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Question of the day

Monday, Mar 27, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Bill Flick

Question: A difference in the times? When Illinois State Normal University admitted its first two Black children to its lab school in 1877, how did the Illinois governor react?

Answer: Aghast, saying the state’s universities could not condone such integration, Gov. Shelby M. Cullom wanted to close the university. Fortunately, leveler heads prevailed.

* The Question: What is your own “favorite” bit of ignominious Illinois history?

       

58 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:14 pm:

    The 1908 Springfield Race Riot that resulted in the founding of the NAACP.

    Has to be one of the top items on any list.


  2. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:24 pm:

    Don’t have anything to offer, but eager to see responses. Bring it on history buffs.


  3. - H-W - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:25 pm:

    N. Dwight Harris wrote a book in 1904, entitled, “The History of Negro Servitude in Illinois and of the Slavery Agitation in That State: 1719-1864.”

    There is a wealth of information found in that book, almost all of which, my students from Illinois have never been taught.

    My favorite lesson from that book revolves around the social dynamics of the 1823 call for a Constitutional Convention, so as to write slavery INTO the Illinois Constitution. One third of the state (only men could vote) favored slavery, one-third opposed, and one-third just wanted to avoid the discussion.

    The legislature called a vote and it passed. The senate called a vote and it failed. The Senate removed a senator, replaced him, and then voted again, IN FAVOR of a constitutional convention.

    When it got to the people, hardly anyone voted in favor.

    Why so few, if one-third favored including slavery? I like to think it is because of women. Women attended church in those days, while men waited outside church. Preachers preached that slavery was an abomination to God. Women went home and told their men, ‘I may not be able to vote, but if you vote in favor of slavery, it will be a cold day …. ‘

    That last part, I made up. But I believe it is probably a truism of the time, and of the rise of abolitionist movement in Illinois at the time (cf., Rev. Elijah Lovejoy).


  4. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:29 pm:

    George Ryan’s moratorium on the death penalty was motivated by the number of innocent people who were sentenced to death as a consequence of our police torturing confessions out of people along with other corruption. More “convicted killers” were exonerated than were actually executed.

    He was still very much pro-death penalty at the time he took action.


  5. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:31 pm:

    Raid on Fred Hampton. But there are lots to choose from


  6. - Huh? - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:40 pm:

    Blago getting hauled away in handcuffs.


  7. - don the legend - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:43 pm:

    1986: LaRouches, Adlai Stevenson and the Solidarity party.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:53 pm:

    Murder of Mormon leaders Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum the Mormon Wars and Mormon Exodus and killing of Elijah Lovejoy and smashing of his anti slavery paper


  9. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 12:54 pm:

    The East Saint Louis Massacre of 1917 which was incredibly deadly.

    And, of course, George Lincoln Rockwell was born in Bloomington.


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:04 pm:

    Not the worst thing, but little known. The fact that the Peoria Journal Star regularly published letters to the editor from Matthew Hale, the nazi, which helped build his following


  11. - Old Shepherd - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:06 pm:

    1. 1909 lynching, burning, and public display of Will James in Cairo

    2. 1922 Herrin Massacre in Williamson County


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:07 pm:

    Vrdolyak becoming a Republican and then actually “leading” Republicans.


  13. - thisjustinagain - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:08 pm:

    Convicted Gov. Otto Kerner famously wondering why he couldn’t deduct bribes on his taxes because that’s how Illinois did business.


  14. - Steve Rogers - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:11 pm:

    While there are a lot of inventions that came from Illinois, perhaps most little known is that the dishwasher was invented in Shelbyville and exhibited at the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition.


  15. - Keyrock - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:15 pm:

    The Chicago race riot of 1919.


  16. - someonehastosayit - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:15 pm:

    Abolitionist newspaper publisher Elijah Lovejoy having his printing press tossed into the Mississippi River and then killed by a lynch mob.


  17. - ArchPundit - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:15 pm:

    —Matthew Hale, the nazi, which helped build his following

    Hale coming up always reminds me of Bill Dennis running into him at a gas station in East Peoria.


  18. - Rabid - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:19 pm:

    The seizure of the last Indian reservation shabbona


  19. - Levois - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:21 pm:

    William Hale Thompson who was the last GOP mayor of Chicago was known as Al Capone’s Mayor. He wanted to fight King George of England and was pro-German which wasn’t great because of WW1. He also debated a rat….What a character!!!


  20. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:23 pm:

    Far from the top in ignominy, but future lawman and western hero Wyatt Earp working as a pimp and bouncer in a Peoria house of ill repute.


  21. - p9r3 - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:24 pm:

    Myra Blackwell denied entry to the Illinois bar by the Illinois and U.S. Supreme courts because she was a woman. Said she couldn’t enter into contracts to represent clients because she was married.


  22. - Earl - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:25 pm:

    Richie Daley go to work for the law firm that negotiated the parking meter “deal” for the buyers.


  23. - yinn - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:26 pm:

    ==Why so few, if one-third favored including slavery? I like to think it is because of women.==

    I agree. The decades before the war were quite active, not only with Abolition activity but also women’s suffrage, and prison and asylum reform, as well as temperance. Women were prominent in all these reform movements.


  24. - Al - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:28 pm:

    The native Americans used to make salt from the Springs that feed the Saline River. The French aided their efforts by selling them metal cauldrons. A trench was dug and filled with dry wood and the pots of water would boil off leaving this great salt. It was the source of salt for a two hundred mile radius. When Illinois became a Territory Federal troops rode in and pushed the Indians out. A Scotchman or irish-scotchman was given the salt concession and brought slaves from Kentucky to work it.

    The Hutsonville massacre of 1812. Native Americans burned a few families alive in their cabins. This occurred in Crawford county on the Wabash river and there is a rebuilt cabin and memorial. Mrs. Hutson and her seven children were all burned alive. Hence the local town named in their memory.


  25. - Stuck in Celliniland - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:29 pm:

    ==William Hale Thompson who was the last GOP mayor of Chicago was known as Al Capone’s Mayor. He wanted to fight King George of England==

    Sounds like Big Bill was the Lyndon LaRouche of the 1920s.


  26. - Rich Miller - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:30 pm:

    ===and brought slaves from Kentucky to work it===

    Those salt works were at one time something like a third to a half of all state revenues.


  27. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:37 pm:

    Springfield was the starting point for The Donner Party.


  28. - Amurica - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:49 pm:

    Even though laws were broken in an attempt at redemption, the saving of St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud orphanage.


  29. - cermak_rd - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:49 pm:

    Didn’t Big Bill once threaten to punch King George (assumedly V) in the face?


  30. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:53 pm:

    cermak_rd

    Yes, he did.


  31. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 1:56 pm:

    The post war descent of East St Louis into poverty and squalor.


  32. - Ducky LaMoore - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

    Illinois’s first capitol is now located west of the Mississippi River and is only accessible via Missouri.


  33. - Nothing Could Be Done. - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:19 pm:

    The Springfield Bedmaking Supply Shortage of 1837.

    https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/did-abraham-lincolns-bromance-alter-course-american-history-180962203/


  34. - Blues Fan - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:24 pm:

    The charter for the land that is now the city of Chicago as well as most of Cook county was done by Abraham Lincoln in Palestine, Illinois - - in Crawford county - - in what many of you refer to as the Eastern Bloc and Bailey turf.
    If this were to come up now . . . well, maybe there would be the state of Chicago and the state of Illinois.


  35. - 47th Ward - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:29 pm:

    Who can forget the murder of Mormon leader Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois in 1844?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Joseph_Smith


  36. - Jaguar - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:36 pm:

    Lovejoy being already mentioned, I was going to mention the attempt to make Illinois a slave state in 1824. In looking that up I learned something I didn’t know until today. There were 34 no votes to admit Illinois to the union in 1818. They came from anti-slavery congressmen who felt the proposed state constitution didn’t go far enough to ban slavery.


  37. - Rabid - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:37 pm:

    Dead Lincoln moved 17 times opened 5 , 36 years for burial


  38. - Vote Quimby - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:43 pm:

    Paul Simon losing the 1972 gubernatorial primary… he did ok for himself after, but I wonder how the state would have fared had he won.


  39. - Give Me A Break - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:49 pm:

    The Saturday Evening Post once wrote about Springfield:

    “Gambling and prostitution blossom like the rose in Springfield. Within the city limits and lining the periphery of the town and county there is what one of the first citizens describes, with inverse pride, as probably the largest collection of taverns, joints, and low dives functioning in any city of less than 100,000 population in the country.”

    So there’s that.


  40. - City Guy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:51 pm:

    thisjustinagain - It wasn’t Gov. Kerner who tried to deduct a bribe. It is a complicated story but it was Marjorie Everett, who owned Arlington, who tried to make the deduction. It is a complex story and many, including myself, have serious questions on if Kerner actually did anything illegal.


  41. - lake county democrat - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 2:53 pm:

    DuPage Saint took my thought: the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother in Nauvoo. I think the state even issued a formal apology a decade or so ago.


  42. - Anyone Remember - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 3:15 pm:

    Vote Quimby -

    No John Filan, and a far different career path for Pat Quinn.


  43. - Langhorne - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 3:19 pm:

    Ignominious – – 1. That it took legislative budgetary pressure to lforce the University of Illinois Law school to admit blacks. And it wasn’t that long ago.

    Ignominious – – 2. That it took legislative coaxing, in the form of creative use of several General assembly scholarships, to deliver a championship backfield to a new U of I football coach. Before then, blacks could play, but we’re ineligible for scholarships. I think the high school team may have been lane tech. Thereafter, blacks got regular scholarships.


  44. - Pyrman - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 3:27 pm:

    One of the first acts of the first General Assembly of Illinois was to grant Wiggins Ferry Co. a perpetual monopoly for all trade between East St Louis and St Louis. The monopoly still exists today and is owned by Terminal Railroad.


  45. - Downstate History - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:03 pm:

    Illinois has produced many labor leaders but Rep. Reuben Soderstrom is one of the most fascinating out of Streator IL. His legislative career created many pro-worker programs like worker’s compensation, pension, one day of rest, etc. He later was the president of the AFL-CIO when the AFL and CIO merged. There is a statute of Reuben outside the AFLCIO on 2nd St. in Springfield now.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuben_G._Soderstrom


  46. - Bond Guy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:09 pm:

    I have to go with 1) The Senate election of 1858, featuring the Lincoln-Douglass debates that brought Abraham Lincoln to national prominence, 2) Enrico Fermi creating a working atomic pile nuclear reactor at U. of C. in 1943(?) and 3) Since it’s the 20th anniversary, Richard M. Daley ordering the bulldozing of Meigs Field in the middle of the night.


  47. - Altgeld Fan - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:17 pm:

    The kangaroo court trial of the Haymarket Defendants that would not now and did not then satisfy any standards of fairness.


  48. - KeepItReal - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:49 pm:

    The bribes for drivers licenses scandal that decimated a family in a deadly crash. Awful. Disgusting.


  49. - City Guy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:50 pm:

    Paul Powell’s shoe boxes


  50. - OurMagician - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:55 pm:

    Leopold and Lieb

    The Shelton Gang and Charlie Birger


  51. - City Guy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 4:56 pm:

    Sundown Towns in Illinois.


  52. - Barnaby Wilde - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 6:04 pm:

    In Carbondale, police laid siege to a suspected Black Panther house in 1970. 778 shots fired, until a local civic leader negotiated a surrender. Amazingly, no one died, and none of the residents were convicted of any crime. Radical Mayberry.


  53. - Bruce( no not him) - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 6:32 pm:

    “I’ve got this thing and it’s (expletive) golden,”


  54. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 6:35 pm:

    - Bruce( no not him) -

    Ya know, along those lines…

    When Rod thought the G calling to arrest him… that the agent was Jimmy DeLeo

    It’s so inside baseball, so window to a psyche, and so Rod and only Rod.


  55. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 8:14 pm:

    Big Bill wanted to punch King George in the snoot.


  56. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 9:09 pm:

    Many that I thought of has already been mentioned, so I’ll just add these:

    The Crenshaw House in Equality. John Crenshaw, who ran the salt licks already mentioned, also participated in the “reverse underground railroad” by kidnapping free Blacks in Illinois and selling them into slavery in the South.

    The widespread acceptance of the KKK through out Illinois in the 1920’s.


  57. - West Sub Ladi - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 9:42 pm:

    Scott Bibb. This school desegregation case predates Brown v. Board of Education. Scott Bibb sued the City of Alton so his kids could attend an elementary school nearest his home, versus Lovejoy School, one of two schools the city built expressly for the city’s black elementary children. Case went before the Illinois Supreme Court a total of seven times (banned punctuation).


  58. - Corn City - Monday, Mar 27, 23 @ 11:51 pm:

    1958 Our Lady of the Angels school fire in 1958. 92 students and 3 nuns perished.

    Eastland overturning in the Chicago river in 1915 - over 800 drowned.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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