African-American Resources for Illinois
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.
Illinois Repositories with African American Collections
- Illinois State Archives
Margret Cross Norton Building
Springfield, IL 62756
"African–American Records" describes what records are at the State Archives with an online method for ordering records.
- DuSable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637-1495
- Springfield Illinois African American History Foundation
883 Roanoke Drive
Springfield, IL, 62702
- Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. Sixth Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Telephone: 800-610-2094 or 217-782-5764
Holdings include materials on various ethnic groups and ethnic migration patterns as well as a collection of oral interviews conducted by the Springfield African-American History Foundation. Search the card catalog.
- Newberry Library
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610
"African American Genealogy" lists sources and helps for African American research.
Books about African American Research
- Witcher, Curt Bryan. African American Genealogy: a Bibliography and Guide to Sources. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Round Tower Books, 2000. Available at many libraries (WorldCat).
- Rose, James M. and Alice Eichholz.Black Genesis: a Resource Book for African-American Genealogy. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Pub. Co., 2003. Other libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 973 F27r 2003
- Black Roots: A Beginners Guide to Tracing the African American Family Tree, Tony Burroughs; description at Amazon.
- Family Pride: the Complete Guide to Tracing African-American Genealogy, by Donna Beasley is at many libraries (WorldCat).
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 is at many libraries (WorldCat) and FHL book 977 F2h.
- The Black Civil War Soldiers of Illinois: the Story of the Twenty-Ninth U.S. Colored Infantry, by Edward A. Miller. Many libraries (WorldCat); Google Books; FHL book 977.3 M2mi
- Black Soldiers in Blue: African American Troops in the Civil War Era, by John David Smith. Other libraries (WorldCat)
Additional Published Sources
- African American Research has more information about researching African Americans
- "The Battle Against Slavery," in Historic Illinois: The Romance of the Earlier Days, by Randall Parrish (Chicago: A.C. McClurg and Co., 1905), pages 318-332. Free online at Google Books.
- Additional books found at many libraries (WorldCat). Click the title to see libraries with the book.
- Additional books at the Family History Library
- See Illinois ethnic group records for additional resources
- African Americans in Illinois Places Other Than Chicago has links to library catalogs with African American collections.
- The History Makers, based in Chicago, is dedicted to preserving African American history.
- Pullman Porter National Historic Registry of the African-American Railroad Employees