A black-and-white photographic postcard of an elderly man gathering possessions after the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Illinois. The man is depicted in the center of the image, outside of what appears to be a residential structure, amid a scattering of furniture, clothing, and other domestic objects. The man holds a small drawer of possessions in his proper left hand, against his proper left hip. In front of him is what appears to be dresser drawers stacked in the grass and full of tangled pieces of clothing and an upturned chair. Behind him, a small table piled with more random belongings and a chair sit in front of a tree. To the right side of the image, closer to the street, is a larger table with cookware and other items on it. In front of the table, standing in the street, are two white men, both looking towards the camera. The men are dressed in dark pants, jackets, and hats. The scene is in front of a single story dwelling with wooden siding, an open doorway, and two shutter-less windows. Written in white at the bottom of the image is [Old negro saving few articles after mob violence, many were destitute and homeless]. There is a small, round loss in the left side of the photograph, top center.
The postcard is unused and has a divided back with a space marked as [CORRESPONDENCE HERE] and a space marked as [NAME AND ADDRESS HERE]. The postcard is printed on AZO paper, with an AZO stamp mark in the upper right corner of the back. A handwritten inscription in graphite along the top of the back reads [Old Negro saving few articles after mob violence most went destitute and homeless. (SPRINGFIELD RACE RIOT ILL.)].
The Springfield Race Riot took place August 14-16, 1908 when a mob of thousands of white Americans and European immigrants who, incensed over two reported assaults on white women by black men, carried out a series of violent attacks against the African American community in Springfield, Illinois. The mob destroyed homes, black-owned businesses, and the businesses of whites who appeared too sympathetic to African Americans. The state militia was called in an attempt to maintain order, and at least nine black residents died. The victims included Scott Burton, an African American barber who attempted to defend his home, and William Donnegan, an 84-year-old cobbler who was married to a white woman. Both men were lynched. The violent race riot in a Northern city was a catalyst for the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in early 1909.
This black, rectangular photograph album contains sepia-toned black and white photographs depicting the aftermath of the Springfield Illinois race riot, with hand-drawn illustrations and captions.
Gilt lettering on the front of the album reads [Photographs]. The album consists of 30 black paper leaves; the first two leaves consist of the illustrated title and dedication pages. The title page reads [IN THE WAKE / OF THE MOB / An Illustrated / Story of / Riot Ruin / and Rage] in decorative, hand-lettering set in ornate decorative detailing, all in white album ink. The white ink of the title page has partially transferred to the inside cover opposite. The dedication page reads [Fondly / dedicated / To / Madolin / 1909] in decorative hand-lettering. The remaining twenty-eight black leaves each have one or two photographs mounted on the front, surrounded by ornate hand drawn illustrations and hand-lettered manuscript captions in white album pen. Some of these illustrations are geometric designs, others are floral and vegetative. Most of the photo images are also captioned in the negative in white text.
The scenes depicted in the photographs include damages caused to neighborhoods, homes, and businesses during the riot, including barber shops, saloons, Fishman's pawnshop, and the Star Theatre. The photograph depicting the damaged interior of a shop has a caption reading [Interior Fishman's Pawn Shop. Wrecked by Mob for alleged sympathy with Negros.].There are also scenes of people dealing with the aftermath, including a man salvaging belongings outside his burnt home and another of several individuals outside of damaged homes with a caption reading [Negro Man and Woman eating dry bread for breakfast!]. Several photographs depict the sites of lynchings. One photograph of the exterior of a damaged, two story building with the remains of a burned tree in front has a caption that reads, [Saloon Wrecked and Partly Burned / Tree on which Negro was hanged].
On the back cover of the album is a small rectangular label reading [HOUSH ALBUM / MORG 710 1/230 / BLACK LEAVES / The House Co., Makers Boston].