Category Archives: African Americans

‘Murder by abortion,’ 1946

A Springfield osteopath was convicted of murder after allegedly conducting an abortion that led to the death of a 19-year-old woman in 1946. Ronald U. Tilley (1897-1966) was sentenced to 18 years in prison, but the Illinois Supreme Court overturned … Continue reading

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Springfield park names

Parks in the Springfield Park District have taken their names from U.S. presidents, local pioneers, subdivisions, donors and others. Here is a list of parks and their name derivations as of summer 2017. Bergen. 2900 Clear Lake Ave. The Springfield … Continue reading

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First African-American alderman

Frank B. Hicklin was the first African-American member of the Springfield City Council, serving from 1885 to 1887. See First African-American to hold public office.

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Hicklin family (African-American activists, politicians)

Hezkiah Hicklin was the first African-American to hold public office in Sangamon County. His son, Frank Hicklin, was Springfield’s first black alderman. And Martha Hicklin, Hezkiah’s wife, played leading roles in local social and historical groups. See First African-American to … Continue reading

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First African-American to hold public office

Springfield’s Hicklin family provided two of Sangamon County’s earliest successful black politicians, as well as leadership in the local civil rights and African-American history movements. Hezkiah Hicklin (1835-1904) was the first black person in the county to hold public office, … Continue reading

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Poisoning and racial controversy, 1860

The sentencing of three African-American teenagers in 1860 on charges they tried to poison the employers of two of them highlighted differences in how courts and the newspapers treated blacks and whites at the time. Perhaps inevitably, the case also … Continue reading

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Beach desegregation lawsuit, 1916

Black residents of Springfield filed suit after three African-American men were blocked from swimming at the new Bunn Park Beach shortly after it opened in 1916. Courts ultimately rejected the suit on technicalities. See Women’s bathing suit controversy, 1916.

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Women’s bathing suit controversy, 1916

Springfield women’s rights activist Harriett Reid made fun of the Springfield Park Board’s 1916 directive that women’s swimsuits at the new Bunn Park Beach include skirts. The park board had voted 5-1 to impose the restriction, which was sponsored by … Continue reading

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Carver Convalescent Center fire, 1972

Investigators never agreed on the cause of the fire that killed 10 residents of a shabby nursing home on May 6, 1972. The number of deaths make the fire at Carver Convalescent Center, 1527 E. Washington St., the worst single … Continue reading

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The Battle of Virden (1898)

The 1898 “Battle of Virden,” a 10-minute gunfight that killed 13 men and had lasting significance for Illinois coal mining, was fought in Macoupin County, just south of the Sangamon County line. However, the Virden confrontation also led to turmoil … Continue reading

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