Illinois History Minutes

August 25 Illinois History Minute


It’s August 25th, marking the birth in 1885 of actor and comedian Charles “Chic” Sale, who grew up in Champaign-Urbana. In his day, Sale was famous for a vaudeville routine, about a man who builds outhouses, which were still common in rural areas.

SALE: (film clip) “Gentleman, you are face to face with the champion privy builder of Champaign County!”

In “The Specialist”, Chic Sale’s character goes into detail about his work.

On this day in 1893, the World Colombian Exposition in Chicago intended to honor Black Americans with a day of celebrating and speeches, organized by Black writer and activist Frederick Douglass. But Black journalist Ida B. Wells said the so-called “Negro Day” was turned into an insult, by fair officials who offered free watermelons to Black fairgoers.