February 2021
Collection Highlight:
African American Oral History Project
In honor of Black History Month, the Archives is highlighting audio recordings from the African American Oral History Project. These oral history interviews were recorded with community members during the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. They cover a range of topics from personal histories and experiences of racism to recordings of speeches.

We suggest starting with the Twentieth Anniversary Celebration of the March on Washington or the Erma Bridgewater recordings.
Did you know that there were many more local unions nearly a hundred years ago than there are today, including meat cutters, bakers, and phone operators, and they all marched in the Labor Day parade? The Champaign County Historical Archives has materials that tell these stories and many more. This lecture will feature archival material from more than a century of our county's labor movements. Join Dr. Stephanie Fortado in an exploration of the history of the working people who helped build our community.
From the Blog
Check out the latest installment of “Newspapers, Get Your Newspapers Here!” with the August 28, 1908, Sidney Times. This edition of the Sidney Times is ten pages long and has a LOT of information packed into those ten pages. This publication came out in the morning and cost a reasonable 5 cents. There is a pleasant announcement right on the title banner that you should get one of your own if you are reading a borrowed copy of this paper, no word on whether the good citizens of Sidney heeded this demand.

If you'd like us to feature a newspaper in our blog posts, get in touch. If we have it, we'll write about it!
Ancestry Library Edition has extended access from home through March 31st for all library cardholders! Access Ancestry by following this link and logging in with your library card number.

Contact the Archives at 217-367-4025 or archives@urbanafree.org for help or questions.

In 1983, Chanute Commanding Officer Major General J.D. Moore hired Chief Master Sergeant and Chanute alum Donald O. Weckhorst to be the Chanute Air Force Base historian. Moore’s first order to Weckhorst was to create a pictorial history book of the base and Weckhorst immediately went to work on the project. From 1983-1992, Weckhorst contacted former and active Chanute students, instructors, civilians, and more from throughout the entirety of the base’s history seeking sources for the book. In his efforts, he contacted over 1,000 former Chanuters and received donations from approximately 300 people in the form of photographs, documents, maps, and other materials. Our collections at the CCHA not only include these donations, but also the correspondence between Weckhorst and former Chanute personnel concerning these donations. The correspondence often included information about the records being donated, stories from the base, updates on life after Chanute, and personal stories unrelated to Chanute. Weckhorst made personal connections with the people he contacted and developed friendships with them through the records they donated and their shared experience as Chanuters. 
Letters exchanged between Weckhorst and retired U.S.A.F. Senior Master Sergeant Ladd L. Canney in 1985 offer a unique glimpse into some of this correspondence throughout 1983-1992 in preparation for the pictorial history book. Ladd was born in Rochester, New Hampshire in 1921. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1939 and was sent to Chanute where he trained and then ultimately took part in World War II as well as the Korean War. Ladd retired from service in 1963 and moved to Eden, Georgia, where he worked for construction engineering company Froehling and Robertson. After Froehling and Robertson, Canney opened his own custom machine and modelwork shop in Eden, where he restored vintage and antique vehicles as well as created scale models of 19th century trains and military artifacts. When Weckhorst contacted Ladd in 1985 about donations for the book, he was more than happy to oblige. Ladd sent numerous photographs from Chanute in 1939 as well as some artifacts and ephemera from the base. Ladd and Weckhorst also held a shared interest in auto restoration and the Civil War era scale models Ladd created.
Did you know?
We want to hear your stories.
We are collecting photographs, stories, art, reflections, and more from community members to document COVID-19 and Racial Justice in Champaign County. Click on the images below to learn more and share your experiences.
Go ahead, we're listening.
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Try our trivia quiz
Q. When were Kappa Alpha Psi and Alpha Kappa Alpha, the U of I’s first historically Black fraternity and sorority established? 
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