WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (D-IL-13) andDarin LaHood (R-IL-16) introduced bipartisan legislation to designate the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot as a national monument. IllinoisSenators Tammy Duckworth andDick Durbin have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.
“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 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.”
“The time is now to make our vision a reality,” said Springfield Branch NAACP President Teresa Haley. “Thank you, Congresswoman Budinski for your bipartisan leadership to add the Springfield Race Riot site to the National Park System. Also grateful to Congressman LaHood and cosponsors working to leave a lasting legacy for future generations. We look forward to working with you and the Biden Administration to honor the race riot victims and celebrate Black leadership to rebuild our community and fight injustice. The Springfield Race Riot was the catalyst for the start of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and that story of America’s history needs to be told.”
During the 1908 Springfield Race Riot, a mob of white residents attacked Springfield’s Black community, burning down homes and businesses and attacking hundreds of residents for no other reason than the color of their skin. In the aftermath of the riot, the NAACP was formed. During an excavation as part of the Springfield High Speed Rail project, foundations and artifacts from homes destroyed during the riot were uncovered. An agreement with community members was reached in 2018 to excavate the remains and designate the uncovered site a memorial.
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