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manniejacksoncenterstockphotoLewis and Clark Community College’s Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities in Edwardsville is a 2018 recipient of the Landmarks Illinois’ Project of the Year Award for Leadership.

This year marks the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards’ 25th year. Since 1994, the awards program, funded by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, has honored the people and places that preserve Illinois’ heritage and historic spaces. This project is one of nine being honored this fall.

“Celebrating the risk-takers that preserve what is most unique about our communities is a privilege, and Landmarks Illinois is proud to partner annually with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation to elevate our honorees’ achievements,” said Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois. “The nine extraordinary 2018 award recipients model what is possible with vision, perseverance and a good dose of moxie. Twenty-five years is only the beginning of the revitalization they will inspire.”

The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities project transformed the former Lincoln School, built in 1912, into a vibrant meeting space and cultural center in the Edwardsville community. It was made possible through the unique private/public partnership of Mannie Jackson, a successful local businessman, and Lewis and Clark Community College.

“It has been extremely rewarding for Lewis and Clark Community College to work in partnership with Mannie Jackson, the Lincoln School Alumni Foundation, the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission, City of Edwardsville, and others to create the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities, which focuses on research, education and public engagement at the local, national and international levels,” LCCC President Dale Chapman said.

The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities opened in late 2015 at its current location along North Main Street in Edwardsville. Currently, the facility houses the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation and Illinois Humanities, along with event spaces that are available for the public to rent.

The Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities conducts education, research and public engagement activities that promote mutual understanding and respect among people of different cultures, ethnicities and religions, while influencing positive social change through the lens of humanities leadership.

“It is wonderful to receive this recognition from Landmarks Illinois as an acknowledgment of the importance of repurposing the historic Lincoln School into a forward-looking, dynamic, national humanities center,” said Jackson, founder and namesake for the center.

Through lectures, speaker series events, international symposia, dialogue, public service opportunities and other programming, the center brings together diverse audiences, transforms attitudes and perceptions, and encourages positive action around global humanities issues.

Current projects include the creation of the Mannie Jackson Humanities Index, a quantitative and qualitative characterization of a community which is then used to identify and respond to cultural inequities; Conversations Toward a Brighter Future, a program which empowers high school and middle school students to develop projects addressing inequities they see in their own communities; the sponsorship of international symposia designed to promote important discussions surrounding cultural issues; and the hosting of world-class speaker series events annually.

“It has been our dream to have the Historic Lincoln School renovated and repurposed for education while at the same time maintaining the dignity and cultural identity of the original Lincoln School purpose,” said Herman Shaw, of the Historic Lincoln School Foundation. “Mannie Jackson and Lewis and Clark Community College have certainly achieved our dream.”

Since renovating the building, other statewide humanities organizations have found new homes in the center, including Illinois Humanities.

“Illinois Humanities is indeed fortunate to have established a downstate office location in the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities,” said Illinois Humanities Program Manager Matt Meacham. “We have already seen true advantage in program collaboration and articulation of our mission in the region.”

The Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission nominated the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities for this award.

“This recognition is an excellent example of the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission and Landmarks Illinois working together to bring statewide attention to the Edwardsville area for this exciting project,” said Casey Weeks, of the Edwardsville Historic Preservation Commission.

This year’s award recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony, which will include special programming to commemorate a quarter century of honoring people saving places in Illinois, in Chicago Sept. 15. Each will also receive a $1,000 prize.

Other recipients being honored this year include:

• Historic Residential Hotels Preservation Planning, The Carling Hotel, Chicago: Award for Advocacy
• Davis Theater, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation
• Elgin Tower Building, Elgin: Award for Adaptive Use
• Opera House Block, Plainfield: Award for Rehabilitation
• Revel Motor Row, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation
• “Save Our Story – Save Our Street,” Creation of the West Burton Place Historic District, Chicago: Award for Advocacy
• Van Leer’s Broadview Mansion, Normal: Award for Stewardship
• State Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), State Sen. Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford), State Rep. Steven Andersson (R-Geneva), and State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (D-Peoria): President’s Award for Legislator of the Year

To learn more about the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities and related programming, visit www.lc.edu/MJCH, or visit www.mjchf.org for more about the Mannie Jackson Center for the Humanities Foundation.

About Landmarks Illinois
Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships. For more information, visit www.Landmarks.org.