Advocates press for race riot national monument in Illinois

By Rob Hotakainen | 06/11/2024 01:33 PM EDT

Supporters said President Joe Biden should create a monument in Springfield to highlight the history of U.S. race riots and one of the country’s worst examples of mass racial violence.

Springfield riot historical photo.

Black victims of the 1908 Springfield riot, in which a white mob destroyed many Black homes and businesses of the Illinois city and killed six people. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons

Community advocates and local politicians urged the Biden administration Monday to designate the site of a deadly 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois, as a national monument.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called the riot “a searing, horrific incident that galvanized the creation of the NAACP” and said the site deserves federal protection.

“Making our national parks better reflect our nation’s people and history is long overdue, and it’s time we properly recognize this site and the lives that were lost here,” she said.


Hundreds of advocates got a chance to press their case in person at a community meeting Monday night at the Union Baptist Church in Springfield with Shannon Estenoz, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, and Brenda Mallory, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.