Fight for Rights: The Chicago 1919 Riots and the Struggle for Black Justice

Monday Night, July 28

That night, the murders continued, on and off the streetcars.

Oscar Dozier was killed around 6:00 Monday night near Thirty-Ninth Street and Union Avenue. Dozier worked at the Great Western Smelting and Refinery Works, which had been surrounded by a mob of whites around quitting time. The factory foreman claimed he warned the firm’s Black employees not to leave until they could do so safely, but Dozier left at 5:45. The mob sighted him as he headed east on Thirty-Ninth Street and gave chase, catching him near Wallace Avenue. Someone in the mob had a knife and stabbed Dozier several times in the chest. One blow stuck him just above the heart and killed him.

Nicholas Kleinmark died a little over an hour later. The twenty-year-old was a part of a group of whites that attacked a streetcar carrying several Black men going home from the stockyards. The mob stopped the car near Thirty-Eighth Place and scrambled on board. Once inside, the whites threatened the crew and attacked several of the Black passengers, beating two of their victims severely. One of the Black men on the bus, Joseph Scott, pulled a knife and stabbed Kleinmark when he came towards him. Scott hit Kleinmark in the neck, killing him.

Two other men died around 7:30 p.m.: Henry Goodman, a Black stockyards worker, was riding the Thirty-Ninth Street Streetcar home when a stalled truck blocked the tracks on Union Avenue, forcing the car to a stop. Several members of a white mob gathered nearby rushed to the stalled streetcar and pried open its front door. As the whites clambered in the front, Goodman and the other Black passengers escaped out the back. Goodman ran toward Halsted Street, apparently heading for the nearby police station, but the mob caught him before he could reach safety. They beat him; some of the blows to his head fractured his skull. Goodman was taken to a hospital. He died several weeks later from tetanus caused by those injuries.

At roughly the same time, but well away from the stockyards, someone shot and killed John Simpson, the only police officer to die during the riot, at Thirty-First Street, near the L tracks between State Street and Wabash Avenue.

As the violence increased, some of Chicago's white and Black leaders met in small groups to discuss the violence. Many, Black and white, blamed Chicago's Black residents for the killings.  

As the city's self-appointed leaders laid blame, the police department sent two thousand officers into the Black Belt. In addition, state militia troops were stationed at several armories around the city, armed and ready to be activated and sent into the city’s streets.

But the deaths did not stop. Shortly after 9:00 p.m., Stefan Horvath, who was white, was shot in the head as he waited for a street car at the corner of State and Root Streets. A white police officer, who was half a block away from the scene, insisted he saw Horvath shot by three Black men who then ran away.

At roughly the same time, several cops from the Deering Street Station went to Twenty-Ninth and La Salle Streets in response to a claim that someone was firing from a window in the house on the corner. The officers, Lieutenant James Day, J.C. Pomson, Dan Barrett, and Mike Whalen, did not find any snipers. But they did see a car full of Black men driving down LaSalle. They blocked the car with rifles that had bayonets bristling at the end and arrested all the occupants. They also seized several pistols.

Louis Taylor died about half an hour later. Taylor, who was Black, left his job as a cook at Chicago & Great Western Railroad around 9:30 and caught a southbound streetcar on Wentworth Avenue. His lifeless body, which showed signs of a severe beating, was found in the street at 4062 S. Wentworth Avenue an hour later. Taylor had been robbed of his suitcase and watch.

David Marcus, a white man who owned a shoe store at 509 E. Thirty-Seventh Street, was killed as he stood in front of the shop next door, talking to another white man, Samuel Simon. Simon, who was shot in the arm, said that a single Black man walked up to the two of them and shot Marcus. When Simon tried to help his friend, he was shot as well.

Nearby, Henry Baker was shot to death as he sat at the window of his second-floor apartment at 544 E. Thirty-Seventh Street. The bullet that killed Baker, who was Black, may have come from one of the cars of white men were driving through the neighborhood shooting at Black people. Or he may have been shot by a police officer, or one of the Black men trying to protect their neighbors from attacks by whites.

Shortly after 11:00 p.m., B.F. Hardy boarded a northbound Cottage Grove Avenue Streetcar. Although the car was full, Hardy was the only Black passenger. When the streetcar stopped at Forty-Seventh Street to let off some white passengers, a crowd of white youths gathered at the corner spotted Hardy in the car. First they bombarded the car with bricks and stones; then they pulled down its pole so that it came to a stop. The mob entered the front of the car; Hardy tried to escape out the back. Some members of the mob seized him and pulled him out into the street, where they beat him until he was unconscious. He died of his injuries the next day. Witnesses reported that the mob that attacked Hardy was made up of young white men between the ages of sixteen and twenty. The police admitted they had no officers near Forty-Seventh Street, even though it had been the scene of earlier fighting, until after the attack on Hardy.

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