In 1957, the Peoria Journal Star embarked on an ambitious eight-part series on black life in Peoria.

Written by African-American journalist Bill Conver, the series aimed to illuminate all aspects of “the Negro in Peoria,” including “where he works, what he does, how he is received, and the opportunities he finds in Peoria.”

In this introduction to the series, Conver put the recent growth of Peoria’s black population in a national and historical context.