Henry Louis Gates Jr. presents a vital new four-hour documentary series on Reconstruction: America After the Civil War. The series explores the transformative years following the American Civil War, when the nation struggled to rebuild itself in the face of profound loss, massive destruction, and revolutionary social change. The twelve years that composed the post-war Reconstruction era (1865-77) witnessed a seismic shift in the meaning and makeup of our democracy, with millions of former slaves and free black people seeking out their rightful place as equal citizens under the law. Though tragically short-lived, this bold democratic experiment was, in the words of W. E. B. Du Bois, a ‘brief moment in the sun’ for African Americans, when they could advance, and achieve, education, exercise their right to vote, and run for and win public office.
What does it mean to be a criminal? This documentary investigates the racial disparities in the United States prison and justice system. A loophole in the 13th amendment that allows criminals to be enslaved, has been used in different iterations over the last 150 years to target communities of color, primarily Black. This documentary puts the criminalization of Black people as a continuation of American Chattel Slavery. The film argues that systemic racism not only exists in the justice system but does extreme damage to communities of color. 13th provides valuable context and exposes the roots of racial disparities in the United States justice system.
This book documents and highlights the work of Black women who worked as mathematicians at NACA (which eventually becomes NASA post-WWII). Shetterly chronicles the personal and professional lives of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden as they navigate the plethora of challenges that come with being Black women during the 1940s-70s. Hidden Figures shows how this racism and sexism affected their professional goals of entering the white, male-dominated STEM field. Not ones to bow to societal pressures, these women built successful careers while having fulfilling and busy family lives as well. It beautifully blends rich, flowing prose with historical analysis and insight, making this a perfect introduction for those who haven’t read historical nonfiction before. It also challenges the dominant “white” image of NASA, ensuring that these “Hidden Figures” aren’t relegated to the shadows of history and rightfully brought into the spotlight.
A book on the history of police violence. “In this extensively revised and updated edition of his seminal study of policing in the United States, Kristian Williams shows that police brutality isn’t an anomaly, but is built into the very meaning of law enforcement in the United States. From antebellum slave patrols to today’s unarmed youth being gunned down in the streets, “peace keepers” have always used force to shape behavior, repress dissent, and defend the powerful”.
Racism: A Short History explores the roots and manifestations of racism in the western world. Frederickson takes the time to break down the definition of “racism” and analyzing it in its different contexts. Frederickson examines western racism by focusing mainly on three “overtly racists regimes:” Nazis, American slavery, and South African Apartheid. Racism often utilizes elements of sociology to examine why racial hierarchies were formed the way they did.
We, the Board of Loyola’s History Graduate Student Association, condemn the brutal killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis Police officer and grieve alongside Floyd’s family, the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and the nation for his death and the deaths of countless others. This pain is not new; it is centuries-old and insidious, weaving itself into the fabric of our society. Many groups have spoken out more eloquently and more poignantly than us, yet as historians we feel a particular call to add our voices to the nationwide – and international – outcry.
We recognize the systemic targeting of the black community that dates back to the very foundation of our country. It is our duty as historians to provide context and interpretation of our past so we can better understand our present and change our future. For decades, some members of our profession have manipulated and misrepresented history in order to reinforce and justify white supremacy. As the next generation of historians, we must dedicate ourselves to recognizing, confronting, and challenging the version of history they left us with and the deeply flawed system that narrative has enabled to thrive.
To jumpstart crucial, long-overdue conversations about race in history, Loyola’s HGSA Board of 2020-21 is starting an antiracism initiative. In the coming days, we will be rolling out resources to spark learning, thought, and conversation about race in America. We do not know where this will end up, but we hope it will grow into a valuable project for starting difficult conversations and guiding our individual and collective paths to confronting racism. If you are interested in helping with this project, feel free to contact Rachel Madden (email@example.com) and Erin Witt (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We also urge you to read the statement by the Loyola Black Graduate Student Alliance (BGSA) on recent events and consider their concrete goals for Loyola to better support Black / African-American grad students, found here. In their words, “we look to the University to truly take on the work needed to acknowledge, address, and dismantle unjust structures evident even within our own classrooms.” The HGSA Board stands with them on their demands for measurable change on campus.
Words on a page and conversation should only be the beginning – change requires a call to action. If you are able, we encourage you to consider donating money, time, or other forms of support to organizations that work to counteract the deep roots and pervasive effects of racial discrimination in our country. The following are a few of the many organizations doing the vital work needed to effect lasting change:
This conversation is just beginning. While the process of pulling back the curtain of our assumptions and accepted narratives can be painful, it is necessary if we are to understand how we got here and at what cost. This process is a lifelong commitment, one that demands honesty, humility, and open mindedness from all of us. Feelings of pain, frustration, anger, confusion, and guilt are normal and expected. Listen to those feelings, recognize your privilege in your ability to even have them, acknowledge them, and turn them into action. Only with that understanding can we begin the work of creating a truly equitable and just society.
The Loyola History Graduate Student Association Boards, 2020-21 and 2019-20
President Scarlett Andes, MA Public History
Vice President Rachel Madden, PhD Public History & American History
Treasurer Casey Terry, MA Public History
Secretary Miranda Ridener, MA Public History
Media Coordinator Ve’Amber Miller, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Erin Witt, Dual MLIS/MA Public History
Public History Chair Elizabeth Schmidt, MA Public History
President Anthony Stamilio, MA Public History
Vice President Emily-Paige Taylor, PhD U.S. Public History & American History
Treasurer Hannah Overstreet, MA Public History
Secretary Davis Stubblefield, MA History
Media Coordinator Alicia Ziemat, MA Public History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Cate LiaBraaten, PhD Public History & American History
Conference Committee Co-Chair Sophia Croll, PhD Public History & American History
Editor’s note: This post is part of a series of essays written by students of the Fall 2018 Public History course and based on research at Loyola’s University Archives and Special Collections.
Forty-five years ago, Loyola University Chicago was celebrating a different anniversary: the Centennial Celebration of the Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery. The school marked the occasion through several activities, events, and seminars. The events and programs highlighted the spirit of the occasion and showcased the school’s talents, camaraderie, and achievements.
The Loyola University Chicago School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery was founded in 1883 as the Chicago Dental Infirmary. The Chicago Dental Infirmary was the first dental school in Chicago and eventually became the largest dental school in the world.  The first dean of the Chicago Dental Infirmary was Truman W. Brophy who served from 1883 to 1920. In the beginning, the school was only open to those who held medical degrees. The course was designed as twenty weeks long and to be completed directly after medical school. The medical school requirement, however, resulted in small class sizes and only two graduates at the end of the second course year. This prompted Dean Brophy and the school’s board to create the Chicago College of Dental Surgery which removed the prerequisite of a medical degree while also teaching medical courses.  During its first three decades, the school existed as a stand-alone institution as well as associated with numerous universities. In 1923, the school affiliated with Loyola University. 
The school moved locations three different times during its first six years before landing at the intersection of Wood and Harrison Streets on the West Side of Chicago in 1893. The building went through numerous renovations as increasing class sizes called for larger facilities. Building changes, however, were not the only changes happening at the dental school. By 1935, the course had become four years long with sixty credit hours or two years of undergraduate education completed. 
The dental school remained at the Harrison Street location until a new facility was built in 1969 at Loyola’s Maywood Medical Campus.  By this point the school had undergone major changes, especially under the direction of Dean William Schoen. Dr. Schoen was a graduate of the Loyola School of Dentistry in 1929 and became dean in 1957. During his tenure, the school increased postgraduate and orthodontic courses, celebrated its Diamond Jubilee, moved to an expansive new location, and developed closed circuit television to teach courses. 
During the 1970s the school further improved their Dental Hygienist and Dental Assistant degree programs.  The development of these programs also coincided with an increase in female students both as dental hygienists and as holders of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degrees. By 1983 the school had become the largest in the state and enrolled on average five hundred students a year.  The Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery opened its Centennial Celebration with a Centennial Convocation on January 23, 1983. The Centennial also marked the ten-thousandth graduate of the dental school.  There proved to be much to celebrate and Loyola University did so in a multitude of ways.
The dental school received well-wishes from various dignitaries and prominent figures, including then President Ronald Reagan. He congratulated “the faculty, alumni, and students of the oldest dental school in Illinois on their efforts to bring excellent dental care to the community they serve.”  The many words of praise and congratulations highlighted the school’s accomplishments throughout its history. During the course of the year, the school celebrated by hosting seminars, masses an alumni travel seminar, and a homecoming banquet.
The school’s numerous seminars started in January and ended in November. Some topics included “Orthodontics for the General Practioner,” “Crown and Bridge,” and “New Products and Foreign Dentistry.”  If you could afford it, the school also offered an alumni Continuing Education Seminar in Hawaii. The seminar was held for a week with varying program levels to tailor to your needs and costs. One could, for example, spend a week on Honolulu or split the week between Honolulu and Kona or Maui. Over the course of the week, five days were devoted to seminars on various topics, the seminars only lasted six hours so one would have plenty of time to explore the other activities of the islands while reuniting with former classmates. The travel seminar was also timed to commence right after the annual American Dental Association convention taking place in Los Angeles so many of the programs included a stopover from one’s hometown in Los Angeles to attend the convention as well.  The travel seminar offered alumni a chance to get together, celebrate the Centennial, and continue their education with seminar courses.
If you received an invitation to the Centennial Homecoming Banquet you would have received the invite above, cordially inviting you to join the school in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hilton Hotel on April 20, 1983 for an evening of cocktails, dinner, honorees recognition, and award presentations.  Also included in your invite letter would be an RSVP card and a notice of a block of hotel rooms at the Conrad Hilton Hotel reserved for the evening. A single room cost fifty dollars a night and a double room cost sixty dollars.  Many other invitations were sent for the school’s various programming and events throughout the year.
On April 10, 1983, you would have had the chance to participate in a Mass of Thanksgiving to commemorate the Centennial. The mass was celebrated by the University President, Reverend Raymond C. Baumhart, S.J. The Prayer of the Faithful was conducted by the dental school’s own Dean, Dr. Raffaele Suriano. Various other members of the faculty, staff, alumni, and students of the dental school and University participated in the mass.  The Mass of Thanksgiving became another chance for current students, alumni, and faculty to celebrate the school’s anniversary.
The dental school celebrated its one-hundredth birthday in 1983 and Loyola University will be celebrating its sesquicentennial in 2020. However, the dental school will not be part of the celebrations. The dental school closed its doors in 1993. Loyola’s dental school was not the only dental school to close at the end of the 20th century. At the time of its closure, five other private dental schools had recently closed, leaving only fifty-five dental schools across the nation.  In 2001, Illinois’ only other private dental school at Northwestern University, closed its doors. Many schools cited increasing costs and decreasing enrollments as needs for closure.  Even as the doors remain shuttered 25 years later, the Loyola Dental School’s legacy of preeminent dental care continues to keep the school alive for many today.
The Loyola University School of Dentistry-College of Dental Surgery saw many changes over its history. The school grew from a small, two graduate course to the largest dental school in Illinois. Ever expanding, both in size and location, the school continued to transform itself to meet the time’s needs in dental care. The celebration of these improvements and history crowned with the school’s Centennial Celebration in 1983. The school hosted events for students, faculty, and alumni including: seminars, masses, a massive homecoming banquet as well as outings and a travel seminar to Hawaii. The dental school made large strides in dental education, care, and service which called for a year’s worth of celebrating that legacy. The school’s thousands of graduates are a testament to that legacy.