Springfield Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month is a time not only to reflect on those who have come before us, but it is also a time to take note of the community that is here in the present. Springfield had several events over the course of February to celebrate.

UIS hosted programs, including a candlelight vigil, a Unity Rally, and a gospel concert. UIS also invited Melisande Short-Colomb to be an ECCE speaker to detail her experience as a Georgetown University student and descendant of an enslaved family, who were owned and sold by the founders of Georgetown. Lincoln Land Community College had several events, including panels, dances, a lecture on code-switching, and an African American Food and Day.

UIS Candlelight Vigil, 2020.

There were many other events around Springfield. There was a lecture on sundown towns held at the Lincoln Library led by Logan Jaffe, who wrote an impressive article on sundown towns and Anna, Illinois. Sundown towns were townships that held strict curfews on African Americans in town limits after sunset. Jaffe’s presentation, sponsored by the Sangamon County Historical Society, added a local dimension to her work. The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum hosted a Black History Bowl for local high schools. The Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois held Black History Trivia Night.

Logan Jaffe speaks at the Lincoln Library.

Despite all these amazing events that have occurred over the past month, we at Sangamon Experience want to know what more can be done. Springfield has a long and complicated history with African American history, and much of it goes unspoken. What sort of events or coverage of history would you be interested in seeing in the area? Email us any suggestions at sangamonexperience@uis.edu.