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The Negro in IllinoisThe WPA Papers$
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Brian Dolinar

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037696

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037696.001.0001

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(p.14) 3. Abolition
The Negro in Illinois

Arna Bontemps

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the abolition of slavery in Illinois after the firing on Fort Sumter in April 1861 marked the beginning of the end of the struggle for emancipation. Many of the settlers of southern Illinois had come from the slave belt. These men brought with them their outlooks and habits of life, and southern Illinois, later known as “Egypt,” became a stronghold of pro-slavery sentiment. With the opening of the Erie Canal, New Englanders, New Yorkers, and immigrants direct from Europe settled in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin. These pioneers, too, “packed their beliefs in their traveling bags.” It has been contended by some that the construction of the Erie Canal was more influential in freeing the Southern slaves than were such abolitionists as William Lloyd Garrison. This chapter looks at some of the leading Illinois abolitionists, including Owen Lovejoy, Ichabod Codding, Edward Beecher, Zebina Eastman, Hooper Warren, Benjamin Lundy, and Lyman Trumbull. It also considers the Fugitive Slave Law and the reaction of Chicagoans to it.

Keywords:   abolition, slavery, Illinois, Erie Canal, slaves, abolitionists, Owen Lovejoy, Lyman Trumbull, Fugitive Slave Law, emancipation

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