Richard F. Sokup (1935-2004) began portraying Stephen A. Douglas in reenactments in 1958 while a student at Knox College. He continued in that role the rest of his life, earning him the nickname “The Senator.”
Upon his passing, a legacy from his estate was given to the Lincoln-Douglas Society. The decision of the Society’s Board of Directors was to utilize that legacy to fund a lecture series in Sokup’s honor that is held in odd-numbered years.
The purpose of the series is to host lectures by eminent scholars on matters related to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln or Douglas and the era in which they lived, as well as promotion of political debate in a democratic society.
Past presenters of lectures in the Sokup Series:
- 2005 – Frank Williams
- 2007 – Harold Holzer
- 2009 – Vernon Burton
- 2011 – Antonio Delgado
- 2013 – John F. Marszelak
- 2015 – Craig L. Symonds
- 2017 – Edna Green Medford
- 2021 – Tuesday, October 19 at 6:30 pm — Freeport Public Library — Dr. Ferald Bryan, Ph.D., Norther Illinois University Associate Professor in Communications