Did Black Lives Matter in Early Illinois? Voices from the Brink of Slavery and Freedom

with Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Caroline Kisiel


Jul 16, 2023


Shawnee Communications
155 W Lane St
Equality, IL 62934


Open to the public

In 1818, Illinois entered the United States with a Constitution declaring itself a free state, following the guidance of the 1787 Northwest Ordinance, which outlawed slavery north of the Ohio River. But slavery’s roots went back centuries in the region, and its hold on the young state was strong.

In the first years of statehood, the Illinois legislature included a number of proslavery advocates who made a bold attempt to change the Constitution to allow slavery. They had already succeeded in building limited slavery clauses into the 1818 Constitution which were to sunset in 1825, and they now wished to expand this foothold.

Others vehemently fought against them, ultimately prevailing to preserve the free state. Learn how salt production in Equality fits into this struggle.

Black and white of Crenshaw House 600x403

The Crenshaw house or “Old Slave House” as seen on Thursday, November 18, 2010. (image from JAMES MCAULEY / Courier & Press)

This event is part of the Spark! Places on Innovation exhibition in Equality, Illinois.

Attend the exhibits and other events in the lecture series.

This event is brought to you by the Gallatin County Tourism Committee in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and Illinois Humanities.
IACA logo
NEH Preferred Seal820 300x136
Si logo primary bw 600x82

Gallatin County Tourism Committee

Ohio River Scenic Byway logo