The Story Behind the East St. Louis “Race Riots”

One hundred years ago, black American residents of a small industrial city in Illinois endured three days of violence and horror that have scarcely shown up in the pages of our history books.

The East St. Louis “Race Riots” of 1917 saw the indiscriminate massacre of men, women, and children in a one-sided spate of brutal burnings of people and buildings, lynchings, shootings, and beatings that left an official death toll of 39 black and nine white Americans dead, though historians estimate that more than 100 black people were actually killed.