History on Trial: The Alton School Cases

The Alton School Cases were a series of seven circuit court trials and five Illinois Supreme Court appeals from 1897 to 1908, in which Scott Bibb, an African-American father of two school-age children, resisted the newly imposed racial segregation in the Alton school system. He was joined by the Alton black community, which used ties of kinship, friendship, church and community to organize their challenge of separate schools for 11 years.

Despite the Illinois Supreme Court’s ban on segregated schools in the 1870s, Alton officials, including then-Mayor Henry Brueggeman and Superintendent Robert Haight, decided to defy the state law.

The presentation is hosted by The Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission and will begin with a one-act dramatic presentation, followed by a brief intermission, and a panel discussion that will offer the audience a chance to submit questions for the panel.