Author and documentary photographer Michael J. Bracey currently resides in Maywood, IL. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, annual reports, and purchased by many private collectors worldwide. His featured exhibition will include works from his books, “Africans Within the Americas” and his latest book, “Caras Lindas de Colombia” (Beautiful faces of Colombia), which was published in June 2018.
The Springfield & Central Illinois African American History
Museum features exhibits which tell authentic stories about
African American life in Central Illinois past and present.
Special events and private guided tours can be made
outside of general admission times.
Please call the office to schedule your event,
(217) 391-6323, Toll Free (877) 757-2247.
Springfield, Illinois 1908 Race Riot
On the evening of August 14th, 1908, a race war broke out in Springfield, Illinois. Although six people were killed, thousands were terrorized, and hundreds of African Americans left Springfield, the event was almost lost to history. After the flurry of (biased) news coverage directly following the event, there was little said or written about it for nearly 80 years. Springfield has seemed reluctant to come to terms with its past. Slowly, efforts led by residents to hold the city accountable for the events of the riots have led to some successes, although many of its citizens remain oblivious to this facet of Springfield’s past. The riots led directly to the formation of the NAACP, and should be studied so that we can understand the mistakes of the past and look forward to a more peaceful future.
Panels are provided by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.
"Doc" Helm Photography
This exhibit of stunning black and white photographs by Eddie Winfred Helm (1911-1994), fondly known as "Doc" Helm, covers a broad range of people and places. During 50 years as the Secretary of State's photographer, Helm captured on film momentous events and occasions. During that time, he also photographed a multitude of everyday events, people and places. In this collection are political and sports figures, doctor's offices, lunch counters, nigh clubs, farm scenes a more. We challenge you to identify some of the individuals pictured. Helm's daughter, Beverly Jean Renfro, is generously loaning these photographs to the Museum.
Robert Moore's United States Marshalls
The elite cadre of US Marshals was once the domain of white men only. In 1875 Bass Reeves was the first black man appointed a US Marshal and in 1877 President Lincoln appointed Fredrick Douglass a US Marshal. It was 85 years until the next African-American received an appointment.
Robert Moore was appointed by President Bill Clinton on October 17, 1994 and served until his retirement on June 29, 2002. This exhibit is curated by US Marshal Robert Moore and contains many items from his personal collection.
History Maker Banners
The "History Maker Banners" honor prominent Illinois African Americans. Visit the exhibit to learn of the significant contributions made by these exemplary individuals.
The Stories of Quilts
A timeless look at Midwestern quilts, their purpose and evolution. Early Sangamon County quilts made entirely by hand are displayed side-by-side with today's machine techniques.