Rockford has a long, proud baseball history: it’s where sports pioneer Albert Spalding got his start. It’s where every company in town had its own industrial league team. And during World War Two, the most famous women’s professional baseball team drew thousands of fans. Now there’s a new team trying to revive the tradition of women playing hardball.
When it comes to the economy, the city of Rockford attracts headlines for its consistently high unemployment rate. But a new federal report says the area’s GDP rate posted a strong gain in 2011, beating the national average.
Estelle Black was born and raised in Rockford. Several years ago, she shared her life experience for an oral history project chronicling 66 African Americans who have lived in the Forest City for 25 years or more.
In recent years, Illinois has seen a gradual increase in refugees from Myanmar, also known as Burma. As these immigrants try to establish a new life, volunteers in one city are trying to raise public awareness about their growing presence.