Junior Jalynn Webb competed in the Chicago Metro History Fair last Thursday (May 5th) in Springfield with her project, Binga + Du Bois = African American Opportunities. She has been working on this project throughout the course of the school year winning at the school, regional, sectional, and city levels before competing for a chance to represent Illinois in Washington D.C. for the National History Day competition. Though Jalynn's project did not qualify for nationals, hers was one of a select few whose projects were chosen to be on display at the Abraham Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL from May 27th until June 10th for their exhibit on Student Historians.
Jalynn's project focused on the first African American banker in Chicago, Jesse Binga. His quest was to provide loans and sound housing opportunities for the African American community with Binga Bank. Additionally, he wrote for the Chicago Defender Newspaper weekly providing fiscal advice and educational opportunities for African Americans. At the same time W.E.B. Du Bois was also advocating for African American equality on the national level through his establishment of the NAACP. Du Bois became aware of Binga's success in Chicago and his goals to increase the economic knowledge of African Americans there and the two began a correspondence. Binga organized for Du Bois to come to Chicago and speak in March, 1927 at Wendell Phillips High School. The talk was a success and the friendship continued as Binga advertised and was featured in DuBois' nationally syndicated magazine, The Crisis. Both men strove to help further the social and economic opportunities of African Americans--one in Chicago and the other throughout this country. Researching these two prominent men was very rewarding! Ask Jalynn about her project and she would be delighted to fill you in with a myriad of details and interesting facts!