Frederick Douglass came to Sycamore in 1870 and spoke at Wilkin’s Hall. The New York Historical Society provides a bit a historical context to this speech as Douglass shared this message throughout the country:
“In 1869, Frederick Douglass felt more hopeful about the United States than ever before. The nation was in the middle of a period of rebuilding called Reconstruction, and Congress was adding three revolutionary amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Black Americans were free citizens and all Black men would soon have the right to vote. In the middle of this progress, Douglass developed a passionate vision for a reborn America, where these new rights and freedoms would be granted to any person who wanted to call the United States home. He wrote a speech called “Composite Nation” to promote his ideas. Beginning in 1869, Douglass traveled around the Northeast and Midwest to deliver it in person.” (https://www.nyhistory.org/our-composite-nation/composite-nation-on-tour#composite-nation-on-tour. Accessed 1/23/2023)
Use this link to read a full report of Douglass’ speech from the Sycamore True Republican.
Next time you walk by southwest corner of State and Somonauk Streets, you will be where Douglass spoke – Wilkin’s Hall (which was destroyed by fire) was located at this corner.