By TONIA HILL
A new research institute at the DuSable Museum of African American, History, 760 E. 56th Pl., will open this month. Dr. Charles V. Hamilton, a political scientist, activist and the W.S. Sayre Professor Emeritus of Government and Political Science at Columbia University, established the research institute.
Hamilton’s donation represents one of the largest individual gifts in the museum’s history.
The research institute will be known as “The Drs. Charles V. and Dona C. Hamilton Institute for Research and Civic Involvement at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The museum will open the Hamilton Institute’s Reading Room on Monday, Feb. 19 with a special dedication event.
“This is a game changer for the DuSable Museum,” said Perri Irmer, President and CEO of the Dusable in a written statement. “The over-arching mission of this institution is the education of all people through African American history, art and culture. The creation of the Hamilton Institute gives concrete form to this education mission, allowing us to present a commitment to a superior level of scholarly activity and engagement.
The Hamilton Institute will provide a wide array of opportunities for visitors to view its non-circulating reference collection, which will include a special collection of rare books, to research the museum archives and to attend scholarly lectures and history and policy discussions.
The Institute’s Reading Room will include educators, authors, photo researchers, independent scholars, journalists, students, historians, and community members. Museum guests will be allowed access to the museum’s archives that includes manuscripts, books and journals, photographs, slides and other printed materials.
“I was interested in combining academic studies with political action,” said Dr. Charles V. Hamilton, in a written statement. “My concern was not only to profess but to participate. I see the DuSable Museum as a repository of study of those efforts; and people will come look at them with those eyes; that people will see someone who not just wrote books but participated.”
Hamilton was born in Oklahoma in the 1920s but was raised on the South Side of Chicago he was educated at Forrestville Elementary School. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1951 and earned a master’s degree in 1957 from the University of Chicago, where he earned a Ph.D. in 1964. He has held faculty positions at Rutgers University, Lincoln University and Roosevelt University before joining the Columbia University faculty in 1969. He became one of the first African Americans to hold an academic chair at an Ivy League university. He has published a number of books his most notable work is “Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America.”
“When President Truman integrated the military (1948), Hamilton served for a year. A chronicler of the Civil Rights Movement, he was a young adult at the time of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56),” said the DuSable in a written statement. “He lived through the Jim Crow era and witnessed the political transformation that made possible the election of Black officials in the South. Watching the unfolding of civil rights history informed and enriched his scholarship as he created a role for himself as an intellectual amongst activists.”
The Institute’s Reading Room will be open by appointment only, Tuesday through Saturday.
The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.