African-American Resources for Illinois

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United StatesGotoarrow.pngIllinois Gotoarrow.pngAfrican American Resources
Chicago American Giants 1919

Brief History

The Great Migration of African Americans brought many from the rural South to Chicago. Most came from Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas.  By 2008, 15.0% of the population in Illinois was African American, with the majority living within the city of Chicago and the surrounding areas.

Slavery was banned by 1818 when Illinois became a state, though the southern part continued to allow slavery for several more years. This part, called "Little Egypt", was mostly settled by Southerners. By 1853 laws were passed prohibiting all African Americans, including freedmen, from settling in the state. This eventually changed after the Civil War.

In October 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed many buildings and records.

Internet Sites

The following have information concerning African American research.

Illinois Museums with African American Collections

DuSable Museum of African American History
Place page
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637-1495

Springfield Illinois African American History Foundation
883 Roanoke Drive, Springfield, IL, 62702
Tel: 217-698-6339

African Americans in Illinois Places Other Than Chicago has links to library catalogs with African American collections.

Books about African American Research:

  • African American Genealogy: a Bibliography and Guide to Sources, by Curt Bryan Witcher is at many libraries.
  • Black Genesis: a Resource Book for African-American Genealogy, by James M. Rose, and Alice Eichholz is at many libraries
  • Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, Tony Burroughs (Look Inside)
  • Family Pride: the Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy, by Donna Beasley is at many libraries.

Books about African Americans

  • The Black Women in the Middle West Project: a Comprehensive Resource Guide, Illinois and Indiana; Historical Essays, Oral Histories, Biographical Profiles, and Document Collections, by Darlene Clark HIne.  It can be read at the Family History Library and many libraries.
  • The Black Civil War Soldiers of Illinois: the Story of the Twenty-Ninth U.S. Colored Infantry, by Edward A. Miller.  It can be read on Google Books, at the Family History Library and many libraries.
  • Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era, by John David Smith is at many libraries.
  • Additional books listed on WorldCat.  Click the title to see libraries with the book.
  • Additional books at the Family History Library