The state of Illinois played a prominent role during the anti-slavery movement in the mid-19th century. But were all Illinoisans who were against slavery also supportive of the Underground Railroad, or even racial equality? Understanding the differences between those who were “anti-slavery” and those who were “radical abolitionists” is important to understanding how the Underground Railroad was viewed in Illinois and also to determining which of its sites are verifiable. Explore the history behind the anti-slavery movement in Illinois and examine the criteria historians use to separate fact from fiction. This program was made possible through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.
Jeanne Schultz Angel received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and master’s degree in history at Illinois State University. Her master’s thesis on the anti-slavery movement in northeastern Illinois was awarded the Cavanaugh Award for Most Outstanding Master’s Thesis for 2005. She previously worked at a historical archaeology excavation in County Roscommon, Ireland; as the curator and director for the St. Charles Heritage Center in St. Charles, IL; as executive director of the Lombard Historical Society; and as the executive director of the Illinois Association of Museums. Angel is a 2010 graduate of the prestigious Seminar for Historical Administration and from 2012 to 2015 was the Illinois representative for the American Association of State and Local History “Leadership in History” awards program. In May 2015, she became the executive director of the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association in Oak Park, IL. She resides in the Norwood Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and three children.