Gus Reed was a freed slave who traveled north as Sherman’s March was sweeping through Georgia in 1864. His journey ended in Springfield, Illinois, a city undergoing fundamental changes as its white citizens struggled to understand the political, legal, and cultural consequences of emancipation and black citizenship. Reed became known as a petty thief, appearing time and again in the records of the state’s courts and prisons.
The American Civil War was a crucial event in the development of Chicago as the metropolis of the heartland. Not only did Chicagoans play an important role in the politics of the conflict, encouraging emancipation and promoting a “hard war” policy against Southern civilians, but they supported the troops materially through production of military supplies and foodstuffs as well as morally and spiritually through patriotic publications and songs.
On the eve of the Civil War and after, Illinois was one of the most significant states in the Union. Its history is, in many respects, the history of the Union writ large: its political leaders figured centrally in the war’s origins, progress, and legacies; and its diverse residents made sacrifices and contributions—both on the battlefield and on the home front—that proved essential to Union victory.
In the antebellum Midwest, Americans looked to the law, and specifically to the jury, to navigate the uncertain terrain of a rapidly changing society. During this formative era of American law, the jury served as the most visible connector between law and society. Through an analysis of the composition of grand and trial juries and an examination of their courtroom experiences, Stacy Pratt McDermott demonstrates how central the law was for people who lived in Abraham Lincoln’s America.
On July 2 and 3, 1917, a mob of white men and women looted and torched the homes and businesses of African Americans in the small industrial city of East St. Louis, Illinois. When the terror ended, the attackers had destroyed property worth millions of dollars, razed several neighborhoods, injured hundreds, and forced at least seven thousand black townspeople to seek refuge across the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri.
Guide to Chicago’s Historic Suburbs on Wheels and on Foot
By Ira J. Bach and Susan Wolfson
· Introduction by Carroll William Westfall
Although the Chicago area is famous the world over for its splendid architecture, the architectural treasures of the suburban area have remained largely unknown. Ira Bach, assisting by Susan Wolfson, has now provided a comprehensive readable guide to more than 850 nineteenth century dwellings, commercial buildings, public buildings, and churches which are memorable and well worth visiting for their fine architecture and their historic significance.