2023 - 2024 Road Scholar Speakers Bureau Roster

If you are interested in booking a Road Scholars Speakers Bureau event for 2024, please note that we will start accepting those applications on November 3, 2023. We are starting the process earlier this year to accommodate events that take place around the beginning of the year.

The 2023 – 2024 roster features 30 speakers offering 49 programs. Presentation topics range from the history of antislavery movements in Illinois and movements for universal suffrage to the music of the civil rights movement and Latinx hip hop. We will begin accepting applications from non-profit organizations to book a Road Scholar Speaker for 2023 on January 2, 2023.

**Indicates the Road Scholar Speaker is fully booked through 2023. You may also book the scholar outside of any Illinois Humanities affiliation using the contact information provided on their webpage.

Note: For speakers listed as available for 2023, please double-check availability with the speaker as this page may not have the most current information.

If you have questions, please review our FAQs section or contact us at speakers@ilhumanities.org.

Karen Anderson

More Than a Color: The Marginalization of African Beauty Through History
Topics: African American; Women; History

Jeanne Schultz Angel

Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois
Topics: History; Women's Suffrage; Racism

Hindsight in 2020: The Long Road to Universal Suffrage
Topics: History; Voting Rights; Civil Rights

Antwoinette Ayers
Antwoinette Ayers

Why Do I Fight?
Topics: Anti-Racism; Activism, History

Road Scholar Ada Cheng
Ada Cheng**

Yellow Peril Past and Present: Understanding Asian America through Personal and Historical Stories
Topics: Asian American; Anti-Racism; Immigration

Our Words, Our Truths: Storytelling for Collective Identity and Community Engagement
Topics: Asian American; Intersectionality; Equity

Cynthia Clampitt**

How Corn Changed Itself and Then Changed Everything Else
Topics: Food; History; Illinois

Wild Boar to Baconfest: Pigs in History and Popular Culture
Topics: Food; Animals; History

John Cooper
John Cooper**

Traditional Jazz: A Historical Perspective of Early Jazz from the New Orleans and Chicago Era
Topics: Live Music; Jazz; History

Dr. Amira Millicent Davis
Dr. Amira Millicent Davis, Ed.M., Ph.D.**

The Black Chicago Renaissance
Topics: African American; Arts; Literature

Jalimusa: An Epic Tale of Black Women's Mothering
Topics: African American; Live Music; Literature

Brian "Fox" Ellis**

Robert Ridgway: When Amateur Bird Watching Became a Rigorous Science
Topics: History; Animals; Drama

Prince Maximilian and Karl Bodmer: Touring the Wilderness of North America
Topics: History; Nature; Drama

Mary Frances
Mary Frances

Untold African American Stories
Topics: African American; Storytelling; History

John Goldsmith
John Goldsmith**

Three Frenchmen & A Goat: The DeMoulin Bros. Story
Topics: Music; History; Industry

Bucky Halker presenting at the JALC
Bucky Halker**

Down in the Mine: American Coal Miners and Their Songs, 1890-1960
Topics: Live Music; Labor; Industry

This Land Is Your Land: The Folksongs of Woody Guthrie
Topics: Live Music; History; America

Katherine Hamilton-Smith**

The Happy Invention: History and Significance of Picture Postcards
Topics: History; Illinois; Arts

Erika Holst**

Growing Up X
Topics: Gen X; History; Self-Reflection

The Life Cycle of Clothing
Topics: History; Fashion; Arts

Amy McMorrow Hunter
Amy McMorrow Hunter

Why and How to Cause the Change Required for Continued Human Prosperity
Topics: Leadership; Activism; Climate Change

Creating our Future
Topics: Activism; Nature; Young People

Catalina Maria Johnson, Ph.D.**

Latin Hip Hop as a New Poetry
Topics: Music; Poetry; Latinx

Latinos in Illinois and the USA: Music as a Cultural History
Topics: Latinx; Media Studies; Language

Caroline Kisiel**

Did Black Lives Matter in Early Illinois? Voices from the Brink of Slavery and Freedom
Topics: African American; Illinois; History

Lives in Code: Stories of African American Resilience Under the Illinois Black Codes, 1819-1865
Topics: African American; Illinois; History

Catherine Lambrecht**

History of American Pies... and Illinois is well represented!
Topics: Food, Illinois, History, Pies

Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair
Topics: Food; Family; Illinois History

Aaron Lawler
Aaron Lawler

You are a Story: Illinois Novelist Ray Bradbury Teaches Us About Who We Are
Topics: Identity; Literature; Self-Reflection

Learning is Your Arc: Illinois Novelist, Ernest Hemingway, Teaches Us About Who We Are
Topics: Identity; Literature; Self-Reflection

Connie Martin, M.A.**

Hidden Messages in Negro Spirituals on the Underground Railroad
Topics: African American; Arts; History

Pre-Civil War Quilts: Secret Codes to Freedom on the Underground Railroad
Topics: Abolitionists; Underground Railroad; Slavery

Mike Matejka
Mike Matejka**

Grassroots Democracy: Illinois Labor Journeys
Topics: Labor; History; Illinois

What's coming down the line? The Railroad in the American mind
Topics: Illinois; Industry; History

Norman Moline Headshot
Norman Moline**

The National Park Service in Our Region: Places to Experience Our Cultural History
Topics: Illinois; History; Nature

Understanding China: Complicated but Essential
Topics: China; History; Politics

Jamie Poorman**

The Road was Home
Topics: Illinois; History; Anti-Racism

Of Wind & Sky: Illinois Author Marguerite Henry and the wild ponies of Chincoteague Island
Topics: Illinois; History; Animals

Gerald Savage - HoChunk Native American
Gerald Savage**
HoChunk Native American

A Brief History of the Reintroduction of the Native Americans into Illinois
Topics: Native American; History; Storytelling

Native American Storytelling by Chief White Winnebago
Topics: Native American; Storytelling; History

Cyndee Schaffer**

The Journey of Mollie's War: WACs and WWII
Topics: Women; History; Labor

Laura Sievert
Laura Sievert

Storytelling for Civic Pride: There's More Here
Topics: Leadership; History; Labor

Kim Sigafus**

Singing Bird and the Importance of Native American Women in Illinois History
Topics: Native American; Women; Illinois

Dennis Stroughmatt 2022 cropped
Dennis Stroughmatt**
French Creoles of The Illinois Country: Fiddle Jigs, Creole Folktales and Haunting Ballads
Topics: Live Music; Storytelling; History

Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio, Rural Music, and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler "Pappy" Wade Ray
Topics: Live Music; Storytelling; History

Chris Vallillo 2017 cropped
Chris Vallillo**

Forgottonia, An Intimate Portrait of Rural Illinois
Topics: Live Music; Illinois; History

Oh Freedom! Songs of the Civil Rights Movement
Topics: Live Music; History; Activism

Ernest M. Whiteman III

No One Ever Sees Indians: Native Americans in Media
Topics: Media Representations; Literary; Native American

Ted Williams III

1619: The Journey of a People, The Musical
Topics: History; African American; Drama

Change our Language, Change our Politics
Topics: America; Politics; Language


Featured image: Catalina Maria Johnson, photo by Carolina Sánchez.