Feature-Length Video to Tell Moving Story of Elgin’s Black History




If you get a chance, be sure to read Dave Gathman’s wonderful article in The Courier-News Arts & Entertainment section on the feature-length movie “Project 2-3-1” that local director Phil Broxham is producing.

It’s a terrific tale “about how TWO Civil War-era railroad boxcars led to the creation of THREE segregated city blocks and that eventually made possible ONE city of Elgin, with African-Americans from all social classes and walks of life living throughout the town,” the article says.

You can see a short preview of the video interviews on the YouTube video embedded here. You’ll recognize some of the interviewees, who include former Deputy Police Chief Cecil Smith, attorney and school board member Traci O’Neal Ellis and her mother, Caroline O’Neal, community volunteers Ina Dews and Rise Jones and former NASA employee Steve Green.

But the movie will be more than interviews. It will include historic re-creations, photos, narration and a walking tour through the neighborhood.

When the video is completed, hopefully by the end of the year, the Elgin Area Historical Society will create a travelling exhibit. Several years ago, the Seigle family made a similar video that told the story of Elgin’s Jewish population. The Seigles made a donation of $8,000 as “seed money” for “Project 2-3-1,” Gathman’s article says.

Broxham’s Grindstone Productions has done other work for the Elgin Area Historical Society, including “The Circle of Time,” a documentary about the Elgin National Watch Co.

To make a donation to help complete “Project 2-3-1,” contact the historical society at 847-742-4248 or email ElginHistory@Foxvalley.net. You can make a donation to the Historical Society online by clicking here.


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Movie, traveling exhibit to tell the story of African-Americans in Elgin