Apr 4th 2019

This year marks 100 years since the 1919 race riots in Chicago. Sparked by the murder of African American teenager Eugene Williams, who drowned after being stoned by a white man near a whites-only South Side beach, these riots are an oft-overlooked part of the city’s history. Media coverage at the time of Williams’ death and the ensuing violence largely got the story wrong with few notable exceptions, especially Carl Sandburg’s reporting for the Chicago Daily News.

This week at the Public Newsroom we’ll draw connections to how reporting on the 1919 riots relates to the coverage of segregation nearly half a century later and what, if anything, has changed today. Our featured guests for the evening are Ethan Michaeli, author of The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America (2015), and City Bureau Co-Founder Darryl Holliday. The evening’s conversation between Michaeli and Holliday is part of a year-long series, Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots, led by the Newberry Library.

In addition to hearing from Michaeli and Holliday, attendees will also participate in activities to discuss contemporary reporting on race and how could it could be better.

Join the conversation as we discuss the role of newspapers and media in the events of 1919 and beyond.

Please RSVP for the event here (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/public-newsroom-102-race-reporting-after-the-1919-riots-tickets-57404581649). An RSVP does NOT guarantee entry but instead helps us estimate a head count. Entry will be on a first come, first serve basis and we will begin at 6pm. Arrive early!


Chicago 1919: Confronting the Race Riots is a year-long initiative to heighten the 1919 Chicago race riots in the city’s collective memory, engaging Chicagoans in public conversations about the legacy of the most violent week in Chicago history.

Funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities “Community Conversations” grant, the project is being coordinated by the Newberry Library in partnership with 13 other Chicago institutions. At the heart of Chicago 1919 are 11 dynamic public programs designed to activate audiences and encourage them to examine the mechanisms through which segregation and inequality have been created, solidified, and reinforced over the past 100 years. Each program will focus on a specific expression of institutionalized racism, from policing and education to housing and the media. Chicago 1919 aims to address difficult history, to come together in recognition and reconciliation, and to imagine possible ways forward.

You can read more about the project and partners at http://chicago1919.org/.

City Bureau’s #PublicNewsroom is a series of free, weekly workshops and discussions aimed at building trust between journalists and the communities they serve while shaping a more inclusive newsroom.

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