Friday, February 8, 2008

Chicago Race Riots

This slide show movie deals with the subject of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 which makes up part of the plot of Color Me Dark. The original is much more visible. Soundtrack is by the great Joe Williams.
From wikipedia on the Chicago Race Riot.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 was a major racial conflict that began in Chicago, Illinois on July 27, 1919 and ended on August 3.It is considered to be the worst of the approximately 25 riots during the Red Summer of 1919. It lasted for several days and ended only after nearly 6,000 National Guard troops were deployed to put an end to the violence on the night of July 30. Most of the rioting, murder, and arson was concentrated in the city's Black Belt, but violent conflict occurred in areas throughout the city, including the Chicago Loop. The riot left 38 people dead (23 African Americans and 15 Caucasians), 537 injured (342 African-Americans) and approximately 1000 homeless.
Unlike southern cities until the 1960s, Chicago did not segregate most public accommodations. In fact, according to Walter Francis White, pre-1915 Chicago was reputed for its equitable treatment of Negroes in general. However, early 20th-century Chicago beaches were segregated.
After an inquest on the cause of death by the Cook County Coroner's Office which took 70 day sessions, 20 night sessions and 450 witnesses examinations, their report stated the finding that on July 27, 1919 Eugene Williams, a Black youth, drowned after tiring of holding onto a railroad tie during a stone throwing melee between blacks and whites on the 29th Street beach in the city's Douglas community. A witness recalled a single white male standing on a breakwater 75 feet from their raft, throwing rocks at them. Eugene was struck in the forehead; he panicked and drowned. The assailant ran toward 29th Street, but rioting had already erupted there regarding blacks who wanted to use the beach in defiance of its tacit segregation. The rioting escalated when a white police officer refused to arrest the white man who threw the stone earlier and instead arrested a black individual. Anger over this, coupled with Eugene Williams' death, led to five days of rioting.
Early reports with details of injuries and incidences showed injuries to Chicago Police officers and a Chicago fireman. Roaming gangs of Bridgeport whites perpetrated much of the violence, led by a group known as the Hamburg Athletic Club, whose members included a 17-year-old Richard J. Daley, who eventually served as the city's mayor from 1955 to 1976. No whites were ever indicted or prosecuted for any of the murders. Daley was soon elected leader of the Hamburg Athletic Club, and never confirmed or denied that he was involved in the violence.


Unknown said...

Does anyone know where I can find the link to the slideshow or the code to copy it? I am doing a presentation on the Race Riots and would really like to show this.

Lowell said...


Amazing site.

I'm working on a book for Arcadia Publishing titled, "African Americans in Chicago" and I stumbled across your blog.

If you have any ideas about where I can find original public domain images I can use, please let me know soon. My deadline is the end of May, 2011.

Lowell Thompson

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