Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Donates Archives to UIC

The Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, a group formed 36 years ago when the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Gregg v. Georgia reinstated the death penalty, has donated its archives to the UIC Library.

The records consist of 15 linear feet of internal notes, meeting minutes, correspondence, photographs and annual reports detailing the state of capital punishment over the years.

“This collection shows how much a small group of people can accomplish when they’re passionate about an issue,” says Peggy Glowacki, UIC archival operations and reference specialist.

The coalition reached its initial goal last January, when Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 3539 to abolish the death penalty. The group had helped bring about former Gov. George Ryan’s moratorium on executions in 2000, which led to a decision in 2003 to transfer all prisoners on death row to life imprisonment.

Pat McAnany, a board member and former president of the coalition who taught criminal justice at UIC for nearly 30 years, said the coalition will continue its work.

The coalition “will stay around as an organization through about 2014, when there is another changing of the guard in Springfield, and monitor political developments,” she said. Members also will continue to speak at forums and write letters to the media.

McAnany said the archives were appropriate for the library’s Special Collections, which focus on Chicago history, because the coalition was established by Chicagoans pursuing a statewide reform.

The coalition will dedicate its donation with a public reception June 26 at 5:30 p.m. at the UIC Richard J. Daley Library, 801 S. Morgan St. Speakers will include abolition bill sponsors Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Karen Yarbrough.

[Note: Photo from collection for download at http://newsphoto.lib.uic.edu/v/ICADP/