January 22, 2021

Duckworth Discusses Importance of 1908 Race Riot National Monument with NAACP Illinois President


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today spoke with Teresa Haley, president of NAACP Illinois State Conference and the Springfield Branch NAACP, on the importance of establishing the 1908 Springfield Race Riot site as a national monument. Earlier this month Duckworth and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) called on then-President-elect Biden to declare the site a national monument to be managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

“The 1908 Race Riot Sites are of extraordinary cultural and historical importance to our state and to this country,” Duckworth said. “By designating this area a national monument, we will help ensure that the painful lessons learned here will not be lost for the generations of Americans to come while helping make our nation’s public lands more representative of all the people who helped build our country. I look forward to continuing to work with Teresa Haley and the Illinois NAACP State Conference to ensure this important historic event and site is recognized.”

During the 1908 Springfield Race Riots, a mob of white residents murdered at least six African Americans, burned Black homes and businesses and attacked hundreds of residents for no other reason than the color of their skin. During an excavation as part of the Springfield High-Speed Rail project, foundations and artifacts from homes destroyed during the 1908 Springfield Race Riot were uncovered. An agreement with community members was reached in 2018 to excavate the remains and designate the uncovered site a memorial. The riot was the catalyst for the formation of the NAACP.

Duckworth has been a longtime supporter of creating a national monument at the site, introducing the Springfield Race Riot National Monument Act and toured the site in 2019.