On December 3, 1818, with only 34,620 residents, Illinois became the nation's 21st state! The Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County is planning a year of activities to commemorate Illinois' 200th birthday!
The kick off celebration will begin on Sunday, Nov. 5 at the History Museum when three local historians will examine the early history of Illinois. The afternoon will begin with a reception with the speakers at 1:15 pm. The presentations will begin at 2 pm with a program entitled "Visions and Decisions: Early Statehood of Illinois." The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County and the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Interpretive Center.
Historians will also discuss the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which brought many settlers to what is now Illinois, and how the new state came to prohibit slavery. Speakers include Warren Speckhart, Dr. Neil Wright and Reg Ankrom.
Descended from one of Adams County’s first pioneer families in far Western Illinois, Speckhart will discuss some of the traditional history passed down through the generations of his first family. Speckhart is a well known Adams County farmer and retired school teacher, and has been active in sharing the history of “old Adams.”
Dr. Wright, assistant professor of political science at Quincy University, will examine the tensions—both personal and political—with which Thomas Jefferson struggled to envision a free republic in a land in which all but one state had legalized slavery. His topic will be, “Illinois, the Northwest Ordinance, and Thomas Jefferson’s Republican Vision.”
Ankrom, local historian, will discuss the issue that nearly derailed Illinois’ attempt to become a state and the controversy it caused after statehood. The title of Ankrom’s talk will be, “Illinois: Slave State.”
For more information about the program call 217-222-1835. For more information on local and statewide events visit illinois200.com.