Harold Washington Library Free Exhibit. The CPL presents The Fellowship of Rev. Clay Evans Exhibit
Where: Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State Street, Special Collections Exhibit Hall on the 9th floor.
When: Exhibit runs through March 5, 2018. Gallery talks
Pastor, preacher, civil rights activist, community bridge-builder and gospel recording artist: This exhibit explores the life of the Rev. Clay Evans.
The exhibit draws on and coincides with the opening of the Rev. Clay Evans Archive in Special Collections at Harold Washington Library Center. It features a combination of biographical and church documents, photographs, artifacts and a 1979 broadcast of What a Fellowship Hour.
Under Rev. Evans’ dynamic leadership, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church grew from five members in 1950 to become one of the most significant churches in Chicago. From this base, Rev. Evans’ ministry reached into the larger community with the What a Fellowship Hour broadcasts, gospel choir performances and engagement with numerous religious, community and civil rights organizations such as the African American Religious Connection, the Broadcast Ministers’ Alliance and Operation PUSH.
The Rev. Clay Evans Archives span his 50 years of pastoral leadership at Chicago’s Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church that he founded in 1950, and beyond his retirement in 2000. His ministry reached into the community with broadcasts, Gospel choir performances, the Civil Rights Movement and organizations such as Operation PUSH. The collections include church documents, photographs, artifacts and audio-visual broadcasts and interviews.
Born June 23, 1925 in Brownsville, Tennessee, Rev. Clay Evans left the Jim Crow South in 1945 to seek a better life in Chicago.
Rev. Clay Evans was called to the Ministry in 1946. He received his Christian training from the Chicago Baptist Institute and the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Evans began his church on September 10, 1950.
In 1954, Fellowship purchased a building at 46th and State Streets that “was a garage, but we turned it into a cathedral.”
By 1959, Fellowship had outgrown the space moved to a former Lutheran Church at 45th Street and Princeton Avenue.
In 1963 Fellowship broke ground on a new building next door but the new church abruptly came to a halt in 1966 when the loans and permits for his new church were cancelled. For 7 years, the steel framework would bear witness to his defiance of the power brokers.
With Rev. Jesse Jackson’s help a new building loan was approved December 18, 1971.
From Fellowship, Rev. Evans launched the ministerial careers of more than 90 people, including Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1968 and Mother Consuella York in 1954.
After 50 years of leadership, Rev. Evans retired in 2000 and passed the mantle to Rev. Charles Jenkins, his personally chosen successor. Nevertheless, an active schedule of ministry and community events continued after this date.
About the Chicago Public Library
1871: After the Chicago Fire, Thomas Hughes, a prominent member of British Parliament and children’s author who had visited Chicago in 1870 supports a plan to donate more than 8,000 books to Chicago. Chicago citizens petition for a free public library. Previous libraries were private membership-only organizations. The Children’s Library at Harold Washington Library Center is named after Thomas Hughes
1872: The Illinois Library Act of 1872, authorized cities to establish tax-supported libraries throughout the state. In April, the City Council passed an ordinance proclaiming the establishment of Chicago Public Library.
1873: The Chicago Public Library opens at the southeast corner of LaSalle and Adams streets in a circular water tank that survived the fire. The library moved several times during its first 24 years, including an 11-years on the fourth floor of City Hall.
1874: A delivery station system of outposts served Chicago’s neighborhoods mostly in stores. Patrons could call for a book, which was delivered by horse-drawn carriage to the outpost nearest their home. By the early 1900s deposit stations accounted for two-thirds of the circulation of the Chicago Public Library.
1897: October 11, the Central Library, on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Randolph streets, opens in what is now the Chicago Cultural Center. The building cost about $2 million, was designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge. The building was designed to be practically incombustible. Preston Bradley Hall, contains a dome and hanging lamps by Tiffany Glass.
1904: Isabella N. Blackstone donates funds to construct the first branch library, located in the Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods. The library was modeled after the famous Erechtheion on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
1916: Chief Librarian Henry E. Legler presented a library plan calling for an network of neighborhood library locations to bring library service within the walking distance for every person in Chicago. The plan called for several regional libraries with more comprehensive collections. The first regional library, the Henry E. Legler Regional Library, opened in 1920 in West Garfield Park.
1918: Carl B. Roden, who began work as a library page in 1886, was appointed chief librarian. Over 32 years (1918-1950) he increased staff, holdings, circulation and total expenditures exponentially. The Carl B. Roden Branch in the Norwood Park neighborhood, where he resided, is named in his honor.
1960s: CPL added a significant number of neighborhood branch libraries, via new construction or leasing storefronts or reading rooms. By 1985, there were 76 branches.
1991: The new main library the Harold Washington Library Center opened October 7.
1995: Chicago Public Library established its website.
1996: A three-year, $65 million capital improvement plan begins building or renovating 52 neighborhood libraries.
2000: $44 million in neighborhood library construction begins.