Five Illinoisans added to Lincoln Academy Hall of Fame

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SPRINGFIELD, Il. (WTWO/WAWV) — The Lincoln Academy Hall of Fame has inducted five new Illinoisans. The inductees are Daniel Burnham, Bessie Coleman, Otis B. Duncan, William Henry Herndon, and Julia Clifford Lathrop.

“These five people helped to shape the world as we know it today,” Frank Clark, Lincoln Academy Chancellor, said. “We proudly place their names beside other Illinoisans who have inspired and humbled us with their place in history.”

The Lincoln Academy Hall was created in 1992 to recognize early contributions to Illinois’s heritage prior to the establishment of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 1964.

Daniel Burnham (1846-1912) was a Chicago architect who helped shape the 1892-1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and much of the city’s famed skyline.

Burnham is quoted as saying, “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.”

Chicago resident Bessie Coleman (1892 – 1926) was America’s first African American and Native American pilot.

Because U.S. flight schools would not accept Coleman, she moved to France to learn how to fly. She became interested in the craft after hearing stories of World War 1 fighter pilots.

Lieutenant Colonel Otis B. Duncan (1873 – 1937) was the highest ranking African American officer in the U.S. Army during World War 1, serving as a lieutenant-colonel in the 370th Infantry Regiment.

A member of a long-established African-American family of Springfield, Duncan worked in the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, current-day ISBE, and entered the National Guard.

William Henry Herndon (1818-1891) was a law partner and biographer of President Abraham Lincoln. Herndon was said to be a stauncher opponent of slavery than Lincoln and claimed that he helped change Lincoln’s views on the subject. Lincoln said that Herndon “was my man always above all other men on the globe.”

Herndon was an early member of the new Republican Party and was elected mayor of Springfield, Illinois.

Julia Clifford Lathrop (1858 – 1932) was a social reformer and child welfare advocate. In 1893, Lathrop was appointed as the first ever woman member of the Illinois State Board of Charities, beginning her lifelong work in civil service reform: advocating for the training of professional social workers and standardizing employment procedures.

Born in Rockford, Lathrop’s father, a lawyer and friend of Abraham Lincoln, helped establish the Republican party and served in the state legislature and Congress. Her mother was a suffragist active in women’s rights activities.

Previous Lincoln Academy Hall of Fame inductees include John Deere, Ulysses S. Grant, William Rainey Harper, Ernest Hemingway, Abraham Lincoln, Walter Loomis Newberry, Lorado Zadoc Taft, Emmett Till, , Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Wrigley, Jr.

For more information about The Lincoln Academy of Illinois visit

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