Students protest before the "die-in" on the UIUC campus Monday.
Hannah Meisel/WILL
December 08, 2014

Students Stage Die-In On U of I Campus

Students protest before the die-in on the UIUC campus MondayStudents on the University of Illinois campus dropped to the ground in unison today for a "die-in" rally. The demonstration was held in solidarity with protesters in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, who are mourning the non-indictments of the white police officers who killed unarmed black men this summer.

Despite the cold and damp, 200 or so protestors lay on the ground, some staying as long as 4 and a half hours -- as long as Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown's body lay in the street after he'd been shot and killed by a white police officer in August. 

The silence was in stark contrast to earlier shouts of "Black Lives Matter" and other chants. 

But then the singing began...

Led by a female student in a bright headscarf, protestors on the ground and with arms linked on the outside of the group sang, "Mama, mama can't you see what these people out here are doing to me? They killed my brother, won't let me be, someone take me out of this misery."

Brittany Darling, a senior at the U of I, says demonstrating helps her feel less ignored.

"It hurts me to see the country that I believe in really not care whether or not black children are dying," she said.

Darling's arm was linked with Marvin Johnson's, another senior at U of I. He says protesting is a first step in changing laws surrounding racial profiling.

"Because this killing, it has to stop," he said. "It has to stop."

Organizers say they have more solidarity rallies planned this month. 


Secretary of State John Kerry in October 24 file photo.
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
December 08, 2014

US Prepares For Security Risks With Torture Report

The White House says U.S. embassies are preparing for a greater security risk with the release of a long-anticipated report on the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques. 


Isham Jones with his saxophone in the 1920's.
(Archeophone Records)
December 08, 2014

Two More Grammy Noms For Champaign Record Label

man holding a saxophoneA local record label known for archival work will again be at the Grammys.  'Isham Jones: Happy', on Archeophone Records, reissues 1920 recordings of a saxophonist and Chicago band leader.

Jones was best known for writing ‘It Had To Be You’ in 1924. 

But Archeophone co-owner Richard Martin said their goal is seek out earlier, underrepresented material from the teens and early 20’s. 

“So in the case of Isham Jones, here is a band leader who is one of the most important figures in the development of the American dance band sound," he said.  "He’s celebrated from his hot jazz sides from the 1930’s – but he started in 1920.”

Martin and his wife and label co-owner, Meagan Hennessey learned Friday they’d been nominated for two Grammys - Best Historical Album, and colleague David Sager for Best Album Notes. 

"(Jones) wrote hundreds of songs, and maybe 30 of them were hits," said Sager.  "Jones said that it was just dance music.  And he was very clear, saying jazz is not necessary dance music.  All jazz is dance music, but not all dance music is jazz, and I think he understood what good, hot playing was about and incorporated it in his ensemble, but it was never considered a jazz ensemble."

Martin and Hennessey said there was a specific character to Jones’ sound in Chicago clubs.

"If you compare his arrangements with other people’s, his records sound very much ahead of their time," said Martin.  "They don’t sound like the other dance band orchestras recorded contemporarily.  And they don’t sound like his hot jazz.  It’s a very different feel."

"There are no lead vocals," said Hennessey.  "No lead coronet or trumpet – that’s the hallmark of jazz that emerges.”

These two nominations mean Archeophone and their collaborators have picked up 11 of them total – their one Grammy win was in 2006, a Best Historical Album award for “Lost Sounds – Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry.” 

The Grammys will be handed out February 8th in Los Angeles. 


Logo for the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl, featuring the Fighting Illini and Louisiana Tech Bulldog helmets.
(Graphic courtesy fightingillini.com)
December 07, 2014

Illini To Play La. Tech In Heart Of Dallas Bowl

The Fighting Illini will play the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl, December 26th at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas.


Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn shoots from behind the basket while being guarded by American guard Charlie Jones.
(AP Photo/Robin Scholz)
December 06, 2014

Illini Top American 70-55, Improve To 7-1

Malcolm Hill scored 13 points as Illinois defeated American 70-55 on Saturday.  After consecutive poor shooting performances against Baylor and Miami, the Illinois offense was back to its usual form.


A rocket carrying NASA's Orion space capsule lifts off for its first unmanned orbital test flight at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandier"
December 05, 2014

NASA: ‘There’s Your New Spacecraft, America!’

NASA's newest space vehicle, Orion, accomplished its first test flight with precision and pizazz Friday, shooting more than 3,600 miles out from Earth for a hyperfast, hot return not seen since the Apollo moon shots.  


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