Community reception commemorates 100 years since East St. Louis race riots
Sunday will mark the 100th anniversary of the race riots in East St. Louis that devastated lives and set the city on a struggling path toward healing — a path community leaders say they’re still following a century later.
This weekend’s commemoration, organized by the East St. Louis 1917 Centennial Commission and Cultural Initiative, is aimed at remembering and healing from the massacre that left as many as 200 black people dead. The BND will bring live coverage of the events throughout the weekend.
Here’s a list of events for the weekend:
▪ 9 to 9:45 a.m. — “A Day of Honor” with program and lowering of flags at St. Clair County Courthouse, 10 Public Square in Belleville. Speakers at the event will include U.S. District Judge Staci Yandle, Chief Judge Andrew Gleason, state Rep. Latoya Greenwood (114th district), East St. Louis Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks and St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.
▪ 11 a.m. — Reception and unveiling of East St. Louis 1917 CCCI Office Space at East St. Louis City Hall in the Rotunda, 301 River Park Drive.
▪ 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — “A Day of Remembrance” with speakers, exhibits, documentary previews, poetry, music, dance, theater, refreshments and a youth luncheon with Bowtie Boys at SIUE East St. Louis Center, Building D, 601 James Thompson Boulevard in East St. Louis.
▪ 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — “A Day of Reconciliation” with a worship service at Truelight Baptist Church, 1535 Tudor Ave., East St. Louis.
▪ 2 to 3 p.m. — Centennial Monument site blessing with speakers, singing, prayer, poetry and libation at East Riverfront MetroLink station, 100 S. Front St., near the Eads Bridge Entrance (park at Casino Queen).
▪ 4:30 p.m. — “The Gathering: East St. Louis Born Again” with speakers, including author Harper Barnes, spiritual readings, poetry, dance and libation at SIUE East St. Louis Center, 601 James Thompson Boulevard, between Building A and Obama Boulevard.
▪ 6:30 p.m. — Procession patterned after 1917 “silent” New York City protest with drumming only. Leaving from SIUE East St. Louis Center, going north on Obama Boulevard and left on Park and continuing to the middle of the Eads Bridge. Those unable to walk can join at east entrance.
▪ 7:30 p.m. — Commemorative program on the bridge with East St. Louis and St. Louis mayoral proclamations, singing, a wreath-drop to honor riot victims and release of sky lanterns. Program will be held at East St. Louis City Hall in case of rain.