Please scroll down. The events are listed from most recent to oldest.

MAY 27, 2021
Talk: “The Mythic Mississippi Project”
Presented by: Co-PI, Helaine Silverman
Location: ZOOM event at Stockholm University, Sweden

MAY 25, 2021
Talk: Mother Jones – The Great Labor Organizer
Speakers: Joann Condellone and Loretta Williams
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: online
Register here:
  Mary Harris Jones, better known as Mother Jones, overcame great adversity in her own life in order to fight for the rights of the working class. An Irish immigrant who suffered the tragic loss of her family and then her business, she organized strikes and demonstrations across the country and was a co-founder of the Industrial Workers of the World. She eventually became known as “the most dangerous woman in America.” She stood in solidarity with laborers even in death choosing to be buried in the Union Miners Cemetery in Mt. Olive, Illinois. Miners from across the country raised funds to erect a monument in her honor which stands there today.

MAY 15-JULY 11, 2021
Exhibition: Untold Black Stories of Alton
Location: along E. Broadway Street, Alton
Sponsor: The Mythic Mississippi Project is a sponsor for the creation of the photographic murals illustrating African American stories of Alton (see March 5).

MAY 12, 2021

MAY 2, 2021 (Sunday)
May Day Commemoration of Mother Jones and Her Brave Boys
Place: Union Miners Cemetery, Mt. Olive
Time: 12 – 2 p.m.

MAY 1, 2021 (Saturday)
Dedication of the Illinois State Historical Society marker commemorating the founding the Progressive Miners of America in Gillespie, IL

Place: Gillespie -corner of Chestnut and Montgomery, 1 block from Coal Museum

Time: 11 a.m.
Accompanying events:

MAY 1, 2021 (Saturday)
Members of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners of America enact a historic march from Mt Olive (where Mother Jones is buried) to Gillespie (where the PMA was founded in 1932)!

MAY 1, 2021 (Saturday)

APRIL 21, 2021
U.S. Congress committee hears testimony and receives Congressional questions about four potential new units of the National Park Service, including New Philadelphia. WATCH here: 

APRIL 23, 2021

APRIL 8, 2021
Lecture and Workshop: “Understanding NAGPRA: Repatriation in Illinois”
Speaker: Melanie O’Brien (Program Manager, National NAGPRA)
Time: 2 p.m.
Zoom: 859 0993 8214   passcode: 515382

MARCH 25, 2021
Lecture : “Slavery in Southern Illinois”
Speaker: Darrel Dexter (Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville)
Time: 7 p.m.

We should remember the extraordinary women who made exceptional contributions to events in history and their contemporary society. Among them are Mother Jones, “the miners’ angel” and indomitable labor organizer across America; Lucy McWorter, born a slave and who worked tirelessly alongside her husband Frank McWorter to free members of her family, create the integrated town of New Philadelphia and help other slaves flee through the Underground Railroad; similarly, the heroic former slave Priscilla Baltimore who was a conductor on the UGRR; all of the members of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners of America, who were ferocious in supporting their men and families and taking political action to advance workers’ rights.

MARCH 5, 2021
Christina Shutt has been named the next executive director for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the premier institution for understanding the full history and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. She will be the fifth executive director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the first person of color to hold the title. Shutt has championed efforts to make libraries and museums more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible, believing that the heart of these institutions must represent the communities they serve. She is passionate about the unique role that cultural institutions have in providing educational resources, grounding a community in its history and educating the public about the important role of engagement in a democracy.
A catalytic leader, Shutt’s career has focused on helping the public connect the past with the present to make informed choices about the future.

Bill to designate the 1908 Riot site has been reintroduced (March 3, 2021):
Similar bill expected any time for New Philadelphia:

MARCH 5, 2021
StoryCorps Live: Untold Black Stories of Alton – virtual listening event
5-6 p.m.
Hear six recorded conversations and participate in a Q&A with the guest speakers. You can attend by clicking this link:
Meeting ID: 976 2108 0362    Passcode: 994140

FEBRUARY 25, 2021 at 1 p.m.
Springfield’s State Journal-Register is hosting a conversation on
“History, Race and Education”. Connect with the link below.

FEBRUARY 16, 2021 at 10 a.m.
Kathryn Harris and Sue Massie discuss their efforts to preserve and interpret sites on Springfield’s eastside that are significant to African American history. They focus on the John Taylor House, Lincoln Colored Home and Fire House No. 5 and how each site contributed to the lives of African Americans in Springfield. Watch on the Sangamon County Historical Society’s YouTube ( and Facebook (

JANUARY 24, 2021

JANUARY 19, 2021
An article by Steven Spearle in the Springfield’s State Journal-Register announces a proposal by the Abraham Lincoln Association to expand the boundary of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site (8th and Jackson), under the aegis of the National Park Service, to include the Iles House (628 South 7th Street) and a replica of Abraham Lincoln’s cottage, where the Lincoln family lived for twelve years, before they expanded it to the home we see today. Iles was Springfield’s first merchant and his house is oldest in Springfield. The replica Lincoln Cottage would be built at 617 S. Eighth Street.
LISTEN to Michael Burlingame, President of the Abraham Lincoln Association talk about the Lincoln Cottage. The Iles-Lincoln proposal will require approval of the Department of the Interior under which the NPS functions.

DECEMBER 6, 2020
National Coal Miners Day

NOVEMBER 23, 2020
“Face To Face”, the beautiful experiential poem about the 1908 Race Riot in Springfield, filmed by The Storyteller Studios and narrated by Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, has won a 2020 Regional Mid-America Emmy. You can watch the award-winning performance on our website on this page:

OCTOBER 12, 2020
Illinois Coal Miners Day (recalling the Battle of Virden in 1898)

OCTOBER 11, 2020
Celebration of Coal Miners Day at Mt Olive’s Union Miners Cemetery, 1 p.m.
The Mother Jones Museum and the Union Miners Cemetery Board will present a program at the cemetery.  The following is the preliminary program.
Wildflower – opening music

Dale Hawkins portrays a Virden miner and stands silent vigil at the monument
Welcome Remarks – John Harvey
Scott Thomas, UMWA local 1613, remembers Donnie Stewart, speaks for the miners
Loretta Williams – portraying Mother Jones
Jim Alderson – portraying General Bradley at Virden
Wildflower – music: Joe Hill
John Harvey – comments about John Keiser’s scholarship on Mt Olive mining history
Gordon Hayman – lays a wreath at the monument for Mother Jones, speaks about right to work and current labor struggles
Wildflower – music: Bread and Roses
Mike Katchmar – ecollections of his mining family’s mother and grandmother
Anna Pianfetti Eccher = recollections of her grandmother and the Women’s Auxiliary
Joann Condellone – in honor of Anna Yurkovich 
Song by Nick Krumwiede
James Goltz reads remarks sent from Cork, Ireland (where Mother Jones was born) and sends our greeting to them
Participants will read other remarks sent from other labor groups and send reciprocal  greetings 
Wildflower – music: Solidarity Forever

October 7, 2020
Mythic Mississippi Project session at the 22nd Annual Conference on
Illinois History – Springfield
Speakers: Helaine Silverman (University of Illinois), Hannah Kline (Illinois History Collaborative), Lacy McDonald (Hayner Library, Alton), Stephanie Young (All Town USA and Principia College), Sara McGibany (Alton Main Street)

FALL 2020
The Mythic Mississippi Project is participating in Professor Ian Trivers’ (Urban Design, Washington University, St Louis) seminar: “River City Revitalization: Resilient Futures for Alton.”

SEPTEMBER 26, 2020
Office of the Architect of the Capitol removed the statues of Stephen A. Douglas and Pierre Menard from the grounds of the State Capitol in Springfield pursuant to a resolution passed in the Illinois General Assembly.

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020
The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Mound at Oak Ridge Cemetery was rededicated today with the participation of Union Army Soldier re-enactors. It is the burial site of 98 Union soldier veterans, 8 of whom were African American veterans of the “United States Colored Troops” (USCT) in the nomenclature of the times. The GAR Mound can be found in Block 10, Lot A of the cemetery. In 1891 this piece of land was set aside for those Union Army veterans who lacked family plots in which to be buried.

JUNE 23, 2020
Event: On-line lecture: “New Philadelphia Composer Hermes Zimmerman and American Popular Music, 1820-1900″
Speaker: Bill Camphouse (Music Educator and Performer)
Time: 7 p.m.
For access pleas email:

JUNE 16, 2020
Event: On-line lecture: “Fashioning Illinois (1820-1900) and the Connection to New Philadelphia”
Speaker: Erisa Holst (Curator of History, Illinois State Museum)
Time: 7 p.m.
For access please email:

JUNE 9, 2020
Event: On-line lecture: “New Philadelphia: Family Ties in Pike County”
Speaker: Charlotte E. Johnson (Alton Historian and Geneaologist)

Event: “Dark Matters Symposium: Coal, Labor and Tourism in Illinois”
Place: Illinois State Museum, Springfield
Sponsorship: Mythic Mississippi Project in collaboration with the ISM and
UIUC European Union Center
Time: 2-7 p.m.
Devin Hunter and Helaine Silverman: “The Mythic Mississippi Project”
Joann Condellone: “The Mother Jones Museum in Mt Olive”
Union Miners Cemetery Board: “The Union Miners Cemetery in Mt Olive”
Dave Tucker: “Gillespie Coal Museum”
Historical Enactment of Mother Jones
Historical Enactment of General Bradley
Andrea Duncan: “Carlinville – Sears District, Miners and Tourism”
Jennifer Russell: “U of I Extension in Southern Illinois”
Amanda Cole: “U of I Extension and Tourism Potential in Macoupin County”
Layne Knoche: “Gillespie’s Downtown Vision”
Special Guest Speaker: Dr. Paul Shackel (University of Maryland): “The Lattimer Massacre – Comparative Lessons from Anthracite Country, PA” (6-7 p.m.)

For information, contact Devin Hunter ( or Helaine Silverman (

MARCH 5, 2020
Event: First Meeting of the Illinois History Collaborative for Young Professionals
Time: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Springfield
For information please contact Hannah Kline (Director, IHCYP) at

FEBRUARY 15, 2020
Event: Public History Workshop in Alton, led by Dr. Devin Hunter. Students from UIS’s public history program met with Renée Johnson (Hayner Genealogy and Local History Library) at the Hayner Library to learn about important events and themes in Alton’s African American history.

   Then the group went to Alton Works to learn more about Alton history and heritage.

FEBRUARY 7, 2020
Event: Symposium “Revealing Communities. The Archaeology of Free Communities in the Nineteenth Century”
Lecture: “Resilience and Racism in a Nineteenth Century American Heartland: New Philadelphia and the Vagaries of Prejudice”
Christopher Fennell (Professor, Department of Anthropology, UIUC)

NOVEMBER 2, 2019
Event: Alton Works and the Mythic Mississippi Project Workshop
Place: Alton

SEPTEMBER  6-7-8, 2019
Event: Celebrate POPEYE in CHESTER at the Popeye Picnic
Place: E. C. Segar Memorial Park

SEPTEMBER 1-4, 2019
The project welcomed the visit of one of its international consultants, Dr. Andreas Pantazatos, who toured many of the Mythic Mississippi locations with project co-PI, Helaine Silverman. Particular attention was paid to the Illinois Coal Museum (Gillespie) and the Mother Jones Museum (Mt Olive) because of Dr. Pantazatos’ collaborative research with Dr. Silverman on coal mining heritage in County Durham, UK.

AUGUST 25, 2019
Event: Mythic Mississippi Project Collaboration with Chester Development Group

AUGUST 13, 2019
Event: Meeting of the 
Riverbend Group with project Co-PIs
Place: Godfrey

AUGUST 9-11, 2019
Event: Marissa Coal Festival
Place: Marissa

JUNE 10-28, 2019
Event: Archaeological field school at Miller Grove
Location: 20+ farmsteads established by freed African Americans in 1840s
Director: Dr. Mark J. Wagner (SIU-Carbondale)

JUNE 7 & 8, 2019
Event: International Horseradish Festival
Place: Uptown Main Street, Collinsville

MAY 20-JUNE 7, 2019
Event: Archaeological field school at French and American Forts of Kaskaskia
Location: near Fort de Chartres and up the hill from Pierre Menard Home
Director: Dr. Mark J. Wagner (SIU-Carbondale)

MAY 11, 2019
Event: Coal Miners’ Memorial Service
Special speaker: Philip Gonet (President, Illinois Coal Association)
Place: West Frankfort
Time: 10 a.m.

MAY 9-10-11, 2019
Event: Old King Coal Festival
Place: West Frankfort

MAY 5, 2019
Event: Memorial service at the Union Miners Cemetery
Place: Mt. Olive
Time: 12 p.m.
MAY 5, 2019
Event: “Mother Jones in Heaven”, a one-act play & musical performance
Place: Staunton
Time: 2:30 p.m. (following Mt. Olive miners service)
MAY 1, 2019
Lecture: “The Lewis & Clark Fort Kaskaskia 100 m. N of French Fort Kaskaskia”
Speaker: Dr. Mark Wagner (Southern Illinois University at Carbondale)
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Illinois State Museum, Springfield