Monday, October 8, 2018

Photograph of Madison and Canal Streets, Chicago, Illinois shot on July 29, 1919 at 5pm rush hour.

Photograph of Madison and Canal Streets, Chicago, Illinois shot on July 29, 1919 at 5pm rush hour.


I posted this photograph to my Living History of Illinois and Chicago® Facebook group. I will share a members comment on this post and my reply.

GROUP MEMBERS COMMENT: How's it that I don't see any black folks in any of these older pictures? And everyone wearing the same outfits, and walking the same way. It's like they just did what everyone else did and didn't do what they wanted to do...

MY REPLY: First of all, I found a couple of black people in this photo, and I'm sure there are more, but we cannot see too many faces in this crowd and the low-resolution image in not large enough, to tell. 

Secondly, in 1920 Chicago's population was 2,701,705. The city’s black population had increased from 44,000 in 1909 to more than 100,000 as of 1919 during the "Great Migration," making the black population of Chicago only 1/2 of 1%.

Moreover, this photo, dated July 29, 1919 was smack dab in the middle of the "Chicago race riot which began on July 27, 1919, and ended on August 3, 1919, so during this time, city officials asked the black community to stay indoors and lock themselves in to be safe.

READ MORE: The History of the 1919 Chicago Riot, nationally named the "Red Summer." 

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