Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Editor's Page

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Editor's Page

Article excerpt

THE FALL ISSUE OF THE JOURNAL OFFERS three articles covering diverse aspects of Illinois' history. In "Illinois Germans and the Coming of the Civil War: Reshaping Ethnic Identity," Christina Bearden-White uses German-language sources to examine the complex issue of German identity in the Prairie State during the mid-nineteenth century. Illinois, like other parts of the U.S., experienced a large influx of German immigrants beginning in the late 1840s. According to Bearden-White, Illinois Germans, unlike those arriving elsewhere, largely overcame the religious and political divisions that plagued German American communities in the antebellum era. The settlement patterns of Germans in Illinois contributed to this development, but the real crucible seems to have been the national political debate over slavery's expansion westward. The coming of the Civil War, and the rapid formation of German regiments, solidified a new sense of German pride and nationalism among Illinois' German communities.

Ian Rocksborough-Smith's article, "T had gone in there thinking I was going to be a cultural worker': Richard Durham, Oscar Brown, Jr. and the United Packinghouse Workers Association in Chicago," presents a fascinating analysis of the Cold War-era careers of Oscar Brown, Jr. and Richard Durham, two prominent Chicago-based African American political activists. Theirs is a story of both problems and possibilities confronting black activists seeking change in an increasingly conservative political environment. …

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