African American

This years Black History Month exhibit shows the important role the black community has played in the development of Rockford. The history begins with the founding by three men Thatcher Blake, Germanicus Kent, and his slave Lewis Lemon, who later purchased his freedom. This exhibit will also showcase the accomplishments of Marcella Harris, Rockford's first African American elected official.      Past and present local African American city, state and county officials will be showcased in the exhibit. The exhibit runs from Feb. 10th until the end of April Sundays from 2-4 p.m.

"Lewis Lemon - An uncommon Life"  is a special program Sun. Feb. 17th in the Lockwood Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum.
This is a living history of former ex-slave Lewis Lemon and a one-man play written by Dorothy Paige Turner, retired Music
Educator who specializes in creative and dramatic arts. 

Lewis Lemon is portrayed by Carl L. Towns, a Rockford native and graduate of East H.S. His introduction to performing before others was at Pilgrim Baptist Church in plays and holiday programs. Carl has performed with the Rockford Reader's Theatre, directed and coordinated by Dorothy Paige Turner for the past three years.

A visit to each of the Ethnic Heritage Museum galleries reveals exhibits pertaining to early ethnic beginnings in Rockford. Six galleries represent the cultural history of Rockford: African American, Polish, Italian, Lithuanian, Irish and Hispanic . The museum is open every Sunday from 2-4 p.m. General admission to both museums is only $5 student, $7 individual, $15 family and free to members. Parking is available on Loomis St. by the Ethnic Heritage Museum main entrance and in the corner lot of Main and Morgan Streets next to the Graham-Ginestra House. Tours are available other days for groups of four or more. Call the museum at 815 962-7402 to plan a visit.