Kenwood Club Central to 1919 Chicago Race Riots January 20 2014

From 1915 to 1919 the black population in Chicago nearly tripled.  The blacks, who prior to 1915 mostly lived in the area bounded by the railroad on the west, 30th Street on the north, 40th Street on the south and Ellis Avenue on east, became overcrowded and began moving into so-called "white" neighborhoods.  In response there arose "Property Owners Associations", and the most prominent of these was the Kenwood-Hyde Park Property Owners’ Improvement Association.  Walter White, the Chicago writer, recalls attending a meeting at the Kenwood Club and relates that, "...various plans were discussed for keeping the Negroes in “their part of the town,” such as securing the discharge of colored persons from positions they held when they attempted to move into “white” neighborhoods, purchasing mortgages of Negroes buying homes and ejecting them when mortgage notes fell due and were unpaid."   In a number of cases during the period from January, 1918, to August, 1919, there were bombings of houses occupied by blacks who lived outside of their traditional neighborhoods.  Tensions boiled over and from July 27 to 30, 1919, Chicago saw some of the most severe race riots in the country's history.