Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum MORE

Learn about the first generation of Black Chicagoans and their activism in our two-part Google Arts and Culture exhibit Concert is Power:

Part 1: Chicago’s First Free Black Generation

Part 2: Free Black Movements in Antebellum Chicago

Explore the Digital World of Chicago’s Early Black History

For Educators

References and Resources

  • Blanchard, Rufus. Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest, with the History of Chicago, Volume 2. Chicago: R. Blanchard and Co., 1900.
  • Brown, Hallie Quinn. Homespun Heroines and Other Women of Distinction. Xenia, OH: Aldine Publishing Company, 1926.
  • Cameron, John D. “Rev. John B. Dawson: Social Activist and Early Settler of Chicago’s Avondale Neighborhood.” The Quarterly Journal of the Illinois State Genealogical Society 52 no. 1 (Spring, 2020): 18-27.
  • City of Chicago and the Department of Development and Planning. Historic City: The Settlement of Chicago. Chicago: Dept. of Development and Planning, 1976.
  • Dolinar, Brian ed. The Negro in Illinois: The WPA Papers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013.
  • Foner, Eric. Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation & Reconstruction. New York: Vintage Books, 2005.
  • Foreman, P. Gabrielle, et al. “Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help.” Community-sourced document, November 2, 2020.
  • Garb, Margaret. Freedom’s Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014.
  • Gliozzo, Charles A. “John Jones and the black Convention Movement, 1848-1856.” Journal of Black Studies 3, no. 2 (1972): 227-236.
  • Harbour, Jennifer R. Organizing Freedom: Black Emancipation Activism in the Civil War Midwest.Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2020.
  • Heerman, M. Scott. The Alchemy of Slavery: Human Bondage and Emancipation in the Illinois Country, 1730-1865. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018.
  • Junger, Richard. “‘God and man helped those who helped themselves’: John and Mary Jones and the Culture of African American Self-Sufficiency in Mid-Nineteenth-Century Chicago.” Journal of Illinois History 11, no. 2 (Summer, 2008): 111-132.
  • ­­Junger, Richard. “‘Thinking Men and Women, Who Desire to Improve Our Condition’: Henry O. Wagoner, Civil Rights, and Black Economic Opportunity in Frontier Chicago and Denver, 1846-1887.” In Voices from within the Veil: African Americans and the Experience of Democracy, edited by William H. Alexander, Cassandra L. Newby-Alexander, and Charles H. Ford, 140-169. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008.
  • Knox College. “Struggle and Progress: Documenting African American History in Galesburg, Illinois.”
  • Lyon, Jeff. “Generations: A Quiet Quest to Honor a Family’s Legacy.” Chicago Tribune Magazine. February 23, 1992.
  • Meehan, Thomas A. “Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the First Chicagoan.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 56, no. 3 (Autumn, 1963): 439-453.
  • McCaul, Robert. The Black Struggle for Public Schooling in Nineteenth-Century Illinois. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1987.
  • Reed, Christopher R. “African American Life in Antebellum Chicago, 1833-1860.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 94, no. 4 (Winter, 2001/2002): 356-382.
  • Reed, Christopher R. Black Chicago’s First Century: Volume 1, 1833-1900. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2005.
  • Reed, Christopher R. Knock at the Door of Opportunity: Black Migration to Chicago, 1900-1919. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2014.
  • Ryan, John H. “A Chapter from the History of the Underground Railroad in Illinois: A Sketch of the Sturdy Abolitionist, John Hossack.” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 8, no. 1 (1915): 23-30.
  • Settler Colonial City Project. “Land Acknowledgement.”
  • Smith, Charles Spencer. A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church: Being a Volume Supplemental to A History of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Philadelphia: Book Concern of the A.M.E. Church, 1922.
  • White, Jesse, Secretary of State & State Archivist. “100 Most Valuable Documents at the Illinois State Archives: Illinois Black Law.”
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