Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

The Editor's Page

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

The Editor's Page

Article excerpt

In this issue of the Journal our articles present significant groups, acting and interacting in constructive and sometimes destructive ways. Wanda Avila's study of the biographies of successful men in southeastern Illinois is not only interesting as a study of public memory and the celebration of 19th Century Illinois pioneers. It also serves as a corrective to another useful, but sometimes overapplied generalization about the great cultural differences between Southern Illinois, Central Illinois, and Northern Illinois. For the truth is, that the values, achievements, and beliefs of Avila's Illinois ancestors and their neighbors, were strikingly similar to those that have been found in all the rural sections of Illinois.

On purely technical grounds one can be fascinated by Christopher R. Reed's article on the earliest history of African Americans in Chicago; this is an extraordinary achievement of historical detective work. It is also a lesson with multiple meanings about the formation of an American subculture by a minority both racial and ethnic, working to establish itself under American law and constitutionalism committed, in broad principle, to the equality of all humankind, but in that antebellum age, also committed, in many legal and constitutional provisions, to excluding the African American from the full protection of both laws and constitutions. …

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