Browse Exhibits (2 total)

Family

Velma Bell Hamilton Family.jpg

Family ties run deep and wide within the Black community of Beloit. Family is not exclusively forged through blood ties, but also through the experience of Beloit, in schools, sports, and local get-togethers. Oral histories and depictions of family life in photo albums help reveal the importance of family to the recently migrated Black community in Beloit.

This exhibit was created by Beloit College Students Eva Laun-Smith (2021), George Jacobsen (2019), and Rosebud Johnson (2020)

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Community

Adiyah Hassan - Quest Club members 1955.jpg

"My heart will always be in Beloit."

—David Pride, History Harvest interviewee and son of Rev. U.S. Pride of the original New Zion Baptist Church of Beloit

The migration of Black families to Beloit from the South transformed the community. Redlining, the systematic process of blocking access of locations and services to families because of race or income, was common in and around Beloit and other northern cities populated throughout the Great Migration. This process created racial segregation in the neighborhoods around Beloit.

Many families considered housing to be safer in Beloit than where they or their relatives lived in the South. The Fairbanks Flats on the west side of Beloit had running water, a bathroom, and electricity, unlike many areas of the South where Black families lived before. The Black community of Beloit also created some of its own sports teams and community groups where community members could relax and have fun.

Education remained an integral value to the Black community of Beloit. Black migrants often said that schools for Black children in the South had fewer resources than ones further north, which contributed to the decision for families to move to cities like Beloit. Some southern schools even closed during planting season, displaying the grip the South’s tenant farming legacy still had on its Black population.

This exhibit was created by Beloit College students Fiona Cismesia'21, Gray Denney'20, and Meg Kulikowski'21.

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