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tv   1908 Race Riot  CSPAN  February 16, 2019 9:15pm-9:31pm EST

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him? it raises questions of partiality. this then comes tumbling down, this issue of judicial ethics next time with watergate. that's where we are, where we're at. a couple of the midterms are up front. >> you can watch "lectures in history" every weekend on american history tv. we take you inside college classrooms to learn about topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3. in 19085,000 white citizens stormed into the black neighborhood of springfield burning businesses and lynching black residents. up next we drive around the city with a story in katherine harris. she recounts the events leading
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up to the riots and the effects on the city. **** >> usually when we think of a rioting, we think of blacks rioting, not whites. the mentality at the time was that the black folks were getting too uppity. they had businesses, they took care of themselves. they had property. they owned homes. you're not supposed to do that because you're, pardon me, the "n" word. they were getting too big for their britches so we're going to teach you a lesson. we're going to keep you in your place or put you in your place. the presidential library-museum is where the county jail was, which is where the two men who were in jail, were kept, and that's where the riot ersers came
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because the sheriff, it was his intent to take them out of town because he feared for their safety. one of them had been accused of killing a white man and another of killing a white woman. >> who was the sheriff? >> his name was charles warner. and he felt it would be best if the two prisoners richardson and james, were not in the jail because he feared a riot. he had come here from ohio, and there had been a riot in one of the towns where he had lived in ohio and because of what was going on, and all of the hatred that was fermenting, and
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whatever, he felt that it would be safer, he was going to take them to bloomington, 70 miles away, for their safety, except that the citizens who were now incensed because of the rape of the white woman and the murder of the white man by these black men he thought that that would be the best thing to do. the citizens got wind of it and so they, mr. loan loper was one of the richest people in springfield. he owned a restaurant and he also owned a car in 1908. one of the few people in springfield who owned car. they said, this will never happen. as a result, they trashed his car. and destroyed his restaurant. >> were they able to get them
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out of town? >> apparently, he must have been, but it doesn't say how. >> how large of a crowd is it at this particular -- >> about 5,000 people. can you imagine, i couldn't. i mean, i thought that was just absolutely incredible. >> 5,000 folks. and the first victim of the riot was a person who worked there. a young boy, i think he was a dishwasher or something, and he was white, and he -- he's not mentioned very much. but he was the first victim of the riot because he tried to remain safe, but then when they trashed the restaurant, he got caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. that's where he worked and he just happen to be there. the majority of the business, for the city, were in this area and on the fringe to the east was where the black community
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kind of started and where the black community had their businesses. we crossed 11th street. 11th street is kind of a divider, because there are railroad tracks at 10th street and in many cities in springfield on one side were white folks and on the other side were black folks. >> how large was the black population? >> about 2,500 folks. and they were probably, we were probably 5% of the population at the time. so -- 11th and madison is where scott burton, who was the barber, was lynched. why did they go after the barber? barbering was one of the few jobs so to speak, that a black man could have and be
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self-employed. i always thought it was interesting that he cut the hair and shaved white people as well as white people. he has a straight razor and he's cutting white folks' hair. he could have slit a lot of throats but he didn't. i always thought that was kind of an oxymoron, and his barbershop was -- his barbershop and his home, he lived up over his barbershop. in the block that -- the house is gone, it was the home of mr. don donigan. he was like 84 years or old, give or take. he lived where that parking lot is now. he was married to a woman who just happened to be white. they had been married for 20
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some odd years if not longer, and they lived in this area and the mob came this far, which is far removed from where the other activity was, but they knew he lived there, and they knew he was married to a white woman, and they thought that they would kill him. he had done nothing. he was a cobbler. it is reported that he made boots for mr. lincoln at one time. because he certainly would have been in springfield at the time mr. lincoln was in springfield, so that story is true. >> they come to his house and get him and what happens? >> they lynch him. they are looking for -- okay. the building where we're going next was called the arsenal.
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the armory and the grounds of the state capitol served as a refuge for the black people who were scared to death. and so the arsenal was a safe haven for black people. across the street on the grounds of the state capitol that's where the militia was stationed for lack of a better term to call it. >> so after they lynch mr. donigan, where do they go from there? >> well, that was about the end of it, because the state militia started to show up. and so that was the end of two days of rioting. >> so when all is said and done, how much damage was done and how many people were killed? >> there were 40 homes were
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destroyed. three people were killed. >> so what happened to the prisoners that were out of springfield, what happened to them? >> joe james was ultimately convicted of the murder of clergy ballard and so he was hanged in october. george richardson who was -- who mable had accused of rape, long about, in september or somewhere along in there, in the fall, right, because this was in august, in september, he recanted her story. she had not been raped at all. she had been having an affair with a white man, and her husband busted her out, so to
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speak. her husband found out about it. but that isn't -- the cry of rape is what started the whole riot. the best thing, of course, that happened from the race riot was the formation of the naacp. and that occurred because at the time of the riot there was a writer for -- folks call him a socialist or a communist, whatever, who happened to be in chicago and he heard about the -- the uprising all the activity that was going on in springfield, and he wrote an article for a magazine called the independent. and his name was william english. william english walling.
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in it, his final -- who can step forward to right the wrongs that happened to the black residents of springfield? and the culmination of that was the founding of the naacp. >> in the years following, what did springfield do? nothing. nothing was done. >> why do you think it wasn't? >> shame. shame. shame. a race riot in the home of springfield, illinois, the home of abraham lincoln. we don't want anybody to know about that. >> i'm sure that's why. you know. it's a black spot, a black spot on springfield's history. whoever would have thought, that there would be a race riot in the home of mr. lincoln? that would be the last place, and plus it was in the north. you usually associate race riots
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to be in the south, and lynchings in the south, but no. this was in the north. it says, we should learn, remember our history or else we're condemned or something like that, to repeat it. because i hope that we would never get to the state or get to the stage in springfield where something like that would happen again. again. >> our city's tour staff recently traveled to springfield, illinois, to learn about its rich history. learn more about springfield and other stops on our tour at -- >> have you seen crespan-span's newest
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book. senate historian emeritus. senate historian richard baker says mesmerizing photographs establish this book as the ultimate insiders tour. to order your high quality paperback copy of the senate for just 1895 plus shipping, visit >> if deal streak could talk, it received three nominations for an oscar, sunday, on q&a, we'll discuss the movie based on the 1974 james baldwin novel. with the "washington post" deputy local editor monica norton. >> i thought the film, visually, beautiful and the thing that really sticks with you is just how lovely the film is.
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>> i think his writing really does deal with love. whether it's universal love, loving one self. love between people and society. i really think that that is sort of the overarching thing. a lot of people see him, because he was so passionate in fighting for the rights of african-americans, that sometimes i think that people mistake that for anger and i don't think, i think he was not angry but forceful in his denunciation of racism. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. *** >> in the early 1900s, james shepherd founded a north carolina college which is now north carolina central university. florida a&m professor reginald ellis is the author of between washington and dubois, racial politics of james edward
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shepherd. in this interview, recorded at the annual american historical association meeting, he talked about shepherd's involvement in education and politics. his impact on north carolina, and how he navr gaitedigated the jim crow era. this is about 20 minutes. >> reginald ellis, professor at florida a&m university, let's talk about this gentleman, the racial politics of james edward shepard, who was he? >> dr. shepard was an individual who was born and raised of a near who was a prominent african-american minister in the state of north carolina his parents were individuals who actually came out of the institution of slavery and ended up driving, as prominent african-americans, in the state of north carolina. dr. shepard goes on to receive an advanc


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