Image Credit:
Salem Baptist Church (Homer Historical Society)

Points of Pride

The points of pride are brief histories of people, places, art, and events of historical relevance within Champaign County. Check back often as we continue to share history as it is uncovered in the community.

Points of Pride are categorized by Arts & Music, Community, Education, Military, and Social Life.

Image credit: publicartleague.blogspot.com

Visual Arts

Adam & Eve Mourning Over the Soul of Abel

The sculpture "Adam & Eve Mourning Over the Soul of Abel" was designed by Bryan W. Massey, an African American sculptor based in Arkansas. With support from the Public Art League, the sculpture was installed at the Lincoln Building (44 E. Main St., Champaign) in 2014.

Image credit: Artist Patrick Earl Hammie next to his portrait of Albert R. Lee. (University of Illinois News Bureau)

Visual Arts

Albert R. Lee Portrait

Albert R. Lee worked for the University of Illinois in the late 1800s and early 1900s and became known as the Dean of African American Students. In addition to his work at the University, Albert Lee was very involved in his community. In 2022, the University unveiled a portrait of Albert Lee, painted by Champaign-based artist Patrick Earl Hammie, in the Student Dining and Residential Programs Building (301 E. Gregory Dr., Champaign).

Image credit: Visit Champaign County

Visual Arts

Byways to Equality

Located at King Park (915 W. Wascher Dr., Urbana) and designed by African American artist Preston Jackson, this sculpture's tall exterior points towards the sky in favor of a brighter future and reality for all.

Image credit: Visit Champaign County

Visual Arts

Double Dutch — A Jump for Joy

"Double Dutch — A Jump for Joy" has been a landmark in West Side Park (400 W. University Ave., Champaign) since 2011. It was created by African American artist Gary Bibbs of Lexington, Kentucky, and measures in at 16 feet tall and 26 feet wide. The statue is made of stainless steel tubing and bronze, and was inspired by the joy and innocence of children at play.

Image credit: Visit Champaign County

Visual Arts

Douglass Park and Center Moving Mural

The Champaign Park District commissioned a mural by Keenan Dailey—a multidisciplinary artist, designer, and University of Illinois alum—to reflect the history of Douglass Park and Center. The mural was used to wrap a Champaign Park District bus, which was unveiled in September 2022.

Image credit: Champaign Public Library - Douglass Branch

Visual Arts

Frederick Douglass: In Remembrance

The sculpture "Frederick Douglass: In Remembrance" is owned by the Champaign Public Library and sits at the entrance to the Douglass Branch building at Douglass Park (501 E. Eureka St.). The Library quotes the sculptor, Preston Jackson, in describing the work as "an archway piece — it is a two-way door that symbolizes a gateway to both the past and the future."

Image credit: Cunningham Township

Visual Arts

In the Sunshine

The window murals at Cunningham Township (205 & 205 1/2 W. Green St., Urbana) were designed by BLACKMAU (a collaboration between artists Stacey Robinson and Kamau Grantham). The murals feature African American children playing and having fun against a backdrop of buildings and stars.

Image credit: Urbana Park District

Visual Arts

Jettie Rhodes Day Community Mural

Artist Lisa Kesler assembled colorful panels painted by children and installed the piece at King Park (915 W. Wascher St., Urbana) in 2019 for the Jettie Rhodes Day Celebration. Together, the panels depict the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image credit: Mural by Langston Allston. Image from Smile Politely (September 2, 2020).

Visual Arts

North First Street Barbershop Mural

Artist Langston Allston, who has roots in Champaign County, completed a mural in 2020 on the side of North First Street Barber Shop (204 N. First Street, Champaign). The mural received significant support and funding from community members.

Image credit: News-Gazette (October 20, 2009)

Visual Arts

A Pictorial History of African Americans of Champaign County

Artist Angela M. Rivers, daughter of Al Rivers, grew up in Champaign, Illinois. In 1978, she oversaw 20 young adults to create a mural on the side of a garage at Park and Fifth Streets that would reflect the history and contributions of people of African descent from ancient Egypt to present-day Champaign County. The iconic mural, titled "A Pictorial History of African Americans of Champaign County," was sometimes referred to colloquially as the Park Street Mural.