Untold Stories

On January 16, the Community Foundation of Macon County (CFMC) announced Untold Stories, a $120,000 community engagement program to bring to life and share stories of underrepresented people in Macon County. The CFMC is one of only three Illinois foundations receiving matching grant funds from The Lumpkin Family Foundation. Decatur Earthmover Credit Union and Healing Illinois also provided funding for the Untold Stories program.

The Untold Stories program’s vision is to promote a fuller understanding of history as a contribution to conversations about racial equity and social justice. This year-long program will focus on partnering with local historical/genealogical societies, libraries, schools, universities, museums, nonprofits, and churches to acknowledge and uncover untold history, support partnerships and build relationships, and develop understanding through education.

The first Untold Stories grant was awarded to Mt. Zion High School teacher Rich Hansen on Feb. 13. A $20,000 grant supports a class project for Mr. Hansen’s African American history class to research, design and build a new exhibit, or exhibits, for community display.

In June, Untold Stories grants supported two Juneteenth Celebrations: $8,000 to the Decatur Parks Foundation for the event at the Devon; and $5,000 to the African-American Cultural & Genealogical Society of Illinois for their events at the Decatur Club and Central Park.

In July, Untold Stories will open a $30,000 discretionary grant supporting educators who are actively promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, or those who seek to broaden DEI outreach, in their classrooms and schools.

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Great Migration Video Project

Untold Stories committee member Benny Smith, Jr., owner The Suite 703, is conducting interviews for a special Untold Stories video production on the Great Migration to Decatur. The Great Migration was one of the largest movements of people in United States history. Approximately six million Black people moved from the American South to Northern, Midwestern, and Western states roughly from the 1910s until the 1970s.

Please contact Benny at b.smith@thesuite704.com if you were part of the Great Migration, or had relatives who were, and would like to be interviewed to share your families history.

Untold Stories Program Goals:

  • Acknowledge and uncover untold history
  • Support partnerships and build relationships
  • Develop understanding through education

Untold Stories Advisory Committee:

  • Chairwoman, Julia Roundtree Livingston, jlivingston0815@gmail.com
  • Natalie Beck, CFMC staff liaison
  • Steve Grohne
  • Justin Hampton
  • Shelith Hansbro
  • Pastor Matt Samuels
  • Benny Smith, Jr.
  • Mark Sorensen
  • Stacey Young