The Chicago Race Riot of 1919: Combating Historical Amnesia and Racism

You can watch the video recording for this event here.

Date and Time: April 21, 2021, 6:00PM CT (Register here for the virtual panel)

About this Event

Living in a largely ahistorical society contributes to the persistence of racism in America. In Chicago, for instance, shockingly few people know of the city’s worst incident of racial violence, the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, in which 38 people were killed and 537 injured. Fewer still know it played a major role in the segregation that still defines the city. Lack of awareness makes it easier to deny this legacy but moving towards equity demands learning and embracing painful historical truths.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19) seeks to attack such historical amnesia and denial that hold our city and country back. Organic Oneness (OO) is both a core partner of CRR19 in programming and mission as well as serving as the fiscal sponsor. CRR19 seeks to educate about this history and legacy through public art. CRR19 and OO are partnering with Firebird Community Arts’s Project FIRE, a trauma-informed glassblowing and ceramics program targeting Chicago BIPOC youth who have been victimized by violence.

Project FIRE youth are in the process of creating 38 markers, one for each person killed in 1919. These artistic markers will be installed at each location a person was killed. Hence, when people walk down the streets of Chicago, they will be reminded of this history, which so profoundly impacted the City and still does today.


CRR19 co-directors Peter Cole & Franklin Cosey-Gay will present alongside Pearl Dick, Artistic Director at Firebird Community Arts. The discussion will be moderated by Syda Taylor, Executive Director at Organic Oneness.

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