Illinois · Racially Motivated

The beginning of the Chicago Race Riot (1919)

July 27, 1919
Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 begins, leaving 38 dead and over 500 injured and 1000 homeless by the time the riot ends on August 3

The riots were sparked when a black teen drowned after being stoned by white youths for violating an unofficial segregation at a Lake Michigan beach. When police refused to arrest the person responsible for hurling the fatal stone, the black community began to riot in outrage. The white community retaliated, seeking out black citizens to beat or murder and setting fire to homes belonging to black people. A black police officer was also murdered in the riot.

The rioting lasted until August 3. Casualties from both sides were recorded: 23 black people and 15 white. Upwards of 1000 people were left homeless, primarily black families, from arson attacks.

President Woodrow Wilson declared the white groups responsible for instigating the riots and promoted racial harmony, though he did not lift the segregation in federal departments he set during his first presidential term.

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