In the 1910s, the Population of Chicago increased rapidly. African Americans began migrating from the South during World War I as part of the Great Migration. Mexicans began arriving after 1910. After the First World War, thousands of African Americans migrated north from the rural South. Social tensions rose as new residents competed for limited housing and jobs, especially on the South Side. The postwar years were more challenging. Some whites resented black veterans seeking more respect for serving their country.
As the country tried to absorb veterans in the postwar years, the Chicago race riot erupted in 1919, becoming known as “Red Summer,” when other major cities also experienced mass racial violence. Thirty-eight people died during the riot (23 blacks and 15 whites), and over five hundred were injured. Members of ethnic Irish athletic clubs in Chicago led much of the violence against blacks and defended their “territory” against blacks.
Along the lakefront north of the Loop, high-rise luxury apartments were constructed in the 1910s. The suburbs attracted wealthy families but few families with children because more affluent families moved to the suburbs for schools. Public schools had problems; most Catholic students attended schools in the extensive parochial system, which had a middling reputation. There were a few private schools. For those with the means to pay, the Latin School, the Francis Parker School, and the Bateman School were all conveniently located. In the north and west suburbs, wealthy residents supported some of the best public schools in the nation.
Here are some stunning historical photos that will take you back to the 1910s in Chicago.
Girls and young women carrying flags, marching in a line, leading a contingent of suffragists along South Michigan Avenue, past the Bucklen Building and a crowd of spectators lining the sidewalks with the Illinois Central Railroad Station visible in the background in the Loop community area, Chicago, Illinois, May 2, 1914. The Bucklen Building is located at the southwest corner of South Michigan Avenue and West 8th Street. In the background the Illinois Central Railroad Station, located at South Michigan Avenue and East 12th Street, is visible.
The riot reportedly began following an incident at an informally segregated Chicago beach where a young black boy drowned after a white man threw rocks at him and resulted in a week-long riot with dozens of deaths and over a thousand left homeless, mostly inflicted against the city's black population. The events in Chicago were just one of a number of violent confrontations, grouped as the 'Red Summer,' that occurred that year in the United States as a result of post-war economics, labor unrest, and racial tensions stoked by white supremacist groups.
Spectators are standing on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, and on the sidewalks on both sides of Michigan Avenue. The building across the street (with the columns) is the People's Gas Building. Next to it is the former Municipal Court Building (later the Lake View Building), and the former Illinois Athletic Club Building (later the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), then the Monroe Building at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street.
Park goers are riding in a boat, with the number 14 on its prow, in a canal with a small footpath on one side and a planted hillock on the other. Riverview Park was bounded on the east by North Western Avenue, on the west by the Chicago River, and on the south by West Belmont Avenue.