The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19) commemorates the worst incident of racial violence in the city’s history. The event has been long forgotten despite its impact on the subsequent shape and development of the city.
Stolpersteine, an ongoing German project commemorating Holocaust victims, offers us a powerful model for how to use dispersed public art to remember past atrocities and provoke conversations about their legacy. Inspired by Stolpersteine, CRR19 proposes to create and install commemorative markers at each of the 38 locations where someone was killed in 1919.
Formally launched on the 100th anniversary of the riot, we aim to ignite conversations about past and present racism in Chicago and across the US. The path to achieving racial equity and justice first demands acknowledging the horrors of the past and the ways that structural inequities persist in communities of color.
- To design, create, and install public works of art at the locations where 38 people (23 Black, 15 white) were killed during the riot
- To make our research on the 38 individuals available online, via public talks and tours, and eventually through a traveling museum exhibit
- To educate people of all ages and educational levels about the context, causes, details, and consequences of violence and resistance during the riot
- To partner with individuals and groups around Chicago, including artistic, civic, historic, public and private organizations in order to serve the communities most directly impacted by the riot, particularly in Black communities on Chicago’s South Side
- To collaborate with other individuals and organizations across Illinois, throughout the US, and around the world to agitate for racial justice and seek healing