1951 July 11

Cicero, Illinois, Race Riot; Whites Protest Racial Integration


A mob of over 4,000 whites attacked an apartment building in Cicero, Illinois, where an African-American family lived. The tenants were the family of Harvey Clark, an African-American war veteran and graduate of Fisk University. Only 60 police officers were assigned to the incident, as local authorities made little effort to prevent the violence. Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson (Democratic Party candidate for president in 1952 and 1956) called out the National Guard to restore order.

The riot was one of several incidents in the post-World War II years of white segregationist violence opposing the racial integration of neighborhoods on the South and Southwest side of Chicago. Two incidents eventually led to Supreme Court decisions over free speech issues: Terminiello v. Chicago, decided on May 16, 1949; and Beauharnais v. Illinois, decided on April 28, 1952. And go to July 27, 1919, for the famous 1919 Chicago race riot.

Learn more about the history of race relations in Chicago: Gregory D. Squires, et al., Chicago: Race, Class, and the Response to Urban Decline (1987)

Learn more about the history of African-Americans in Chicago: http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/27.html

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