Illinois History Minutes

May 11 Illinois History Minute


It’s May 11th, and on this day in 1968, a story on the front page of the University of Illinois’ student newspaper reported on efforts to raise the 500-thousand dollars needed to operate Project Five-Hundred.

That was the university’s campaign to enroll at least five-hundred African-American students for the fall semester, compared to the fewer than four hundred enrolled at the time. Clarence Shelley was brought in to oversee the campaign.

Project Five-Hundred had been one of the demands of a Black student group, made in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. Five-hundred-sixty-five Black students were enrolled at the U of I the following fall.