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Clarence Mitchell Library at HCC Presents A Shameful Affair: The 1908 Springfield Race Riot

Highland Community College’s Clarence Mitchell Library is pleased to offer a program with guest speaker Kathryn Harris who will speak about the history of the 1908 Springfield, Illinois race riot. The conflict made national headlines and provided much of the impetus for the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

“A Shameful Affair: The 1908 Springfield Race Riot” will take place at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28 at the Clarence Mitchell Library in the Marvin Burt Liberal Arts building. The riot started because a white woman claimed that she had been raped by a black man. She would later confess that her account had been false, but not in time to prevent a deadly race riot from erupting in the hometown of the Great Emancipator in the summer of 1908.

Kathryn Harris, a regional historian and retired library services director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, will relate the history of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot and lead a discussion about current race relations in Springfield, Illinois, and the United States.

The event is being produced in part by the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, a program that provides organizations statewide with affordable, entertaining, and thought-provoking humanities events for communities. A roster of speakers, hailing from 20 different towns and cities across Illinois, present topics in history, culture, literature, music, politics, law, science and more.

The Clarence Mitchell Library is committed to the success of the Highland community, students, faculty and staff in learning, teaching and research. The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. The IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal and private funds.

The event is free and open to all audiences. The Clarence Mitchell Library is located on the second floor of the Marvin-Burt Liberal Arts Center at Highland Community College, 2998 W. Pearl City Road in Freeport. For more information, contact Laura Watson at 815.599.3456 or

2998 W. Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032-9341

Fax 815-235-6130