History Speaks Lecture Series

Naper Settlement’s History Speaks Lecture Series showcases a variety of prominent historical figures and topics. 

Location & Registration

To register for a lecture, click on the registration button below. The History Speaks lectures in September and October are located in the Century Memorial Chapel.  The History Speaks lectures in November and December will be held virtually on Zoom.


The Essential Great Chicago Fire

September 5, 2021, 4-5 PM |  $10 per person | Located in the Chapel
All sales are final. All events and prices are subject to change without notice.

2021 marks the 150th Anniversary of the fire! It started in a barn and, two days of flaming hell later, nearly destroyed a city. In The Essential Great Chicago Fire, William Pack weaves together technical details of the fire with vivid firsthand accounts from those who lived through the conflagration of 1871, bringing alive all the excitement and terror in a multi-media storytelling event that will not soon be forgotten. 

Born and raised in Chicago, speaker William Pack is a magician, storyteller, and author. As a child, William spent much of his summer hanging around his local library. With free access to the book collection, he discovered a voracious desire to read everything. At 11 years old, William got his first job in a magic shop and has been performing ever since. He has used his passionate curiosity to create a  diverse collection of programs, covering biography, history, and science. William has won numerous awards for his magic and comedy performances. In 2001, he taught actor Will Smith sleight of hand for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in the film, Ali.  William's performing and communication skills have elevated his programs from lecture to an event experience, making him one of the most "in demand" presenters in the market. 

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Goode Rebeka, Trial by Fire – “The Salem Witch Trials”

October 3, 2021, 4-5 PM |  $10 per person |  Located in the Chapel
All sales are final. All events and prices are subject to change without notice.

It was a new world. The settlers from England had gained a foothold in the verdant land called “Amerika”. Old traditions would be laid aside, new ones instituted. Greed, jealousy, suspicion would still persist. Were these at the root of “The Salem Witch Trials”? Innocent residents of Salem, Massachusetts were tried and many were executed in perhaps the most infamous chapter in early American history. Meet Goode Rebeka, an elderly woman hanged as a witch in 1692, but was she one? Perhaps by the end of the program, you will be able to answer that question.

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No One Ever Sees Indians: Native Americans in Media

November 7, 2021, 4-5 PM | $10 per person | Virtual Lecture on Zoom
All sales are final. All events and prices are subject to change without notice.

This presentation is loosely structured as a three-part magic act. Speaker Ernest M. Whiteman III discusses the many representations of Native Americans in media and how these representations inform audiences’ perceptions of Native peoples and issues. The acts are separated by personal anecdotes that reflect the ideology of lived experience versus the authorship of expertise of Native representation.        

Ernest M. Whiteman III is a Northern Arapaho filmmaker, artist, writer, and media educator. He is currently working on a feature-length, full-text, contemporary adaptation of “Hamlet” which will include a full cast of Native American actors. Ernest is the Director of First Nations Film and Video Festival, Inc. a non-profit film festival supporting Native American directors of all skill levels and finding venues to help them express their views and screen their films. Ernest teaches an upper-level communications course, Native Americans in Media at the University of Wisconsin Parkside, and is a Teaching Artist with Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education. Ernest continues to make films, to write, and make art. Ernest has also self-published a short stories collection “The Autobiography of Blue Woman”. “A Rez Tale” is his second completed novel, his first novel to be self-published.  He is from the Wind River Reservation and currently lives in Skokie. Not bad for a nameless Arapaho from Wyoming.

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A Day That Will Live in Infamy: The Attack on Pearl Harbor - Presented by The National Museum of the American Sailor

December 5, 2021, 4-5 PM |  $10 per person | Virtual Lecture on Zoom 
All sales are final. All events and prices are subject to change without notice.

The shocking attack and major defeat at Pearl Harbor was the catalyst for the emergence of a new and determined naval fleet. The American people were shocked and outraged but rallied together to “Remember Pearl Harbor” and stand united behind their sailors as they battled our enemies in the Pacific Theater. This presentation will examine events leading up to the attack, how sailors and nurses responded, as well as the aftermath and legacy of the attack that is considered the Navy’s greatest defeat.

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