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Founders Memorial Library Exhibits

January 2018

Main Exhibit: "Does Slavery Still Exist in America?"

This exhibit by Historians Against Slavery NIU Chapter highlights the rise of coercive labor practices in the United States after the abolition of chattel slavery in 1865. In many ways, the rise of convict leasing, peonage, and mass incarceration reflected desires to keep former slaves in bondage and to keep black Americans in an oppressed state. The exhibit also utilizes a global approach to demonstrate the survival of slavery in the twentieth and twenty first centuries and how American consumption patterns drive enslaved labor around the world.

Contact person: Justin Iverson,

Regional History Center exhibit – Fourth floor

Reading Room cases: “Homecoming: 111 Years Strong”

The exhibit focuses on the history of homecoming at Northern and highlights items from the University Archives, including school pennants, buttons, yearbooks, photographs, football programs, sports memorabilia, and more.

Second Floor

“Because the world is at the window”:  A Century of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Century of Chicago

Author, activist, South-sider. “‘Because the world is at the window’:  A Century of Gwendolyn Brooks, a Century of Chicago” celebrates the centenary of the poet with an exhibit that focuses on how Chicago shaped the life and work of the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Brooks famously declared about her Bronzeville home, “If you wanted a poem, you had only to look out of a window.” The exhibit explores how the cultural vibrancy and political energy of a segregated city helped inspire some of the twentieth century’s most anthologized and acclaimed verse.

Contact persons: Beth McGowan,, (815) 753-1947; Kathy Ladell,, (815) 753-5290; or Dee Anna Phares,, (815) 753-0343.

Rare Books and Special Collections exhibit - Fourth floor

“The Reading Dance”

The exhibit displays books related to dance that are housed in Rare Books and Special Collections.

Contact person: Angela Schroeder,, (815) 753-8091.

Southeast Asia Collection exhibit - Fourth floor

“Architecture in Southeast Asia”

The architecture of Southeast Asia is unique and can be used as a window into the history and culture of the region. This exhibit celebrates the architecture of the Southeast Asia. The two main styles of architecture in the region are Hindu and Buddhist, which are showcased in this exhibit. This exhibit also includes maritime Islamic styles of architecture, the anthropology of Southeast Asian homes, emerging Southeast Asian architects and sustainable architecture.  This exhibit features photographs and plans from various famous Southeast Asian temples and places that are known for their exquisite architecture.  The exhibit was curated by Southeast Asia Collection student worker Daisy Dose.

Contact person: Joanna Kulma,, (815) 753-1819.

Contact Us

Dean Fred Barnhart

Phone: (815) 753-1094

Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

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