HSHS St. John’s Hospital’s exhibit will include historical photos and writing, but the centerpiece will be artwork showing nuns from the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis order caring for riot victims. The hospital is seeking artists to create the piece.
“We were doing a lot of exploration about how we should educate the public, and bring prominence to the event because it was an important event in the history of our country, the history of Springfield and the history of our hospital,” said Dr. Charles Lucore, CEO of HSHS St. John’s, which was founded in 1875.
Though multiple anti-black riots broke out in the North in the early 20th century, the 1908 Springfield riot made national headlines because of the town’s ties to Abraham Lincoln, the “great emancipator.” “Abraham Lincoln made Springfield famous and the race riot made Springfield infamous,” said Nell Clay, president of the Springfield and Central Illinois African American History Museum, in a news release.
Lucore said the hospital hopes the community will see the exhibit as a positive step to recognize a sad moment in history.