July 27, 1919
A riot began in Chicago when police refused to arrest a white man who was responsible for the death of a young black man, Eugene Williams. The 29th Street Beach on Lake Michigan was used by both black and white Chicagoans. But the man had been throwing stones at the black boys swimming there before hitting Williams.
The Coroner’s report on the riot described the events as follows: “Five days of terrible hate and passion let loose, cost the people of Chicago 38 lives (15 white and 23 colored), wounded and maimed several hundred, destroyed property of untold value, filled thousands with fear, blemished the city and left in its wake fear and apprehension for the future . . . .”
The city’s booming economy, especially jobs in the stockyards, had drawn many blacks during the Great Migration from the South, more than doubling their population in just three years. Only one policeman died in the chaos, Patrolman John Simpson, 31, an African American working out of the Wabash Avenue Station.
H/T Carl Bunin of Peace buttons.
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