Henry Baker

Born: 1886
Occupation: Laborer
Killed: July 28, 1919
Cause of death: Shot

Henry Baker, an African American, was born around 1886, possibly in Mississippi, according to Cook County Records. It is not clear when he moved to Chicago but, once there, Baker lived at 544 E. 47th Street, and he worked as a laborer. On the second day of the riots, July 28th, Baker was at home when he was shot through the window of his house. The Chicago Commission’s Report was uncertain on whether the shot came from one of the many white “athletic clubs” that marauded in the Black Belt during the riot or by “one of a crowd of Negroes at Thirty-Seventh Street and Vincennes Avenue.”

Additionally, the report postulated that the shot could have come from a passing automobile, since many white Chicagoans sped through the Black Belt during the riots, firing out of the vehicles in what in recent times is called a “drive-by shooting.” Despite confusion over who fired the shot, Baker was struck and died the next day, July 29th , at the age of thirty-three. Interestingly, Cook County Records indicate that Baker was buried in Jackson, Mississippi, suggesting that might have been Baker’s birthplace or, at least, where he had family. If so, he was one of the many African Americans from Mississippi who ventured to Chicago during the Great Migration aboard the famed Illinois Central Railroad.

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