By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
A lecture series returning in June will focus on two dramatic aspects of life in mid-19th century Illinois and the Midwest with funding help from the Illinois Humanities Council.
IHC has awarded $34,083 in grants for development and production of public humanities projects to nine nonprofit organizations, including $2,500 to the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville for its Archeology Day and $1,800 to the Marvin and Thomas Leo Likes Memorial Lecture Series sponsored by the New Philadelphia Association.
Four speakers will highlight activities of the Underground Railroad and the era of the Civil War in keeping with the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation.
"Our discussions will specifically address the roles of freedom-seeking African Americans in both the Underground Railroad and the Civil War," Claire Martin Fuller, historian for the New Philadelphia project, said in promotional materials for the lecture series. "Our speakers will discuss many roads to freedom: the Underground Railroad, Civil War military service, emancipation and safe havens, such as New Philadelphia."
The lecture series began as part of the field schools funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program but always have been open to the public. The series continued since the field schools were completed, and for the fourth time, the council has provided funding for the sessions held at Sprague's Kinderhook Lodge near Barry.
Sponsors for this year's series are the New Philadelphia Association, Illinois State Museum, Sprague's Kinderhook Lodge and the IHC.
Kampsville is one of the premier locations to study North American prehistory, IHC said, and the center wants to familiarize the public with the area's heritage and with the field of archeology.
Archeology Day, slated for July 13, gives visitors a chance to participate in archeology-related activities including artifact identification and sample processing as well as tour the center's 2,000-year-old excavation site.
The IHC makes a priority of funding projects developed by, for or aimed at reaching new or historically neglected audiences -- and encourages projects about American history and culture.