Poject Overview:

In 2011 Lincoln Home National Historic Site with many community partners undertook a project to investigate the places that best represent the inspiring stories of the move from slavery to freedom in Illinois. The project engaged historians, youth mentors, videographers, web designers, and others to present these freedom stories in an engaging way. The goal of the project is to teach history and inspire youth by presenting stories of victory through adversity.

In 2015 the Illinois Freedom Project web site was launched. This youth focused multimedia web site provides resources to teach the interconnected story of slavery to freedom through the lens of people, places and events in Illinois from eighteenth century French settlements through early twentieth century Chicago.

During the summer of 2017 the project partners organized field trips, called “Illinois Freedom Journeys,” to select Freedom Project locations throughout Illinois. An Illinois Freedom Project hand book, curriculum and traveling exhibit were also developed. The exhibit, with the web site, videos and curriculum, will provide the youth mentors at those facilities with opportunities and tools to inspire youth with the stories of freedom. And, hopefully inspire them to visit these places themselves, if not statewide then the sites in their region and neighborhood.

Illinois Freedom Project Partners:

  • Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area
  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History
  • A.S.C.E.N.D.
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois
  • Greening Youth Foundation
  • Illinois Bureau of Tourism
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • National Park Foundation
  • National Park Service
  • Organization of American Historians
  • The Outlet
  • Phi Beta Sigma-Sigma Beta Club
  • Sangamon County Metro 4H
  • Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum
  • Springfield Frontiers

Illinois Freedom Project Team:

  • Erica Austin, youth leader
  • Erin Bishop, historic content development
  • Deanna Blackwell, youth leader, curriculum development
  • Justin Blandford, project coordinator
  • Jeanette Cowden, project support
  • Cecil Crawford, youth leader
  • Crowdson Creative, video production
  • Paris Ervin Doyle, promotion, video editing
  • Clarice Ford, education consultant
  • Kevin Ford, on camera video host, advisor
  • Graphic Works Atlanta, graphic design
  • Troy Gilmore, project support
  • Kathryn Harris, project support
  • Larry Hemingway, youth leader
  • Mark Johnson, historic content consultant
  • Mike Kienzler, text content editor
  • Lionel Kimble, historical consultant
  • Pam King, education consultant
  • Mapcraft, cartographer
  • Tiffany Mathis, youth leader
  • Antonio Neal, music
  • Mike Phelon, logo and web design, youth leader
  • Lottie Phillips, graduate student researcher
  • Justin Rose, youth leader
  • Shelly Rouse, youth leader
  • Paula Seifert, education consultant
  • Lorna Shuman, education consultant
  • Aidan Smith, project support
  • Derrick Stapleton, youth leader
  • William Thomas, curriculum development
  • Tim Townsend, project coordinator
  • Chris Vallillo, music
  • Sarah Watson, project support
  • Heather Wickens, project support
  • Tom Willcockson, cartographer