By H. M. Edwards

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       "NO, N-O-E, NO" THE CICERO RIOT STORY

2012 NY Book Festival - Honorable Mention  Biography/Autobiography

 

- 60 Years Ago - One Family was Accused of Starting Chicago’s Second Worst Race Riot -

 

Attorney George C. Adams and Charles S. Edwards, Realtor, were in the business of buying and selling property.  They bought the wrong property from the wrong person in the wrong town.  Almost five thousand watched as the riot reached its peak.  The lawsuits and aftermath left one family member dead and others hurt, physically, psychologically, and financially for decades to come.

The white owner of the burned building in Cicero claimed that my family was, “A group of colored incendiaries on the prowl for a chance to light a fuse.” (The Camille De Rose Story, 1953)

Time Magazine wrote on Oct. 10, 1951:

‘SEQUELS Worse than the Cicero Riots,’ Edmund Burke said that he did not know how to indict a whole people; but last week the Cook County, ILL. Grand jury found a way of misusing the power of indictment to disgrace a whole metropolis.

The grand jury investigated the riots at Cicero, an all-white town, where Harvey E. Clark, a Negro, was prevented from moving into an apartment that he had rented (TIME, July 23). Not one of the 126 persons arrested for rioting was indicted.  Instead, the grand jury indicted George C. Adams, a Negro, who is part owner of the building where Clark leased a home; Charles Edwards, a Negro rental agent who handled the deal, and George N. Leighton, a respected Negro lawyer who acted as attorney for Clark and for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after the riots started …The three Negroes, Leighton, Edwards and Adams, are accused of ‘conspiracy to damage property.’ The grand jury seems to think that it is wrong to rent an apartment in Cicero to a Negro, wrong to defend his rights, but O.K. to burn his furniture and chase him out of town. (unk.)

 

THIS IS THEIR FAMILY SAGA, AND THE TRUE STORY BEHIND THE CICERO RIOT.

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