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Call For Help: Springfield Race Riot Centennial

November 15, 2007

In August 1908, Springfield, IL, experienced one of the worst race riots in U.S. history. Some historians go so far as to attribute the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to the riot’s aftermath. Here is a link to a 1908 New York Times article on the riot.

Earlier this week the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum put forth a call for original materials related the Springfield Race Riot. The library plans to show these materials in a centennial exhibit next year. Here’s an ALPLM flyer on the subject.

Below are some excerpts from the Peoria Journal-Star‘s story on the call:

– ” ‘This anniversary marks a terrible but important part of our history,’ said Presidential Library and Museum Executive Director Rick Beard. ‘The items we are seeking that may have been passed down by family members will be a direct link to something we should never forget.’ “
– “The library is seeking family photographs and letters; items that belonged to the victims; postcards of the riot; funeral home programs; police badges; saloon memorabilia; material from buildings damaged or destroyed in the riot; or any other items with direct connections to the riot.”
– “Anyone interested in loaning such material should call (217) 558-8953. The materials would be needed by early spring 2008 and would be returned by late January 2009. The exhibit will open in June 2008 and run through late 2008.”

Here are two more TV news summaries on the call—here and here.

Finally, here’s useful site, put together by Robert Senechal of Northern Illinois University, containing narrative and pictures on the riot. – TL

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