Oscar Dozier

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

Born: 1884
Occupation: Stock Yards Foreman
Killed: July 28, 1919
Cause of death: Stab wounds

Oscar Dozier, a Black man, was born in 1884. While few details about his age, place of birth, or early life exist, he likely was one of the tens of thousands of African Americans who moved to Chicago from the “Jim Crow” South during the Great Migration. In Chicago, Dozier worked as a foreman at the Great Western Smelting and Refining Works, located at 600 W. 41st Street.  Cook County records indicate that he married Eleanora Paxton in 1917. They lived at 3525 S. Indiana Avenue, in the “Black Belt.” 

On the second day of the riots, Monday, July 28th, Dozier reported for work at Great Western Smelting and Refining. Towards the end of the work day, Black workers throughout the Stock Yards were surrounded by Irish gangs. These gangs represented Irish workers who apparently resented the blurring of racial boundaries in Chicago’s Stock Yards and packinghouses. The Chicago Commission Report stated, “The foreman warned negroes not to try to go home till adequate protection could be furnished.” Despite this warning, according to the report, Dozier was seen crawling under the fence at 5:45 pm. It appears likely, however, that Dozier was already being pursued by violent gangs when he made a break for it. Historians Jennifer Bates and William Tuttle both note that Irish gang members brandishing hammers, irons, and other weapons broke through the gates and began beating Black workers before any protection was secured. Whatever precipitated Dozier’s attempted escape, a mob of 500 to 1,000 white men pursued him once outside the work gates. Dozier was seen running west on 39th St. towards Wallace as the crowd hurled stones. He fell halfway down the block. “When rescued by the police immediately afterwards,” stated the report, “he was found to have a stab wound two inches long over his heart.” The men who murdered Dozier, likely members of the Irish gangs that stormed the stockyards, never were apprehended. Dozier died at the age of 35 on 39th and Wallace. 

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