The “Dead-line”

Tuesday, July 29, 1919 the violence that we now know as the Chicago Race Riot continued. To try to separate the city’s Black citizens from its white ones, Chicago’s police implemented what they called a  “dead-line,” a line of cops down Wentworth avenue, the street that separated a majority Black neighborhood from a majority white one.

The idea was to keep the people on both sides from crossing into the other community. It did trap Blacks residents in their homes; it did not keep white men and boys intent on doing harm out.


Writer. Formerly civil rights attorney. Currently professor. Working on new book about mental disability and criminal law in the 20th century.

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