Arts Quincy presents program on Negro spirituals for Juneteenth program on Saturday

Day of Freedom

QUINCY — Arts Quincy, in partnership with the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County and the Underground Railroad Museum at Dr. Richard Eells House, will present a program by Connie Martin, one of Illinois Humanities Council’s Roads scholars, at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 17, during the Juneteenth commemoration festivities.

Juneteenth has been celebrated for 157 years but was made a federal holiday in 2020.

Martin will present “Hidden Messages in Negro Spirituals on the Underground Railroad.” The free program will take place at the newly-renamed historic site: Underground Railroad Museum at the Dr. Richard Eells home located at 415 Jersey St. Refreshments will be served.

In a press release, Laura Sievert, Arts Quincy executive director, said, “Here in west central Illinois, Quincyans were a key part of the story and the struggle to abolish slavery. Martin is a fantastic resource to illuminate the history of the underground railroad, and we’re honored to welcome her to be part of the larger celebration of Juneteenth, or Emancipation Day, here in Quincy.”

The Underground Railroad Museum will let attendees explore new galleries dedicated to Quincy’s pioneering Anti-Slavery Association, learn how the Underground Railroad functioned here and understand the network of people who risked their lives and freedom to help others to live in liberty.

The museum is open Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. now through November. Learn more at

The History Museum on the Square will show an Underground Railroad exhibit featuring Communities of Color. The exhibit features original documents, historic images, maps and contemporaneous accounts that explore the development and operation of the Underground Railroad movement in western Illinois and eastern Missouri.

Elements from the Pike County town of New Philadelphia, David Nelson’s Mission Institute, the work of Quincy citizens such as John Van Doorn and Dr. Eells, as well as those local men and women of color who actively participated in the local movement will be featured. Also highlighted are families including the Spencers and Toltons, who were aided in their pursuit to freedom.

The History Museum on the Square is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 217-222-1835 or visit for more information.

Email or call 217-222-3432 for more information.

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