Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice
Delegates and their Families
John and Mary Jones, pictured in the 1840s. (Source: Courtesy of Wikimedia commons and Bruce Purnell.)
The people we profiled were part of the movement for abolition and racial justice in Illinois. Convention delegates and their families were generally more prosperous than most Black Illinoisans, but their agenda—repealing the black laws, securing the vote for Black men, and ensuring education for Black children—benefited everyone.
Although sources reveal less about women than about men, there is still much to be said about women’s lives and legacies. Our research aims to emphasize women’s voices and stories. We hope to help create a more holistic and representative narrative and resist the tendency to push women into the shadows of history.