Library to host black history exhibit
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[February 02, 2012]
Lincoln Public Library will host a
black history exhibit, "Allen Chapel and Literary Lincoln, Ill.,"
from Feb. 1 to 29, during Black History Month.
Allen Chapel, located at 910 Broadway, is one of the oldest
continuously used black churches in the area. The congregation was
formed in 1868, and the present building was erected in 1880.
small brick structure is the only church building in Logan County
that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was
named to the register in 2004, due in great part to the many
services it has provided to the black community throughout its many
years of existence.
The exhibit will explore Allen Chapel's connections to acclaimed
black author Langston Hughes, literary giant William Maxwell and Dr.
William Dyer, one of the first black surgeons of World War I
Hughes was a member of the church during the short but very
formative time he and his mother lived in Lincoln. He wrote his
first poem as an eighth-grader at Central School. Since the erection
of the new Central School building several years ago, Allen Chapel
is the community's last building with an actual link to the famous
author and poet.
William Maxwell attended a service at the church with his
father's housekeeper, Laura Dyer, and several of his books contain
characters he created after researching the Dyer family. "Billie
Dyer and Other Stories," features the life of Dr. William Dyer.
Dr. Dyer, who was a member of Allen Chapel, made his mark as one
of the first black military surgeons and continued his practice in
Kansas City following his military service. He was the first black
in Lincoln to join the Army when World War I began. The exhibit will
feature excerpts from his military diary, along with a letter
written to friends in the 1950s. Lincoln Public Library has a
complete copy of Dr. Dyer's diary, although it will not be a part of
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The exhibit will include books by Hughes and Maxwell, photographs
and other information about Allen Chapel, and excerpts from the
website of former Lincolnite Leigh Henson regarding the history of
Lincoln's black community.
Free handouts listing Hughes' and Maxwell's books that are
available at Lincoln Public Library will also be available.
For additional information, contact Nancy Saul at 732-1057.
The "Allen Chapel and Literary Lincoln, Ill." exhibit will be
open in the Lincoln Public Library Annex, behind the Carnegie
Building, 725 Pekin St., during regular library hours. A second
Black History Month exhibit will be set up in the children's
section. The Annex is handicapped-accessible.
[Text from file received from
Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of