SPRINGFIELD'S SCULPTURES,            Carl and Roberta Volkmann
MONUMENTS, AND PLAQUES              cvolk@aol.com
Around the Town
Springfield Race Riot Sculpture
Preston Jackson and Sculpture
A two section cast bronze sculpture memorializing the
Springfield Race Riots of 1908 stands in Union Square
Park directly across Sixth Street from the Abraham
Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  The ten foot
towers are symbolic of the chimneys that remained
standing after numerous homes and businesses of
black citizens were destroyed by white rioters.
Dedicated on August 6, 2009, the sculpture was paid for
by a $300,000 grant from the Illinois Capital
Development Board.  
The sculptor, Preston Jackson, is a world renowned artist
and Central Illinois native. He used contemporary people as
his models for the chaotic images depicted on the towers.  
His models included Barack and Michelle Obama, jazz
saxophonist Dexter Gordon, and Jackson’s nephew and

In addition to the destruction of property, seven people
were killed and countless individuals were injured in the
two day riot.  Then Governor Deneen was forced to call in
the Illinois militia.  The event triggered activists to begin the
organization that was to become the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (

Jackson said at the dedication, “I am pleased and honored
to have been selected to create this monument to
commemorate the events surrounding the Race Riot of
1908. I commend the Springfield Chapter of the NAACP, the
City of Springfield and the State of Illinois, specifically the
Historic Preservation Agency for having both the foresight
and the hindsight to understand the importance of
memorializing these events from over 100 years ago. I
hope that this narrative piece will encourage those who
view it to learn more about how what happened at that time
affected society and how its effects are felt even today,”
Details of Sculpture