Racism has deeply impacted societies globally, with Illinois, in particular, having a significant history of racial discrimination in the United States. This article delves into Illinois cities marked by a noteworthy history of racism.
Sundown Towns in Illinois
“Sundown towns” were places where it was unsafe for Black individuals to be after dark. Signs, such as “Whites only within the city limits after dusk,” were occasionally posted. These practices diminished following the Civil Rights era when laws prohibiting such discrimination were enacted.
Cities with Racist Histories
Various cities in Illinois have been recognized for their substantial history of racism:
- Anna: Situated in southern Illinois, this city bears the legacy of being a sundown town.
Cicero: Gaining notoriety for housing discrimination in the late 1960s.
Pekin: Formerly known as a ‘sundown town’ and KKK stronghold, Pekin is working to move beyond its racist history.
Other cities with reputations as sundown towns or places with a history of racial discrimination include Benton, Effingham, Salem, Vienna, and Granite City.
The Worst Cities for Black Americans in Illinois
A report by 24/7 Wall St. identified eight cities in Illinois among the 15 worst for Black Americans. These cities are Peoria, Decatur, Kankakee, Springfield, Danville, Chicago, Naperville, and Elgin.
While these cities have a history of racism, it’s crucial to acknowledge that many are actively striving to overcome their past and foster a more inclusive future. However, the legacy of racism still looms over these cities, highlighting the need for continued efforts to ensure equality and justice for all residents.