“Elijah Lovejoy: Freedom’s Champion or Religious Fanatic” will be the first program in the 2020 Madison County Historical Society’s Speaker Series on Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of Immanuel United Methodist Church at 800 N. Main Street in Edwardsville. Presenter Stephen Hansen will explore the personality of Elijah Lovejoy. Why did he persist in attacking slavery even after prominent citizens warned him to stop? Was Lovejoy an uncompromising defender of freedom, a religious fanatic, a revolutionary, or a madman? This program will explore the events leading up to the fateful day in November 1837 when Lovejoy was killed by a mob in Alton. We will also discuss Lovejoy's character and personality as well as the nature of Illinois society on the American frontier. Hansen is Emeritus Dean and Professor of Historical Studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). His scholarly works include three books and numerous articles, papers, and grants. He has held a number of administrative positions in higher education including Dean of The Graduate School and Associate Provost for Research, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Interim Chancellor. In his retirement, he remains active as a consultant for institutions of higher education as well as involved in his own scholarly research on the Civil War in Illinois. Programs in the MCHS Speakers Series are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Regular hours at the Madison County Archival Library are Wed – Fri, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sun, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. The Madison County Historical Museum is currently closed for renovations. For additional information, call 618-656-1294.