Category Archives: Race riot of 1908

‘Cocaine Alley’ (1899-1903)

Note: This entry is based on research done by Floyd Mansberger and Christopher Stratton of Fever River Research for the city of Springfield and Federal Railroad Administration in connection with the Springfield Rail Improvements Project. Their full 358-page report, published … Continue reading

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Prohibition referendums in Sangamon County, 1908-17

Most of Sangamon County voted itself “dry” as soon as it legally could in 1908. But it would take four referendums and nearly 10 years before the city of Springfield finally succumbed to prohibitionist sentiment. After a bitter struggle, the … Continue reading

Posted in Amusements, Business, Crime and vice, Hotels & taverns, Local government, Politics, Race riot of 1908, Restaurants, Social life, Women | Leave a comment

William Donnegan’s memoir of the Underground Railroad

William Donnegan, an 80-year-old black cobbler and entrepreneur who was lynched during the Springfield Race Riot of 1908, earlier wrote a memoir about his role in helping an enslaved black woman travel through Springfield on her way to Canada in … Continue reading

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Col. Otis B. Duncan

Lt. Col. Otis B. Duncan (1873-1937) was the highest-ranking black officer to serve in the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe in World War I. He was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for his war service. Duncan, who came from … Continue reading

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Illinois State Arsenal (1903)

President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the new Illinois State Arsenal  at Second and Monroe streets on June 4, 1903. The structure, designed by Bullard & Bullard architects and built at a cost of $150,000 by the Culver Stone and Marble Co., … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Amusements, Buildings, Celebrations, Disasters, Lincoln, Abraham, Military, Museums, Race riot of 1908, Sports and recreation, State government | 4 Comments

Harry Loper (1908 race riot)

Harry Loper, a successful white restaurateur, owned one of the few motorcars in Springfield in 1908. So when Sangamon County Sheriff Charles Werner wanted to move two black accused murderers out of the county jail before a white mob stormed … Continue reading

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Race riot deaths

The Springfield race riot of Aug. 14-15, 1908 was unique in that more whites died than blacks. “This was due no doubt to the armed blacks, defending themselves and their interests in the Levee,” reported Carole Merritt in “Something So … Continue reading

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Race riot of 1908

At least 11 people died and many more were injured in connection with the Springfield race riot of August 1908. Another casualty was the image that Springfield, Abraham Lincoln’s home town, was immune to the racial discord that characterized American … Continue reading

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Abraham Raymer (1908 race riot)

Charges against Abraham Raymer, 20, served as test cases to determine whether Sangamon County juries would convict anyone of serious crimes resulting from the the Springfield race riot on Aug. 14-15, 1908. The answer, authorities ultimately decided, was “No”. Raymer … Continue reading

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George Richardson (1908 race riot)

George Richardson was a black man who was falsely accused of sexually assaulting Mabel Hallam, the white wife of a streetcar conductor, on Aug. 13, 1908. The allegation, reported in sensational fashion by local newspapers, helped instigate the Springfield race … Continue reading

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