Memorial project to honor 1919 race riot victims, a mayoral campaign cash breakdown and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Memorial project to honor 1919 race riot victims, a mayoral campaign cash breakdown and more in your Chicago news roundup
Screenshot_2023_02_20_at_1.41.30_PM.png

Memorial work in progress.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 47 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a low around 26. Tomorrow will be mostly sunny with a high near 36.

Top story

1919 race riots memorial project will honor victims where they died — in streets all over city

Thousands of people pass by Adams Street and Wabash Avenue every day, climbing the stairs to the L, or heading to the Art Institute or other spots in the Loop.

Few may know that corner is a murder scene, part of the 1919 riots during which, for an entire week, gangs of white Chicagoans terrorized their Black neighbors, who also fought back.

In all, 38 people died, and at least 537 were injured. Of those killed, 23 were Black.

Now, a plan is in the works to install memorials at that site and other scenes of the riots.

“It’s about using art to reach the public in a way I never could,” said Peter Cole, a history professor at Western Illinois University in Macomb. Cole has taught the history of the riot to his students since joining the university in 2000.

Cole came up with the memorials idea on a 2018 trip to Germany, where he came across similar memorials documenting the Holocaust. In 2019, he joined longtime anti-violence worker Franklin Cosey-Gay to form the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 Commemoration Project, a group dedicated to sharing the history through public art and organized under Bronzeville-based nonprofit Organic Oneness.

After spending a few years raising money and developing the design, the group recently began making the pieces — glass bricks, each bearing a victim’s name. The bricks will be installed on the streets approximately where people were killed, one memorial for each person.

The group has made a few bricks already and plans to have around seven installed by the start of summer, in time for an annual bike tour of key sites from those riots. The bricks will be placed in the pavement or sidewalks, along with information about each victim.

Michael Loria has more on the memorial project.

More news you need

Elections 2023

$24 million and counting. That’s how much money Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the eight other candidates stepping up to challenge her have raised with two weeks to go before Chicago voters make their picks. Where is all that campaign cash coming from?

We collected publicly available data that each of the nine mayoral campaigns filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections as of last Tuesday, going back to when each candidate announced intentions to run.

Check out the full graphical breakdown here.

A bright one

Conductor Sameer Patel championing diversity in classical music, inspiring young musicians across the globe

When Sameer Patel began thinking about making conducting his career, the Indian American didn’t have many role models who looked like him other than one very important one — famed maestro Zubin Mehta, former music director of the New York Philharmonic.

“In my community,” Patel said, “it’s very common for a young South Asian person to choose a path in medicine, engineering or law. One of the things that helped me explain my interest was this ability to say my friends and my parents’ friends, ‘Oh, I want to be a conductor.’ And they would be, ‘Oh, like Zubin Mehta.’ That was a very inspiring thing for someone like me.”

Patel, 40, has gone on to a successful career, serving as artistic director of the San Diego Youth Symphony and guest-conducting professional orchestras including the Toronto Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Conductor Sameer Patel

Conductor Sameer Patel will make his debut Feb. 20 with MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary music series.

Sam Zauscher

The Michigan native will make his debut later today with MusicNOW, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary music series. It features members of the ensemble in configurations typically ranging from duos to small ensembles.

Patel will lead two of the works on the “Inspiring Voices” program, a string-orchestra version of Osvaldo Golijov’s 2002 string quartet “Tenebrae” and Israeli composer Betty Olivero’s “Bashra’v,” a work for flute, clarinet, trumpet, percussion, piano/celesta and string quartet.

“It’s a very tricky piece,” he said of the latter. “It’s not easy to learn. It’s not easy to conduct.”

Kyle MacMillan has more ahead of Patel’s first CSO show tonight.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

What’s your favorite way to take advantage of unseasonably warm weather in the city?

Send us an email at newsletters@suntimes.com and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

On Friday, we asked you: Where is the best place to go on a solo date in Chicago? Tell us why.

Here’s what some of you said...

“A local dive because someone will always befriend you.” — Sean Castner

“The Art Museum, lunch at Russian Tea Room a few steps away, tour the Driehous Museum, dinner at Navy Pier, train home with Garrett’s Popcorn.” — Adrienne Varvil

“The beach, laying on the warm sand, feeling the sun, having a picnic with drinks watching the sky turn until sunset.” — AJ Vee

“Ralph Lauren restaurant, great food, warm environment, great for people watching.” — Maryellen Karas LaJeunesse

“Navy Pier! You can shop, eat or just people watch! Plus u get a great view. I love our lakefront.” — Eva Cortez

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition. Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

The Latest
The woman was shot about 2:50 p.m. Tuesday in the 2900 block of West 63rd Street.
Sanford will stick around as a depth forward option after signing a one-year contract Tuesday, while Misiak — a 2023 second-round pick — turns pro with a three-year entry-level contract.
“I feel like I [have his support] but I don’t really focus on that,” Grifol said “I’m the manager right now. And I’ll do it for as long as they want me to do this.”
Late Friday, officers responded to a call of shots fired in the 4700 block of North Troy Street and found two men shot in the east alley, Chicago police said.
Even with shifting priorities, the school district says it has successfully maintained the funding it provides to schools overall.