The following is a day by day accounting of the events surrounding the East St. Louis Massacre according to the local newspapers. Papers chosen include the St. Louis Star, St. Louis Post Dispatch and the black owned St. Louis Argus. Additional clippings will be provided where needed from outside the St. Louis region.
As you see below some dates will appear to skip forward by a week–this is due in part to the nature of when each paper was published. While the Star and Post were daily newspapers, the St. Louis Argus was published on a weekly basis. As such, the coverage is generally speaking, more lengthy and in-depth from the weekly newspaper. If you’re interested in reading more clippings pulled from the Argus I did a similar exhibit for the 1916 Segregation Ordinance, in two parts: Here and Here.
What you’ll notice about the clips below is that they seemingly predate the East St. Louis “race riot” (massacre of black citizens) by a few weeks. You’re correct. The match for the larger riot was lit by union laborers on the evening of May 28th, 1917. After sporadic incidents of violence against black citizens the city settled down but continued to simmer. On July 2nd, 1917, the city exploded.
If you would like to read more articles from the St. Louis Argus, I encourage you to visit the internet archive where my collection is hosted. There you’ll find digitized issues from 1915-1924, topics range from the Massacre of 1917 to Negro League Baseball, segregation and the black hospital movement. You can find it by clicking here.