Black ABCs Celebrate 50 Years With New Photo Series | Chicago News – Google Alerts

In the midst of cancelations and closures, an art exhibit remains open, for a limited time, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Black ABCs. Since the 1970s, these letters have been used in public schools around the country, helping students learn how to read. The photos for those learning letters were taken of children in Chicago.

We caught up with some of those children as they marked the anniversary with a new series of portraits. 

Imagine that you’re watching TV one afternoon and suddenly you see a photo of yourself as a child.

“I was watching a TV program in the ‘90s, and Tupac was interviewing in the school,” said Kevin Williams. “The letters were behind him as he gives the interview, and I’m like, ‘What?!’ These letters were in California and I was like, ‘These letters made it to the West Coast, all the way over there.’ And that’s when it came to me like, wow. Those letters do have an incredible impact on people and are still valuable to that day.”

The letters Williams is talking about are the Black ABCs. They were created in 1970 by two Chicago teachers with the help of the Society for Visual Education, a then popular developer of classroom learning material. The teachers wanted to give African American students learning materials that were more reflective of their community. The letters started in Chicago Public Schools before circulating nationally and now online on popular websites like Pinterest and Etsy.

This year, the Black ABCs are celebrating 50 years with an exhibit at the University of Chicago’s Art’s Incubator called “S is for Soul Sister.” The exhibit features portraits of Williams and some of his peers, with an audio element that allows visitors to listen to each person recall the day their photo was taken. 

The backdrop of their portraits feature an artistic representation of their very own cells, which were swabbed from their cheeks on the day of the photo shoot.

“The goal was to utilize the…

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