Edward Lee

A memorial for Edward Lee overlaid on the Angelus Building. Text: Chicago Defender, July 31, 1920.

Born: 1871
Occupation: Laborer at Stockyards
Killed: July 28, 1919
Cause of death: Bullet-wound

Edward Lee, a Black man, was born in Chicago in 1871. While in Chicago, Lee lived at 3634 S. Calumet Avenue with his brother, Attrus Lee. Edward Lee was a laborer at the Union Stock Yards. On July 28, 1919 Lee happened to be near the Angelus Riots, at 35th and State Streets, when shots rang out. The Cook County Coroner’s Report noted that Lee and his brother Attrus had been about to enter the Walgreen’s drugstore at 35th and State to obtain medicine, as Edward was feeling ill. The Report further noted, “We believe from the evidence that the deceased was in fact ill and of good character and not a rioter.” As Edward and Attrus entered the Walgreen’s, Edward was shot and killed. He was 48 years old.

Lee’s death resulted in a series of conflicting reports and accusations. A Chicago Tribune article published on August 12, 1919 stated that, following the closing of an investigation into the death of Joseph Schoff, another person killed during the riots, “the jury will begin an inquiry into the death of Edward Lee, who was shot to death.” This followed an accusation from Lee’s brother, Attrus, who claimed that Lee was deliberately shot by a Chicago Mounted Police Officer named Brooks. Brooks refuted this claim by stating that he was fired upon by unseen assailants and ran away from where Lee was shot. Ultimately, Brooks was cleared by the coroner’s jury, who believed that Lee was struck by one of the bullets fired at Officer Brooks.

Return to Commemorating the Killed.