Why Chicago State University?
Placement of The Barack Obama Presidential Library to Chicago State University and the Far South Side offers a poetic symmetry that brings President Obama’s legacy back to the community where his life of public service began as a community organizer where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild the Roseland, West Pullman, and Riverdale neighborhoods devastated by the closing of steel plants.
Chicago State University is an institution that has a longstanding mission to provide a diverse group of students with access to quality higher education. This access prepares students to meet their educational goals and to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Chicago State University’s current mission reaffirms this distinctive goal, underscoring the institution’s dedication to social justice and leadership, and declaring a new focus on community development through entrepreneurship.
Many of Chicago State University’s students have what President Obama coined the Audacity of Hope to receive a collegiate education to transform their lives and also like President Obama hold big dreams for their American success story.
Why the Far South Side of Chicago?
President Obama ran on a platform of hope and change for America. There is no greater opportunity for becoming an anchor for economic development and a symbol of hope than at CSU on Chicago’s Far South Side. Libraries are the heart of every community. The change would be most evident and most accredited to The Barack Obama Presidential Library. Additionally, the economic development would also include parts of South Suburbs and Northern Indiana due to CSU’s proximity near I-57, which allows easy access to the Library from states like Louisiana and Tennessee.
Also, locating the library on the South Side of Chicago would reflect the personal and professional lives of the Obamas. As mentioned, President Obama worked as a community organizer and represented the residents of the South Side as a State Senator. In addition, Mrs. Obama was raised in South Shore community, which is near the CSU Campus.
What are the benefits of The Barack Obama Presidential Library to Chicago State University students and faculty?
In addition to the archives, presidential libraries often have a robust series of conferences, symposiums, speakers and internship opportunities that would be available to CSU students and faculty as members of the community, and could provide special opportunities for partnership to the larger benefit of the community. The establishment of the library on campus would pave the way for many institutes that are already linked to the university’s commitment to social justice and political action. Possible missions for these institutes would include mentoring services for youth, women, and veterans; as well as include training in community organizing; and economic and community development.
The possibilities for collaboration between the university and the presidential library can include public programming, research partnerships, and student internship opportunities. Additionally, collaborative opportunities exist to partner with engage the community associations and organizations that are in the area to work with underrepresented communities.
What else could the University bring to The Barack Obama Presidential Library?
Chicago State University has an energetic and growing intellectual atmosphere that would be a good location for a presidential library. A prime example of this is the university’s Aquaponics Lab, which has been recognized nationally as an innovative and emerging need. Furthermore, it is closely tied to the Obama’s initiatives for a more healthy society.
Furthermore, CSU has been expanding its archival collection with contributions of key political, social justice and legal leaders in the Chicago area. The Barack Obama Presidential Library would complement the University Archives growing collection, which focuses on the rich collections of prominent African Americans who have been a part of the Chicago South-side experience.
What are the benefits of The Barack Obama Presidential Library for scholars?
Presidential archives are rich and important sources of primary documents, shedding light on the person, the Presidency and national history. If the Obama Presidential Library were located on the Far South Side of Chicago, scholars from around the world would have access to legal, political, economic, sociological and historical materials of significant interest and value.