Springfield Race Riot: 112 Years of History

The site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riots has been deemed suitable to become a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. This came after a long review process that was backed by Senator Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative Rodney Davis. A bill has been introduced in the House to officially make this site a historic monument. There are a few projected ideas and designs for the monument that balance the weight of the tragedy as well as pay respects to the victims. The process is not finalized, but it seems that a monument worthy of those who died during the riot will come to fruition in the next few years.

The Springfield Race Riot occurred 111 years ago and has been largely forgotten about since. History has only recently begun remembering the horrors of the riot, despite the fact that the NAACP was formed because of the atrocities that occurred in Springfield. After a century of being hidden, this tragedy is finally receiving the recognition that it is due. Tourists traveling to Springfield will visit this monument and bring attention to the innocent lives that were lost.

Chelsea Coates, an archaeologist who works at the site of the Springfield Race Riot was thrilled to learn about the upcoming monument. “I think it’s fabulous, because most people in Springfield don’t know this happened. In the Land of Lincoln, where all men are created equal, the fact that there is this sad stain on our history is really tragic. It’s time people learned about this event.” Senator Duckworth said that a monument on the site, “will help ensure that the painful lessons learned here are not lost for the generations of Americans to come – while helping make our nation’s public lands more representative of all the people who helped build our country.” Generations to come will have a way to learn and pay tribute to the lives who were lost, and to remember the pain of the past to pave way for a brighter future.