Mixed messages

Given the wide-spread conviction that Chicago’s racist violence was finally calming down, it was odd that Police Chief Garrity chose the afternoon of Friday, August 1, 1919 to order that all saloons, cabarets, poolrooms, clubrooms, and other places “where men congregate for other than religious purposes” be closed in the area between Twenty-Second Street to the north and Sixty-Ninth Street to the south, and from Ashland Avenue on the west to Lake Michigan on the east.

That evening, the National Guard helped enforce Garrity’s order, closing clubs and other public meeting places. Consistent with the pattern already established by the police during Chicago’s Race Riot, they focused their attention on Black spaces. 


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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