Lectures to Bring History Alive

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Dibble Daily Herald Staff Writer

In the days before the Civil War, people in northern Illinois towns like Naperville were of a divided mind regarding slavery.

The abolitionists, of course, believed slave holding was wrong, and some were willing to risk $1,000 fines to help slaves on their way to freedom.

But the constitutionalists maintained that the law of the land - which permitted slavery in southern states - needed to be upheld.

Still others were neutral on the issue, or openly sympathized with the South.

Those differing points of view, along with that of a runaway slave, will be represented in "Voice of the Past: Northern Illinois and the Underground Railroad," to be presented Sunday at Naper Settlement.

The program is the first in a new History Speaks Lecture Series that will bring such famous figures as Lewis and Clark, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Daniel Burnham to life at the 19th- century historical village.

The seven-program series runs through May, with lectures monthly except in December. All except the first lecture will last an hour.

"It is first person - people re-enacting the time period and the people," said Donna DeFalco, marketing coordinator for Naper Settlement.

While Naper Settlement has had dramatic presentations of historical figures in the past, this is the first time it has drawn them together in a series, said Sue Cicero, Naper Settlement's education manager.

"It's not heavy-handed history," she said. "It's entertaining and educational."

The first program on the Underground Railroad was adapted from a program that Naper Settlement presents to middle school students.

Rosie Serio of Downers Grove, a museum educator at the settlement with theater experience, wrote the script. The program is not recommended for children younger than sixth grade. …