The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum is hosting a public tour of the “colored section” of Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The tour and presentation will be led by longtime Springfield historian Richard E. Hart. “Many African-Americans buried in this beautiful section of Oak Ridge Cemetery have descendants still living in the Springfield community,” Hart said. “Some of those buried here were friends of Abraham Lincoln. Several were Underground Railroad conductors. One led Lincoln’s horse in his 1865 funeral procession. One was Lincoln’s friend and boot maker who was executed in the 1908 Race Riot. Aunt Jane Pellam was Lincoln’s friend and neighbor. These and more are buried in a most historic section of this cemetery.”
For the last 10 years, Hart has been the editor of For the People, a newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association, and The Iles Files, a newsletter of the Elijah Iles House Foundation. Hart is also the author of the book The Colored Section of Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The tour, free of charge with donations accepted, will be 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28. Attendees may meet at The Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum at 1440 Monument Ave., at the entrance to the cemetery, then proceed to the tour inside the cemetery.