Radicals in the Heartland

Join us October 4–5, 2019, for a series of panels and presentations exploring the past and present of student activism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Inspired by the recently published U of I Press book, Radicals in the Heartland: The 1960s Student Protest Movement at the University of Illinois by Michael Metz, these events seek to inform and inspire!

Scroll down to see related events! RSVP's required for social events.


Friday Sessions, October 4, 9:15 am – 4:15 pm

Friday sessions organized by retired Oakland University, Michigan, political science professor Robert Justin Goldstein.
Location: Main Library Room 106

1408 W. Gregory Avenue, Urbana, IL 61874 (accessibility map)

9:15 – 10:30 Contemporary High School Activism

Organized by Penny Hanna, former U of I student, long-time Champaign-Urbana resident, and retired Urbana high school teacher, featuring students from University, Champaign Central, Centennial, and Urbana high schools.

10:45 – 11:45 The History of Academic Freedom and Free Speech Controversies at U of I before and after the 1960s

Presentation by retired Oakland University, Michigan, political science professor Robert Justin Goldstein, who covered the '60s U of I protest movement as a reporter for the Daily Illini and the Champaign-Urbana Courier.

1:00 – 2:30: Walking tour of anti-Vietnam protest sites. (See related events below for more information.)

3:00 – 4:30 The Impact of the Vietnam War Era Draft

Featuring '60s U of I undergrad Steve Schmidt (subsequently jailed for refusing induction) and U of I employee Rick Soderstrom (emigrated to Canada to avoid imprisonment) reunited for the first time since they jointly burned their draft cards outside the Illini Union in 1967. Also on the panel will be '60s U of I undergrad Patsy Engelhard, a protest/feminist activist and subsequent lawyer, whose talk will include her perception of the impact of the draft on women.

6:30 Informal gathering at Crane Alley (see related events below).
Saturday Morning Sessions, October 5, 8:45 am – Noon

Saturday sessions coordinated by the University of Illinois Press and the University Archives.
Location: Smith Memorial Hall 25

805 S. Mathews Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 (accessibility map)
8:45 – 9:00 Welcome and Introductions

9:00 – 10:30 Radicals in the Heartland: Reflections on the 1960s Protest Movement

Moderator: Michael Metz, author of Radicals in the Heartland

Featuring reflections from activists interviewed for Radicals in the Heartland: Vic Berkey, Phil Durrett, Patsy Engelhard, Vern Fein, and Vince Wu

10:45 – noon Keynote by Lae'l Hughes-Watkins

Sponsored by the Student Life and Culture Archives (University Archives).

Keynote by Lae'l Hughes-Watkins, University Archivist at the University of Maryland College Park, and co-founder of Project STAND (Student Activism Now Documented), which focuses on documenting student activism among historically marginalized communities.

Saturday Afternoon Sessions, October 5, 1:30 – 4:00 pm

Location: Main Library Room 106

1408 W. Gregory Avenue, Urbana, IL 61874 (accessibility map)
1:30 – 3:00 Documenting Student Activism: The Role of the Archive

Moderator: Ellen Swain, Student Life and Culture Archivist

Panelists: Jessica Ballard, University of Illinois Archives
     Lae'l Hughes-Watkins, University Archivist, University of Maryland
     Kurtis Ture, Department of History

3:00 – 4:00 Closing Session: Talk Back and Q&A

Questions? Contact Julie Laut, University of Illinois Press, jlaut2@illinois.edu



Thursday, October 3 Event: "1968: A Time For Every Purpose" – Guided Tour of a 1968 Exhibit at the Museum of the Grand Prairie

Time: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Location: Museum of the Grand Prairie, Lake of the Woods Forest Preserve, 950 N. Lombard St. Mahomet, IL 61853 (Location information)

Description: 1968 was an historic and turbulent year that shaped the character and culture of the United States. Among space missions, protests, civil unrest, and war, a museum opened in a forest preserve in Champaign County. Enjoy a guided tour of "1968: A Time For Every Purpose" at the historic Museum of the Grand Prairie. The tour will be led by Museum and Education Department Director, Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvey.

Contact: Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvy, (217) 586-2612, bgarvey@ccfpd.org

  Event: Tour of Richmond Family Welcome Gallery

Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm

Location: Alice Campbell Alumni Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana

Description: The Richmond Family Welcome Gallery honors the heritage and global impact of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through interactive exhibits, artifacts, images, and personal stories of alumni and students. Featuring exhibits on more than 130 topics, the Welcome Gallery includes a section on student protests throughout the University's history. Join Ryan Ross, the Welcome Gallery's curator, for an entertaining tour of Illinois' newest showplace.

Contact: Ryan Ross, Curator and Collections Manager, Richmond Family Welcome Gallery, rross2@uillinois.edu

  Event: Oral History Interviews with the University of Illinois Student Life and Culture Archives

Time: 3:00 – 5:30 pm (half-hour spots; multiple interviewers will accommodate more than one person per spot)

Location: Student Life and Culture Archives / Archives Research Center, 1707 S. Orchard St., Urbana, IL 61801

Description: Opportunity to participate in oral history interviews to be collected in the University of Illinois Archives Voices of Illinois portal under a "collection" for this group: https://www.library.illinois.edu/voices/.

Contact: Please fill out and return this form by Wednesday, September 18 to Katie Nichols, archives program office for the Archives Research Center, kanicho2@illinois.edu

Friday, October 4 Event: Walking Tour of Key Anti-Vietnam War Demonstration Sites

Time: 1:00 – 2:30 pm

Location: Begins on the South Patio (Quad side) of the Illini Union (1401 W. Green St.)

Description: Join Vic Berkey (SFS and SDS leader) and Vern Fein (MA '65) (Committee to End the War and SDS leader) for a FREE guided one-hour walking tour of some of the key sites of anti-Vietnam War demonstrations on the University of Illinois campus. Some sites may require participants to navigate steps. Contact Vern Fein for more information.

Contact: Vern Fein, vernfein@gmail.com

  Event: Social event Crane Alley

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Crane Alley, 115 W. Main St., Urbana

Description: Vince Wu, who'll be traveling to C-U for the conference from San Francisco, invites all to attend an informal schmoozing/eating/drinking/get together at Crane Alley Restaurant/Bar in downtown Urbana. Come whenever you can, stay for as long as you'd like and order whatever you want (or nothing) from the extensive menu: www.crane-alley.com. Vince urges all to come, as "Eating together is an expression of love in all cultures," and it would be great "after all these years to break bread and catch-up with each other."

Contact: Please send your food order to Vince Wu by September 30. vincewugm@gmail.com

Saturday, October 5 Event: Social event at Papa Del's

Time: 6:30 pm

Location: Papa Del's, 1201 S. Neil St., Champaign, IL

Description: Vern Fein has volunteered to arrange a dinner/social gathering on Saturday night. It'll be a great opportunity to catch up, swap stories, reminisce . . . Cost will be $10 at the door to cover pizzas; drinks to be bought at the bar.

Contact: RSVP to Vern Fein, vernfein@gmail.com

Getting Around Campus

Use this page to find directions and links to accessibility information about each location on campus: https://map.illinois.edu/view

This page provides information about parking on campus: https://parking.illinois.edu/visitors/campus-maps/campus-parking-map

Here is information about paying parking meters on campus and in Urbana and Champaign via the MobileMeter app on your smart phone: https://www.mobilemeter.us/


Travel Information to Urbana-Champaign

By air: Fly into Willard Airport in Champaign (CMI). Note: American Airlines is the only airline that currently serves Willard Airport. All flights connect through Dallas (DFW), Chicago O'Hare (ORD), or Charlotte, NC (CLT).

Or, fly into O'Hare (ORD) and take the Amtrak or a shuttle bus to Urbana-Champaign. Information on shuttles to and from O'Hare can be found here. Peoria Charter serves Champaign/Urbana and the U of I campus.

By train: Travel by Amtrak to the Champaign Train Station (CHM). There are three trains from Chicago per day.


Hotel Information

Hotels within walking distance or a short drive from campus:

•   Illini Union Hotel – 1401 W. Green St., Urbana (inside the Illini Union)
•   TownePlace Suites Champaign Urbana/Campustown – 603 S. Sixth Street, Champaign
•   I Hotel – 1900 S. First Street, Champaign
•   Hyatt Place Champaign/Urbana – 217 N. Neil Street, Champaign
•   Hampton Inn Champaign/Urbana – 1200 W. University Ave, Urbana

Download the Radical Illini Agenda as a PDF document