In 1917, many African Americans traveled from the South to East St. Louis, IL, where blue-collar jobs and middle-class homes were then the norm. But from July 1 through July 3, 1917, violence erupted in the city when a labor dispute between African Americans and whites turned deadly. According to www.Smithsonian.com , by the end of the three-day period, 39 African Americans and nine whites were killed, although many believe more than 100 African Americans were killed.
In 2017, in the Metro-East area, the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative sponsored activities throughout the year that focused on the riot. Walnut Park’s February 23, 2019, program will feature remarks by Edmond Brown, vice chairman of the commission and president of ELB Enterprises, a cleaning corporation in East St. Louis. He will speak about the economic aspects of the race riots – then and now.
In addition, Dr. Andrew Theising, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, will speak on the history of the riot. Dr. Theising also is a commission member. A related exhibit will be on display at the Branch throughout February 2019.