The Road Scholars Speakers Bureau Hits the Road With 30 New Speakers

Illinois Humanities

Read Time 5 minutes
December 19, 2022

A brand-new roster of 30 Road Scholars speakers will hit the road this January to bring free, world-class cultural and educational programs to Illinois communities. For two years, the 2023-2024 speakers will offer 49 different presentations about topics ranging from the history of antislavery movements in Illinois to heirloom family recipes, Illinois labor history, and Latinx hip hop. Organizations can request presentations by Road Scholars speakers for free beginning January 2.

“Road Scholars is an opportunity for the state of Illinois to really make connections with one another,” said speaker Laura Sievert. Her presentation, “Storytelling for Civic Pride,” explores how public spaces, art, and history can tell a community’s story. “I’m looking forward to not just bringing my expertise across the state, but also to connecting with communities I might not otherwise have visited. I want to learn what makes them special and grow our mutual understanding of the world around us.”

Now in its 25th year, the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau enables Illinois writers, storytellers, historians, folklorists, musicians, living history actors, and many others to share their expertise and enthusiasm with community groups and local organizations – including libraries, museums, arts councils, historical societies, civic groups, and others who want to provide free cultural programs to their communities. Speakers will travel all across Illinois to present live and in-person, and some presentations are also available for audiences to attend virtually. Browse the roster of speakers and their presentations to see all of the opportunities available.

The Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster features speakers hailing from all corners of Illinois whose scholarly and lived expertise offer a unique venue for Illinoisans to connect, encounter new perspectives, and learn something new. The diversity of presentations reflects Illinois Humanities’ conviction that the humanities help us to examine our world, and ourselves, in new and transformative ways.

“Arts and humanities are central to the human experience, and it’s an honor to go out on the road with other amazing speakers with a story to share,” said Sievert.

Take advantage of this free public program and book a Road Scholars speaker to visit your community this year. Registration opens January 2, 2023.

2023 – 2024 Road Scholars Speakers

Karen Anderson: “More Than a Color: The Marginalization of African Beauty Through History”

Jeanne Schultz Angel:Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois” and “Hindsight in 2020: The Long Road to Universal Suffrage”

Antwoinette Ayers: “Why Do I Fight?”

Ada Cheng: “Yellow Peril Past and Present: Understanding Asian America through Personal and Historical Stories” and “Our Words, Our Truths: Storytelling for Collective Identity and Community Engagement”

Cynthia Clampitt: “How Corn Changed Itself and Then Changed Everything Else” and “Wild Boar to Baconfest: Pigs in History and Popular Culture”

John Cooper: “Traditional Jazz: A Historical Perspective of Early Jazz from the New Orleans and Chicago Era”

Dr. Amira Millicent Davis: “The Black Chicago Renaissance” and “Jalimusa: An Epic Tale of Black Women’s Mothering”

Brian “Fox” Ellis: “Robert Ridgway: When Amateur Bird Watching Became a Rigorous Science” and “Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer: Touring the Wilderness of North America”

Mary Frances: “Untold African American Stories”

John Goldsmith: “Three Frenchmen & A Goat: The DeMoulin Bros. Story”

Bucky Halker: “Down in the Mine: American Coal Miners and Their Songs, 1890-1960” and “This Land Is Your Land: The Folksongs of Woody Guthrie”

Katherine Hamilton-Smith: “The Happy Invention: History and Significance of Picture Postcards”

Erika Holst: “Growing Up X” and “The Life Cycle of Clothing”

Amy McMorrow Hunter: “Why and How to Cause the Change Required for Continued Human Prosperity” and “Creating our Future”

Catalina Maria Johnson, Ph.D.: “Latin Hip Hop as a New Poetry” and “Latinos in Illinois and the USA: Music as a Cultural History”

Caroline Kisiel: “Did Black Lives Matter in Early Illinois? Voices from the Brink of Slavery and Freedom” and “Lives in Code: Stories of African American Resilience Under the Illinois Black Codes, 1819-1865”

Catherine Lambrecht: “Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair” and “History of American Pies.”

Aaron Lawler: “You are a Story: Illinois Novelist Ray Bradbury Teaches Us About Who We Are” and “Learning is Your Arc: Illinois Novelist, Ernest Hemingway, Teaches Us About Who We Are”

Connie Martin, M.A.: “Hidden Messages in Negro Spirituals on the Underground Railroad”

Mike Matejka: “Grassroots Democracy: Illinois Labor Journeys” and “What’s coming down the line? The Railroad in the American mind”

Norman Moline: “The National Park Service in Our Region: Places to Experience Our Cultural History” and “Understanding China: Complicated but Essential”

Jamie Poorman: “The Road was Home” and “Of Wind & Sky: Illinois Author Marguerite Henry and the wild ponies of Chincoteague Island”

Gerald Savage: “A Brief History of the Reintroduction of the Native Americans into Illinois” and “Native American Storytelling by Chief White Winnebago”

Cyndee Schaffer: “The Journey of Mollie’s War: WACs and WWII”

Laura Sievert: “Storytelling for Civic Pride: There’s More Here”

Kim Sigafus: “Singing Bird and the Importance of Native American Women in Illinois History”

Dennis Stroughmatt: “French Creoles of The Illinois Country: Fiddle Jigs, Creole Folktales and Haunting Ballads” and “Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio, Rural Music, and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler ‘Pappy’ Wade Ray”

Chris Vallillo: “Forgottonia, An Intimate Portrait of Rural Illinois” and “Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement”

Ernest M. Whiteman III: “No One Ever Sees Indians: Native Americans in Media”

Ted Williams III: “1619: The Journey of a People” and “Change our Language, Change our Politics”