Springfield, State Team Up To Commemorate Obama's Capital Ties

Feb 12, 2016

Obama visited with former friends and colleagues on a return trip to Springfield Feb. 10, 2016.
Credit Pool photo by Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

On Feb. 12 -- Abraham Lincoln's birthday -- officials released plans to salute another President with state ties.

Just days ago, on Wed., Feb. 10, President Barack Obama gave a major speech in Springfield, at the capitol, where he'd once served in the state Senate.

"Thank you for such a warm welcome as I come back home," he said to legislators' applause and hoots.

Days later, the mayor, governor and secretary of state announced a project to salute Obama's time in the capital city. In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner says "Springfield and Illinois play a central role in President Obama's story, preserving that place in history is important."

Details on the collaboration are few and are expected to be released in coming months, ut a press release says a committee will be formed, that will include the local NAACP.

Race riots in Springfield in 1908 led to the formation of the NAACP. Mayor Jim Langfelder says that story -- combined with Springfield's claim as the home of Abraham Lincoln, and the place where America's first black President began his political career -- should be told for generations.

Separately, an Obama Presidential Center is slated for the Southside of Chicago, and a state lawmaker has also introduced legislation that would create an official state holiday to honor the 43rd President of the United States.

It appears Mayor Langfelder's office is taking the lead on planning; a press release says to direct questions about involvement there.