This issue offers three articles covering diverse aspects of Illinois' history. In "Illinois Germans and the Coming of the Civil War: Reshaping Ethnic Identity," Christina Bearden-White uses German-language sources to examine the complex issue of German identity in the Prairie State during the mid-nineteenth century. Ian Rocksborough-Smith's article, "'I had gone in there thinking I was going to be a cultural worker': Richard Durham, Oscar Brown, Jr. and the United Packinghouse Workers Association in Chicago," presents a fascinating analysis of the Cold War-era careers of Oscar Brown, Jr. and Richard Durham, two prominent Chicago-based African American political activists. Finally, Michael Sublett's "Downstate: Illinois' Peripheral Other," presents the etymology of that well-known Prairie State term. Employing the categories of core and periphery, which rose to prominence in social science and historical writing during the 1970s, Sublett traces the evolution and application of the downstate moniker.