The Start of Something Big
Posted on August 16, 2008
In the same place, at the same dais where President Abraham Lincoln and famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered inspiring remarks, the NAACP marked the 100th anniversary of the Springfield race riot in Illinois today. The Springfield race riot is considered one of the pivotal events in American history that led to the formation of the NAACP. Following the relocation of two black suspects from the local jail on false charges of rape and "crimes against whites' on Aug. 14, 1908, a white mob set on vigilante justice ransacked Springfield's small black community (known as the Badlands), forcing families to flee, decimating 40 homes and businesses, lynching two prominent black men, shooting a white man and injuring others. It took up to 5,000 Illinois national guardsmen to end the two-day riot.