TWO Eugene V. Debs events in Woodstock, Illinois, on Saturday, 21 October, 11 AM and 2 PM.
Come to the dedication ceremony at Old McHenry County Jail (next to the Old Court House) in Woodstock Square at 11 AM.
Have lunch nearby, or search the Farmers Market in the Square, or do some shopping.
Then head over to the Woodstock Public Library a few blocks away for our mesmerizing speaker, Ernest Freeberg, author of “Democracy’s Prisoner.”
Arlene Seel Lynes will sponsor a book signing at the library event.
Afterwards, Steve Aavang will lead a walking tour of Eugene Debs/Sheriff George Eckert sites.
The Illinois State Historical Society’s state historic marker for Woodstock’s Sheriff’s House/Old McHenry County Jail will be dedicated on 21 October at 11 AM.
Sponsors include Woodstock Celebrates, the Illinois Labor History Society, and the McHenry County Federation of Teachers. Other speakers will represent the Illinois State Historical Society and the Debs Foundation (Terre Haute, Indiana).
Eugene V. Debs and Constitutional Liberties, 1895 and 1919
Ernest Freeberg of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will be talking about Eugene V. Debs and the two United States Supreme Court cases concerning his constitutional freedoms decided in 1895 and 1919. The first Supreme Court decision, “In re Debs,” sent him to McHenry County Jail. The second decision, “Debs v. United States,” upheld Debs’s ten-year sentence in federal prison, spent in Moundsville, West Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia.
Debs became a socialist in McHenry County Jail in 1895 partly because of the federal government’s support of the railroads and Pullman Company and disregard for the American Railway Union’s freedom of association. As a socialist, Debs in 1918 opposed the participation of the United States in World War One in a speech for which he was prosecuted by the federal government. This prosecution denied his freedom of speech. Freeberg’s compelling presentation will be based on his book “Democracy’s Prisoner: Eugene V. Debs, the Great War, and the Right to Dissent” (Harvard University Press).
The event is hosted by Woodstock Celebrates, Inc. Admission is free.