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WHAT: Sangamon Experience at the University of Illinois Springfield invites the public to attend “Dennis Williams: Prominent 19th Century African American Artist in Springfield, Illinois.” This presentation is by Mary Frances, a local independent historian and artist, and is funded by Illinois Humanities.  

WHEN: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

WHERE: UIS Studio Theater, located on the lower level of the Public Affairs Center

DETAILS: Attendees will discover Dennis Williams’ world by exploring his life’s meaning, value and impact. Researchers may never know how Dennis Williams died, but know how he lived. Escaping poverty and racism in the South, he built a new life in Springfield, home of Abraham Lincoln. As an artist, Williams chose to create portraits of some of the men Lincoln knew. As a businessman, he reproduced and distributed a beloved picture of Lincoln and his White House secretaries. As a community member, he continually organized and celebrated Emancipation, supported Lincoln’s Republican party, and tried to establish a church in Lincoln’s honor.

Frances recently created a documentary film chronicling the life of Eva Carroll Monroe, who founded the Lincoln Colored Home in Springfield, Illinois. Frances has lived in Springfield for 33 years and is interested in documenting untold African American stories.

Register to Attend In-Person

Register to Attend Virtually

A sign language interpreter will be at the presentation for the hearing impaired.

Opened in 2020, Sangamon Experience’s mission is to provide a broad perspective of the history of the Sangamon region through the presentation of a wide variety of exhibitions and activities developed for and from multiple communities.

For more information, contact Anne Moseley, director of engagement and curator for Sangamon Experience, at or 217-206-8663.

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