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Book Talk: Nance: The First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln

June 14, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

At noon on June 14, author Carl Adams will speak about his research on and book about Nance Legins-Costley, a young enslaved woman whose case Abraham Lincoln argued in the Illinois Supreme Court in 1841. The event will take place in Ketchum Hall (Veterans of Foreign Wars Building), 200 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, D.C. 20002. It is free and open to the public; pre-registration is requested. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. The Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia is co-sponsoring this event.

Adams’s work has been recognized by Illinois State Historical Society and the Garrett Museum in Peoria, Illinois and his book, Nance: The First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln, was recently designated a finalist in the Independent Book Awards. The book is written for teens but deals with issues of interest to all, tracing Illinois’s history with slavery and illuminating an lesser-known chapter in Abraham Lincoln’s life.

Carl Michael Adams was born and raised in Alton, Illinois and has been a lifelong Lincoln scholar. Carl earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in 1979. He worked for more than twenty years on Public Radio documentaries and network television news and is now semiretired. In the 1970s and 1980s, Carl lectured as a military training officer for both the marines and the army in the art and sciences of communications, including lessons of military history.

In his project, “Trials of Nance,” Adams had to dig deep into Lincoln and Illinois history to recover the story of the first slave freed by Abraham Lincoln, a story that for over a hundred years was lost to history.


United States Capitol Historical Society