Introduction to Illinois History Teacher
History is the study of change. From time to time events moving slowly in some direction over a long period seem suddenly to move rapidly in a different direction: those junctures are turning points. Rapidity can mean several years or half a century, but the turning points occur when there is some comparatively rapid change over the course of time.
The authors of this volume deal with turning points—some occurring within a few years and some over several decades. The volume opens with a description of women's changing farm roles in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Agriculture was basic to Illinois' economy at the start of the nineteenth century and women were key to that economy. The article makes a natural starting point for students' explorations in this volume.
The second reading with curriculum materials examines the significant contribution of women to the Progressive movement in Illinois. Jane Addams, Sophinisba Breckenridge, Edith Abbott, Grace Abbott, and several other women rank among Illinois' foremost Progressives. Let them stand beside the prominent men of Illinois when we recall great Illinoisans.
The third set of curriculum materials guides readers to understanding turning points for African Americans living in Bloomington-Normal in the twentieth century. Here is an issue equally essential to Illinoisans, although the focus is on two towns as a microcosm of similar turning points elsewhere.
Lastly, we focus on an essential but too little studied and understood process in American life: suburbanization. It is underway as you read this volume. Naperville, as the reading and curriculum materials point out so well, is an excellent case study of sub-urbanization. Placed last in this volume simply because the events are more recent, and indeed are still ongoing, the study of suburbanization should not be overlooked in classes with your students. Of course, those turning points do not cover all our state's turning points, but they provide an excellent beginning for you and your students.
Illinois' rich diversity of experiences once again emerges in this volume. We hope you enjoy using the materials in this volume, not only for your students but also for your own reading. How will Illinoisans' common future take shape as its students consider their state's past turning points in the subjects considered here? We invite you to consider yesterday and to use your talents today to influence tomorrow.
Keith A. Sculle