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Meet Our Staff

John T. Crisp, Jr.



Springfield Illinois Resident, Father, Grandfather, Teacher, Musician and Artist who completed courses at SIU, attended Malcolm X and Kennedy King College, Ohio State University, SSU and Lincoln Land Community College. He previously organized as Art Director for The Harriet Tubman Susan B. Anthony Women’s Self Care Center and the Springfield Boys & Girls Club. In the past he illustrated for an ad agency. He produces Black History coloring and educational material specializing in portrait art, jewelry design, sculptures, drawing, painting, illustrations, posters, greeting cards and much more. He is currently a teacher with the NAACP and Springfield Urban League’s Back to School Stay in School Academy. He taught and invested in the Fifth Street home of the Prairie Art Alliance and was recognized by the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum. Mr. John T. Crisp has instructed over 80,000 students over his many years of teaching with a plethora of teaching and learning materials. He is a co-founder of the Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts & Research Center with more than 60 years of community service in the Springfield area.





Springfield Illinois resident, father, grandfather and community leader who started his career as the editor of a community newspaper. He retired from the Springfield Police office as a patrolman and with accreditation as the Director of the Police Community Relations Department at the Illinois Commission on Human Relations with law enforcement training and community organizations. He was previously a case manager with the Cincinnati Health Department supervising, assessing, and processing individual drug and alcohol dependence recovery plans. Project Director of employment for adults and teens. Group Home supervisor at the Bob Hope House. Springfield Urban League Coordinator and Project Director for the Adolescent Responsibility Program, JTPA Job Placement Coordinator, Gateway Foundation and Mentor for the Youth Services Bureau of Springfield Illinois. In addition Charles Scott has been a Program Director at the Springfield Boys and Girls Club, Faith Coalition for the Common Good Co Chair of the Education task force and supporting community services in district one eighty six after school programs.






Shatriya Smith is Springfield Illinois Resident and local community advocate. Graduate of Springfield High School in 1994. Mother, local aspiring poet laureate, spoken word proponent and paraprofessional aide. She has worked eleven years at the Hope Institute for Children and Families and three years with Springfield District 186. Shatriya is a former Precinct Committee Chairperson and Chair of a community Civic Engagement task force. Alum of the Springfield Urban League’s Adolescent Responsibility Program. She has organized Wine and Poetry, Poetry fundraisers and Poetry for local community events. She also teaches for the Garvey-Tubman Summer Arts program initiating the E.L.I project which helps students to understand self care, affirmation boards, Kwanzaa, poetry, vocabulary, photography, free book giveaway, and a host of other activities. She has been newly elected on Springfield Disabilities Commission Board in Springfield Illinois and as of 2019 accepted the vote of confidence to support the Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts and Research Center as Executive Director.

vincent june

chappelle ii

Assistant to

executive director


A native of Chicago’s south side, June has had a lifelong interest in Africana history. In addition to the board of the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, where he has worked as a docent, archivist and historical researcher since March of 2018, he is also a member of the Sangamon County Historical Society board, Illinois History Collaborative and the Sangamon Experience Advisory Committee. He is also the assistant to the executive director (Shatriya Smith) of the Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts and Research Center. He pursued a bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies at Allen University of Columbia, South Carolina in 2014, where he also studied Anthropology/Sociology and minored in Vocal Performance. As of August 24, 2020, he has joined the staff of the Illinois State Museum as a Historian and Archivist, specializing in African American history. June is the first African-American to hold a position in the history/decorative arts department at the ISM since the museum was established in 1877.

“It’s an honor to be a part of Garvey-Tubman and to assist in the imperative amplification of Black history and culture.”






Laura Thomas-Marlow works as a board member and volunteer of the Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts & Research Center. Former Peace camp facilitator and camp counselor with her college's Environmental Club. Lara has been appointed to both secretary of the board twice and one term of vice president. In conjunction as a facilitator at a student activist retreat.  Lara’s interest in nature, community organizing, her love of children and teaching prompted her to join Eco camp/ Peace camp before volunteering at Garvey-Tubman.  Participating in the center has helped her to brighten the lives of wonderful children and learn from some amazing people. Lara Thomas-Marlow has a M.A in Human Services with a concentration on child and family. Child and family therapy part 1 and 2, Ethics in therapy Illinois State University. In 1998 she took additional classes to assist in her passion with PSY 418 Learning and Cognition • PSY 452 Seminar in Advanced Developmental Psychology (infancy and childhood) • S. I U.C B..A Psychology 1 credit short of a minor in education.

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