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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Marker Details


Picture:
Image courtesy of Christine L. Sipula
Location:
The marker is located on the southeast corner of Kingsley and Hale Streets in Normal.
Latitude:
40.5066
Longitude:
-88.9967
Dedication Date:
07/20/2023
Dedication By:
The McLean County Museum of History, the Town of Normal, McLean County Unit 5, and the Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:

African American Civil War Veteran Simon Malone built a home southeast of this location in the late 1860s. Malone and his wife were early black residents of Normal, joining the Esque, Fields, Barton, and Underwood families. Others would follow for work opportunities with hope for a decent life. Town founder Jesse Fell worked to develop an integrated community, and by 1870, Normal was home to more than 100 African American citizens, The Malone story–an enslaved person fighting for his freedom, moving to Normal, obtaining gainful employment, and becoming a homeowner–illustrates the challenges faced by black residents during the early development of Normal. Born enslaved in 1842 in Tippah County, Mississippi, Malone was freed in 1863 during a Union army raid. He promptly joined the Union army–fighting for the freedom of enslaved persons–and served honorably before being discharged for health reasons. Making his way to Illinois, Malone married Julia E. Dillon in June 1867. He worked as a coal miner and other odd jobs, eventually becoming a wagon driver in Normal. Appointed the town’s animal control master in 1878, he resigned after a wealthy farmer let his horses loose in town, and then prevented Malone from doing his job. Simon and Julia Malone had nine children. Julia passed away in 1895; Simon died in 1925. At his death he was one of few remaining members of the Charles E. Hovey Post of the GAR, a fraternal veterans’ organization. The Malone home was destroyed by fire in 1981.

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