Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots | Newberry

Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots

Photo: Chicago Tribune Archives/TNS

A series of public programs examining the legacy of the 1919 Chicago race riots
Saturday, February 23, 2019Thursday, November 14, 2019

All event information can be found at https://chicago1919.org/events 

Held at locations across Chicago
Open to the Public

Chicago’s 1919 race riots barely register in the city’s current consciousness, yet they were a significant turning point in shaping the racial divides we see today. The Newberry Library and 13 other Chicago institutions have organized Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots, a year-long initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, engaging in public conversations about the legacy of the most violent week in Chicago history.


Chicago 1919 is guided by the belief that the 1919 race riots can serve as a lens for understanding Chicago today. Racial tensions related to policing, migration, and housing all came to a head in 1919. By reflecting on the past 100 years, Chicagoans may see how our current racial divisions evolved from the race riots, as the marginalization of African Americans in Chicago became institutionalized through increasingly sophisticated forms of discrimination.


People across Chicago are invited to share in our collective reckoning with a little-known yet tremendously consequential chapter in the city’s history.


Read the Newberry’s announcement about the project, and visit Chicago1919.org to learn about the series of events, explore digital resources, and more.


Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Our Youth Engagement Sponsor is Allstate. The project is made possible in part by the generous support of Edith Rasmussen Ahern and Patrick Ahern.


Schedule of Events


Find registration links on the individual event pages.


Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots, Opening Event


Chris Benson, Lee Bey, Eve L. Ewing, Armand Gonzalzes, Claire Hartfield, Christopher Reed, Robin Robinson

Saturday, February 23, 2 to 5 pm

DuSable Museum of African American History

740 East 56th Place


Reporting on Race: From The Chicago Defender and Carl Sandburg to Chicago Journalism Today


Darryl Holiday, Ethan Michaeli

Thursday, April 4, 6 to 8 pm

This event is part of City Bureau’s Public Newsroom series at the Experimental Station

6100 South Blackstone Avenue


Migration and Housing: A Century of Color Lines


Davarian Baldwin, Brad Hunt, Lisa Yun Lee

Saturday, May 4, 1 to 3 pm

Homan Square Power House Great Hall

931 South Homan Avenue


Segregation and Public Education: Separate and Not Equal in 20th-Century Chicago


Elizabeth Todd-Breland, Tara Stamps

Saturday, June 1, 1 to 2:15 pm

Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium

400 South State Street


’63 Boycott: Film Screening and Discussion


Rachel Dickson, Tracye Matthews, Gordon Quinn

Saturday, June 1, 2:30 to 4 pm

Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium

400 South State Street


Bike Tour: Visualizing the 1919 Riots in Today’s Chicago


Facilitated by Blackstone Bicycle Works

Saturday, June 29, 10 am to 1 pm

Check website for details


Legacies of 1919: The Bughouse Square Debates


Natalie Moore, Charles Whitaker

Saturday, July 27, 12 to 4 pm

Washington Square Park

901 North Clark Street


Reflections of Youth: Spoken Word Performance and Conversation


Kevin Coval, Members of the 2019 Louder than a Bomb Squad

Monday, August 12, 6 to 8 pm,

Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium

400 South State Street


The Language of Bronzeville: Literature and Race in Chicago


Eve L. Ewing, Nate Marshall, Liesl Olson, Ken Warren

Tuesday, September 24, 6 to 7:30 pm

Newberry Library

60 West Walton Street


Policing Racial Violence: 1919 and Beyond


Simon Balto, Robin Robinson

Tuesday, October 15, 7 to 8:30 pm

Chicago History Museum

1601 North Clark Street


Red Summer/Winter Blues


Screening and discussion of the rough cut documentary

Barbara Allen, Cameron McWhirter, Jacqueline Stewart

Thursday, November 14, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

DuSable Museum of African American History

740 East 56th Place


Chicago 1919 Project Partners


Black Chicago History Forum
Black Metropolis Research Consortium
Blackstone Bicycle Works
Chicago Architectural Club
Chicago Collections Consortium
Chicago History Museum
Chicago Public Library
Chicago Urban League
City Bureau
DuSable Museum of African American History
Kartemquin Films
Middle Passage Productions
Newberry Library
Young Chicago Authors

Cost and Registration Information 

Register to attend these free public programs at http://chicago1919.org/events