U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (IL-16) and Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) have introduced a bipartisan bill to designate the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot as a national monument. The bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and companion legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin.
“The 1908 Springfield Race Riot Site is an important part of Illinois and our country’s history,” said Congressman LaHood. “In Congress, I have been proud to work in a bipartisan manner to preserve this historical site, including getting it added to the American Civil Rights Network in 2020. Designating the site as a monument under the National Park Service will support the preservation and recognition of the race riot.”
During the riot, a mob of residents attacked Springfield’s Black community, burning down homes and businesses. The aftermath of the riot led to the formation of the NAACP.
Designating the site as a national monument would provide long overdue recognition for the local history and its impact on our nation. It would also support the preservation and recognition of the race riot, which was a catalyst for the start of the NAACP.
“More than a century ago, Springfield Illinois’ Black community came under attack by a violent mob, resulting in the loss of lives and livelihoods. While the 1908 Springfield Race Riot demonstrates our nation’s deep history of racial violence, it also gave rise to the NAACP – an organization that would lead the charge in securing civil rights for millions of Black Americans in the decades to come,” said Congresswoman Budzinski. “Today, I’m honored to introduce bipartisan legislation with Congressman Darin LaHood to make the site of this historic event a national monument – providing long overdue recognition for our local history and its impact on our nation. I look forward to working with Senators Durbin and Duckworth to make this vision a reality.”
The excavation of foundations and artifacts from homes destroyed during the riot as part of the Springfield High Speed Rail project uncovered the remains of the riot site. An agreement with community members was reached in 2018 to excavate the remains and designate the uncovered site a memorial.