Sandburg Home Commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Chicago Race Riot with Author Claire Hartfield

The Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Race Riot with an event on Saturday, August 3, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, at the Henderson County Main Library. The park has invited Claire Hartfield, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author, to read from her most recent book, A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919. Hartfield is a nationally recognized author and education leader.

In 1919, Carl Sandburg was a Chicago Daily News reporter. His articles before, during, and after the riots revealed many causes. His insight was forged by his own struggles with poverty and by interviewing often-ignored immigrants and migrants. His articles, which were published in a book, “The Chicago Race Riots July 1919,” were unique in 1919 and remain powerful 100 years later.

The title of Claire Hartfield’s book, A Few Red Drops, is taken from a Carl Sandburg poem and delves into the Chicago race riots of 1919. Drawing on first-hand accounts she heard as a child from her grandmother, the author examines the racial tensions created as waves of Southern blacks, like her grandmother, migrated north. Carl Sandburg is considered one of the few journalists to record the events and its causes accurately. The author recently commented, “I want to share this story with young people to give them perspective on the world they are facing now, and tools for shaping better ways to move forward.” This book has also been honored as a Junior Library Guild Choice, a 2019 Illinois Reading Council Top Book, and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018. The program provides an opportunity to meet the author and hear her read from this award-winning, personal, and timely publication.

Throughout July and August, a temporary exhibit located in the Sandburg Home, is available for visitors to learn more about Carl Sandburg and the Chicago Race Riots of 1919. The information is also available online at

This event is supported by the Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara and America’s National Parks, the non-profit partner that operates the park store.

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