East St. Louis in St. Clair County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
N. 4th St. and Division Ave.
Remembering the 1917 East St. Louis Race Riot
Erected 2017 by The East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission & Cultural Initiative, the Meridian Society, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. (Marker Number 16.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Women. In addition, it is included in the Illinois, Remembering the 1917 East St. Louis Race Riot series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1917.
Location. 38° 37.518′ N, 90° 9.663′ W. Marker is in East St. Louis, Illinois, in St. Clair County. Marker is on North 4th Street just north of East Broadway (Illinois Route 15), on the right when traveling east. Marker is located behind the Illinois Department of Corrections building. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: East Saint Louis IL 62201, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. S. 4th St. and E. Broadway (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named S. 4th St. and E. BroadwayN. 3rd St. and Missouri Ave. (approx. 0.2 miles away); S. 4th St. and Railroad Ave. (approx. 0.2 miles away); S. 5th St. and Railroad Ave. (approx. 0.2 miles away); 700 East Broadway (approx. 0.2 miles away); S. 6th St. and Railroad Ave. (approx. 0.2 miles away); Collinsville at St. Louis Avenue (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East St. Louis.
Regarding N. 4th St. and Division Ave.. At this site, police found the cremated body of a boy, who looked to be hiding under a bed when the flames consumed him. Narsis Gurlie lived a few houses south, and gave the following statement to W.E.B. DuBois during his investigation of the massacre: "Between five and six o'clock we noticed a house nearby buring and heard the men outside. We were afraid to come outside and remained in the house, which caught fire from the other house. When the house began falling in we ran out, terribly burned, and one white man said, 'Let those old women alone.' We were allowed to escape. Lost everything, clothing and household goods."
Source: The Crisis, pp. 235-236. The Crisis had several spelling errors, including the spelling of Gurlie's name as "Narcis". This research is siding with the local source.
Please note that 4th Street is also called Barack Obama Avenue (passed by East St. Louis City Council in 2012). Division Avenue once went as far as this point, but parts of the street are now where the 5th and Missouri MetroLink rail station sit today.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 8, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 8, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 80 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 8, 2019, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.