Conversations on Race and Rural America with Dr. Alphonso Simpson: Part 1 – Making the Unconscious Conscious

 We’re excited to share this outstanding conversation about race and rural America with Dr. Alphonso Simpson.  Dr. Simpson is a professor of African American Studies at Western Illinois University and also serves as chair of the department of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  He’s been teaching at WIU since 2000 and is the author of 3 books “Mother to Son: A Collection of Essays and Readings in African American Studies, Ain’t Nobody Worryin’: Maleness & Masculinity in Black America, and Living the Life I Sing: Gospel Music from the Dorsey Era to the Millennium. Our essential questions are “How do we talk about race in rural America?” And “what advice do you have for young people growing up in rural counties that are predominantly white?”  Speaking with Dr. Simpson was super enjoyable and informative. We learned a lot from this talk and know you will too.

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Gender Gap. Guest Interview with Carol Davis

We are pleased to share this podcast interview as two Cuba high school students, Brianna Gorsuch and Caitlin Patterson, interview with the recently retired Carol Davis over the gender gap and how it impacts Forgottonia; both in the past as well as the present.  Carol shares her experience with gender inequality, gender stereotypes and expectations society places on women as a child, as a parent and in the workplace.

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Fulton County Forum on Poverty: Summary Report Part 5 of 5

The following is a summary of a panel discussion about poverty in Fulton County that took place March 23, 2017.  The forum took place at the Canton Church of the Brethren and was moderated by Pastor Kevin Kessler. Panelists included Missy Kolowski of the Health and Wellness Clinic of Fulton County Rolf Siversten Superintendent CUSD #66Paster Monroe Bailey of the First Baptist ChurchBrooke Denniston Executive Director of the YWCAPaula Grigsby Executive Director of the YMCARhonda Morgan from the Salvation Army and Teri Williams director of Spoon River Pregnancy Center.

This fifth and final post explores solutions and offers closing remarks. Listen online here or through our Forgottonia Project podcast (search “Forgottonia Project” on iTunes or wherever you find podcasts.

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Gender Gap: Interview with WIU Professor Dr. Lori Baker-Sperry

We are pleased to share this interview with Dr. Lori Baker-Sperry from Western Illinois University Department of Women Studies.  We asked Dr. Baker-Sperry several questions concerning the topic of gender, especially in regards to rural America.  This interview prompted us to interview key community leaders to also share their experience with things like gender stereotypes and advice to women growing up in rural America today.  Dr. Baker-Sperry provided us with several links to her responses as well that you will find helpful.  We hope you enjoy and please contact us with any questions you might have.

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Forgottonia Native and Frasier Star John Mahoney dies at 77

Many Americans recognize beloved actor John Mahoney from his days as Frasier’s dad, Martin Crane on the hit NBC sitcom.  However, most natives of Forgottonia may not realize that Mahoney actually lived in McDonough County for a time as a young man.  Although he was actually born in England and associated most with living in Chicago, he came to Macomb, IL to live with his sister where he studied at Quincy University and joined the army to help him become a citizen faster.

According to his bio on Wikipedia, Mahoney taught English for a time during the 1970s at Western Illinois University before settling in the Chicago area. So as many remember Mahoney during his most famous days, Forgottonians remember him during an earlier time.

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Burma Shave Ads and Materialism

Burma-Shave was a brand of shaving cream famous for its humorous advertisements during the 1920s (check out the link here to see some examples for yourself).  They had a reputation sort of like Geico does today; a company known for doing unconventional commercial advertisements with their own quirky sense of style.  Yet perhaps another reason for their success lies not in the content of their ads, but new trends in American life in the 1920s that emphasized more materialistic values of status and wealth.  Or as sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen called conspicuous consumption; spending money on luxurious goods to flaunt the wealth and status of the buyer.

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Education Puts Food on the Table. Guest Interview with Dr. Trenton Ellis

We previously spoke with Forgottonia native Dr. Trenton Ellis about job loss throughout Forgottonia and all of rural America. In this interview Dr. Ellis mentioned factors like technology, globalization, and the lack of economic diversity as contributing to job loss. Since our talk with Dr. Ellis was so rich in material and we didn’t want to depress you by only discussing problems, we split our discussion in two parts. In this 2nd edition, we address plans of action and ask 2 essential questions; What can we do about factors impacting job loss and  What interferes with progress in rural America?

While Dr. Ellis admits there’s no quick fix, the wisdom he offers comes not just from his academic background, but his personal experience growing up in rural America. 

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