Trouble in Chicago, almost 100 years ago

(From The Reason for Time, from Allium Press of Chicago)

Tuesday, July 29, 1919
From History.com

The answer didn’t come like magic, but not much work got done at the almost empty office of The Chicago Magic Company, neither. No Billy, still no Florence. Eveline, of course, gone to her cousin’s. Mr. R himself missing for half the day left me free to search the directory for the location of Provident Hospital. It would be a long walk and not a safe one, sure, not for someone skin light as mine in a neighborhood belonged to all those people at the heart of the trouble. Oh, what to do? But safe not even around us in the Loop when a colored man could be attacked and shot on his way home from work, something I learned when I took the elevator down and stepped outside and saw the story in another paper, all the papers plastered up to the board at the corner and me not the only one crowding in to read.





Happened two blocks from where I stood with the others, and me having to angle in from the side, since there were few shoulders low enough for me to see above. Two blocks away only, the poor fella’d run from the mob chasing him. And he’d not been the only one hounded, though he was the only one killed.

One hundred whites, led by five sailors, marched through the Loop early this morning in search of Negro employees. The mob was dispersed by a squad of policemen from the central station, but there was no violence. A Negro employed at Weeghman’s restaurant on Madison, near Dearborn, was driven into the kitchen. He escaped by jumping through a window and running down the alley. Later the mob chased a Negro busboy into a restaurant in the McVickers building. He took refuge in an ice box.

(Above excerpt from reports of the Chicago Race Riot in the Chicago Tribune, July 29, 1919)