The settlement of African Americans in Illinois is now widely recognized as a recent event dating back to the Civil War Era and the Reconstruction Period following the abolition of slavery. Communities that are primarily African American, like Hopkins Park in Kankakee County, Illinois, are important for resolving outstanding questions about the dates of these settlements and the cultural identity of the early black settlers of Illinois. Since 2005, Kusimba and Demel have been working at sites in Hopkins Park with a team of researchers, students, and members of the local community. Middle-school students from Lorenzo R. Smith School also take part in the research project and are trained in the processes involved in ethnoarchaeological research. Hear more about this unique archeological site and discover what their excavations tell us about the early settlers of Illinois.
Recorded Saturday, February 16, 2008 at The Field Museum.