Black Organizing in Pre-Civil War Illinois: Creating Community, Demanding Justice

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.

Introduction to Profiles

Priscilla Baltimore

Joseph H. Barquet

James D. Bonner

Henry Brown

Mary Ann King Brown

Richard H. Cain

Elizabeth Guy Donegan

Spencer Donegan

H. Ford Douglas

Sattira Steele Douglas

Hezekiah Ellsworth

Anna Elizabeth Hudlin

Lewis Isbell

Eleanor Madden Johnson

James Henry Johnson

John Jones

Mary Richardson Jones

Mary E. Mann

Byrd Parker

Alfred H. Richardson

Robert Jonathan (R. J.) Robinson

Sarah Ann Wiggins Robinson

Job Vincent

Henry O. Wagoner

Susan M. Lyons Wagoner