Acts of Intolerance
A Commemorative Sculpture
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
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
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Notable Events. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 39° 48.209′
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The History of Union Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Surveyor Presidents (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stuart and Lincoln Law Office (about 600 feet away); The Wedding of the Rose and the Lotus (about 600 feet away); Streetscape 1859 (about 700 feet away); Lincoln's Last Law Office (approx. 0.2 miles away); Joshua Speed's Store (approx. 0.2 miles away); Brunwick's Billiard Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Also see . . .
1. History of the NAACP. Repaired broken link; 12/08/2020 LPG. (Submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
2. The Springfield Race Riot of 1908. (Submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 700 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.