Jacob K. Friefeld is the Director of the Center for Lincoln Studies at the University of Illinois Springfield. His recent work focuses on Black Americans who left the South between 1877 and the Great Migration and went west to homestead, seeking land and freedom. His new book, The First Migrants, tells this epic story of Black homesteaders in the Great Plains. His first book, Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History, examines the Homestead Act of 1862, one of the most important social policies ever enacted in the United States. Jacob has a passion for making history accessible for broad audiences through his writing, public speaking, and work with museums.


Expansive Frontiers

March 23, 2024 11AM – 12:30PM

The spirit of adventure travels through The First Migrants: How Black Homesteaders’ Quest for Land and Freedom Heralded America’s Great Migration and The Last Ride of the Pony Express: My 2,000-mile Horseback Journey into the Old West.

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With generous support from Michelle and David Baldacci

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