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 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
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
Location. 39° 48.209′ N, 89° 38.881′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is on N. 6th Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America.
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);
Also see . . .
1. Preston Jackson Biography - The History Makers. (Submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
2. History of the NAACP. (Submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
3. The Springfield Race Riot of 1908. (Submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Notable Events •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 532 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 27, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.