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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Webinar- Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia

Saturday, August 1
Starts at 1:30 PM

McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St, Bloomington IL 61701

Webinar- Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia

The Museum is pleased to present a virtual program with Susan E. Lindsey who will present a webinar on her new book, Liberty Brought Us Here: The True Story of American Slaves Who Migrated to Liberia, and the story’s connections to Bloomington, Mackinaw, Eureka, and Eureka College. This free, public program will be presented via Zoom on Saturday, August 1 at 1:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.

Ben Major—founder of Eureka College and brother of William T. Major (an early McLean County settler and founder of Bloomington’s First Christian Church) was living in Kentucky in the early 1830s. Driven by his faith and a growing dismay over the institution of slavery, Ben decided to free his enslaved people, who then migrated to Liberia, Africa, in 1836. For fifteen years, some of the formerly enslaved people corresponded with Ben; in turn, he sent them seeds, tools, medicine, and other supplies. The letters from Liberia still exist and are currently housed in the Museum’s archival collection. They form the foundation of this new book.

Lindsey stumbled across Ben’s story while researching her own great-great-great grandfather, James Alfred Lindsey of Mackinaw, who was Ben’s close friend. The author traveled from her home in Louisville to Bloomington to read the letters and wanted to know more. Why did Ben, who was descended from a long line of slave owners, free his enslaved people? Did the newly emancipated people want to go to another country? Did they have a choice? What would life in Africa have been like for them? Did they survive? What was the colonization movement about and what motivated its supporters? It took Lindsey more than six years of research to find the answers.

Susan E. Lindsey earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington state before starting a nearly 20-year career in corporate communication and public relations. Ten years ago, she launched Savvy Communication, an editing business. She is coauthor and editor of Speed Family Heritage Recipes, a historical cookbook of recipes from the Speed family who built Farmington Plantation in Louisville. Lindsey has also published several essays and short stories.

To purchase a copy of the book, visit www.kentuckypress.com. Purchase the book by July 31 and use the code FS30, and you will receive a 30% discount.

This program is free and open to the public. It is funded in part by Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities activates the humanities through free public programs, grants, and educational opportunities that foster reflection, spark conversation, build community, and strengthen civic engagement. Illinois Humanities is a nonprofit organization and the state’s affiliate for the National Endowment for the Humanities. To register for this Zoom webinar, please visit https://bit.ly/3gEwfAK. Questions? Contact the Education Department at education@mchistory.org.