Illinois History Minutes

March 1 Illinois History Minute


It’s March First --- the day in 1940 when Harper and Brothers published “Native Son” by Richard Wright. The novel about a young Black man who turns to murder in a systemically racist society was set in Chicago, where Wright had lived during his twenties. “Native Son” was a best-seller in 1940, and a hit on Broadway the following year. Wright himself starred as the novel’s anti-hero, Bigger Thomas, in the first of three film versions. 

On this day in 1784, the Commonwealth of Virginia relinquished its claim on Illinois County, ceding the territory to the United States government. Illinois County included modern-day Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. All three would gain statehood over the next 35 years.