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Urbana City Council Approves Naming Courthouse After Burgess

Urbana City Council Approves Naming Courthouse After Burgess

The Urbana's City Council Monday night approved a resolution to name the city's federal courthouse after Champaign County's first African-American elected official.

James Burgess was elected state's attorney from 1972 until 1976, and he died in 1997.

Champaign County NAACP President Patricia Avery remembers Burgess well from her encounters with him at the courthouse when she worked there in the 1980's. Avery said she saw Burgess as an inspiration.

"He was really a support person back for me in 1986 when there were very few African Americans that were walking the halls of the courthouse," Avery said. "Because he took the time to stop and speak to me and always had works of encouragement for me, and I always looked up to him because I knew that of his reputation in the county, and I respected that."

The Champaign County Board voted in favor of a measure last year to name the courthouse after Burgess Now that the city of Urbana has also approved it, the resolution will have to be voted on by Congress.

Categories: Civil Rights, History