The ISHS’s Illinois bicentennial year project to place a framed,  30"...



The ISHS’s Illinois bicentennial year project to place a framed,  30" x 40" portrait of Abraham Lincoln in all 102 county courthouses is almost finished.
State mineral helped end World War II

State mineral helped end World War...

The Aluminum Ore Company of Rosiclare is shown in the early 1940s.

State mineral helped end World War II

State mineral helped end World War II

The Aluminum Ore Company of Rosiclare is shown in the early 1940s.
The Bates Motel: A case study in the importance of the ordinary

The Bates Motel: A case study in...

Motels offered security and comfort in a domestic style familiar to...

The Bates Motel: A case study in the importance of the ordinary

The Bates Motel: A case study in the importance of the ordinary

Motels offered security and comfort in a domestic style familiar to post-war auto travelers.


Today in history


Anna's incorporation as a city in Union County is recorded. It was first incorporated February 16, 1865. When the town was laid out in 1853, it was one of many Illinois towns along the Illinois Central Railroad. The site was owned by Winston Davie, cou

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Historical Markers

Since 1934, the Illinois State Historical Society has erected more than 500 historical markers statewide. Subjects of historical significance to Illinois are co-sponsored by local organizations and supporters. The Illinois State Historical Society coordinates the placement and management of historical markers throughout the state.

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Volume 108 - Number 3-4 - Fall/Winter 2015

  • 13 January 2016
  • Author: Shaggy
  • Number of views: 5441
Volume 108 - Number 3-4 - Fall/Winter 2015
IN 1963, DURING THE HEIGHT of the Civil War centennial, the Illinois State Historical Society published a special issue of its journal to commemorate and celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The articles in the issue covered a wide range of topics related to African American history in Illinois up to the Civil War era. Although the ISHS had published articles on Illinois African American history through the years, a special issue devoted exclusively to the top was deemed appropriate.
As the sesquicentennial of both the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment draws to a close, it is no less appropriate to devote a special issue of this journal to African American history in Illinois. In hist second inaugural address Lincoln said that all knew that slavery somehow was the cause of the Civil War. To commemorate and remember the war without discussing slavery and the broader questions of African American citizenship and participation in society would be wrong. And so, I am happy to present six outstanding articles covering a variety of topics on Illinois African American history.


In "The Early African American Settlement of Chicago, 1833-1870," Christopher Robert Reed offers an analysis on the establishment of an African American community in Chicago. In a comprehensive review Reed touches on all aspects of the growing community including its social, religious, educational, economic and political spheres and he highlights the lives of some of the individuals and institutions that shaped that community.

In "The 1847 Illinois Constitutional Convention and Persons of Color," Jerome B. Meites reviews how white delegates dealt with African Americans in Illinois while drafting the state's 1848 constitution. Although abolitionists made their presence felt, the ultimate result of the convention with regards to African Americans was the passage of the 1853 Black Law, a discriminatory piece of legislation that prohibited free blacks from immigrating to Illinois. Meites concludes by saying that Illinois, a northern state known as the "Land of Lincoln and Liberty Too," was, in fact, not a bastion of liberty and the 1848 constitution reflected this.

In "Antebellum Struggle for Citizenship," Roger D. Bridges discusses not only the reaction in the African American community to the 1847 convention and the enactment of the 1853 Black Law but also the community's effort at opposing other discriminatory black laws. Illinois African Americans, denied the right to vote and under constant threat under the black laws and the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, actively worked for their rights before the Civil War. Their struggle for citizenship took several forms including petitioning the general assembly, conducting mass meetings, investigation colonization plans and participating in nation and state colored conventions.

In "We Are Here Assembled: Illinois Colored Conventions, 1853-1873," Victoria L. Harrison goes into greater depth on Illinois colored conventions. Harrison reviews the changing nature of five state conventions held between 1853 abd 1873 and ties them in to the national convention movement and to both national and state events. In the end, however, she questions how effective the conventions were as agents for change.

In "I Earn By My Own Labor Day To Day":African American Women's Activism in the Wartime Midwest, Jennifer discusses the activism of African American women in Illinois and the Midwest by highlighting their efforts during the Civil War, Although they were constrained at the time by both their race and their sex, Harbour concludes, "black women had almost no political or socioeconomic power, so the instead used what they did have access to-their activist culture-in order to conduct emancipation".

In "To Protect the Rights of the White Race": Illinois Republican Racial Politics in the 1860 Campaign and the Twenty Second General Assembly, Sally Heinzel argues that opposition to slavery or its expansion was different than supporting full equality. She states that the majority of Illinois Republicans on the eve of the Civil War preferred not to alter the status of African Americans in Illinois.

Book Reviews

Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis. By Michael Todd Landis
Reviewed by: Stephen L. Hansen

Collaborators for Emancipation: Abraham Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy. By William F. Moore and Jane Ann Moore
Reviewed by: Robert McColley

Lincoln & Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages. Ed. by Lucas E. Morel
Reviewed by: Patricia Ann Owens

Lincoln and the War's End. By John C. Baugh
Reviewed by: Wallace Dean Draper

Lincoln's Assassination. By Edward Steers, Jr.
Reviewed by: Sean A. Scott

The True Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography. By Betty Boles Edison
Reviewed by: Matthew Toland

The Devils to Pay. John Buford at Gettysburg. A History and Walking Tour. By Eric J. Wittenberg
Reviewed by: Samuel Blackwell

Stonewall's Prussian Mapmaker: The Journals of Captain Oscar Hinrichs. Ed. by Richard Brady Williams
Reviewed by: Greg Bailey

Spring 1865: The Closing Campaigns of the Civil War. By Perry D. Jamieson
Reviewed by: Larry T. Balsamo

After Appomattoc: Military Occupation and the Ends of War. By Gregory P Downs
Reviewed by: Brent M.S. Campney

Music Along the Rapidan: Civil War Soldier, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters, Virginia. By James A. Davis
Reviewed by: Catherine Bateson

Unione and States' Rights: A History and Interpretation of Interposition, Nullification, and Secession 150 Years After Sumter. Ed. by Neil H. Cogan
Reviewed by: John G. Grove


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