Fri, 24 January 2020
Recorded live, Friday, January 24, 2020, Dan McCollum: McCollum vs. Board of Education, 1948. Presentation and Fellowship, Dan McCollum.
Will this Supreme Court change its mind about school prayer? That particular separation of church and state, however incomplete today, would not have become law of the land had it not been for the instigation of a local mother, Vashti McCollum of Champaign, and a minister, Philip Schug, of the local Unitarian Church.
Long ago, religion was part of the public school curriculum and informally, to some extent, remains so to the present. In the 1940s, voluntary religious instruction was provided by selected local ministers for children in Grades 4-9 during school time in public school classrooms.
Keeping with the family’s values, Vashti withdrew her son James from the instruction, but found him harassed. She sued the Board of Education and it became McCollum vs. Board of Education. She was greatly assisted in pursuing the case by Rev. Schug.
This singular history and the support of Philip Schug will be described in a presentation by Vashti’s son, Dan McCollum. McCollum is a distinguished local historian and a former mayor of Champaign.