LLCC Academy of Lifelong Learning hosts presentations on African-Americans in early Illinois April 2 and May 4
Public invited to free events
SPRINGFIELD — The Lincoln Land Community College Academy of Lifelong Learning (ALL) invites the public to the presentation "Slaves, Indentured Servants and Free Black Leaders in Our ‘Free' State, 1818-1860" by Kathryn Harris and Tara McClellan McAndrew. It will be offered free of charge on Tuesday, April 2, 11 a.m. at the Trutter Center on the LLCC-Springfield campus, 5250 Shepherd Road, and on Saturday, May 4, 5:30 p.m. at the Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History Museum, 1440 Monument Avenue, Springfield.
Pre-registration is requested by calling the LLCC Community Education office at 217-786-2432.
The presentations are funded under the Forgotten Illinois research grant program of Illinois Humanities and sponsored through a partnership between ALL and the museum. Volunteers from both organizations assisted the speakers with research for the presentations.
Harris will share what she has learned about Priscilla Baltimore, who has been called the "Harriet Tubman of the West." Baltimore was involved in bringing numerous runaways from the slave state of Missouri across the Mississippi River to Alton, Ill. She also fostered the establishment of the town of Brooklyn, Ill., an early African-American town that was incorporated and still in existence.
McAndrew's previous work as a historian and writer has explored slavery in Illinois. For this grant, she looked for stories of African-Americans who were enslaved or indentured in Illinois. "Their perspectives and narratives are difficult to find because they were not often allowed to learn to read or write, or to testify in court against whites for a time, and were not featured in the newspapers during that period," explains McAndrew. "They were considered second class citizens at best, and Illinois' laws ensured that status, which in effect, silenced them."
By shedding light on chapters of history that are significant despite their obscurity, Forgotten Illinois is designed to engage people throughout the state in feeding curiosity about the many facets that comprise Illinois' complex identity.
"Illinois Humanities is proud to support not-for-profit organizations that promote the importance of the humanities in private and public life. Through their efforts, Illinoisans have greater access to lifelong learning opportunities," said Illinois Humanities Executive Director Deborah Epstein. "These champions of the humanities make their communities and our whole state more vibrant."
Since 1974, Illinois Humanities' Community Grants program has welcomed grant proposals from not-for-profit groups that have a story to tell about the state or use the humanities to enrich community life.
ALL offers educational adventures to individuals 50 and older. Classes and activities are planned and presented by members who enjoy meeting friends, sharing ideas, exploring topics of interest, learning from one another and having fun. No prior educational background or professional experience is required or expected, only the love of learning. More information on ALL is available at www.llcc.edu/academy-lifelong-learning.