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"It Was a Crime to be German" - an Illinois Humanities event

Book burnings…physical attacks upon immigrants…vandalism of immigrant-owned property…proliferation of irrational fear and hatred. One hundred years ago, incidents such as these took place right here in Illinois. The United States was involved in the “Great War,” and some Illinoisans considered anything German to be evil – including their fellow residents of German descent. Bartlett was almost entirely a Germanic community then. 

Join the Bartlett History Museum on Tuesday, 11/13 for “It Was a Crime to Be German." Through first person costume portrayal, historical actor Barbara Kay will depict her great-grandmother Margaret May, a resident of southern Illinois, who saw and felt anti-German hysteria a century ago. Kay will illustrate her presentation with photographs, newspaper headlines and editorial cartoons of the time, bringing the struggles of World War I-era German Illinoisans to life. 

The presentation begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. for refreshments and preprogram talk. Registration is required for this free event. Contact Pam Rohleder at prohleder@vbartlett.org with your name, phone number and number of attendees or call 630-837-0800.  

Kay is part of the Statewide Road Scholars Speakers Series. This event is being produced through a partnership with Illinois Humanities that is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly (through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency), as well as contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations.