Wednesday, February 4, 2009

UIS hosts three presentations for "Central Illinois: Patchwork of People" educational series

Central Illinois: Patchwork of People,” a thought-provoking three-session educational series examining the people and cultures that have influenced life in Central Illinois, will begin in March at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Sponsors are the UIS Alumni SAGE Society and the Illinois State Historical Society.

The series will begin on Tuesday, March 17, with “How Their Diversity Enriched Us.” Moderator of the series is UIS Alumnus William Furry, executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society. Featured speakers will be Kathryn Harris, director of library services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, who will address “In Search of Freedom: African Americans in 19th Century Sangamon County.” Also speaking will be Rabbi Barry Marks of Temple Israel, Springfield, who will discuss “The Jewish Experience in Springfield.”

A hot buffet luncheon will begin at 11:30 a.m. in the Public Affairs Center conference rooms C/D with the presentations from noon to 1:30 p.m. Lunch is $20 per person and must be paid for at least one week before the session, or $45 per person for all three lunches if reservations are paid for by Feb. 17. The presentations are free and open to the public, although those wishing to attend only the presentations are asked to pre-register.

To register or for more information, visit, or contact the Office of UIS Alumni Relations at 217/206-7395 or

The second program in the series on Tuesday, April 21, will focus on “How They Lived at Home.” Speakers will be Dr. Stacy Pratt McDermott, assistant editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, who will talk about “Domestic Law, Matrimony and Divorce in Sangamon County: 1837-1861.” Also speaking will be Dr. Stacey Robertson, director of Women’s Studies at Bradley University, Peoria, whose topic is “Myths and Realities in the Lives of Frontier Women.”

The final program, on Tuesday, May 19, will be on “How They Made a Living.” Speakers will be Taylor Pensoneau, retired president of the Illinois Coal Association and an Illinois author. His remarks are titled “Dreams, Hardship and Danger – The Lives of Central Illinois Coal Miners.” In addition, Dr. Debra Reid, associate professor of History at Eastern Illinois University, will discuss “Harvesting the Soil: Central Illinois Agricultural Practices.”

The series is made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Illinois General Assembly.