Englewood race riot

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The Englewood race riot, or Peoria Street riot, was one of many post-World War II race riots in Chicago, Illinois that took place in November 1949.

Whites in the neighborhood rioted, attacking other whites, partially based on rumors and misinformation that blacks were meeting to take over their neighborhood.


According to labor historian Rick Halpern the U.P.W.A (United Packing Workers of America) were holding an interracial union meeting at the home of Aaron Bindman, a member of the CIO's longshoremen's union, Louise Bindman and Bill and Gussie Sennett. The neighbors were disturbed by the presence of the attending negro shop stewards and insisted they leave the area, and when Bindman refused this request two days of rioting began. Although one hundred policeman were on the scene, the crowd almost destroyed Bindman's home. This is a very interesting and perhaps overlooked flash point in the history of the civil rights movement because it marks a place where the struggles of labor moved beyond the plants and into the larger community where it joined forces with other activist organizations. Indeed the UPWA quickly emerged at the forefront of community wide mobilization. They publicized and formed a committee that brought considerable pressure to bear upon Mayor Kennelly, who flatly refused to make any statement about the disturbance, demanding that he ensured adequate police protection. A well-publicized move to research mayoral impeachment prompted Kennelly to issue a statement and meet with the commissioner of police. The committee also help expose the exploitative practices of banks and real estate companies that were promoting and profiting from "white flight."[1]

The origin of the race riots in Chicago was blacks moving into the neighborhood. In Englewood this took place on the basis of a rumor. Supposedly the house at 5643 S. Peoria St. was going to be bought by a black.[2] This rumor was false, but it nonetheless triggered racial upheaval of white nationalists.

Size and form[edit]

At first there were some several hundred rioters. This rose to a peak of up to 10,000 rioters.[2] The white folk did not want blacks to be in their community. The rioters cried out against Negroes, Jews and Communists.[3]


  1. ^ Rick Halpern Down on This Killing Floor / Black and White Workers in Chicago's Packinghouses 1904–54 p.240
  2. ^ a b Arnold R. Hirsch (1998). Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940–1960. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226342443. 
  3. ^ http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-siege-on-south-peoria-street/Content?oid=901207