Chicago Screening of “Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union"

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Nov 29, 2022


Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Public Library
400 S State St
Chicago, IL 60605


Open to the public

Illinois Humanities will screen parts 1 and 2 of “Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,” our two-part documentary feature about the nuanced history of Kaskaskia, Illinois’ first state capital. Join us to explore the region’s evolution, then enjoy dinner and take part in discussion as we continue to unpack the question: “What might the complex history and ongoing evolution of Kaskaskia enable us to learn about the pursuit of a more perfect Union?”

This event will be hosted at the Harold Washington Public Library Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dinner will be served.

Kaskaskia and the Pursuit of a More Perfect Union is part of Illinois Humanities’ The Country and The City program series and is made possible in part by a grant from National Endowment for the Humanities A More Perfect Union initiative.

About the series

In two parts, this year’s edition of The Country and the City will feature an overview of Kaskaskia’s history beginning with its founding by Kaskaskia Indians and French Jesuits near the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers in 1703, through its integration into the newly independent United States in 1778, and designation as Illinois’s territorial capital and first state capital. We’ll also look at present-day Kaskaskia—a small island in the Mississippi accessible only by way of Missouri. Kaskaskia persists as one of Illinois’s smallest, yet most historic, municipalities, thanks to its residents’ dedication.

This history involves many groups of people – Indigenous and Black people, both enslaved and free, French and British people, Anglo-Americans from the South and the North, and subsequent immigrants – and many dramatic social, governmental, and economic changes that reflect the landscape of the state and country throughout time. The series will discuss the experiences of the Kaskaskia Tribe who remain integral to the community’s social fabric as well as contemporary African American life and the preservation and promotion of French American heritage in Randolph County.

By considering what “a more perfect Union” may have meant at various times to various people – from those who lived in the place where the Liberty Bell of the West rang, to those in the present keeping the town’s legacy alive – we hope to stimulate thought and discussion about our own aspirations for a more perfect Union.

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