Since 1997, our Road Scholars Speakers Bureau has invited Illinois writers, storytellers, historians, folklorists, musicians, and living history actors, among others, to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout our state. It also enables local nonprofit organizations – including libraries, museums, arts councils, historical societies, civic groups, and many others – to present free-admission cultural programs of high quality to their communities for a modest fee.
Our current roster features speakers hailing from 20 different towns and cities across Illinois who offer presentations on topics in history, archaeology, philosophy, literature, theater, film, music, politics, and other subjects that pique one’s curiosity and surprise the intellect. The breadth of these offerings reflects our conviction that the humanities can help us to examine the world in all its varied shades and discover in it the remarkable, the strange, the fantastic, the tragic, the humorous, and the beautiful.
Whether you’re an organization interested in hosting a Road Scholars presentation or a potential speaker, we invite you to let your curiosity wander and learn more about the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau.
How to Become a Speaker
We seek speakers who demonstrate the following characteristics:
- Expertise and passion in the subject matter on which they wish to offer presentations;
- Public speaking or teaching experience;
- An engaging presence and the ability to facilitate discussion among audiences of diverse cultural and economic backgrounds;
- A talent for finding interesting perspectives on subjects both obscure and familiar;
- Interest in visiting communities throughout Illinois and interacting with a wide range of people.
Illinois Humanities Road Scholars are asked to do the following:
- Give up to six presentations during each program year (at times mutually arranged with host organizations);
- Attend a half-day speaker orientation;
- Encourage dialogue and conversation among their program audiences;
- Provide their own mode of transportation (travel costs are reimbursed by Illinois Humanities);
- Reach out to potential host organizations whenever possible to generate interest in their presentation.
Speakers who are selected to join our Road Scholars roster will receive an honorarium of $150, $225, or $300 per presentation, depending on the distance traveled. In addition, Illinois Humanities will reimburse the speaker for mileage, meals, and lodging expenses.
Illinois Humanities seeks speakers representing a wide range of disciplines and professional activities, including history, literature, art, music, philosophy, government, and the natural and social sciences insofar as they relate to the humanities. While an academic background in your proposed topic is not a requirement, we do seek presentations that reflect thorough research and thoughtful interpretation. We do not consider instructional workshops or how-to programs (e.g., “Learn How to Speak in Public”).
Proposed topics do not need to relate specifically to Illinois, though we do ask you to consider the relevance and appeal of your topic to all Illinoisans. Furthermore, if your proposed program is Chicago-centric or geographically focused in some other way, we encourage you to identify and emphasize aspects of the topic that would appeal to audiences around the state.
In general, we’re looking for topics that pique our curiosity, surprise our intellects, and offer the potential to fuel inquiry and conversation about ideas and works that shape our culture.
We also welcome a variety of presentation styles and formats, particularly those that engage audiences actively. We’re happy to consider lectures with question-and-answer sessions, but if you’d rather facilitate a discussion on a novel or lead the audience in a chorus of a Civil War song, we’d love to hear about what you have in mind.
Auditions or Video Samples
During selected years, the application process includes an audition or video sample requirement. When this is the case, we will include information about the audition or video sample requirement in our announcements about the opportunity to apply. To ensure that you receive those announcements, please join our e-mail list.
Late February or March: The opportunity to apply to join the following fiscal year’s Road Scholars roster is announced.
April or early May: Deadline to submit online applications.
Late May: During years when auditions are held, Illinois Humanities notifies applicants whether they have been selected to proceed to the audition phase.
June and/or July: Auditions are held (in selected years).
June, July, or early August: Illinois Humanities notifies applicants whether they have been selected for the coming year’s roster.
Late summer or early fall: Orientation meetings for presenters who have been selected for the coming year’s roster.
How to Host a Road Scholars Speakers Bureau Event
Please read each of the following entries carefully to ensure that your organization completes the process successfully from beginning to end. If you have questions or would like assistance at any point in the process, please contact Matt Meacham at email@example.com or (312) 422-5589.
The goal of the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau is to offer cultural programs that are not only fascinating and compelling but also broadly accessible and welcoming to the general public. In keeping with that goal, organizations that wish to host Road Scholars presentations must agree to abide by the following policies.
Meeting all of these requirements does not necessarily guarantee that an application will be approved. Violations of them may result in the denial of future applications.
- Private clubs may not apply. In addition, presentations may not be held in a private home. All Road Scholars Speakers Bureau events must be open to the public.
- No event may have audience restrictions. Suggested audiences, such as a “recommendation for children” for programs aimed at a younger audience, are acceptable, but hard requirements or bans are not allowed.
- Organizations are permitted to host a maximum of two presentations per Illinois Humanities fiscal year (November 1 to October 31). The date counted is the event date, not the date on which you submit your application. For public entities, such as libraries or park districts, a related foundation or organization—e.g. “Friends of the Library”—is not, for these purposes, considered a separate organization and therefore will not be allowed to book additional presentations under a related foundation or ‘Friends of’ name.
- Organizations must make a demonstrable effort to promote the event to communities beyond members/patrons.
- Illinois Humanities strongly encourages all grantees to take action to ensure that people with disabilities as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act have access to benefits and services resulting from the grant-funded project.
Selecting a Presentation from the Roster
Review the roster of presentations shown below and select the one that you wish to host. With very rare exceptions, we do not consider applications for presentations that are not included on our current Road Scholars roster.
Contacting the Speaker
Once you have decided on a presentation and secured a location for your event, you must contact the speaker directly to confirm her or his availability and determine a mutually convenient date and time. The speaker’s contact information is included in the entry for her or his presentation on the roster below.
Important: In addition to reaching a verbal agreement with the speaker, you must submit an application to Illinois Humanities for approval. (See “Application Form and Fee” below.) You must do so in time for us to receive your application at least six weeks prior to the date on which you wish to hold your event. Your event is not confirmed until you receive official notification and related materials from Illinois Humanities.
Application Form and Fee
You may complete your application online and then mail a check for $75, payable to “Illinois Humanities,” to the address shown below.
Alternatively, you may download the application form, complete it, print it, and mail it to us along with your check for $75, to this address:
Attn: Road Scholars Speakers Bureau
17 North State Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60602.3296.
We must receive your application and check at least six weeks before the scheduled date of your event. We urge you to submit your application as soon as possible after you have agreed upon a date with a speaker to avoid a situation in which a speaker inadvertently exceeds the maximum number of presentations that she or he can accept in a given fiscal year before your application reaches us.
Confirmation of Approval
Wait for confirmation that Illinois Humanities has approved your application. Please do not begin to publicize your event until you have received official approval from Illinois Humanities.
We will notify you of our decision. If your application has been approved, you will receive an award packet by e-mail. It will include materials that may be used in publicizing the event, a feedback survey form that is to be copied and distributed to the audience and collected at the conclusion of the event, and a brief final report form.
During and After the Event
At the beginning of the event, please inform the audience that your organization is hosting the presentation in partnership with the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. We would greatly appreciate your mentioning Illinois Humanities by name.
Additionally, please give copies of the feedback survey form, which you will have received as part of your award packet, to everyone in attendance. Please ask them to complete it at the conclusion of the presentation and return it to you. Please explain to them that Illinois Humanities takes their feedback seriously and uses it both in making decisions about future programming and in making its case for public and private support. Please collect the feedback survey forms from the audience when the event concludes.
After the event, Illinois Humanities will send the speaker’s honorarium and reimbursement of her or his expenses directly to her or him, not through your organization.
Please complete the brief final report form that you will have received as part of your award packet. Please return it to us along with the completed audience feedback survey forms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if the speaker I wanted is already booked up?
Every speaker on our roster is allotted a maximum number of program slots to fill over the course of a given fiscal year. Throughout the year, the Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau web page will reflect which speakers are still available and which have filled the maximum number of slots. If, however, you see that a speaker is booked up, but you are still interested in booking a program with her or him, you have two options. One is to try to arrange a program directly with the speaker, independent of any Illinois Humanities involvement. Keep in mind that the speaker’s independent fee may be greater than the $75 fee to host an Illinois Humanities Road Scholars program. Your other option is to contact the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau coordinator and request to be put on that speaker’s waitlist.
Why might a request for my presentation be denied?
We will not approve a request if your organization has already booked two programs in the fiscal year. If your organization will not make the program open to the public, or if you plan to charge an admission fee, we are unlikely to approve the program. If the speaker for whom you have applied has booked her or his maximum number of programs for the fiscal year already, we may not approve your request. If we do not approve a program, you are welcome to arrange a program with the speaker independent of Illinois Humanities and negotiate compensation with her or him.
If my application is declined, will my processing fee be refunded?
Yes. We do not deposit your processing fee until the program has been approved and processed. If your program is not approved, we will gladly return the fee.
How long will it take to process my application?
From the time you submit your application to host an Illinois Humanities Road Scholars program, allow up to four weeks for notification. As a reminder, applications will not be processed until we receive both the application and a check for $75 (processing fee).
How should I promote my program?
Illinois Humanities will provide you with suggestions for publicizing your program, as well as a press release template, which you can use as the basis of a press release to be given to local newspapers, radio stations, and other media outlets. You are also encouraged to promote your program through social media postings, e-mail announcements, and newsletters. In some cases, the presenter might be willing and able to publicize the program through her or his website or other channels and might be available to do interviews with local media; feel free to ask her or him about such possibilities.
How will the speaker receive payment?
After the program, the speaker will be paid directly by Illinois Humanities. Speakers are paid an honorarium, as well as provided reimbursement for travel expenses. The initial $75 processing fee is the only payment you must make. All other payments are handled by Illinois Humanities.
I'm a Road Scholars speaker. How do I ensure that I receive payment?
One option is to complete this voucher form and submit it online. If you do so, you’ll need to scan your receipts for food and lodging expenses and attach the scanned images to the online form. (Instructions are provided on the form itself.) Another option is to complete the online voucher form and print it. Then, mail both the voucher and your receipts to us at this address:
Attn. E.J. Hendricks—Road Scholars voucher
17 N. State Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60602-3296.
Please allow six weeks for the voucher to be processed and your check to be issued.
Your payment will always come from Illinois Humanities, not from the host organization. If the host organization offers to pay an honorarium directly to you, please politely decline it and explain that Illinois Humanities pays speakers’ honoraria and reimburses them for their expenses.
Emergency conflict with a Road Scholars event—what should I do?
Sometimes winter weather or unanticipated developments can make travel for our speakers difficult. If for some reason you must cancel a program, please contact Matt Meacham at (312) 422.5589 immediately. You will be able to reschedule the program for an alternate date or request a refund of your processing fee.
2015-2016 Roster of Presentations
The following presentations are available to be scheduled between November 1, 2015, and October 31, 2016. Please read “How to Host a Road Scholars Speakers Bureau Event” and “Frequently Asked Questions” above before proceeding.
Monastic Silence and a Visual Dialogue: Life Among the Poor Clare Colettine Nuns (Abbie Reese)
Abbie’s Hometown: Mount Carroll
Email Abbie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Abbie: (312) 719-1090
About the Program:
As members of an exceptionally strict religious community, the Poor Clare Colettine nuns make vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and enclosure. They observe monastic silence and seek anonymity.
Abbie Reese, a writer and documentary filmmaker whose work draws upon oral history and ethnographic methods, has conducted research with a community of twenty Poor Clare Colettine nuns in Illinois, resulting in a book, Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns (Oxford University Press, 2014). Her collaborative film-in-progress, Chosen, will tell the story of a 27-year-old former blogger and painter who is now a cloistered nun-in-training.
Reese’s presentation will examine the self-selected subculture of cloistered contemplative nuns, which is facing the possibility of extinction. Through photographs, audio, and video, Reese will share aspects of the hidden monastic life, the nuns’ motivations, and their internal journeys. It will introduce individual nuns, such as “Sister Nicolette,” who considered becoming a pilot or airline attendant. “Claustrophobic in an elevator” and proficient in Latin, Sister Nicolette worried when she first felt called, since “cloister” shares the same root as “claustrophobia.”
The Poor Clare Colettines regard their enclosure – which one nun’s four-year-old great niece described as “the Jesus cage” – as a source of freedom rather than confinement. It keeps the world out so that they can devote themselves more fully to interceding on behalf of the world. Thus, this presentation addresses deeply human questions about personal and group identity and about relationships among individuals, communities, and society. It also resonates with Pope Francis’s designation of 2015 and a portion of 2016 as a Year of Consecrated Life.
1967: The Tumultuous Sixties Arrive in Hollywood (Alan Wenzel)
Alan’s Hometown: Freeport
Email Alan: Alan.Wenzel@highland.edu
Call Alan: (815) 235-4707
About the Program:
The 1960s was a decade of social, political, and cultural upheaval in the United States and was also a tumultuous time for Hollywood. A series of changes within the movie industry that began in the 1950s and continued through the following decade resulted in a different kind of movie being made by the end of the 1960s.
The movies of 1967, in particular, reflected the culmination of forces at work in the American entertainment industry that would forever change films made in the United States.
This presentation by Alan Wenzel examines three significant movies from 1967 that illustrated the social ferment of the time and shaped the future of Hollywood films: In the Heat of the Night, The Graduate, and Bonnie and Clyde, all of which have connections to Illinois. By understanding the significant changes set in motion by these films of 1967, one can appreciate more fully the types of movies being made by today’s Hollywood filmmakers.
The History of Mexican Railroad Boxcar Communities in the Chicago Area and the Midwest (Antonio Delgado)
Antonio’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Antonio: email@example.com
Call Antonio: (312) 933-9080
About the Program:
Railroads were essential to the growth and development of the United States. Since the 1910’s, throughout the U.S. and particularly the Midwest, very large numbers of Mexican immigrants were employed by the railroads.
Mexican immigrant railroad workers and their families literally lived on railroad property, in railroad boxcars and “section houses.” The audience will learn about these railroad boxcar communities populated by Mexicans in the Chicago metro area and the Midwestern states of Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, particularly during the period between 1910 and the 1950s. The presentation will highlight the vibrant social and cultural life of these Mexican settlers who lived in the railroad boxcar communities. It will also include discussion of the injustices and challenges of living in an often prejudicial environment.
The goal of this presentation is to highlight the positive contributions of Mexican railroad workers to the development and growth of the Midwest in the early to mid-twentieth century. It will compare anti-immigrant practices experienced by these early Mexican settlers with similar occurrences today. Integrating these missing pages of history will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of our Mexican and Mexican-American neighbors.
Historical photographs, maps, political cartoons, and other period images, combined with historical analysis, will tell this important, yet little-known American story. The presentation is suitable for general audiences and all age groups and is available in English, Spanish, or a bilingual format.
Clara Barton and the Volunteer Spirit (Barbara Kay)
Barbara’s Hometown: Glen Carbon
Email Barbara: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Barbara: (618) 288-5833
About the Program:
In her ninety years, Clara Barton was a teacher, a clerk for the federal government, a Civil War nurse, and an activist for many causes, but she is probably best known as the founder of the American Red Cross. Through her tenacious leadership, Miss Barton brought the United States a tremendous gift: a volunteer spirit that aimed to help others not only in one’s own community, but across the nation and around the world.
Clara Barton and her band of volunteers brought comfort and aid to millions, including many in Illinois. More than a century later, her dreams and goals remain alive through her organization. Through her first person portrayal, Barbara Kay brings Clara Barton to life, telling the inspiring story of her many accomplishments.
The River as Time Machine (Brian “Fox” Ellis)
Brian’s Hometown: Bishop Hill
Email Brian: email@example.com
Call Brian: (309) 689-8000
Note: Brian “Fox” Ellis has scheduled his maximum number of Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentations for fiscal year 2016 and is therefore not available for booking through the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau until further notice. Organizations are welcome to contact him, however, to make arrangements with him independently. Organizations are also welcome to consider other presenters on this Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster.
About the Program:
Riverlorian Brian “Fox” Ellis invites us to travel through geological history to witness the origins of Illinois’ great rivers, paddle our canoes with Père Marquette and the French explorers as they contact Native Americans, and meet keelboat captain Mike Fink and steamboat captain Henry Detweiller. This musical ramble through history will explore how we humans have shaped the rivers, how the rivers have changed through time, and the importance of rivers in the layers of human history.
Ellis, who has performed frequently on the Spirit of Peoria and other excursion steamboats, will gladly tailor the specific content of this presentation to the interests of local audiences. He hopes that both the rich layers of factual knowledge and the very human tales that he shares in story and song will strengthen audiences’ identification with our great waterways and inspire people to value and protect them.
Superheroes and Patriots: Comic Book Propaganda Unveiled (Brian Russell)
Brian’s Hometown: Troy
Email Brian: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Brian: (618) 979-4187
About the Program:
Superheroes, from Spider-Man to Superman, have commented on American policies and, in some cases, even shaped American public opinion about them.
Though often dismissed as a child occupation, comics have both reflected and influenced American culture and social mores than is usually recognized. In addition, they often promote selected values and social good while at times vilifying certain elements of American culture, such as drug use or nuclear armaments. Regardless of their politics, they have been a consistent and very prevalent source of propaganda over the last century.
As new blockbuster films from the likes of Marvel and DC continue to hit theatres every summer, what messages are the new crop of superheroes promoting, and are today’s audiences discerning enough to spot them?
Rebel Voices: Songs of Joe Hill, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen (Bucky Halker)
Bucky’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Bucky: email@example.com
Call Bucky: (773) 275-4959
Note: Bucky Halker has scheduled his maximum number of Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentations for fiscal year 2016 and is therefore not available for booking through the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau until further notice. Organizations are welcome to contact him, however, to make arrangements with him independently. Organizations are also welcome to consider other presenters on this Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster.
About the Program:
Since the American Revolution, America has produced a wealth of notable protest songwriters whose work has captured the hearts and minds of millions of American citizens. Songs calling for armed rebellion against the British, women’s rights, the end to slavery, unions for all workers, and the end to the nuclear arms race have all enjoyed large audiences willing to sing along. In fact, many Americans count music as the key factor in inspiring and motivating them to become social activists, to take action to improve the world.
The family tree of songwriters in the protest camp since 1776 encompasses legions of known and unknown artists. Four twentieth-century protest bards whose compositions stand out and command our attention are Joe Hill (1879-1915), Woody Guthrie (1912-1967), Bob Dylan (b. 1941), and Bruce Springsteen (b. 1949). These four writers arguably defined the modern protest song, and their combined impact continues to be heard in music around the world.
Musician and labor historian Bucky Halker’s presentation combines musical performance and commentary as he visits a sampling of songs by Hill, Guthrie, Dylan, and Springsteen.
Latino Hip-Hop as a New Poetry (Catalina Maria Johnson)
Catalina’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Catalina: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Catalina: (773) 960-8531
About the Program:
This presentation by Catalina Maria Johnson – radio broadcaster, music curator, and cultural journalist – celebrates the musical works of Latino hip-hop artists in the United States, the Americas, and Spain as a distinctive new form of poetry.
Today’s hip-hop has become a musical lingua franca which is appreciated and understood in Mexico as easily as in Puerto Rico or Chile or Spain. Yet, additionally, just as historically many Spanish-language poets were influenced by the music of their homelands, today’s hip hop artists are often informed by the poetic traditions of their countries, and, indeed, their rapping can be seen as a cultural product that advances these traditions in a very special way.
Mala Rodriguez (from Andalucia, Spain) certainly knows of García Lorca and Miguel Hernández from her homeland of Spain; Ana Tijoux from Chile, whose parents were exiled to Paris during the Pinochet dictatorship, was raised not just on protest songs but also on the words of Nobel Prize Winner Pablo Neruda; Residente from Puerto Rico’s Calle 13 spits out rhymes as carefully crafted as any poet’s; and Niña Dioz from Mexico reads dictionaries to find the precise words to fit her ideas and rhymes.
Using video examples and illustrations from lyrics, this presentation makes a case for Latino hip-hop as a new poetry and shares some great music along the way!
This presentation is available in Spanish and English. Host organizations will need to provide a wi-fi Internet connection and projection capabilities.
Music of the Civil Rights Movement (Chris Vallillo)
Chris’ Hometown: Macomb
Email Chris: email@example.com
Call Chris: (309) 833-4838
About the Program:
The Civil Rights Movement has been described as one of the greatest singing movements that this country has experienced. From “We Shall Overcome” to “This Little Light of Mine,” music played a vital role in that historic struggle as both an inspirational rallying point and a means of spreading the message of equality and justice.
From the Freedom Rides to the jails of Montgomery, Alabama, and from Parchman Prison all the way to Washington, DC, both old and new songs spoke of the yearning for equal rights, the struggle, and the determination to win freedom. They engaged and energized the nonviolent civil disobedience movement led by Dr. King and others. Music was a huge part of the process both locally and nationally.
In a presentation created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, folksinger Chris Vallillo performs pivotal selections from the music that inspired and sustained this landmark movement. Intermixed with the music, Vallillo presents first-hand accounts of the historic struggle and discusses the impact of music upon one of our nation’s most important social causes.
The Journey to Mollie’s War: WACs and World War II (Cyndee Schaffer)
Cyndee’s Hometown: Northbrook
Email Cyndee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Cyndee: (847) 917-4125
Note: Cyndee Schaffer has scheduled her maximum number of Road Scholars Speakers Bureau presentations for fiscal year 2016 and is therefore not available for booking through the Road Scholars Speakers Bureau until further notice. Organizations are welcome to contact her, however, to make arrangements with her independently. Organizations are also welcome to consider other presenters on this Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster.
About the Program:
Members of the Women’s Army Corps – WACs – were the first women other than nurses to serve overseas in World War II.
Cyndee Schaffer’s mother, Mollie Weinstein Schaffer, was one of them. Drawing upon excerpts from Mollie’s letters written home during the war, this presentation provides a romantic, yet frightful, glimpse into the life of a woman in uniform during this crucial time in history.
This presentation details Mollie’s experiences from basic training in Florida in October 1943 to the dramatic moment when the Statue of Liberty came into view upon her return in November 1945. It traces the footsteps of the women who served in Europe, following Mollie and her fellow WACs who were stationed in London, England, before D-Day and during the post-D-Day German buzz bomb attacks.
The WACs were transferred to Normandy two months after D-Day and then to Paris after its liberation by the Allies. Finally, they traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the Army of Occupation and witnessed first-hand the devastation of that country before returning to the United States.
This presentation invites contemplation of the vital and varied roles that women have fulfilled in the American military.
Thinking Philosophically About Anger: Buddhist and Stoic Perspectives (Daniel Breyer)
Daniel’s Hometown: Peoria
Email Daniel: email@example.com
Call Daniel: (309) 361-8349
About the Program:
No matter where we live, and no matter who we are, we all experience anger. Some of us have difficulty managing our own anger, whereas others encounter anger from other sources. In a single moment of anger, we can destroy a lifetime of effort, damaging not only our own lives, but also the lives of those we love.
Despite its dangers, many people think that anger is useful, because it can motivate us to battle injustice. Furthermore, many people believe that feeling anger is not only natural but healthy, because it is a basic human emotion. These opposing views raise important questions: What exactly is anger? How should we think about it? Should we manage anger in an attempt to harness its power, or should we resist it in an attempt to eliminate it completely from our lives?
Daniel Breyer will invite us to consider these questions and others about anger, approaching the topic with two ancient philosophers as our guides. Both the eighth-century Buddhist philosopher Śāntideva and the first-century Stoic philosopher Seneca argue that we should eliminate anger. Are they right? We will consider their arguments, ask ourselves whether we find them convincing, and think about what contemporary philosophers and psychologists might add to the conversation.
Disability as Diversity: Why Real Inclusion Changes Everything (David Perry)
David’s Hometown: Brookfield
Email David: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call David: (612) 396-4837
About the Program:
Diversity is a powerful concept supported by initiatives across the state. David Perry contends that people with disabilities are too often left out these conversations. That exclusion is bad both for the disabled and for diversity. Perry argues that if we start thinking about disability as diversity, we’ll make great strides in creating a more inclusive society for everyone. Diversity isn’t an idea that drives us apart, but one that celebrates our shared human connections.
There are two ways to see disability – either as a medical problem, in which case we try to fix the individual, or as a social issue, in which case society has a responsibility to pursue change. When we see disability not as a niche affecting a small group of individuals who need help but rather as a fundamental aspect of humanity, it forces us to re-evaluate our attempts to build a more inclusive society.
This presentation emphasizes the importance of universal design, the limits of the Americans with Disabilities Act (now celebrating its 25th anniversary), how to change attitudes about disability, and some good models that are just emerging. Perry combines personal anecdotes of his experiences as a father and a teacher with broader observations about American society, language, and power.
Mussels, Moonshine, Music: Mississippi Valley Migrants in the Twentieth Century (Dennis Stroughmatt)
Dennis’ Hometown: Albion
Email Dennis: email@example.com
Call Dennis: (630) 557-2742 (Artists of Note)
About the Program:
In a time almost forgotten, the Midwest and upper South were home to thousands of Americans who lived and worked along or on the rivers as sharecroppers, fishermen, mussel shellers, button cutters, traveling minstrels, and even moonshiners. Work was their lives, and the work was hard. Although they were the backbone of industry in cities like Muscatine, Iowa, and Cairo, Illinois, they played too, enjoying the music of Memphis and St. Louis along their way.
Musician and cultural historian Dennis Stroughmatt will lead a voyage of discovery incorporating artifacts, photographs, folktales, and performances in river-based musical styles passed down from his mussel-shelling and river-working grandfather Chancy Stroughmatt’s generation. He will invite audiences to visit the history of early-20th-century Illinois and even sing along to the music of the age.
Hollywood and World War II (Ed Finch)
Ed’s Hometown: Freeport
Email Ed: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Ed: (815) 975-7631
About the Program:
During the World War II era, the movie industry was characterized by rapid, formulaic, almost factory-like mass production. When a particular innovation proved commercially successful, it was sure to be replicated in other movies in short order.
Thus, movies portraying the experiences of military personnel in World War II soon developed certain stylistic conventions, coalescing into a new genre: the combat film. The stylistic features that defined the combat film genre in the 1940s have remained influential ever since but have been modified in various ways, reflecting changes in cultural perceptions of war and military life.
This presentation explores the emergence of the combat film genre, its evolution up to the present, and what it can teach us about American cultural history.
The Archaeology of Disaster (Gregory Vogel)
Gregory’s Hometown: Eldred
Email Gregory: email@example.com
Call Gregory: (217) 371-3862
About the Program:
Fire, flood, famine, war, plague, earthquake: all major disasters leave distinctive signatures in the archaeological record. Illinois has seen its share of each.
We are adapting today to the ongoing ramifications of events that have a history long beyond living memory, from the New Madrid quakes of 1811-1812 that changed the very course of the Mississippi River to the great flood of 1993.
Archaeologist Gregory Vogel will invite audiences to explore the prehistory and history of these major disasters as they were recorded in the archaeological and geological records and to try to grasp the lessons that they may hold for us today.
The Virtuous Patient: A Middle Way Between Doormat and Royal Pain for Patient Self-Management (J.K. Miles)
J.K.’s Hometown: Quincy
Email J.K.: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call J.K.: (217) 228-5432 x3201
About the Program:
Clinical and philosophical ethics have done a great deal to explore the virtues needed for excellent doctors and nurses. However, the virtues that make for successful patients in the patient/provider relationship have been largely unexplored.
This presentation by philosopher and educator J.K. Miles offers a framework for thinking of the virtues needed for a patient to assume the role of self-manager. A virtuous patient, according to this account, is neither a “doormat” nor a “royal pain” for medical staff. The patient’s role in the doctor-patient relationship should be thought of as a social role that encompasses particular goals, practices, and virtues, much as a medical provider’s social role does.
From the point of view of virtue ethics, illness is a particular kind of adversity very different from adversities such as loss of a job or the loss of a loved one. Once we understand illness as adversity to flourishing, we can identify the virtues that enable people to cope with illness well in their role as patient. It so happens that these virtues fit comfortably into the four cardinal virtues of antiquity (fortitude, temperance, justice, and practical wisdom). Miles contends that patient education should encourage the cultivation of these virtues, especially through the use of patient mentors.
The Anti-Slavery Movement in Black and White (Jeanne Schultz Angel)
Jeanne’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Jeanne: email@example.com
Call Jeanne: (773) 426-4885
About the Program:
Illinois and Illinoisans played prominent roles in the anti-slavery movement preceding the Civil War, but were all opponents of slavery necessarily involved in the Underground Railroad? Understanding the wide variety of motivations that might lie behind any given individual’s opposition to slavery – commitment to human rights, belief in racial equality, economic considerations, and religious convictions, among others – is important to understanding the escalation to war.
Angel explores the role that the Underground Railroad played in the lives of Freedom Seekers and explains how one particular story illustrates connections within the network across the state. She examines the criteria that historians use to separate fact from fiction and determine which purported Underground Railroad sites are verifiable. She demonstrates that the range of responses to slavery on the part of Illinoisans was more complex than the state’s designation as the “Land of Lincoln” might suggest and that some of the underlying issues still manifest themselves in one form or another today.
Poets of Community and Human Struggle: Edgar Lee Masters and Carl Sandburg (John Hallwas)
John’s Hometown: Macomb
Email John: JE-Hallwas@wiu.edu
Call John: (309) 833-4062
About the Program:
A hundred years ago, our state produced what was arguably the first great literary development in America that was not centered on the East Coast: the “Chicago Renaissance.” The two most celebrated new poets of this “Chicago Renaissance” were Illinoisans, and they produced two of the best-known volumes of poetry in our state’s history.
One of them, Edgar Lee Masters, published the first version of his influential Spoon River Anthology in 1915, followed by a longer, final edition in 1916. The 243 speakers in that famous book are dead people, speaking from their graves in a small-town cemetery, revealing their poignant and fascinating experiences and insights as they reflect upon their lives.
The second, Carl Sandburg, launched his poetic career with the publication of his powerful collection, Chicago Poems, in 1916. It was a tradition-shattering book, written in free verse and focused substantially on city life. It revealed the poet’s empathetic identification with the lives of ordinary people, who were often struggling. He was a witness to harsh, urban realities.
John Hallwas, a literary scholar and teacher, has published editions of both Spoon River Anthology and Chicago Poems and has spoken in more than 100 Illinois communities. He introduces audiences to the poetry of Masters and Sandburg contained in their two famous books published a century ago. The lively lecture-with-readings presentation can include both poets, or it can focus on just one poet or the other, depending on the interests of host organizations and local audiences.
Civil War Field Embalming: A Demonstration of Period Technique (Jon Austin)
Jon’s Hometown: Jacksonville
Email Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Jon: (217) 494-1845
About the Program:
Portraying Dr. Benjamin F. Lyford in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, Jon Austin offers a first-person presentation in the style of a nineteenth-century medical school lecture, using a re-enactor “corpse” as a visual aid.
Austin addresses such topics as period medicine and chemistry, human anatomy, the verification of death, and the preparation of deceased soldiers’ remains for shipping and burial. Also covered are such subjects as nineteenth-century mourning rituals, Lincoln’s funeral, and the ways in which modern funeral practices have developed over time.
More information is available at http://www.civilwarembalmer.com.
Miles Davis: Kind of Blue (José Sandoval)
José’s Hometown: Mount Prospect
Email José: email@example.com
Call José: (847) 255-9232
About the Program:
When jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis, an Illinois native, released the album Kind of Blue in 1959, he virtually redefined jazz and influenced many other genres of music for years to come.
Loved by casual listeners and revered by musicians and critics, the album ranked number 12 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time and was arguably the top selling jazz album in history.
Musician José Sandoval takes audiences inside this musical milestone through interpretive performances and an interactive discussion of the album’s style and contribution to the evolution of jazz.
Featured musical selections written by Miles Davis include “Donna Lee,” “So What,” “Freddie Freeloader,” “Blue in Green,” “All Blues,” and “Flamenco Sketches.”
Grimm’s Grimmest: The Darker Side of Fairy Tales (Judith Heineman and Dan Marcotte)
Judith’s Hometown: Chicago
Daniel’s Hometown: Bolingbrook
Email Judith: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Judith: (312) 925-0439
About the Program:
What really happened after Sleeping Beauty was awakened by the Prince’s kiss? “Happily ever after…” was only relative – and what relatives inhabit these lurid tales!
Listen to the 19th-century tales of the Brothers Grimm as originally intended for adults, transformed through Judith Heineman’s and Dan Marcotte’s 21st-century interpretations. The dramatic retellings are accompanied by music played on the 16th-century Renaissance lute. Some take the form of ballads set to 16th-century French and English tunes.
Bruno Bettleheim, in Uses of Enchantment, discusses the power of fright in children as a necessary and useful survival tool. Listening to narrow escapes in ghost stories and gothic tales strengthens human survival instincts, thus justifying the enjoyment we have always shared in hearing a good scary story.
Causes and Costs of Corruption (Juliet Sorensen)
Juliet’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Juliet: email@example.com
Call Juliet: (312) 503-1482
About the Program:
Public corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain. This presentation examines the causes of corruption, including weak institutions, low government wages, and cultural factors. It also considers the effects of corruption on economic growth and human development. It concludes with an analysis of what is needed to effect change in a culture of corruption.
Corruption saps growth and morale. The qualified job applicant who loses out to the unqualified one on the basis of the latter’s connections, the real estate developer who waits months for a building permit that will bring jobs and revenue to a city while developers who pay bribes in exchange for permits to perform construction that is not in compliance with the building code endanger the public safety – these individuals and many others experience the costs of corruption firsthand.
This issue has a long history in Illinois and is no less relevant today. Thus, Illinoisans could benefit from understanding the conditions that have given rise to a culture of corruption in our state, the significant economic and other costs of corruption, and what they might be able to do toward changing the culture that perpetuates it.
La definición de la corrupción pública es el abuso de su oficina publica para un beneficio privado. Este programa se enfoque en las causes de la corrupción que incluye instituciones débiles como la policía y los jueces, cultura y política, y salarios bajos para empleados del gobierno. El programa se concluye con un análisis de lo que es necesario para cambiar una cultura de corrupción con éxito.
Establishing the Lincoln Highway and Charitable Giving in Illinois (Kay Shelton)
Kay’s Hometown: DeKalb
Email Kay: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Program:
The Lincoln Highway, the world’s longest memorial to President Abraham Lincoln, was the first improved coast-to-coast road in the United States. Begun in 1913 by leaders in the early automobile industry as a way to promote paved roads to potential automobile owners, it soon became an important part of American history.
Lincoln Highway passes some of America’s most important places: Times Square in New York City, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Gettysburg, the Flight 93 crash site, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
On its journey through Illinois, the Lincoln Highway becomes more local in its significance, yet it touches upon elements of the charitable and generous side of American culture. In Mooseheart, the highway passes the famous child city, the orphanage that refuses to be called an “orphanage.” In Malta, local people worked together to raise money for paving the road themselves in 1914. In Franklin Grove, ten men in an organization called Farming Heritage restored a dilapidated building that a cousin of Abraham Lincoln built in 1860. That building now serves as the Lincoln Highway Association’s national headquarters.
This presentation explores the many facets of the Lincoln Highway’s significance in the histories of Illinois and the United States.
Shelton will appear in 1913 vintage attire upon request.
A New Birth of Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Abiding Call (Kevin Wood)
Kevin’s Hometown: Oak Park
Email Kevin: email@example.com
Call Kevin: (708) 948-7017
About the Program:
The twelve turbulent years from 1854 to 1865 nearly destroyed our still young United States of America. Not only did the country survive the tumult, however, it transformed it into an opportunity to extend the bounds of liberty and, arguably, the promise of democracy. Wood presents a first-hand account from one of that period’s greatest protagonists, Abraham Lincoln, from the time he was roused to re-enter the political arena all the way through his pivotal tenure as President during the Civil War.
Mr. Lincoln, as portrayed by Wood, quotes from his best-known speeches and writings, while also providing some surprising and interesting perspectives. Audiences will be encouraged to contemplate and cherish the ideals upon which our country was founded and will gain a greater appreciation for the need to be ever vigilant to maintain those ideals in both policy and practice. They are likely to learn something new about our history and maybe even something about themselves.
Wood hopes that Mr. Lincoln’s story will inspire his listeners to dream and then work hard to achieve their dreams; to value education and learning; and to seek to develop character traits such as honesty, humility, compassion, generosity, and perseverance.
Abraham Lincoln hailed from Illinois, of course, which played a key role in the dramatic events preceding and during the Civil War. It was also a state whose diverse population was a microcosm of the entire nation, a mix of northerners and southerners, native-born and immigrants, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, urban and rural. These groups clashed at times but often succeeded at living and working together to further the interests of all, an aspiration relevant to Illinoisans and to all Americans today.
Los doce años turbulentos de 1854-1865 casi destruyeron nuestro todavía joven Estados Unidos de América, pero no solamente sobrevivimos, los convertimos en una oportunidad de ampliar los límites de la libertad y la promesa de la democracia. Escuchen un relato de primera mano del mayor protagonista de ese período, Abraham Lincoln, desde que fue provocado a entrar de nuevo en el ámbito político hasta los años de su papel crucial como Presidente durante la Guerra Civil americana.
El Sr. Lincoln, uno de los personajes históricos más queridos y estimados de nuestra nación, cita de sus discursos y escritos más conocidos, mientras que también proporciona algunas perspectivas sorprendentes e interesantes. Serán animados a contemplar y a apreciar los ideales sobre los cuales se fundó nuestro país, y se les recordará la necesidad de estar siempre vigilantes para mantener esos ideales tanto en la política como en la práctica. Muy probablemente aprenderán algo nuevo sobre nuestra historia, y tal vez incluso algo sobre sí mismos.
La historia del Sr. Lincoln les inspirará a soñar y luego a trabajar duro para lograr esos sueños; a valorar la educación y el aprendizaje; y a buscar a desarrollar rasgos de carácter como la honestidad, la humildad, la compasión, la generosidad o la perseverancia.
Abraham Lincoln provenía de Illinois, por supuesto, que jugó un papel clave en los dramáticos acontecimientos antes y durante la Guerra Civil. Fue también un estado cuya diversa población era un microcosmos de la nación entera, una mezcla de norteños y sureños, nativos e inmigrantes, ricos y pobres, liberales y conservadores, de áreas urbanas y rurales. Estos grupos se enfrentaron a veces, pero también aprendieron cómo vivir y trabajar juntos para promover los intereses de todos, algo relevante para los residentes de Illinois y para todos los estadounidenses hoy.
Windjammers, Sternwheelers, and Tin-Stackers: Working Waterways of Illinois (Lee Murdock)
Lee’s Hometown: Kaneville
Email Lee: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Lee: (630) 557-2742 (Artists of Note)
About the Program:
Using folk songs to tell the story of commerce on the rivers, canals, and Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Illinois, Lee Murdock traces the rise of shipping in our state, from the keelboats of the nineteenth century to today’s 1000-foot lake freighters.
In old songs and new, Murdock sings of lake schooners hauling grain and iron ore, famous river packets delivering their goods and passengers, and the canal boatmen who navigated across the Illinois prairie. He speaks to the shift in shipping technology from sailing craft to steam-powered vessels. He tells of heroic deeds, comical characters, and the beauty of our state’s waterways.
Lee Murdock sings and speaks the language of the river rats and schooner-men, the lighthouse keepers and fisher-folk, the modern-day sailor and the environmentalist.
Ann Stokes: African American Civil War Nurse (Marlene Rivero)
Marlene’s Hometown: Grand Chain
Email Marlene: email@example.com
Call Marlene: (618) 534-4840
About the Program:
Storyteller and living history actor Marlene Rivero portrays Ann Stokes, who is believed to have been the first African American woman to serve on board a U.S. military vessel.
Born a slave in Tennessee in 1830, Stokes was taken aboard a Union ship as “contraband” in January 1863, just after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. She volunteered to serve as a nurse on the first Union hospital ship, the U.S.S. Red Rover, a steamboat that had been captured from the Confederacy. The ship traveled the Mississippi and other interior rivers, venturing deep into Confederate territory to treat sick and injured Union military personnel. Under the direction of the Sisters of the Order of the Holy Cross, Stokes and her fellow nurses treated almost 3,000 patients onboard.
Stokes served until October 1864, married another “contraband” member of the U.S.S. Red Rover crew, and lived the remainder of her life in southern Illinois. She applied successfully for a pension for her own service in the U.S. Navy, becoming, according to some sources, the first woman ever to do so.
Rivero presents a first-person account of Stokes’s inspiring fortitude.
Greatness Explained: The Great Lakes (Norm Moline)
Norm’s Hometown: Rock Island
Email Norm: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Norm: (309) 788-9641
About the Program:
The Great Lakes are one of the great natural wonders of the world, according to geographer and educator Norm Moline, yet surprisingly often, lists of such marvels fail to include them. The lakes and their connecting channels and portages have been pivotal in the settlement history and cultural geography of much of the Midwest, Northeast, and adjacent regions of Canada.
Native Americans used the Great Lakes extensively. French colonizers explored the connections afforded by the lakes, which proved to be a vital nexus within the “crescent” of settlement that encompassed the Illinois Country. Throughout the subsequent centuries and geopolitical configurations, the Great Lakes have continued to play a variety of indispensable roles in transportation, commerce, ecology, and cultural identity.
An enthusiastic proponent of the greatness of the Great Lakes, Norm Moline will identify the many links within the Great Lakes watershed and with adjoining watersheds. He will elaborate on their multifaceted historical significance for the nation and for our region. He will also discuss some of the current environmental and political issues that affect Illinois and other states bordering these lakes.
More information on the Great Lakes is available at http://www.great-lakes.net.
The Global Stakes and Local Politics of Fresh Water (Rachel Havrelock)
Rachel’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Rachel: email@example.com
Call Rachel: (773) 398-9464
About the Program:
This presentation by scholar and educator Rachel Havrelock will examine the new water geography of too little water in some regions and too much in others. It will review current state policies and private initiatives related to the distribution of water. With a focus on the Great Lakes, Havrelock will map the social dimension of access to clean water and distribution to toxins. She will then present models of community building and integration around water management and engage the audience in a discussion of the emerging politics of water.
With local, federal, and international business interests each vying for water service, virtually every question of managing watersheds has become a transborder issue in one sense or another. Legal and political frameworks therefore play a key role in the ways in which resources are valued and distributed. Yet to focus on these frameworks alone neglects the ways in which class, culture, and gender also influence environmental health and access. The questions of who is served by water and energy infrastructure and who leverages influence as a stakeholder are crucial aspects of this issue that humanities research brings to the fore. No behavioral change, no new legislation, no reexamination of resource commodification can occur outside of discourse and social systems.
The way in which one approaches these questions has obvious implications for those whose lives and livelihoods depend on the Great Lakes, but it also matters a great deal on the global scale where eyes are focused on the interstate and international frameworks that govern extraction and management of the Great Lakes. What happens with the fresh water of the Midwest matters not only to those in the region, but also to other parties who desire access to its waters or look to this still vital water system as a model.
He Gave the World the Steel Plow: The John Deere Story (Rich Morthland)
Rich’s Hometown: Cordova
Email Rich: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Rich: (309) 781-4070
About the Program:
John Deere’s agricultural innovations, especially the self-scouring steel plow, monumentally impacted farming methods during the formative years of the United States, making expansion into the vast prairies and plains of Middle America possible.
The magnitude of Deere’s contributions to technology and history was matched only by that of his personal character, which encompassed remarkable talents and virtues, profound flaws, and many internal contradictions.
Rich Morthland – farmer, teacher, and seasoned public speaker – portrays Deere, inviting audiences to ponder not only the history lessons to be learned from his career, but also the human lessons to be learned from his life.
Steamboat Days on the Lower Ohio: Nineteenth-Century Boats Built in Metropolis, Illinois (Robert Swenson)
Robert’s Hometown: Carbondale
Email Robert: email@example.com
Call Robert: (618) 967-3016
About the Program:
Architect, historic preservation consultant, and educator Robert Swenson was raised in Metropolis, Illinois, on the lower Ohio River. Combining his professional interests with his personal background, Swenson has conducted extensive research about steamboats constructed in his hometown during the nineteenth century.
Swenson’s presentation will share information obtained from more than 40 libraries, museums, and researchers throughout the inland river system, as well as personal memories of growing up in Metropolis – riding on the Delta Queen and listening to the late-night sounds of the deep, mellow steam whistles on the river while trying to sleep on muggy summer nights. He will discuss the 67 boats built at Metropolis beginning in the 1850s and the people involved – the designers, engineers, builders, carpenters and craftspeople, owners, captains, pilots, and “roustabouts.” The story includes boats that played significant roles during the Civil War, boats built for the Missouri River trade during the Gold Rush, railroad ferries, logging boats, and the 327-foot “cotton boat” Mary Belle, one of the largest to ply the lower Ohio and Mississippi rivers in the 1870s.
Using digital slides supported by video clips and music, Swenson will discuss the complexity of river transportation problem-solving as part of a bigger story of the evolution of the lumber milling, metallurgy, wood-craft, and steamboat building industries from the upper to the lower Ohio River. He will discuss hull design and engineering difficulties involved in creating large, floating wooden structures that carried heavy loads and were subject to challenging river and weather conditions. Other topics will include stern-wheel, center-wheel, and side-wheel propulsion systems, wood post and “hog-chains” structural systems, and functional classifications including “packet,” “tow,” “excursion,” “cotton boat,” “railroad or wagon ferry,” “mail boat,” “showboat,” “photographer’s boat,” “wharf boat,” “propeller tug,” “snag boat,” and hybrids of these various types. Questions and conversation will follow.
Gypsy Music Street: Genocide and A Daughter’s Journey to Her Mother’s Shattered World (Roberta Dietzen)
Roberta’s Hometown: Highland Park
Email Roberta: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Roberta: (847) 204-7608
About the Program:
Gypsy Music Street is a memoir that Roberta Dietzen wrote after her mother Rezsi Lehrer, a Holocaust survivor, died in 2007. It is a family history about love, irrevocable loss, and the endless traumatic ramifications of the Holocaust that continue to resonate with the following generations. Dietzen provides a fascinating look inside the rich Jewish culture of Eastern Europe that was largely destroyed in World War II. She also shares the adventures she experienced in 2008, when she made an extraordinary roots trip and traveled to Budapest, Ukraine, and Israel, a moving and memorable journey that she describes as the highlight of her life.
Dietzen’s presentation stresses the importance of educating the world about the tragedy of the Holocaust. She discusses the invaluable importance of bringing awareness to the phenomenon of genocide and how people can learn to stand up, speak out, and confront bigotry and hatred throughout the world.
Water, Wonder, Words: Language, Stories, and the Cradle of Life (Sara Grady)
Sara’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Sara: email@example.com
Call Sara: (517) 862-3493
About the Program:
The presence or absence of water can build empires and destroy civilizations.
It has been said that our planet should be named “Water” or “Ocean” rather than “Earth.” The surface is 70% water, and every living thing here depends on this simple, vital fluid.
Just as rivers carve canyons and oceans sculpt the shore, so too water has influenced human cultures from Ancient Mesopotamia to our modern metropolises.
In this lively exploration, writer and educator Sara Grady will lead a globe-trotting tour, diving into history, anthropology, literature, and legend, tracing the ripples of water in our shared cultural history.
We will explore how people across the globe and throughout history reflect water’s life-giving, treacherous, fertile power through profound myths and entertaining stories, tasting the rich and varied water-words of languages both familiar and foreign – words that are being lost and eroded, but which illuminate and enunciate the wonders of our vibrant, blue planet.
The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance (Stephen Parry)
Stephen’s Hometown: Chicago
Email Stephen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Stephen: (312) 587-8700 x223
About the Program:
Filmmaker Stephen Parry invites audiences to discover the story of a changing America, told through the lens of one of early radio’s most popular and influential programs. From the Great Depression through the hardships of World War II, the National Barn Dance celebrated the folk traditions that were fading in an increasingly urbanized America and helped define an identity for a struggling generation.
For rural listeners unsure of the future, or for homesick transplants confronting the city, the National Barn Dance served as a touchstone, from its first broadcast in 1924 to its last in 1960. Preceding the success of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville by nearly two decades, it made Chicago the capital of country music prior to World War II. A marketing pioneer, the program also made millions for network sponsors like Alka Seltzer. Moreover, it launched the careers of matinee idols, national radio queens, and cowboys’ sweethearts.
More information is available at http://www.hayloftgang.com.
The Life and Import of Fannie Lou Hamer (Treasure Shields Redmond)
Treasure’s Hometown: Fairview Heights
Email Treasure: email@example.com
Call Treasure: (901) 483-6644
About the Program:
Poet and educator Treasure Shields Redmond will present her original poems about the life and social impact of Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, a native of rural Mississippi and grassroots Civil Rights activist, helped to organize the 1964 Freedom Summer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and served as the vice-chairperson of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Redmond will intersperse her poetry with freedom songs, gospel songs, and spirituals, examining, through African American expressive culture, the lasting significance of Hamer’s work and the movements to which she contributed.
Redmond believes that the example of Hamer, who prioritized mutual respect and the pursuit of justice, is highly relevant to young people who seek to respond constructively to issues of race relations in the era of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Additionally, Hamer’s legacy resonates with the experiences of many Illinoisans who traveled south to participate in Freedom Summer or were involved in the pursuit of Civil Rights in Cairo, East St. Louis, Chicago, and many other communities throughout our state.
Telling Time in Ancient North America (William Iseminger)
William’s Hometown: Collinsville
Email William: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call William: (618) 345-6454
About the Program:
Humans have been measuring time for thousands of years. Without a cell phone or clock around to tell if one was running late for the hunt or needed to prepare for harvesting season, the earliest human civilizations had to rely on other methods to schedule their days and nights.
Iseminger will invite audiences to discover the various timekeeping methods employed by these ancient civilizations in North America. Whether natural formations on the horizon or artificial, man-made structures, their calendars made use of the sun, moon, and certain bright stars to measure time.
Learn about the Woodhenge sun circles of Cahokia Mounds, America’s and Illinois’s first major city, other prehistoric Indian sites in eastern North America, the Pueblo structures in the Southwest, and the rock circle “Medicine Wheels” of the Great Plains – all evidence of the great innovators who looked to the sky to know what time it was.