LaHood, Budzinski, Durbin & Duckworth Introduce Legislation To Make 1908 Springfield Race Riot Site a National Monument

By Benjamin Cox on April 3, 2023 at 2:00pm

Two area members of Congress are looking to create a national monument in Springfield

13th District Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski and 16th District Congressman Darin LaHood have introduced legislation to designate the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot as a national monument. Illinois Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin have introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

In introducing the bill to the House on Thursday, Budzinski says the site had implications beyond its initial moment in history: “More than a century ago, the Black community in Springfield, Illinois came under attack by a violent mob resulting in the loss of lives and livelihoods. While the 1908 Springfield Race Riot demonstrates our nation’s deep history of racial violence, it also gave rise to the NAACP – an organization that would lead the charge in securing civil rights for millions of Black Americans in the decades to come. Today, I’m honored to introduce bipartisan legislation with Congressman Darin LaHood to make the site of this historic event a national monument, providing long overdue recognition for our local history and its impact on our nation. I’m grateful to Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth for their work on this bill in the Senate, and I look forward to working together to make this vision a reality.”

During an excavation as part of the Springfield High Speed Rail project, foundations and artifacts from homes destroyed during the riot were uncovered. An agreement with community members was reached in 2018 to excavate the remains and designate the uncovered site a memorial. LaHood and former Congressman Rodney Davis worked to get the site included in the American Civil Rights Network in 2020.