Rep. Weaver’s Black History Month Spotlight

Every year, it’s my goal to bring awareness to influential Black Americans from Central Illinois who greatly impacted the world we live in.

For the first installation of my #BlackHistoryMonth Spotlight, I’m going to highlight the 55 black residents of Kewanee who protested against a roller rink after a black girl was denied entry to a white 13-year-old’s birthday party, even though the black girl had been invited to the party.

On May 4, 1964, the 55 residents (45 of whom were teenagers), picketed outside the rink after the owner denied entry to the girl. The owner then closed the rink, asserting he had the right to refuse her entry since the party was a private event.

In response to this incident, the City of Kewanee’s Human Relations Commission mediated the dispute, along with the city attorney, an assistant attorney general, and the head of the Illinois Commission on Human Rights.

It was found that roller rinks were specifically covered under the new civil rights law, and that an event was not private if the purpose was to deny entry to people of color. For more information on these brave individuals and their actions, please follow this link: