In the summer of 1919, 17-year old Eugene Williams was at the beach cooling off. While in the water, he drifted into the “white” area. White men on shore threw rocks at Williams, and he drowned. Police showed up, but refused to make an arrest. The incident ignited longstanding tensions between white and black Chicagoans. 5 days of violence followed, leaving 38 dead.
Now, 100 years later, author and sociologist Eve Ewing revisits the incident with a new book of poetry called 1919.