I’m not from Illinois, I’m from Chicago. When visiting another city/state/country, I would never say I’m from Illinois. That generally inspires images of cows and corn. Chicago is a major city, filled with culture and sophistication. I’m an Illinoisan who is prejudiced against Illinois. I had a conversation about this with some friends of mine, and since I’m clearly a known geek, I decided to look up a few facts for this week’s ‘Did You Know, Chicago?’ feature.
Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818. While I’m sure you know all the basics – Illinois is a major farm state, Abraham Lincoln is from Illinois, don’t pronounce the ‘s’ at the end of the name – there are a few more very cool thinks you should know that will make you proud to be from Illinois.
Reasons to be proud you’re from and/or live in Illinois:
The name “Illinois” comes from a Native American word meaning “tribe of superior men.”
Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in 1865.
In 1847, Illinois became one of the first states to establish a state-supported mental illness and disabilities treatment system.
In 1961, Illinois was the first state to get rid of the law that outlawed sodomy.
While it’s sad that only six African Americans have served on the United States Senate, half of those six are from Illinois: Carol Moseley-Braun, Barack Obama and Roland Burris.
Metropolis, the home of Superman, really exists in Southern Illinois.
The state fossil is the Tully Monster. I’m not sure what that is, but it seems kind of cool.
The state insect is the Monarch Butterfly. Pretty!
The state snack is popcorn. Yeah Garretts.
Reasons to not be so proud
Four of our past nine governors have gone to jail. That’s embarrassing.
In true American settler fashion, Illinoisans kicked out all of the Native Americans in the area. A particularly bloody episode was called the Black Hawk War.
The Illinois state dance is the square dance. That’s just dumb.
The state motto is: State Sovereignty, National Union – WTF does that mean?
There are a ton more fun facts and awesome stats about Illinois. Why are you proud/not proud to live here?
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?
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