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Humanities 2020 Mellon Foundation Grant

Humanities 2020: Engaging Racism in Chicagoland

Join us as we enagage racism through three primary streams: the built environment, storytelling, and incarceration and displacement. 

While programming for the 2021-2022 academic year has ended, the grant runs through 2023. Check back soon for more information on our 2022-2023 events. 

Educator Institute

Institute Schedule

  • Sept.17, 2022: Opening Event at Chicago History Museum
  • Fall 2022 and Spring 2023: cohort virtual meetings and curricular development
  • June 2023: Closing Event

The professional development institute was developed in partnership by:

  • Lake Forest College’s Humanities 2020, funded by The Mellon Foundation
  • The Lake Forest College Department of Education
  • The Society of Architectural Historians
  • The Chicago History Museum
  • A cohort of award-winning Middle School and High School History teachers

Application deadline: July 31, 2022

Notification acceptance sent: August 5, 2022

Apply Now

humanities 2020 logo

Reteaching the history of racism: Humanities 2020 introduces summer institute for educators

A great shift in the way our culture understands and discusses racism is taking place. Lake Forest College’s Humanities 2020 Mellon Foundation Grant team is organizing a summer institute to enable cohorts of educators to get involved in these shifts.

Learn more

By raising awareness, educating our community, and supporting initiatives that resist racism, we hope to build a forward-looking, aspirational future.

Lake Forest College’s Humanities 2020 is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant and works to enhance and advance humanities education through engagement with the issue of racism in the Chicagoland area. 

We approach racism through three primary lenses: storytelling, the built environment, and incarceration and displacement. The grant provides resources for community engagement through events, which are open to the College community and the wider public. Lake Forest College's partnership with this grant has been extended through the summer of 2023 in order to maximize the efficacy of our work.

Past Events

Film Screening: Your Name is Juan Rivera

We are proud to present the local premier of Your Name is Juan Rivera, a documentary about the life of Juan Rivera, who was wrongly imprisoned in the Illinois Department of Corrections for 20 years.

Learn more

Humanities 2020 Snack Chats: Engaging Racism in Chicagoland

Join Huminites 2020 fellows, our campus community, and others in a faculty-led conversation about issues of racism. Topics covered in Snack Chats include mass incarceration, housing discrimination, environmental racism, and marginalized histories and identities. Lunch is provided.

11: 50 a.m., March 2 and April 6
Brown Hall Tarble Room

Haitian American Museum of Chicago Fieldtrip

Tag along as we visit the Haitian American Museum of Chicago.

The Haitian American Museum of Chicago (HAMOC) exists to promote and preserve Haitian art, culture, history and community in Chicago and beyond, since Haiti occupies a central place in Chicago’s history through John Baptiste Pointe DuSable, who is the first non-indigenous settler of Chicago. HAMOC features an online and onsite oral history installation of Professor Courtney Joseph’s Haitian American oral history archive.

Date: TBD – potentially: March 7 – 22, 2022 (only Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays)

Time: 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Legacy Barber College Fieldtrips

We are visiting Juan Rivera’s Legacy Barber College, a non-profit dedicated to teaching at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated people skills that can lead to business ownership, employment, and economic empowerment.

Legacy Barber College (LBC) began as a dream and unlikely partnership between a prison guard and a man that served 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Juan Rivera (Owner), was exonerated in 2012, and shortly thereafter, once given the opportunity, Juan opened LBC.  "Proud to be able to live my dream. I strive to keep LBC up to date with the art of Barbering while keeping it a small intimate, supportive place to learn and grow."

March 16, 17, 18
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Tour Appointment Required: 

Your Name is Juan Rivera Film Screening

We are proud to present the local premier of Your Name is Juan Rivera, a documentary about the life of Juan Rivera, who was wrongly imprisoned in Lake County, IL for 20 years.

In addition to the film screening, and there will be a Q&A with Rivera, the Lake County investigator who cleared Rivera’s name, and the documentary filmmakers. After release from prison, Juan started the Legacy Barber College to train at-risk youth and formally incarcerated individuals skills that can lead to small business ownership and a career. Rivera is active in finding funders to support students’ tuition and legacy programming.

Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2022 (Not Final)

Time: 7 P.M.

Location: Gorton Community Center

More about Juan and Legacy Barber College: Legacy Barber website:
Block Club Chicago Article: Juan Rivera Block Club Chicago.

Program Streams

Racism in the Built Environment

Racism in the Built Environment

This stream undertakes programs and initiatives to improve instruction in K-12 and higher education, advance environmental justice, and highlight as well as support activism against racism in the built environment. Racism in the built environment manifests in residential segregation, educational disparities, opportunity gaps, and inequitable access to resources.

Racism and Storytelling

Racism and Storytelling

This program stream addresses the narratives, told and untold, through which racism is (re)presented throughout history. Faculty, students, and institutional grant partners explore, interrogate, and present stories of racism in formats including oral histories, architectural exhibits, artistic expressions and performances, and digital archives.

Racism, Incarceration, and Displacement

Racism, Incarceration, and Displacement

This stream includes initiatives that address the community impact of humanities education through the specific lens of mass incarceration. Mass incarceration is tied directly to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow, and its impact is intertwined with education, housing, civil rights, and drug legislation. Thus, this stream coordinates faculty and partner commitment to addressing the concrete impact of racism in the legal system.

Humanities 2020 Mellon Grant Team

Desmond Odugu
Chair of Education
Associate Professor of Education

Ryan Walters
Humanities 2020 Grant Coordinator

Davis Schneiderman
Krebs Provost and Dean of the Faculty
Professor of English

Anna Jones
Associate Dean of the Faculty
Professor of History