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Hochstadt to deliver a lecture on race relations in Jacksonville


A 58-year tradition, the Joseph Patterson Smith Lecture will welcome an Illinois College professor emeritus Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.

Associate Professor of History Jenny Barker-Devine said she is excited to welcome Steve Hochstadt as the 2020 Joseph Patterson Smith Lecturer. Hochstadt will deliver a lecture titled, "The History of Race in a Midwestern Town: Black and White in Jacksonville." Barker-Devine said Hochstadt’s research includes an oral history collection he has been developing over the course of a decade.

Steve Hochstadt
Steve Hochstadt

“His research on Jacksonville's history deepens our understanding of how people have navigated difficult conversations about race and shaped the community we live in today,” she said. “I hope community members and students alike will feel more grounded in Jacksonville by learning about its past.”

Though Jacksonville has been at the leading edge of race relations among rural Illinois communities, the changing nature of race relations over the city’s 200-year history is not well understood, according to Hochstadt. In his lecture, he will explore Jacksonville’s mixed history of race relations through the stories of a series of incidents in the city’s history.

The lecture is named for Joseph Patterson Smith, who taught history at Illinois College from 1927 to 1962. Born in Ohio, Smith served in the Marine Corps from 1915 to 1920 and was blinded while on active duty in 1919. With the help of his wife, Alma, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1924 and a doctorate in 1933 from the University of Chicago. Friends, students and alumni created the endowed lecture in his honor, now a 58-year tradition on campus. Barker-Devine said Smith’s legacy continues to enrich the College and community even today.

“Professor Joseph Patterson Smith was not originally from Jacksonville, but he and his wife Alma made it their home as educators and active members civic organizations,” she said.

The lecture will take place in Kirby Learning Center, room 6, with sign language interpretation. The event is free and open to the public. Convocation credit is available for students.

For questions, contact Jenny Barker-Devine at

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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