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  • Writer's pictureTyeal Howell

John Bry: A Trailblazer in Historic Preservation and Community Revitalization


The Urbana Black Heritage Festival Committee and the Urbana community are immensely proud to celebrate the recognition of our very own John Bry, who has recently been honored with the prestigious Mary Means Leadership Award. As the 2023 recipient of this prestigious accolade, John's unwavering dedication to the field of preservation-based economic development and his passion for community revitalization have made him an exemplary figure in the world of historic preservation and the Main Street Movement.


John has been a tireless advocate for our community's rich history and cultural heritage. As a member of the Urbana Black Heritage Festival Committee and our local historian, John has researched and written numerous stories on Urbana's black heritage. His work has contributed immensely to our understanding of our past, helping us to celebrate the legacies of the many African Americans who have shaped our community.


In addition to his work with the Urbana Black Heritage Festival, John has played an instrumental role in numerous preservation and development projects throughout Champaign County and beyond. From founding the Champaign County Preservation Alliance at just 19 years old, to coordinating Main Street programs across multiple states, John has demonstrated time and again that his passion for historic preservation knows no bounds.


As we celebrate John's remarkable achievements, we also take this opportunity to express our gratitude for his unwavering support and friendship. John's impact on our community is immeasurable, and we are incredibly fortunate to have someone of his caliber championing our cause. His recognition as the 2023 Mary Means Leadership Award recipient is a testament to his outstanding contributions to the field of historic preservation and revitalization.


John, we want to thank you for your unwavering commitment to preserving our rich history and for being a constant source of inspiration. Your leadership has made a lasting impact on countless communities, including our very own Urbana. We are proud to call you a member of our community and look forward to witnessing the many great accomplishments that are sure to follow.


Congratulations, John Bry, on your well-deserved recognition as the 2023 Mary Means Leadership Award recipient. You have truly made a difference, and we couldn't be more proud to have you as a part of our Urbana family.



With gratitude and admiration,

The Urbana Black Heritage Festival Committee and the Urbana Community

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