July 27, 2020: The Murder of Eugene Williams
Today is Monday July twenty, seventh, twenty twenty on this day in nineteen, nineteen seventeen year, old black teen, Eugene Williams was murdered after accidentally rafting into the white section of Lake Michigan's segregated waters. His death sparked the Chicago race riot of Nineteen nineteen and a broader wave of protests known as the red summer. Welcome to today and true crime apart cast original due to the graphic nature of today's crimes. Listener discretion is advised. Extreme caution is advised for listeners under thirteen. Today? We're covering the murder of black teenager Eugene Williams and the summer of riots that followed now. Let's go back to July, twenty seventh nineteen nineteen. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. That Sunday afternoon a heatwave had taken over Chicago and hundreds flocked to the shores of Lake Michigan Looking for an escape. Families sprawled out on beach towels, setup picnics and swam in the cool lake, but not everyone was laying out in the sun together in nineteen nineteen, the waters of Lake Michigan were informally arrogated twenty ninth, Street. Beach was a popular location among Chicago's white denizens. The city's black population was expected to stay just across invisible sand border at the neighbouring twenty fifth. Street beach. That's exactly what seventeen year old grocery porter Eugene Williams land to do. It was his day off from work. And he and his friends decided to spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun. Around two PM, the boys made their way from the sand to the lake. They were jumping off their rafts to see how long they could hold their breath underwater, but then the boys drifted across the invisible color line into the waters of Twenty Ninth Street beach a young white. Man George Stauber was sitting on a nearby breaker, and when he noticed the black teens drifting towards him, he erupted into racist indignation. These were as far as he was concerned white waters, so he started throwing rocks, Eugene and his friends to dodge the onslaught, ducking under the water, but not all of them were successful, while some accounts differ, many say that Eugene was hit hard in the head. Possibly knocked unconscious. Eugene tumbled off of his raft into the water. Both black and white beachgoers rushed into the lake to try and save him, but they were all too late Eugene had drought. A black police officer William Middleton witnessed the crime. He approach stabber and tried to arrest the man. But a white officer Daniel Michael Callahan intervened in the situation stopping the arrest, the two officers began to argue soon a few black witnesses approached and spoke up explaining stauber, unprovoked fatal attack. Then more beachgoers gathered round threats started flying back, and forth across the crowd between black and white witnesses, tensions mounted the two officers saw things getting out of control, but rather than arrest stauber. Callahan tried to arrest a black man standing his ground at this point, the growing mob became furious. Callahan ran to a nearby drugstore to call for backup. And in the meantime the crowd descended on Stauber, taking justice into their own hands. They beat him to a pulp, but stauber recovered from his pummeling Eugene Williams was dead. Around five PM data afternoon. Eugene's body was recovered by now. Word of his death had spread through the city. Thousands of black residents gathered between twenty ninth street and Cottage Grove Avenue to protest the murder and the cops failure to arrest the killer police officers tried to disperse the crowd, but they were severely outnumbered. Then around six PM a man named James Crawford opened fire on a group of police officers. One of the officers returned the fire and killed James Crawford, this was the second black killing in one day, and it only incensed the crowd further. Coming up the Chicago race. Riot Inspires a national movement. So I've been playing this exciting mobile puzzle game called best fiends I've been playing for almost a year now and up to level three hundred thirty. One of course I didn't do all that myself. My kids love to play best to like to play because it requires strategy while the game is casual I. Find The puzzles challenging and fun so I try to find. Find time to play every day I like the bright colors and visual design of the game, and the characters are super adorable. Best fiends treats the game like a service, so there are new levels, challenges and events every month the best part you don't even need an Internet connection to play, don't miss out. 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It was a black man that had killed a white boy as the rumors and lies flooded the streets, so did angry, white men, all across the south side of Chicago they packed into cars with one intention to terrorize Chicago's black belt, the neighborhood between twelve and thirty ninth street. These white men were armed with sticks. Knives and guns. They threw bricks and lit black businesses on fire. They sped through the streets, shooting their weapons at unwitting black civilians sitting in their yards. Juanita Mitchell was eight years old at the time of the riots. Her family had just moved to Chicago. She was staying with relatives in the South side and remembers the look of fear in her mother's. Is that July night in an interview with the Chicago Tribune Mitchell said I remember my uncle standing in the window and I heard him say here. They come, which meant the race riot was coming down thirty fifth and Giles he held the biggest gun I had ever seen. Many of these men had just returned home from World War One. He and other black veterans hoped they would be coming back to a safer more welcoming America, but here they were still fighting for basic rights and safety in a country. They'd risked their lives to defend. By the next day, the city was in lames. Governor Frank Louden called in the Illinois Reserve militia for help. But. Chicago wasn't the only city where black Americans fighting for equality were facing down violent mobs of white men Eugene Williams. Death sparked a series of riots across the country from Tennessee to Nebraska. These riots would later be referred to collectively as the red summer. In Chicago the chaos lasted for the next twelve days, black veterans formed militias to defend their homes, families, neighborhoods and rights during the first week of August. These black veterans gained the upper hand. They broke into a local armory and took as many rifles and weapons as they could carry. Then they used the weapons to hold back a white mob in the area. The white rioters backed down. They realized the black community was now armed with the same quality artillery as they were, and they were no longer confident in their ability to strong arm the black people. As a result, the dust started to settle. But not before thirty eight people had died, the majority of them were black. More than three hundred fifty people were reported injured, also majority, black, one, thousand, mostly black owned homes, and businesses were burned down, and there were dozens of black people arrested well, not a single white person ended up behind bars. The long-term fall out of the riot to took a disproportionate toll on the black community as University of Chicago sociologist John Clegg put it. Why do certain streets certain blocks remain? These ultra segregated places across generations. They have almost a physical memory of this long history of racial violence. But the persistent segregation wasn't just thanks to memory, physical or otherwise thanks in part to the influence of the race riot of nineteen, nineteen, racially restrictive covenants remained legal in Chicago until nineteen, Forty Eight, these contracts restricted where black people could buy or rent homes effectively, barring them from certain parts of the city. The segregated lines they drew across the city map. Are Still Evident in Chicago today. The flawed racist justice system that refuse to convict Eugene Williams killer is still in evidence to a century after Eugene's murder. There's more reason than ever to tell his story and fight for justice. Thanks for listening today and true crime. I'm Vanessa Richardson for more true crime checkout. Our series solved murders today. In true crime is a podcast original. You can find more episodes of today in true crime, and all other car cast originals for free on spotify, not only spotify already have all of your favorite music, but now spotify is making it easy for you to enjoy all of your favorite podcast originals like today and true crime for free from your phone, desktop or smart speaker to stream today. Today and true crime on spotify. Just open the APP and type two days in true crime in the search bar. We'll be back with a brand new episode tomorrow. In True, crime, today true crime was created by Max Cutler and is a podcast studios original. It's executive produced by Max Cutler. Sound designed by Juan Boorda with production assistance by Ron Shapiro Carly. Madden and Joshua Kern. This episode of today and true crime was written by Lori Gottlieb with writing assistance by Nora Ital- I'm Vanessa Richardson.