A Commemorative SculptureTwo charred chimneys rising from the smoldering rubble of burned-out buildings—-these stark images from an old photograph were the inspiration for this unique sculpture by acclaimed artist Preston Jackson. The sculpture commemorates the centennial of the brutal Springfield Race Riot of 1908.
During two sweltering August days, an angry white mob attacked black residents, looting and burning many of their homes and businesses upon learning that two black men—-one accused of raping a white woman and the other of killing a white man—-had been secretly transported out of town by the sheriff for their protection. In protest, white rioters lynched two innocent black men, murdered five other citizens, and injured many more before state troops arrived to quell the violence. Following the riot, the white woman, Mabel Hallam, admitted that she had been involved in an affair with a white lover and had lied about being assaulted by George Richardson, the accused black man. The other black prisoner, 17-year-old Joe James, was eventually convicted by a jury for murder and executed.
News of the vicious race riot in Abraham Lincoln's hometown, which occurred only blocks from the Lincoln homestead, shook the nation and became the catalyst for the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in New York City in 1909 on Lincoln's birthday.
The numerous relief images on the surface of the chimney columns depict scenes that suggest themes of intolerance and others that suggest themes of redemption. "Confronting our past strightforwardly is the only way we can learn to develop our future together," said sculptor Preston Jackson. "The imagery leaves the viewer to contemplate their meaning and the long-term effects on how we stand socially today and will stand tomorrow."
Historical markers placed along the mob's pathway of destruction throughout downtown Springfield provide a fuller telling of the tragic race riot story.
Dedicated: August 6, 2009
Pat Quinn, Governor State of Illinois
Timothy J. Davlin, Mayor City of Springfield
R. Beverly Peters, Chairwoman Mayor's 1908 Race Riot Commemoration Commission
Archie Lawrence, President NAACP Springfield Branch
Kenneth L. Page, Immediate Past President NAACP Springfield Branch
Preston Jackson, Artist
|Marker Condition||No reports yet|
|Date Added||Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 2:50pm PDT -07:00|
|UTM (WGS84 Datum)||16S E 273304 N 4409300|
|Decimal Degrees||39.80348333, -89.64801667|
|Degrees and Decimal Minutes||N 39° 48.209', W 89° 38.881'|
|Degrees, Minutes and Seconds||39° 48' 12.54" N, 89° 38' 52.86" W|
|Driving Directions||Google Maps|
|Closest Postal Address||At or near 201-299 N 6th St, Springfield IL 62701, US|
|Alternative Maps||Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap|
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