Past Event

Black Jack Logan: Civil War General, Senator, King-Maker

A Road Scholar Program by Brian Fox Ellis

Who was General John A. Logan? Was he: A. General U.S. Grant’s favorite officer B. One of Illinois’ most powerful Senators C. Founder of Memorial Day as a National Holiday D. Mark Twain’s favorite public speaker E. All of the above Answer: All of the above. As one historian has said, John A Logan is the most important character of the 19th century who is completely forgotten in the 21st.

  • How does a man go from small town lawyer to Vice Presidential Candidate?
  • What pushed him from becoming Abraham Lincoln’s bitter rival to campaigning for Lincoln’s re-election?
  • How does an unabashed racist and author of Illinois’ notorious Black Laws become an advocate for African American equality and education?

Spend an hour with this enigmatic character and maybe you will better understand why Frederick Douglas once said, “If a man like Black Jack Logan can have a change of heart then there is hope for everyone.”

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Dan Wormhoudt at

This program was commissioned by the John A. Logan Museum with assistance from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Learn more about Brian Fox Ellis.