Category Archives: African Americans

First African-American juror in Sangamon County

The first black person to serve on a jury in Sangamon County may have been Thomas Flynn, a barber, on March 18, 1873. Flynn wasn’t the first African-American called to jury service in the county, but an earlier attempt – … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Journalism, Law enforcement, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

Douglass Community Center

The Douglass Community Center offered civic, social and educational opportunities to African-American residents of Springfield when most similar organizations were closed to blacks. The Douglass center (apparently named after abolitionist Frederick Douglass) opened in 1926. It was phased out as … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Buildings, Children, Local government, Social life, Social services, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment

Centennial Co-Operative Educational Congress, 1918

Black Springfieldians observed Illinois’ 100th anniversary in 1918 with a three-day conference examining the status, progress and prospects of the state’s African-American community. Some 3,000 people attended the Centennial Co-Operative Educational Congress, held Sept. 22-24, 1918, at the Illinois State … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Lincoln, Abraham, Local government, Prominent figures, Social services | Leave a comment

Harry Taylor, first black firefighter, police detective

Harry Taylor (1861-1928) was Springfield’s first African-American firefighter, but became better known as a Springfield police officer and detective. Positions on both the police and fire departments were patronage appointments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Taylor was … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures, Women | Leave a comment

‘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

Posted in African Americans, Crime and vice, Law enforcement, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

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

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Early residents, Parks, Prominent figures, Sports and recreation | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in African Americans | Leave a comment

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

Posted in African Americans | Leave a comment

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

Posted in African Americans, Local government, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Abolitionism, African Americans, Crime and vice, Journalism, Law enforcement, Media, Politics, Prominent figures | Leave a comment