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Archive of: Politics

New American citizen May 24, 1941

Twenty-six people became American citizens in a naturalization ceremony held May 24, 1941, in the McLean County Courthouse. Overseeing the proceedings was Circuit Judge W.C. Radliff. Seen here is an unidentified woman completing her naturalization paperwork.

Some of the women who became U.S. citizens on this day included Catherina Fillipponi, Marguerite Grundler, and Frieda Wilde. If you can identify the woman shown here, please let us know!

Municipal Workers on Strike May 1968

Bloomington’s public service employees responsible for garbage pickup and cleanup work staged a seven-day strike in early May 1968. This May 6 scene shows the wives and supporters of the striking workers gathered on the south side of the Courthouse Square. The following day the 60-plus municipal employees on strike agreed to a proposed pay hike hammered out with the help of a mediator.

If you can identify anyone in this photo, please let us know! Update: Left to right: Helen Sims, Ginny Cochran, Elanor Burton.

‘Private Joe’ Fifer Memorial Day 1934

The gentlemen in the center is Joseph “Private Joe” Fifer of Bloomington, who served as Illinois governor from 1889 to 1893. For Memorial Day 1934. Fifer, a Civil War veteran, recited Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to a crowd gathered at Bloomington Cemetery (now part of Evergreen Memorial Cemetery). On the right is A.T. Ives, another Civil War veteran.

Robert Underwood, casting ballot April 9, 1945

Seen here is 30-year-old judicial candidate Robert C. Underwood (left) at an unidentified Town of Normal polling station, casting his ballot in the spring 1945 election. Underwood, in his first bid for elective office, would defeat sitting County Judge Dewey Montgomery by a nearly two-to-one margin.

'Madly for Adlai’ Sen. Estes Kefauver, Oct. 18, 1952

Sen. Estes Kefauver in Bloomington, 1952.

Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee stopped in Bloomington to campaign for fellow Democrat and hometown favorite son Adlai E. Stevenson II, who was the party’s presidential nominee. Stevenson would lose to Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in both 1952 and 1956.

Labor Secretary Visits Bloomington October 17, 1935

Labor Secretary, 1935.

Department of Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, the first woman appointed to the U.S. Cabinet, stopped in the Twin Cities on October 17, 1935. She spoke at Capen Auditorium on the Illinois State Normal University campus. She talked about workplace health and safety.

Eleanor Roosevelt visits the Twin Cities, November 9-10, 1937

Eleanor Roosevelt, 1937.

On November 9-10, 1937 First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, sans husband Franklin Delano, paid a visit to Bloomington-Normal. Mrs. Roosevelt is seen here relaxing at the Illinois Hotel in downtown Bloomington while taking questions from a Pantagraph reporter.

FDR in Bloomington October 14, 1936

FDR visits Bloomington, 1936.

On October 14, 1963 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt campaigned in Bloomington. FDR’s whistle stop tour pulled into Union Depot on the city’s west side (see photo on the right) at 2:35 p.m. The photo on the left shows Roosevelt from the train’s rear observation platform.

Photo of the Week, 116: We Shall Overcome, October 1965

demonstrators from Illinois State University marched along Main Street to downtown Bloomington to protest the acquittal in Alabama of Ku Klux Klan gunman Collie Leroy Wilkins in the murder of Civil Rights Movement worker Viola Liuzzo.

On Sunday, October 24, 1965, demonstrators from Illinois State University marched along Main Street to downtown Bloomington to protest the acquittal in Alabama of Ku Klux Klan gunman Collie Leroy Wilkins in the murder of Civil Rights Movement worker Viola Liuzzo.

Photo of the Week, 112: Lincoln Marker Dedication, June 1922

Lincoln Marker Dedication, June 1922

In 1922 and 1923, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected 19 markers in Central Illinois commemorating the route Abraham Lincoln traveled on the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

Photo of the Week, 86: Thirty Year Anniversary of ISU Beer Riot 'Brouhaha'

On October 3, 1984, Illinois State University students protested new Town of Normal liquor ordinances designed to control large off-campus keg parties. Students called the measures draconian, and some took out their frustrations on public and private property in Uptown Normal. Rioters, according to an AP report,

On October 3, 1984, Illinois State University students protested new Town of Normal liquor ordinances designed to control large off-campus keg parties.

Photo of the Week, 74: Red, White and Blue in Sepia

Union Army veteran Gilbert Henderson Bates

Union Army veteran Gilbert Henderson Bates sought, in his own eccentric way, to help heal the sectional wounds of fratricidal bloodletting.

History in the Making

A brief history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and why we need to record what's happening.

Photo of the Week, 66: African-American Voters Organize, February 1972

McLean County Museum of History Minority Voters Coalition 1972

On February 15, 1972, the Minority Voters Coalition of Bloomington-Normal elected officers during a meeting at the Sunnyside Neighborhood Center (now known as the Lawrence Irvin Neighborhood Center) on the far west side of Bloomington. The goal of the group was to both register and educate minority voters.

McHistory: Bloomington Suffragist Lobbies in Springfield

Barbara Egger was a part of a women's suffrage group that lobbied in Springfield in 1909.

Prohibition doll unique item from 1920s

The Museum owns a very unique method used to transport illegal hooch; a prohibition doll.

McHistory: Bloomington Copperhead Ostracized For Pro-Slavery Views

An early Bloomington settler and one time friend of Abe Lincoln was also a southern sympathizer.

Photo of the Week, 42: Local Memorial Services for Slain President

This week marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on the afternoon of November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

Photo of the Week, 40: “The Gipper” here in 1955

Ronald Reagan was no stranger to Bloomington-Normal, having attended Eureka College from 1928 until his graduation in 1932.

Photo of the Week, 36: "Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free..."

On Saturday, May 25, 1940 in Bloomington, a group of 20 immigrants became U.S. citizens after a naturalization examination and swearing in ceremony.

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