Register for Spring Classes




DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (LLI 0012): In 1776, fifty-six men risked being hanged by signing a document justifying war against the Mother Country. How many can you name? This course will examine who they were and what happened to them after they signed the Declaration. 

GONE WITH THE WIND (LLI 1209): American Film Institute members voted it the most popular film of all time. We’ll examine the accuracy of the movie’s history and explore what accounts for this film’s remarkably enduring popularity. This illustrated talk by historian Leslie Goddard, Ph.D., reviews the story how Gone With The Wind was made, featuring the pioneering special effects created for the film and the perfectionistic drive provided by producer David O. Selznick.

OVERLOOKED AMERICANS CHAPTER 7 (LLI 0046): This class tells the stories of 12 individuals and one duo that you may not know about. They include the classically-trained violinists who are making Bach accessible to fans of hip-hop music; the courageous female reporter who put her life at risk to uncover mistreatment of immigrants; the woman who inspired the lyrics to “She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain;” and the man whose religious conversion in jail put him on a path toward national leadership.

SACAGAWEA: ADVENTURES WITH LEWIS AND CLARK (LLI 0033): Sacagawea adventured with Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Territory in the early 1800’s. The Corps of Discovery commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson was asked to explore the vast territory as the United States expanded. Accompanying the men was one young Native American girl who no one really knew. Today there are more statues honoring her than any other woman born on American soil. Join us and find out from the time-traveling character Sacagawea herself who she was, what she did, and what really happened on the greatest American journey of exploration! 

SIZZLING STORIES OF BROADWAY (LLI 0030): Is there really a broken heart for every light on Broadway? You’ll find out with this back stage look. The Sizzling Stories of Broadway come to life with our own personal time traveling guide, Bella LaTour, as played by Martina Mathisen. Dazzling, Surprising, and Sizzling! 

THE HISTORY OF OUR SECRETARIES OF STATE (LLI 0047): Sixty-nine people have been approved by the Senate to hold this position. One of them proposed a plan that saved a continent. One wrote a doctrine that protected a hemisphere. One negotiated a purchase that forever changed the boundaries of our country. One negotiated the creation of a foreign country. Six have gone on to become President. We will follow the evolution of the office as the United States slowly evolved from vulnerable nation to world power.

THE PROBLEM WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON (LLI 0011): The problem with Thomas Jefferson is that he wrote eloquently about the horrors of slavery and its negative effect on both black and white people while he continued to hold and profit from slaves. You will explore the conflict between Jefferson’s life and writings while considering the larger conflict between American freedom and American slavery. 

THE SOLOMONS CAMPAIGN-BATTLES UP THE SLOT (LLI 0026): After Pearl Harbor, the United States went on the offensive against the Empire of Japan in the Pacific War with the invasion of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. This hard-fought Solomon Campaign didn’t end until 1944. We will look at both the naval battles that took place during the campaign as well the island hopping invasions by American Army and Marine units. In the end, some might say that the Solomons Campaign might have been the turning point of the Pacific War rather than the Battle of Midway. 



THE SERIES: WORDS THAT MADE AMERICA (LLI 7000) - LLI MEMBERS ONLY: Myra Loris will lead you through the Words That Made America series of six courses. Register for the full six-course series or register only for the individual courses that interest you. 

DECLARING INDEPENDENCE (LLI 7001): Explore the struggle over of the creation of the Declaration of Independence and then discuss its significance. You will hear stories and anecdotes of about the major players in its creation including Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and others using their own words, speeches and writing.

CREATING A NATION (LLI 7002): Examine what it takes to write a Constitution and Bill of Rights in the very early days of our nation. We will look at the struggles which allowed or predecessors to create a government. Then you will create a focus on the importance of the Bill of Rights as it is being applied to current, contemporary Supreme Court cases and social issues. Interesting anecdotes and lots of current perspective and relevance will be shared.

AND AIN’T I A WOMAN: SUFFRAGE IN AMERICA (LLI 7003): Look at the more than 100 years of struggle for women’s suffrage in the US. Beginning with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and continuing on with Susan B. Anthony into the 20th Century, the struggle for suffrage culminated in the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment. Hear very powerful stories about those who fought and suffered to bring about equal voting rights for women.

WITH MALICE TOWARDS NONE: LINCOLN’S SPEECHES (LLI 7004): Examine the power of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches and writings in changing the course of the nation’s history. We will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, and the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery. The program begins with a very powerful and dramatic overview of slavery in America and proceeds to Lincoln and the Civil War era.

HUMOR AND COMEDY IN AMERICAN CULTURE (LLI 7005): Look at the effects of the nation’s humorists in words and writings that shaped the mood of the country and both created and reflected significant social changes. We will take an in-depth look at Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Steven Colbert, and others as both entertainers and social critics. Lots of laughs with Myra Loris in this one.

FOREVER: FORGOTTEN MINORITIES (LLI 7006): We look at the experiences of some of America’s more forgotten minorities as they struggled throughout our history to find freedom and equality. The program focuses on the experiences of Native Americans in the 19th Century West; the Neisi-Japanese American interments during WWII; and on Cesar Chavez and the struggle for equity for Latino farm workers in the 20th century. The program concludes with a look at the current immigrants in America and examines the relevance of these past struggles to the present day.


1930s: THE SERIES - PART TWO (LLI 7007) - LLI MEMBERS ONLY: Myra Loris continues her series on the 1930s. Register for the full three-part series or register only for the individual 1930s Series courses below that interest you.

DUST, DISCRIMINATION, AND DEFIANCE (LLI 7008): Take a historical tour of the Dust Bowl. You will also examine the American context as it fostered the rise of racism in the 30s, and Eleanor Roosevelt as a voice for tolerance and change.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: ARTS AND CULTURE IN THE DEPRESSION (LLI 7009): Review the amazing developments in culture and the arts that occurred despite the Depression. Explore the New Deal programs that helped the flourishing of culture and entertainment. We will look at music, literature, movies, etc., and the significance they had in a decade of crisis.

DECADE OF PROGRESS (LLI 7010): You will explore the scientific and technological advances of the 1920s and 30s that laid the foundation for the modern era with special focus on the amazing 1933 Chicago Worlds Fair.


30 DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY (LLI 6044): Everyone knows the importance of July 4 and September 11. But not everyone knows the importance of September 17. Before you go to Google, September 17, 1862 was the Civil War battle of Antietam, the single bloodiest day in American military history and a battle that was more important than the better known battle of Gettysburg. You will sequentially proceed through the 30 days of an imaginary month, highlighting the important event in American history that happened on that numbered date.

ABE’S RELIGION: THE ELUSIVE SPIRITUALITY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (LLI 6086): The 19th century was an age of religious fervor. Most aspiring politicians trumpeted their religious affiliations to make themselves more appealing to voters. Abraham Lincoln did not follow this convention, nor did he ever join a church. Yet in his private writings, he expressed some of the most sincere and nuanced thoughts on God that have ever been penned. You will explore the shifting religious beliefs that Lincoln held during his life that give Americans one more reason to respect our 16th president.

AIRLIFT 70TH ANNIVERSARY (LLI 6070): It was perhaps one of the greatest adventures in American military history: the Berlin airlift of 1948-49! When Soviet troops closed all land, sea, and rail access routes to West Berlin 70 years ago — threatening the lives of 2.5 million people and provoking the first major international crisis of the Cold War — American General Lucius D. Clay built a bold and fantastic bridge across the sky, involving 700 planes and 250,000 flights over a period of 14 months.

AMERICA AFTER THE FALL: PAINTINGS BY AMERICAN ARTISTS IN THE 1930’S (LLI 6059): You will learn how the turbulent economics and political and aesthetic climate of the 1930s Great Depression was interpreted through paintings by American artists. The 1930s was a period of intensified creativity, as the nation’s artists sought to find and interpret what modern art in America might be. Many challenged and reworked the meanings and forms of modernism and arrived at new possibilities and a diversity of styles ranging from Abstraction to Regionalism and Surrealism.

GROUND ZERO: THE MINUTEMAN MISSILE PROGRAM (LLI 1123): There have been five mass extinction events in Earth’s history. The Cold War, nuclear proliferation, and the SNAFU Principle have caused us to be on the brink of Mass Extinction six times. Hidden in plain sight from US citizens but not from our enemies, the Minuteman Missile Program continues to serve as a deterrent to nuclear war. Ann Leslie will give you a rare look inside this secure area to view the above-ground living arrangements and the actual launch control facility, Delta One. Then you’ll see the launch facility, Delta Nine, where the security will amaze you.

MYTHS IN AMERICAN HISTORY (LLI 6085): All countries tweak their national stories to make the past easier to explain to children, but the reality is often stranger, more complicated, and far more interesting. This is a gentle exploration of the role of myths in American history and why they have been useful in the past. We look at many specific myths, including Paul Revere’s ride, George Washington’s cherry tree, and what should be remembered about the Alamo. We will also explore why certain myths have had such staying power, and what they say about our understanding of what it is to be American.

OUR TEN WORST PRESIDENTS (LLI 7022): Historians and political scientists enjoy debating who was our best President, or who had the best foreign policy or domestic agenda. But historian Gary Midkiff will guide you on a tour of the other end of the spectrum to analyze and explain why men such as James Buchanon, Andrew Johnson and Franklin Pierce are always rated at the bottom. Each was a competent person with a solid political background who failed as President. We will look at the 12 (of our past 43) Presidents rated lowest by C-Span and try to understand their mistakes.

OVERLOOKED AMERICANS - CHAPTER 8 (LLI 7021): Join historian Gary Midkiff for a fascinating look at 12 Americans who you may not recognize but should know, including – The hero of the Flint, Michigan, contaminated water crisis; The driving force behind the Prohibition amendment; The two men who made medical history saving “blue babies”; The female Chicago playwright whose 1st production changed American theater.

PRINCE MAXIMILIAN TOURING AMERICA’S WILDERNESS (LLI 6000): Tour North America as Prince Maximilian saw it in 1832-34. With Bodmer’s illustrations, Prince Maximilian will escort the audience on an adventure from the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to the Great Falls of the Missouri River. Meet America’s best scientific minds and participate in traditional American Indian drumming songs. Be immersed in the cultures and customs of the first Americans. Storyteller and author Brian “Fox” Ellis steps into the shoes of Prince Maximilian allowing the audience to step back in time. The backdrop includes the distinctive landscapes of the West and portraits of American Indians painted by Karl Bodmer.

RECONSTRUCTION (LLI 7020): The U.S. Civil War ended in 1865, but fighting in various forms continued in the south until 1877. During this 12 year period there were constitutional amendments, Presidential vetoes, a presidential impeachment, white supremacists, the Freedman’s Bureau, military occupation, carpetbaggers, Scalawags, Redeemers, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, The Panic of 1873 and under-the-table political deals. Join historian Gary Midkiff for a review of this tumultuous period.

TERRA COTTA WARRIORS (LLI 1106): An astounding army of thousands of terra cotta warriors, complete with their weapons, horses, and chariots, was buried in China centuries ago next to an emperor’s tomb to protect him in the afterlife. Discovered in 1974, these warriors are now one of the most recognized ancient wonders. Peggy Eastwood shares discoveries about the incredibly unique designs, original construction methods, and the imperial court that drove this monumental undertaking.

THE ADVENTURE OF BERTHA BENZ & HISTORY OF THE GERMAN AUTO (LLI 6071): The superb reputation of German cars is legendary. They are synonymous with the quality and success of German engineering. But hardly anyone knows that the history of the automobile’s origin is, to a great extent, due to Bertha Benz, who 130 years ago — in a secret attempt to visit her mother — became the first human being ever to drive an automobile over a long distance. Join German Historian Anette Isaacs as she introduces you to Bertha and her history making adventure of 1888!

THE EASTLAND DISASTER (LLI 6089): The Eastland sank before it even left the Chicago River on July 24th, 1915, and killed 844 people, wiping out 22 entire families. It is one of the worst disasters in American history and the deadliest ever in Chicago. It has been called “America’s Forgotten Tragedy.” It was overshadowed by the Titanic disaster (1912) and the sinking of the Lusitania earlier in the same year. John Boda has researched the Eastland disaster in great detail and shares many interesting facts, stories, and pictures as he explores possible reasons why the Eastland capsized from the perspective of someone with a very personal connection.

THE GENIUS OF LOUIS COMFORT TIFFANY’S GLASS CREATIONS (LLI 6058): Louis Comfort Tiffany is known today for his spectacular and highly individual Art Nouveau style glass lampshades, glass vases, leaded stained glass windows, glass mosaics and jewelry. Tiffany grew up in the shadow of his father’s store. He was the son of Charles Tiffany, co-founder of Tiffany & Company. Tiffany Louis began his career as a painter and was successful. But, once he was introduced to leaded stained glass during his travels in Europe, Tiffany soon pursued glass as his material of choice. The result was historic.


THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN HUMOR (LLI 0018): Humor and comedy in America have a long history. Intensified by the media, they are now big business. In this class, you will hear about the development of this sometimes undervalued art form and come to an understanding of who our most significant figures are and what they contributed to the genre. Humor can be subjective, but we are pretty sure that you will laugh your way through this class! Presented in conjunction with the Harper College Library’s One Book One Harper program. FREE!

THE ROOSEVELT WOMEN (LLI 0112): Franklin Delano Roosevelt had many sources of support and advice when he was President of the United States, including his cabinet and his close friends. He also had a group of women from whom he gained political help and emotional support. This class focuses on five of them: his mother, Sarah Delano Roosevelt; his wife Eleanor; the woman who nearly broke up his marriage, Lucy Mercer Rutherford; his personal secretary, Missy LeHand; and his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, the first woman to hold a Cabinet position. Smart, savvy and intensely loyal, these women were directly involved in guiding the United States through some of its most difficult years.

THE UNSOLVED ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER HEIST OF 1990 (LLI 1103): Isabella Stewart Gardner Art Museum in Boston was the site of an unsolved heist that took place on March 18, 1990. Two men broke into the museum at night and achieved the largest art robbery in history. Though thousands of leads have been pursued, none of the paintings have ever been recovered. Worth as much as $500 million total, the missing masterpieces have become one of the nation’s most extraordinary unsolved mysteries. The Isabella Stewart Garner Art Museum is the home of one of the preeminent collections of art in the United States. Ralph Burin will discuss this mysterious and maddening robbery.

U.S. HISTORY AND TODAY (LLI 6055): Journey through the past 100 years of American history — from the start of World War I in 1914 through the present — in this two-part, pictorial tour of nation-changing news and uplifting cultural events. Watch a live presentation of 470 historically rich photographs augmented by 42 film and video clips that reflect some of the most memorable moments from Washington to Hollywood. This fact-based, politically unbiased presentation provides a visual tour of the past century. There will be ample time for questions and discussion.

Please note: Not all classes are offered every semester. 

Classes are offered at the Harper College Main Campus as well as at our partner locations. Please check the current schedule or call 847.925.6300 to confirm the location of your class.