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Award-Winning Author to Talk About Race Riot Book in Macomb April 26

April 1, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – The Western Illinois University departments of English and History have partnered with the University's Expanding Cultural Diversity Project, the Western Illinois Museum and the McDonough County Chapter of the NAACP to bring award-winning author Claire Hartfield to Macomb at 5 p.m. Friday April 26 for a reading from her book "A Few Red Drops; The Chicago Race Riot of 1919."

The Western Illinois Museum is located at 201 S. Lafayette St. in Macomb, and doors open at 4:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and there is a suggested $5 donation at the door. Light refreshments will be served.

The title of Hartfield's book is taken from a Carl Sandburg poem and delves into the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. The book draws on first-hand accounts Hartfield heard from her grandmother as a child and looks at the racial tensions created as waves of Southern blacks, such as her grandmother, migrated north.

Sandburg, a Galesburg native, was working as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News during the riots and is considered one of the few to have recorded the events accurately.

"I want to share this story with young people to give them perspective on the world they are facing now, and tools for shaping better ways to move forward," said Hartfield.

"A Few Red Drops; The Chicago Race Riot of 1919" is the winner of the 2019 Coretta Scott King Author Book Award and is a Los Angeles Times Book Award Finalist. This book has also been honored as a Junior Library Guild Choice, a 2019 Illinois Reading Council Top Book and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018.

The program provides an opportunity to meet the author and hear her read from this award-winning, personal, and timely publication. WIU Professor of History Peter Cole is directing the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19), which intends to mark the locations of 38 people killed during the riot—still the bloodiest incident of racial violence in the city's history. The centennial of the riot is July 27, 2019 and CRR19 will be holding a public launch, in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, that morning.

For information, contact Cole at or Western Illinois Museum Director Sue Scott at or call (309) 837-2750. 

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