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Beverly Helm-Renfro - Obama in Illinois

Beverly Helm-Renfro grew up in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of a prominent African-American who served for decades as the Secretary of State's photographer, where he took photos of the leading politicians of Illinois and a steady stream of notable Americans visiting the state capital. Beverly worked as an administrative assistant to two Illinois state senators, for Fred Smith from 1973 to 1978, and many years later for Barack Obama from 2001 to 2004, when he served in the Illinois State Senate.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Legislative Asst. to State Senator Barack Obama

Transcript

Full Interview


Photos

Caption

State Senator Barack Obama and Beverly at fundraiser for Beverly’s run for the Springfield/District 186 School Board, circa 2002.

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

circa 2002

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

February 10th, 2007, the day the United States Senator Barack Obama announced his run for President of the United States on the steps of the Old State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his “House Divided” speech. Beverly recounts their conversation at the historic event. “Barack said, “You came” and Beverly replied, “Where do you think I was to be? I told you when you won the U.S. Senate race that it was just the beginning.” Then, Michele spotted me and she wanted to know how things were going for me and I told her, fine. Barack always told me to treat people the way I wanted to be treated, and I told him that was the way I was raised. I cannot be any other way.”

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

February 10th, 2007

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator

Caption

‘Meet and Greet for Barack Obama the night before Democratic Day at the Illinois State Fair in August, 2004. He became the junior Senator from the State of Illinois. From left to right are Maurice Renfro (Beverly’s future husband), Senator Obama, Brandis Stokes and Beverly.

Where:

Unknown

When:

August 2004

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

The official opening of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library on July 5, 2005. “I asked Barack to sign the picture and date it, only,” wrote Beverly. “I told him it would be worth a lot of money one day. He laughed and said, ‘you wouldn’t sell my picture would you?’”

Where:

Springfield, IL

When:

July 5, 2005

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo



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