Henry Goodman

Entry for Henry Goodman in The Negro in Chicago: A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot, by the Chicago Commission on Race Relations

Born: 1883
Occupation: Stockyards Laborer
Killed: July 28, 1919
Cause of death: Tetanus from beating

Henry Goodman, a Black man, was born in Alabama in 1883. Scant details about his life before he moved to Chicago exist, but records indicate that his father lived in Alabama, as well. In Chicago, Goodman lived at 3857 S. State Street and worked as a laborer for Swift and Company Packing Plant in the stockyards. He was drafted to serve in the U.S. Army in 1918.

On July 28th Goodman was returning with his coworkers from the stockyards on an eastbound 39th Street streetcar when the streetcar was forced to stop at 39th and Union Avenue by a stalled truck. While stalled, a white mob gained entry to the streetcar and began beating the Black passengers, who fled towards Halsted and the presumed safety of police officers. Goodman, however, was chased down and beaten. The Chicago Commission Report stated, “the chief weapon used was the iron lever used for opening the front of the streetcar.” While Goodman did not die immediately, he died soon thereafter–of tetanus due to complications from being beaten with the metal rod. Goodman was thirty-six. He is buried in Birmingham, Alabama.

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