The Cicero Race Riot of 1951

From Metafilter:

“White people would be, and have gotten, furious and have rioted over much smaller things. Isabel Wilkerson writes about the Cicero Race Riot of 1951 in her book The Warmth of Other Suns. This occurred when this young black couple tried to move to Cicero, IL, a Chicago suburb. 

4,000 whites attacked the building that the couple, the Clarks, were moving into. The 60 police officers sent to control the situation did not do so. In fact the police chief told the Clarks “You should know better. Get out of here fast. There will be no moving into that building”.

The rioters threw rocks, destroyed the building, set fire to it. Firefighters called to the scene were met with bricks and stones by the mob. The Illinois National Guard moved in, and rioters fought with them. This went on for 3 days after $20,000 (in 1951 money) was done to the building. Cruelly, the rioters threw a piano, which Mr. Clark had save for for years for his kids, out the window, destroying it. 

The riot was front-page news in Asia and attracted worldwide attention. The Cook County grand jury did not indict a single rioter. Incredibly, the Clark’s attorney from the NAACP, the owners of the building, and the rental agent, were indicted on charges of inciting a riot and conspiracy to damage property (though the charges were dropped after widespread criticism).”

Image is a screen cap from The Sunday Herald





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