U-Higher honored at Illinois State History Fair finals
Posted May 9
Senior Alexandra (Lexie) Barber, one of 12 U-High students who attended the Illinois State History Fair finals held last week in Springfield, won a major award, the Old State Capitol Foundation Prize.
The prize, which comes with a cash award, is given to the high school student who writes the best research paper of the year on Illinois African American history. Lexie's paper, which began as an assignment in Cynthia Jurisson's US History class, makes a significant contribution to our understanding of early Illinois statehood, the experiences of African Americans in Illinois during the antebellum period, and the state's tragic history of institutionalized racism, despite its status as part of the Northwest Territories.
Lexie’s subject, black abolitionist, businessman, and first African American Cook County Commissioner John Jones, is an unfamiliar name to most people. However, Lexie and her teacher are working to change that; they are in conversation with city and county officials to explore ways to give Jones recognition and hope to have both a street and a day designated in his honor.