Recognizes other historic events during Black History Month

13th AmendmentSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Senate commemorated the 150th Anniversary of Illinois’ historic vote to ratify the 13th Amendment and end slavery in America on Feb. 1, 1865.

This week, the senate held a ceremony that included a narrative reenactment and speeches on the historical importance of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“Just over 150 years ago, the Illinois State Senate, with bipartisan support, voted to end one of the most terrible injustices in American history—slavery. This was a courageous vote that took place while the civil war raged on,” State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said.

The Senate approved Senate Resolutions 110 and 111, which recognize Illinois for being the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment and encourage schools and civic organizations to study the passage of the amendment.

“Western Illinois was a hotbed for the abolitionist movement. One of the historical reenactors described the life of a freed slave who crossed over from Marion County, Missouri to freedom in Western Illinois—only to later enlist with the Union Army and serve in the civil war,” Sullivan said. “We owe it to past generations to honor and preserve this legacy and to future generations to pass this history forward.”

020315CM0676Also mentioned during the ceremony was the establishment of New Philidelphia in Pike County, Ill., the first town in the U.S. established by an African American, Free Frank McWorter.

Quincy was also the home of the United States’ first African-American Roman Catholic priest, Father Augustus Tolton. He was ordained in 1886, served at St. Boniface and St. Joseph parishes in Quincy, then founded St. Monica’s Catholic Church, the country’s first national black parish.

And just recently, Dr. Richard Eells received a posthumous pardon for assisting runaway slaves, which at the time of his arrest and conviction in 1842 was illegal. Eells' home still stands as a national historic monument at 415 Jersey Street, in Quincy.


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