Route 66—the 'Mother Road' in many people's minds—is linked in most people's minds with the open spaces of the prairies and the west, but a museum in Springfield, Illinois wants to remind us of another part of its story.
Route History focuses on Black stories along fabled route, starting for now with the Springfield area. The museum has spilled the exhibits outside its building to a square marked with 'street signs' named for significant figures in local Black history, some of them tragic stories.
A local elected official made the point: "Route 66 was called Mother Road. A mother nourishes her children and things that spring up. So everything that has sprung up from Route 66 or Mother Road, we have to do our part and nourish it. That includes this building, and that includes Black history.”