As president of the Illinois Commission to mark the half-century of Negro freedom (1865-1915) by an exposition in Chicago, the Rt. Rev. Samuel Fallows (1835-1922), Bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, wrote Gov. Martin H. Glynn of New York on Oct. 17, 1914, urging him, for the third time, to appoint a "Commission of Negro Citizens" to represent New York at the exposition in Chicago. According to the History and Report of the Exhibition and Celebration to Commemmorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Emancipation of the Negro, governors of seventeen states, but not New York, appointed delegates to the exposition.
In 1913, the Illinois Commission, created by a legislative appropriation of $25,000, had issued a prospectus, The Illinois (National) Half-Century Anniversary of Negro Freedom, from its headquarters at 3825 Dearborn St., Chicago. The exposition, which took place at the Coliseum in Chicago from Aug. 22 to Sept. 16, 1915, endeavored to show "the progress of the colored race from the beginning to the present, with exhibits and pageants and entertainments on a heroic scale." Such is the brief reference to the exposition in Everybody's Bishop, the bulky biography of Fallows by his daughter, Alice Katharine Fallows (New York: J. H. Sears & Company, 1927), 384.
The exposition was only one of many interests of Fallows, who was a leading figure in public education, prison reform, and the temperance movement. His letter to Gov. Glynn came to the Library in 2003; the principal collection of his papers is at the Wisconsin Historical Society.