2018 Public Humanities Award Recipients Danielle Allen and Mannie L. Jackson

May 30, 2018 | Doors 11:00 AM | Starts 12:00 PM
Marriott Marquis
2121 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago
Guest Chef: Lamar Moore of Currency Exchange Cafe

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Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. 18 years ago, while on the faculty at University of Chicago, she helped create Illinois Humanities’ Odyssey Project. She later joined the Illinois Humanities board and was Dean of the Humanities at UChicago before moving on to Princeton and then Harvard. She’s authored a number of books, including Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship Since Brown v. Board of Education, Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality, and her most recent book is Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A, which is a critique of the criminal justice system with her younger cousin’s engagement in the system as the center of the story. She is a Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

Mannie L. Jackson is the co-founder of the Lewis and Clark Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities (MJCH) in Edwardsville, IL, and president of the center’s foundation board. The center houses Illinois Humanities’ Western Illinois office. Born in a boxcar in Illmo, Mo., Jackson spent his early years with his family living on the tracks. His education began in a segregated school building in Edwardsville, which Jackson eventually purchased to house the MJCH. Thanks to that education and a basketball scholarship, he attended the University of Illinois, becoming its first African American varsity captain, and an All American. Just the first of many barriers he would break. In 1993, following a successful business career he retired from Honeywell International, Inc. as a senior VP and purchased the financially struggling Harlem Globetrotters. In 2002, he was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as an owner, for revitalizing the Globetrotters, and for his commitment to the sport and to philanthropy. He later served as its first African American board chair in 2007-2009. Since selling the Globetrotters in 2006, his main focus is on his philanthropy, and foundation, and helping those from similar backgrounds to have the types of educational opportunities he was afforded. His memoir, Boxcar to Boardrooms: My Memories & Travels was published in 2012. In 2015, he received the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award.


Ryan Baker
Lois and Jerry Beznos
Jane A. Hays
Jai Winston
Jennifer Wirtz

Honorary Co-Chairs

The Honorable Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois
The Honorable Dick Durbin, United States Senator for the State of Illinois
The Honorable Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator for the State of Illinois

Table sponsorships and tickets are now available.

Past Public Humanities Award Recipients

  • 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