The Springfield African American History Foundation (SAAHF) began communicating with Springfield natives in October 2003, hoping to gather oral histories of local African Americans. Interviewers were trained and a total of 31 tapes revealing African American history were transcribed. From these first interviews, those involved in the SAAHF gained enthusiasm and determination concerning this compelling part of Springfield's history that had, until then, been relatively unnoticed.
Efforts and Accomplishments
The Springfield African American History Foundation is gathering oral histories from African American families who have lived in the Springfield area for three to five generations. They are also interested in any inspiring historical information about local African Americans. Interview tapes depicting these oral histories are stored currently in the Special Collections Department of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. This foundation has already proudly recorded a local historical landmark in the National Register of Historic Places. Foundation members dedicated their efforts to register the Lincoln Colored Home, the first orphanage for African American children, in August 1998.
The main goal of the Springfield African American History Foundation is to continue to tape oral histories, provide transcripts, and eventually establish an African American history museum in Springfield. Volunteer opportunities always exist for members of the community who are interested in supporting or assisting with the foundation. The SAAHF can benefit from individuals who are interested in researching grants that may be available for the group's many projects. They also welcome those willing to assist with writing these grants for submission.
This web site was funded through a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council.