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First Prototypes of Markers Created for Chicago Public Art Project Founded by WIU Professor

September 8, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – The unveiling of the first prototypes of the public art to mark the locations of killings from the 1919 Chicago Race Riot was held in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, in July.

A bicycle and trolley tour of key sites related to the history of the city's worst-ever incident of racial violence as well as of the Black community, and in support of the public art project, was held at the same time. Approximately 350 people attended, about 300 of whom joined the two-hour bike tour.

The art project, the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project (CRR19), was founded by Western Illinois University History Professor Peter Cole and is co-directed by Cole and Chicago Center for Youth Violence Protection Executive Director Franklin Cosey-Gay.

These historic markers, once completed, will mark the sites where all 38 people were killed during the riots which played a pivotal role in the subsequent expansion of residential segregation that continues to define Chicago.

The first five markers will be placed in Bronzeville, and one in the Loop near the Art Institute. These markers will be created by Firebird Community Arts, an art studio that uses art as a form of therapy for teenage victims of violence

This is the third year of commemorating the anniversary of the events of 1919, as well as for the bicycle tour, which teaches the history of key places and people connected to the riots, as well as institutions connected to Black resistance and resilience.

For more information about the CRR19 project, visit, or follow the project at @chicagoraceriot on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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