S2 – Episode 09: The Incredible Story of Camp Ellis: Part 2 – What is the Legacy of Camp Ellis?

On this episode of the Forgottonia Project, we conclude our conversation with Marion Cornelius about the incredible history of Camp Ellis, a massive WW2 Army camp that was located right here in rural Forgottonia.

If you haven’t listened to the first portion of our talk with Marion on Camp Ellis, I’d recommend you listen here (Part 1 – What are the Misconceptions about Camp Ellis?).  Marion Cornelius is the director of the Easley Pioneer Museum in Ipava, IL which holds the largest collection of artifacts from Camp Ellis. Our previous conversation focused on some of the basics of Camp Ellis like where the camp is located, how large it is and why it was built in the first place. We took special attention to point out the misconceptions people have about Camp Ellis – such as the fact that the Camp wasn’t used to train soldiers to fight but rather to support the war. This episode I asked Marion about African American soldiers that served at Camp Ellis, notable visitors to the camp, and what he feels is the legacy of Camp Ellis.  I’m excited to share this portion of our talk and hope you enjoy!

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 09: The Incredible Story of Camp Ellis: Part 2 – What is the Legacy of Camp Ellis?”

S2 – Episode 08: The Incredible Story of Camp Ellis: Part 1 – What are the Misconceptions about Camp Ellis?

On this episode of the Forgottonia Project, we are pleased to share our conversation with Marion Cornelius about the incredible history of Camp Ellis; a massive WW2 Army camp located in rural Forgottonia.

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 08: The Incredible Story of Camp Ellis: Part 1 – What are the Misconceptions about Camp Ellis?”

S2 – Episode 07: What the Salvation Army is Doing to Help the Most Vulnerable Rural Americans

According to a study at Columbia University funded by the National Institute of Health,  4.5% of all deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to poverty (Link to research). And this was before the COVID-19 outbreak! What is the cause of poverty? What does poverty look like in rural, western Illinois? What can we do to combat poverty? To help respond to these questions, we turned to Lt. Sarah B. Eddy of the Canton, IL Salvation Army.

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 07: What the Salvation Army is Doing to Help the Most Vulnerable Rural Americans”

S2 – Episode 06: The Rural Youth Assembly Summit with Kaylann Beekman

Cuba High School senior Kaylann Beekman was recently selected to represent Illinois at the Rural Youth Assembly Summit in McAllen, Texas (*Note: The Summit was originally scheduled for April 2-5, but will be postponed for a later date).  She is one of just 50 young adults, ages 16-24, selected across the nation to serve as a delegate.  The Summit brings young people together to explore unique challenges facing rural youth, and identify creative solutions to address them.

On this episode, we ask Kaylann about the Rural Youth Assembly; what she’s learned so far and what she hopes to gain from the experience.

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 06: The Rural Youth Assembly Summit with Kaylann Beekman”

S2 – Episode 05: Roads, Higher Ed, & Racism – Students ask the IIRA

On this episode, Chris Merrett from the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs responds to questions formed from students at Cuba High School in Cuba, IL.  These questions reflect  a range of challenges facing small towns, not only in Cuba, but throughout Forgottonia. The essential questions our students asked Chris include the following:

 

  1. How do you feel about the road conditions in IL? Our small towns tend to get overlooked on issues with the pot holes in the roads. Being a teen driver I hate getting flat tires every other day.
  2. How do you feel about lowering the amount of young citizens who leave IL for college? What is something we can do to help increase enrollment at WIU?
  3. How do you think we can improve on getting rid of racism in small towns throughout IL?

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 05: Roads, Higher Ed, & Racism – Students ask the IIRA”

S2 – Episode 04: Chris Merrett, IL Institute for Rural Affairs – What are the Challenges to Running a Business in Rural America?

We are beyond pleased to share this interview with our friend Chris Merrett from the IL Institute for Rural Affairs.  Chris is the Director of the Institute, which is located on the campus of Western IL University in Macomb, IL.  The institute oversees research, outreach, teaching, and policy development that is comprised of 20 community development faculty and professionals.  He serves on the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council and is the Chairperson of Rural Partners, which has raised over $6 million in external grant funding to support community and economic development outreach and research.  Chris has researched and edited books on the topics of cooperatives and community development, and has published a range of articles on topics such as value-added agriculture, rural land use, social justice, and rural community and economic development. 

IIRA-Profile-Chris

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S2 – Episode 03: Forgottonia Brewing – What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America?

On this episode were fortunate to speak with some local entrepreneurs who not only started a new business in Macomb, IL, but they are kindred spirits because they named it “Forgottonia!”  Sean West and his partners Scott and Susan Park of Forgottonia Brewing in Macomb, share their story on starting a business and how they are incorporating Forgottonia history.   The essential question we asked is “What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Forgottonia?”  We hope you enjoy this conversation and if you have any questions or feedback we’d love to hear from you. Continue reading “S2 – Episode 03: Forgottonia Brewing – What Does it Take to Run a Successful Business in Rural America?”

S2 – Episode 02: Sundown Towns – What is the Legacy of Sundown Towns in Rural America?

On this episode, we conclude our interview with Dr. James Loewen about his book “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.” We asked 2 essential questions: What is the legacy of Sundown Towns? Plus, how do you conduct research in your own town?

Image result for james loewen

Dr. Loewen is a talented author, historian, and sociologist. He is best known for his 1995 book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” (Reprinted in 2009).  In 2005, Loewen published “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” which focuses on communities throughout American where African Americans, Jews, and other minorities were forced or strongly encouraged to leave town prior to the sun setting.  An Illinois native hailing from Decatur, Dr. Loewen earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.  He has taught at Tougaloo Colle in Mississippi, the University of Vermont, and the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

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S2 – Episode 01: What Are Sundown Towns?

On the first episode of our second season, we were extremely fortunate to interview Dr. James Loewen about his book “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.” We asked the essential question: What are Sundown Towns? 

Image result for james loewen

 

Dr. Loewen is a talented author, historian, and sociologist. He is best known for his 1995 book, “Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong” (Reprinted in 2009).  In 2005, Loewen published “Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism” which focuses on communities throughout American where African Americans, Jews, and other minorities were forced or strongly encouraged to leave town prior to the sun setting.  An Illinois native hailing from Decatur, Dr. Loewen earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Harvard University.  He has taught at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, the University of Vermont, and the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

Continue reading “S2 – Episode 01: What Are Sundown Towns?”