Harold Brignadello

Entry for Harold Brignadello in The Chicago Defender’s “List of Slain in Four Days’ Rioting,” August 2, 1919.

Born: 1884
Occupation: Laborer
Killed: July 28th, 1919
Cause of death: Shooting

Harold Brignadello, a white man, was born in 1884 in Chicago. After marrying, Brignadello moved to Rock Island, Illinois, where he lived with his wife and worked as a laborer at the Rock Island Arsenal. According to the Rock Island Argus, Brignadello was afflicted by illness and down on his luck, and “running behind on his household expenses, and so to remedy this he went to Chicago on Friday night hoping to secure a loan from a friend.” 

Brignadello arrived in Chicago during the riots and, on July 29th, joined a group of whites that assembled outside the house of a Black woman Emma Jackson, located at 1021 S. State Street. The Argus described the home as, “perhaps the biggest of the African strongholds discovered yesterday.” A number of Black Chicagoans had isolated themselves in the home, firing upon crowds that had attempted to invade the house throughout the day. It is unclear what provoked the crowd of whites to begin hurling stones at this house. Brignadello was fatally wounded by a shot fired into the crowd at 10:30 AM. The Commission Report stated, “A Negro woman and two men appeared at the window, and when the throwing did not stop, the woman raised her arm. A shot was fired into the crowd, fatally wounding Brignadello.” Police officers searched the flat and arrested Emma Jackson, Kate Elder, John Webb, Ed Robinson, and Clarence Jones.” The coroner’s jury recommended they be sentenced to a grand jury on the charge of murder, but the verdict returned to them on September 20th was not guilty. Brignadello died at the age of thirty-five.

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