COOK COUNTY— Today, Cook County Government observed the 190th anniversary of its establishment by the Illinois Legislature. Using the theme, “Cook County: Essential to You, Equity for All,” the celebration will occur over the course of the year, in virtual events until it is safe to celebrate in person.
"It is always a pleasure to commemorate another year of Cook County's history," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. "There is much to look forward to in the year ahead, as we continue to guide the County with an equity focus and hopefully we can celebrate in person again soon."
In the video greeting, President Preckwinkle and many of the Commissioners highlighted the importance of Cook County Government to the growth of the region, state and nation and sought to encourage residents to support local businesses by sharing a celebratory dessert from a bakery or restaurant in their districts.
“Cook County will soon be celebrating its bicentennial, and we are grateful for the commitment shown by President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners to preserving and promoting the history of Cook County," said Matthew DeLeon, County Historian. "This year’s events will do more to unite the residents of Cook County in a common understanding of the essential role County government plays in promoting equity for all.”
The Cook County Historic Archives and Records Office (CARO) will host several events in 2021 to celebrate the 190th anniversary:
- On January 22, the names of the 25 semifinalists for the Cook County Flag Redesign Contest will be announced. The semifinalists are high school students from throughout Cook County who hope to capture Cook County’s mission, history, geography and people in a redesign of the current flag which was adopted 60 years ago. It is expected that the Board will select a new flag design this summer.
- On January 29, the “County Conversations” series will be announced. Planned for the latter part of 2021, the Conversations series seeks to engage County departments, local historians and residents in depth on historical topics related to Cook County government and the impact of Cook County’s role.
- Beginning in February, CARO will host internal lunch hour seminars for County employees to learn more about County history. These virtual presentations will allow employees to get a brief overview of County History, to ask questions and to add their own personal knowledge on featured topics.
- Throughout the year and into the future, CARO will organize a number of events which will allow the community to engage on County history by telling their own stories. These include Oral History Interviews/Conversations; Personal Archiving (Ephemeral Collections) and activities such as “Unfurlings” (show and tells) of personal collections.
“As the inaugural Manager of Archives for Cook County I plan to establish the archives as the substantive body of historic materials that aid in highlighting the significance of the contributions, relationships and tireless work of the residents who represent the municipalities of Cook County," said Skyla Hearn, Manager of Archives. This means developing systems to preserve the historical record, providing access and engaging the public by activating the collections through exhibitions, research and other public engagement activities. Archives represent the epicenter of knowledge and are the backbone of an institution, a community and the people.”
For more information on the Cook County Archives, visit their website at https://www.cookcountyil.gov/archives