Those attending the event included luminaries in the fields of law, politics, education, civic engagement and religion. Even more impactful were the many local community members who turned out to salute the Pinchams, citing the Judge’s championing of equal rights in the law regardless of race and economic circumstance.
Dr. Wayne Watson, president of Chicago State University, opened the event and talked about the significance of the Pincham’s gift to the University, a thought echoed by noted archivist and founder of the HistoryMakers, Julianna Richardson who implored more African Americans to preserve their legacy in this manner. “You have his writings, you have his thoughts, you have his pictures, you have his art,” said Richardson, “what a meaningful legacy to us all”.
Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, spoke passionately about the Pincham’s long association with Trinity and the art donation, which will ultimately be part of the Trinity UCC Day Care and Kwame Nkrumah Academy, currently under renovation. Wright spoke of Pincham as a brilliant defense lawyer, appellate court judge, a Kappa, and as a man not ashamed to worship in public.
Pincham, the mentor and change agent was portrayed by speakers who reminisced on the lessons that the judge taught through his work as an attorney. “He deeply impacted young law students and attorneys with his convictions and passion for the law”, said attorney Lewis Myers, Jr.
Richard Martin, board member of the Athens Limestone Community Association in Athens, Alabama traveled to the event to speak of Judge Pincham’s support of a fund raising campaign currently underway to support the Trinity High School in Athens, Alabama. The school was once the American Missionary School for freed slaves and later became known as Trinity High School www.athenslca.org.
Dr. Andrea M. Pincham-Benton closed out the evening with reminiscences of her parents. She also accepted a special recognition, on behalf of the Judge, from his fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi.
“This generous gift from the Pinchams demonstrates the value they placed on education and knowing one’s heritage and family history,” said Dr. Iva Carruthers, chair of the board of trustees at the Kwame Nkrumah Academy. “The gift of art to the Trinity UCC Day Care and Kwame Nkrumah Academy is now on extended exhibit at Chicago State University and available to the entire community. The donation of legal, professional and personal papers to the CSU archives enriches the university curriculum and capacity to serve students all over the world.”
About the Pinchams
Alzata Cudalia Pincham (June 27, 1925 – April 9, 2005) was an educator, homemaker, mother of three and founder of Can-Cer-Vive (cancer suvivors) Ministry at Trinity United Church of God in Christ. R. Eugene Pincham (June 28, 1925 – April 3, 2008) was a pioneering African American civil rights attorney, judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, justice of the Appellate Court of Illinois, and ardent critic of the U.S. criminal justice system. Known for his enrapturing oratory which drew on his own personal struggles and those of other African Americans, and his tireless advocacy on behalf of those who could not speak for themselves, he was regarded as a political and legal icon, and held as a role model by both blacks and whites who came behind him. The Pinchams were married for 57 years.
About the Collection
The R. Eugene and Alzata C. Pincham collection includes papers and writings, transcripts of Judge Pincham’s trials, and preserved scrapbooks, with over 50 years of career accomplishments. The art collection features pieces from various African cultures, including masks, statues and framed contemporary paintings. The Chicago State University Department of Archives and Special Collections has also recreated Judge Pincham’s home office, featuring the principle items that the Judge used on a regular basis. Items include his desk, chair and desk accoutrements. There are also a large number of photographs and plaques that were formerly displayed in the family’s home office. The Pincham Collection is open to the public and will be on display at the CSU Library, 4th Floor. For more information visit www.library.csu.edu/
About the Chicago State University Foundation
The Chicago State University Foundation was chartered in 1967 and incorporated in 1968 as an independent, charitable organization with the sole purpose of soliciting, receiving, and administering private gifts to the Chicago State University in order to secure the University’s future as a place where promise becomes power. www.csu.edu/
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