Carl Sandburg

The Chicago Race Riots

This classic volume of reportage by the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet and journalist examines the racial tensions that erupted in the Red Summer of 1919.
In July of 1919, a black child swam past the invisible line of segregation at one of Chicago’s public beaches. White men on the shore threw rocks at the boy until he was knocked unconscious and drowned. After police shrugged off demands for those white men to be arrested, riots broke out that would last for days, claim thirty-four lives, and burn down several houses in the city’s “black-belt.”
A young reporter for the Chicago Daily News, Carl Sandburg was assigned to cover the story. His series of articles went well beyond a chronicle of the violence of the moment. They explored the complex and incendiary social, economic, and political tensions that finally ignited that summer. This volume of Sandburg’s articles includes an introduction by Walter Lipmann and a foreword by Ralph McGill.
76 printed pages
Original publication
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