1908 Race Riot walking tour now open
Starting August 14 in 1908, within 48 hours, seven people were killed and 24 businesses destroyed in Springfield. Now, monuments line the city to mark significant events during the 1908 Race Riots.
"A lot of people don't know the history of the race riots here in Springfield,” Monument 1908 founder Carle Madison said. “That's because people were embarrassed to talk about it. However, what you should take away from it is that even though it was a tragic event, it created one of the greatest, most beloved civil rights organizations in the nation, the NAACP."
You can now take a walking tour, guided by eight markers total. They begin at Seventh and Jefferson and end at on Adams between Fifth and Sixth Streets. You can find a list to all the sites here.
Teresa Haley is both Springfield and Illinois' NAACP president. She hopes residents and visitors will pause when they pass these monuments.
"I want them to think about the history,” Haley said. “I want them to think about that awful, horrible thing that happened in Springfield, Illinois. And I want them to challenge themselves to how we can make it better? How can we live in not only Springfield, but in the united states as one body, together?"
She also hopes the monuments will fight modern-day hatred between all races.
"If you're living next door to someone, and you don't like them, and you don't know why you don't like them, challenge yourself to get to know your next door neighbor, your coworker, even driving down the street,” Haley said.
The Illinois NAACP State Conference takes place this weekend at the Crowne Plaza. Doors open at noon on Friday and the conference goes through Sunday. All are welcome to attend.