Illinois history

Kaskaskia: The Lost Capital of Illinois

Jul 18, 2019
Southern Illinois University Press

The authors have taken a fresh look at the story of Illinois’ first capital city in a new book published by Southern Illinois University Press called “Kaskaskia: The Lost Capital of Illinois.” They’ve put together what they say is a comprehensive account of the town, complete with historical photos, maps, and even tales of a centuries-old curse. 

Mary Hansen / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Part 2: Most of the radium-tainted earth from decades-old manufacturing in Ottawa has been removed, but one major site still needs cleanup.

Mary Cullen / NPR ILLINOIS | 91.9 UIS

Part 1: Radium poisoning took the lives of perhaps thousands of female factory workers, many in Ottawa, Illinois, in the last century.

Library of Congress

Updating history 

This year is the centennial of America’s entry into World War I. Most stories about the war focus on the fighting overseas, but there was another struggle taking place. An American icon from Illinois helped lead that battle and, for a time, paid for it with her reputation.   

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Because Illinois is a northern state and the former home of Abraham Lincoln, it isn’t typically associated with slavery. But there was slavery in Illinois for more than 100 years.

Even after Illinois entered the Union, loopholes in its laws allowed the practice to continue, making the future Land of Lincoln a quasi-slave state. 

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library digitized a rare copy of a 1956 presidential primary debate. What does it have to say about American politics today?

Illinois is getting ready to celebrate a milestone. In 2018, the state turns 200.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday used his executive authority to create an office and a 51-member commission (members haven't yet been appointed) to coordinate the festivities.

"And we want leaders from all over the state coming up with their ideas and recommendations on how we can best celebrate," he said. "It's going to be a lot of fun, it's going to be a really big deal."

Illinois Issues: Historic Dilemma

Aug 18, 2016
John Owens

Efforts to preserve historic buildings in low-income and inner-city neighborhoods throughout the state face challenges — like the lack of access to financing and restoration projects taking a back seat to more pressing issues in the community. 

police line
flickr/ Sarah

After video of a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times was released to the public, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel became the focus of intense backlash. He responded by firing Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

In many ways this was history repeating in a city that has had twice as many police chiefs than it’s had mayors in the past six decades — and more than its share of police scandals.  

Sean McMahon / The Field Museum

The Tully monster is Illinois' state fossil, but until recently scientists were not sure what kind of creature it was. A team of researchers compared thousands of specimens and were finally able to classify the Tully Monster.

Barack Obama, Michael Madigan and John Cullerton
Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

Illinois' leaders are still stuck in a budgetary quagmire, weeks after President Barack Obama came to Springfield to call for less polarization in politics.

For this episode of The Players: Your look into who's who in Illinois politics and what they're up to (or more precisely this time around -- your look into who's who in national politics and what they were up to when they visited Illinois).

Listen to the WUIS broadcast of the 12th Annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, recorded at UIS Brookens Auditorium in October - a presentation of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.  Hosted by Barbara Ferrara.

The UIS Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series calls on scholars and policy experts to talk about issues that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era, and issues that are still timely today.

Gillen D'Arcy Wood

What does a volcanic eruption in Indonesia 200 years ago have to do with Illinois?  In addition to killing 100,000 people and eventually leading to cholera outbreaks across the globe, that eruption may have led to Illinois becoming a state.

Listen to the WUIS broadcast of the 12th Annual Lincoln Legacy Lectures, recorded at UIS Brookens Auditorium in October - a presentation of the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership.  Hosted by Barbara Ferrara.

The UIS Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series calls on scholars and policy experts to talk about issues that engaged Abraham Lincoln and the citizens of his era, and issues that are still timely today.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

This week, we take a historical look back at the 1964 "Bedsheet Ballot".  That year, due to a disagreement over Illinois redistricting, every candidate ran state-wide on a ballot that was over three feet long.  The effects of that election and the way it was conducted strongly influenced the future course of state politics, the state constitution, and more.

Peggy Boyer Long
WUIS/Illinois Issues

"It was true that over the years I consistently evoked strong feelings, but voters had elected a fighter. What's wrong with confronting a problem and fighting for the right solution?"

Dan Walker
The Maverick and the Machine: 
Governor Dan Walker Tells His Story

Illinois political history is a long-running study in character. It's a morality play intoned by a Greek chorus and a solitary plea from the wings. It's heroism and tragedy, and sometimes comedy, in an endless series of acts.