS would like to provide worldwide access to the funeral home records via an online surname burial database. Processing is needed to organize individual records for digitization. The grant was to support the scanning and organizing of burial registers from 1922 through 1949.

Learn more about the project and upcoming events, including a Q&A session with the BHS’s president, Sherry Williams!

Grantee Spotlight:

Learn more about other featured grantee partners and projects.