Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum presents Illinois history conference


The 2021 Conference on Illinois History will cover famous presidents, generals and tycoons. It will also highlight groups frequently overlooked by history, including struggling homeowners during the Depression, native tribes before the arrival of white settlers, indentured servants used as slaves, homemakers trying to improve their communities and Black authors and entrepreneurs.


Featured speakers will discuss civil rights struggles that took place long before the Civil War and the impact of “Spoon River Anthology” in shaping images of small-town life. The conference also includes a tour of the Old State Capitol historic site and a behind-the-scenes look at a restoration project there.


The annual conference will take place Oct. 7-8 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Options include two-day passes, one-day passes or virtual access to each day’s keynote speech.


For more details on the schedule, prices and registration, please visit https://bit.ly/ILhistory2021.


Teachers can earn up to 16 continuing professional development units by attending the conference, which offers several sessions designed specifically for teachers, including presentations on women and minorities in Chicago, the Great Chicago Fire and using the arts to teach history.


“One of the strengths of the Conference on Illinois History is that it shines light on overlooked people and events in an accessible way. You don’t have to be a professional historian to appreciate these discussions,” said Christina Shutt, executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.


The highlighted speaker on Thursday, Oct. 7, is Kate Masur, the Northwestern University professor whose latest book is “Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction.” On Friday, it will be Jason Stacy, a professor of history and social science pedagogy at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the author of “Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town.”


Topics to be explored in panel discussions include:

  • what we know about the Peoria who lived at Starved Rock before Europeans arrived in Illinois
  • the first elected official to be expelled from the Illinois General Assembly
  • the women, including immigrants and African Americans, who worked as servants for Abraham and Mary Lincoln
  • Ku Klux Klan activities in Illinois
  • the woman, largely forgotten today, who earned a fortune and became a Republican Party leader a century ago.


The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books, documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.  

For more information, visit www.PresidentLincoln.Illinois.gov or follow the ALPLM on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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