Stories

Looking for Lincoln Stories is a video and podcast series about the people, events, and places of Abraham Lincoln's life and times. These narratives of real-live events paint a picture of the vibrant history of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. Some stories have only audio/podcasts, and others stories have an additional full video.

African Americans in Lincoln's Springfield

September 28, 2022

Springfield, Illinois had a vibrant African American Community during the time Abraham Lincoln lived in the city. This episode highlights his relationship with four African Americans in the community.

The episode was written by David Blanchette, directed by Heather Feezor, and edited by Steven Varble.  Narration was provided by, Springfield Illinois actor, Reggie Guyton. 

Narrator — Reggie Guyton

Reggie Guyton is a Creative Professional currently residing in Springfield, IL. He currently works at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum as a Historical Actor. He wrote and performed a 13 minute show, entitled “Small Beginnings” detailing the life of an Enslaved Black man who escaped the South, and helped to persuade President Lincoln to let Black men fight for the Union during the Civil War.  

In addition to serving on multiple community art boards, Reggie is also the inaugural Artist in Residence for “ Our Stage / Our Voices” at University of Illinois Springfield. He received his BA in Performing Arts at Blackburn College, with a focus on Theater and a minor in communications. In addition to directing community theater (most recently Ragtime at the Springfield Municipal Opera), he also acts, dances, performs spoken word, and teaches performance technique. 

+ Podcast and Video Credits

This episode was funded inpart by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the America Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  Any views, findings in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Music by Chris Vallillo www.chrisvallillo.com
Midnight on the Water, Saugatuck

Music by Mike Anderson www.dulcimerguy.com
Lincoln and Liberty, Rosin the Bow, Angeline the Baker, and June Apple

Music by Mike Anderson and Royce Jones
Battle Cry of Freedom

Sounds by www.Freesound.org: ”Hammering Nails, Close, A.wav" by InspectorJ (www.jshaw.co.uk); Crowdsound http://freesound.org/people/klankbeeld/; Carriage in Vienna Urkki69; Angry Mob by unchaz; Man Yelling by TRP at Freesound.org; Scissors by jadend2; Outdoor Crowd by kyles; Small Group laughter by Ch0cchiSE Horse & wagon with lots of wooden & metal rattle.wavrecorded by Piotrek Zyla; Horsewagon horse walking slowly ext.wav by lefthandwinnie; Preacher in Ghana by musesdelight; horse whinny by foxen10; People shuffling out of church by BeeProductiveDuna River Beach by szegvari; Door Slam by SoundsForHim

Susan Richardson: A Story of Slavery to Freedom in Illinois

July 25, 2022

In this episode, you will learn about a young freedom seekers harrowing flight from southern Illinois to Knox County, Illinois, and the twists and turns on her journey to self-emancipation. Assisted by abolitionists and anti-slavery activists, Susan’s story highlights that even though Illinois was a free state, aspects of slavery still existed within its borders. The episode was written by David Blanchette, directed by Heather Feezor, and edited by Steven Varble. Narration provided by Paris Ervin Doyle. This episode is funded inpart by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Narrator — Paris Ervin

Paris Ervin is the Senior Director of Media and Public Affairs at the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. Prior to her current role, she served seven years as the Chief Communications and Civic Engagement Officer for the Office of the Illinois State Treasurer.

Paris started working for the State of Illinois in 2008 as the Communication Manager for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Illinois Department of Agriculture, eventually moving on to Bureau Chief of Communications at the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

Prior to her state service, she was an on-air reporter and fill-in anchor at WICS-TV in Springfield, Illinois.

Paris has held positions on several boards, including the YMCA, American Red Cross, and served as the President for the National Honor Society for Public Administration. Paris currently serves as a board member for Looking for Lincoln and the Hoogland Center for the Arts. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Paris resides in Chatham, Illinois. She is married with a 6-year-old son

+ Podcast and Video Credits

This episode is funded in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Any views, findings in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Music by Mike Anderson and Royce Jones www.dulcimerguy.com Lincoln and Liberty-Rosin the Bow, The Minstrel Boy, McPherson’s Lament Sounds supplied by www.freesound.org by the following creators under various creative commons licenses: Rowdy Crowd: xtrgamr; Gavel: zerolagtime; Outdoor Festival: kyles; Horse Gate/Mud: Canukfa; Civil War Music: adeluc4; Crowd Reactions: Craigsmith; Crying: Robinhood765; Child Laugh: sergequadrado; Man Yelling: trp; Smashing Glass: abominablemusic; Bottle Smash: fliegermatze; Arkansas Traveler: ecfike; Rooster: derjuli; Rooster/Chickens: globofonia; Kids Fighting: soundsexciting; Crickets: gb01; Owl: andrewjonesfoto; Steamboat:1-pull; Horse Carriage: urkki69; AngryMob: unchaz; Gunshot: michorvath; AngryMob: bevibeldesign; Prison Door: ylearkisto; Fire Burning: foleyhaven; Guitar: stixthule; Mumbling: so0rec; Crowd: samuelgremaud; Laughter: drotzruhn; Sonata Piano: shadydave; Drunken Party: robinhood76; Crowd: craigsmith; Child Laughing: sergequadrado

New Philadelphia: An African American Community on the Illinois Frontier

July 25, 2022

“Free” Frank McWorter was a man with ambition, dedication, guts and a burning desire for freedom for himself and others. He was the first African American in the nation to plat and legally registered a town. Learn how “Free” Frank established an integrated community on the Illinois prairie and bought the freedom of more than a dozen people from slavery. The episode was written by David Blanchette, directed by Heather Feezor, and edited by Steven Varble. Narration provided by, Springfield Illinois Actor, Kevin Ford. This episode is funded in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Narrator — Kevin Ford

Kevin Ford is actively engaged in the Springfield, Illinois theatrical community.  He provided the voice-over and onscreen professional work for the Illinois Freedom Project a project of Lincoln Home National Historical Site.  He has participated in in numerous productions at the Springfield Muni Opera, Theater in the Park, the Springfield Theater Center and the Hoogland Center for the Arts. 

Kevin is retired and volunteers working as a tutor with the AVID program in the Springfield School District.  He also serves as the Academic Coordinator for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Illinois afterschool program at Franklin Middle School.

+ Podcast and Video Credits

This episode is funded in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Any views, findings in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Music by Mike Anderson and Royce Jones www.dulcimerguy.com Mississippi Sawyer, Lincoln and Liberty-Rosin the Bow, Soldier Joy, The Minstrel Boy, Shortnin Bread, Sounds supplied by www.freesound.org by the following creators under various creative commons licenses: Chirping Birds: ifartinurgeneraldirection; Laughing: richwise; Pick Axe: guyburns; Child Laughing: obxjohn; Arkansas Traveler: ecfike; Crowd: craigsmith; Horse Carriage: urkki69; Hammering; wim; Crowd: klankbeeld; Anvil; arnaud-coutancier; Laughing: Richwise; Church Bell: 16f-panska-veltrusky-david; Children Playing: piermic; Train: FunWithSound; Chickens Flapping: mrrap4food; Dog Bark: juan-merie-venter

The 1875 Emancipation Celebration: A Grand Old-Style Barbeque in Atlanta, Illinois

July 20, 2022

Learn about the events and efforts of a small group of African American citizens from Atlanta, Illinois, who hosted an area-wide BBQ celebration at their local fairgrounds. The event noted the 12th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which granted freedom to the enslaved people of the United States. The episode was written by David Blanchette, directed by Heather Feezor, and edited by Steven Varble.

Narration was provided by Springfield Illinois actor, Reggie Guyton. This episode is funded inpart by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Narrator — Reggie Guyton

Reggie Guyton is a Creative Professional currently residing in Springfield, IL. He currently works at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum as a Historical Actor. He wrote and performed a 13 minute show, entitled “Small Beginnings” detailing the life of an Enslaved Black man who escaped the South, and helped to persuade President Lincoln to let Black men fight for the Union during the Civil War.  

In addition to serving on multiple community art boards, Reggie is also the inaugural Artist in Residence for “ Our Stage / Our Voices” at University of Illinois Springfield. He received his BA in Performing Arts at Blackburn College, with a focus on Theater and a minor in communications. In addition to directing community theater (most recently Ragtime at the Springfield Municipal Opera), he also acts, dances, performs spoken word, and teaches performance technique. 

+ Podcast and Video Credits

This episode is funded in part by a grant from Illinois Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Music by Chris Vallillo www.chrisvallillo.com Ragtime Annie, Picayune Butler, Golden Slippers Music by Mike Anderson and Royce Jones www.dulcimerguy.com Lincoln and Liberty-Rosin the Bow.  Sounds supplied by www.freesound.org by the following creators under various creative commons licenses: Cannon Blast: kyles; Train: FunWithSound; Outdoor Crowd: Kneeling; Civil War Music: adeluc4; Horse Gate/Mud: Canukfa; Horse Whinny: InspectorJ; Crowd Reactions: Craigsmith; Laughing: Richwise; Arkansas Traveler: ecfike; Crowd People: klankbeeld; Hammering: WIM; Audience Clap/Yell: klankbeeld; Marching Band: flathill; CrowdCheer: DeletedUser; Cheerful Clapping: qubodup

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