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4.54  ·  Rating details ·  2,017 ratings  ·  305 reviews
Poetic reflections on race, class, violence, segregation, and the hidden histories that shape our divided urban landscapes.

The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, the most intense of the riots that comprised the “Red Summer” of violence across the nation’s cities, is an event that has shaped the last century but is widely unknown. In 1919, award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores t
Paperback, 76 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Haymarket Books
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Average rating 4.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,017 ratings  ·  305 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chicago, history, race
“If there was racial harmony and equality in the year 2019, maybe we wouldn’t need to talk about the race riots of 1919”—Peter Cole

City in a Garden
(after Carl Sandburg)

The Negro crowd from Twenty-ninth Street got into action, and white men who came in contact with it were beaten. . . Farther to the west, as darkness came on, white gangsters became active. Negroes in white districts suffered severely at their hands. From 9:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. twenty-seven Negroes were beaten, seven were stabb
Bogi Takács
A poem cycle about the Chicago race riots of 1919. An absolute standout, a tapestry of poetry, nonfiction, even with the occasional speculative element. A very strong second collection after a very strong first collection (Electric Arches); I also just got her academic nonfiction book on racism in Chicago schools from the library and looking forward to reading that too. And I need to get her comic book writing.

I feel like there is a very characteristic style of how to write about marginalization
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This powerful book published in 2019 by Haymarket Books focuses on a deadly race riot that happened in Chicago exactly one century prior, exploring its historical and cultural contexts going back to the Great Migration of African Americans from the American South to the Midwest around the turn of the century. A variety of poetic forms are used: jump-rope chants, a tanka sequence, a haibun, a blackout poem, a poem in the form of two thin intertwining columns of text.

Though anchored in historical
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I absolutely love poetry collections that deeply focus around one historical event or close theme, and this book is no different. Eve L. Ewing explores the Chicago race riot of 1919 through poetry, with poems tracing the lead-up, the riot, and it's effects. With quotes from the 1922 study "The Negro in Chicago: A Study on Race Relations and a Race Riot" at the start of each poem and gorgeous photos of Black Chicagoans interspersed throughout the collection, 1919 reads like a history book in the ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
In 1919, race riots roared through Chicago killing 23 blacks and 5 whites, injuring 537, and leaving 1,000 homeless. 5,000 to 6,000 National Guard were called to restore order. 17-year-old Eugene Williams was swimming in Lake Michigan when he was killed by thrown rocks after drifting toward a “white area” beach. After a police officer refused to arrest the person deemed responsible, unrest ensued. Unfortunately most of the violence was committed against blacks by roving white youth “athletic clu ...more
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Poetry as a counterplay to The Negro in Chicago A Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot, a report written by six Black men and six white men about the 1919 race riot—because sometimes a poem is the only way to express grief, and even there are times that a silence is much better than saying anything.

My favorite pieces were:
The Train Speaks (view spoiler)
Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice)
Listened to the audiobook on Scribd!

1919 was a good Scribd find for a long day of both reading books and wanting to educate myself on hardly discussed topics through history. The Chicago race riots of 1919 are told in a mixture of poetry and historical research, both eye-opening and raw. I really enjoyed Eve's writing and would read more publications by her in the future.
Oct 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An exploration of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 (part of the "Red Summer" in the US) via haunting poetry. ...more
Carol Tilley
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: violence, history, race, poetry
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, damn, 2019, grief
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing Eve Ewing read from this collection at a bookstore in Chicago. The first poem she read was called "Jump/Rope," and when the poem ended, you could practically feel the air collectively whoosh out of every body in the room. The rest of the collection is just as visceral, from the first to the last moment (my favorite of all, "I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store"). This book is both a piece of art and a history lesson, a book that makes Ch ...more
I've been waiting to read this since I first heard of it last year or earlier this year. My first read of it, today, is the 100 year anniversary of Eugene William's death and the start of the worst riots of the 1919 "Red Summer."

The excerpts, while quaintly written, are not unfamiliar to what you might read today in any media. The poems are beautiful. Highly recommended.
May 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Information Piece
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
'to all those who speak of rivers; to all those who made safe passage and to all those lost in the waters'.

Eve L. Ewing through her poems in 1919, seeks to incite a passion in us to talk about the race riots in Chicago, July 1919.

These poems chronicle the hardships, sacrifices, endurance, perseverance, trauma, legacies, and hope of all who came before and laboured for a better tomorrow.

Through her research and newspaper articles from around that time, she paints a clear picture of their Exodus f
Taylor Givens
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whew. I shouldn't have devoured this one hour audiobook in the middle of the work day. It is breathtaking. Truly. It is timely and important and beautiful and it broke my heart. I feel heavier now that i've read it--more firmly grounded in the truths of my people.

There are two poems in particular that stood out to me (read: made me cry)-- jump/rope and sightseers.
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amorak Huey
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Wow, dang, this book is amazing. I knew before I was halfway finished that I'd be teaching this book next semester and probably for many many semesters to come. ...more
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, ra-challenge
"A precision that is both beautiful and deeply uncomfortable..."

The above originated in an NPR review of Electric Arches, but the sentiment perfectly encapsulates the experience of 1919.

The creative vision that sparked this work is alone worthy of exclamation: craft verse in conversation with passages from a 1922 report (The Negro in Chicago: A Study on Race Relations and a Race Riot) to shine a light on a criminally unknown event and what resonance it still holds today. The forms of poetry vary
Mar 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"you don't have enough boats

we came here head to toe
and now we are millions
and now we demand to sit upright

and so you don't have enough boats...

you said
hope for a solution through the dying out of the Negro race
hope for a solution through the dying out of the Negro
hope for a solution through the dying out

you said hope for the Negro dying
hope through the dying
hope for the dying out
the solution dying

you said dying. the Negro
the Negro dying
the Negro hope
hope the Negro

you said hope for dying
hope dyi
Carla Sofia Sofia
Jun 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reimagining, recreating historical documents into worthy poems is incredibly hard and I've rarely read any as brilliant as those by Ewing in this latest collection. Also, listening to her read these on audiobook was wonderful, a master class on how to read poetry. ...more
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read
"no, it goes like

Little Eugene W
So sorry to trouble you
Rise, Eugene, rise!
Calm your mama's cries!
Just sit up and look around,
Don't let em bury you down

I first heard Eve Ewing talk about this poetry collection on Fresh Air, and was inspired to read them. I ended up listening to the audiobook to help me fulfill a read harder challenge item, and I'm glad I listened to them.

Read for Book Riot's 2020 Read Harder challenge item: Read an audiobook of poetry.
Dec 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This collection of poetry is historiographic, autoethnographic, and a brilliant read. I originally discovered this from analyzing one of the poems in a paper, but I’m so glad I read the collection as a whole.
Kody Keckler
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This short book of poetry draws from, adds to, recontextualizes, and reimagines a governmental report on the 1919 race riot in Chicago. Although she primarily focuses on the race riots, Eve Ewing spans multiple time periods in this book: from the Great Migration to the Red Summer to the present day. While she covers multiple eras, Ewing expertly ties them together with a brief excerpt from the report leading almost every piece before diving into her stunning poetry.

Ewing is a wonderful writer a
3.5 stars
Leah Rachel von Essen
May 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In 1919, my most anticipated book of the year, Ewing paints a history in verse of the city before, during, and after the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, sparked when a black boy at 31st Street Beach drifted over the invisible lines of segregation and was stoned and drowned. When the police officer wouldn’t arrest the white man judged responsible, riots unspooled across the South Side. Ewing’s poems are each inspired by an excerpt from a 1922 report The Negro in Chicago: A Study on Race Relations and ...more
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: newtome2019, poetry, 2019
thoughts coming shortly
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This collection was so incredibly powerful. If I could write out every single poem that I loved, I would but, alas, I'm not here to get a copyright strike. But, I'll share a snippet:

you don't have enough boats

we came here head to toe
and now we are millions
and now we demand to sit upright

and so you don't have enough boats

It's hard for me to put into words the emotions that Ewing evokes with her own lyricism. Each poem, each section, is carefully crafted to really make you think and to
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Well dang, about halfway through these poems I became entranced. "sightseers" and "this is a map" were my favourite poems, but I also really like "I saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store."

This is such a creative way to capture history and its impact on the present. Since I have familial roots in Chicago, IL, I was drawn in even more into this story of early Chicago race riots, but this collection/project has just as much to say about our country in 2020 than Chicago 1919 or Chicago 2019
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What happened in July of 1919 in Chicago when a black boy swam too close to the “white area” is hard to believe. It set off a race riot the details of which very few of us know. Eve Ewing uses historical records and personal stories to create a picture of that horrible time and she relates it to this time and to our common love for life. As one of my Vietnamese students once wrote; “I don’t understand how black people are treated like that.” The history of racism in our country is important to k ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's astounding how beautiful poetry came from a not often talked about 1919 race riot. The Great Migration brought about 50,000 African Americans from the south to Chicago. In the summer of 1919, called the red summer, 38 people died and over 500 were injured. It started on July 27 when a "black" boy inadvertently swam into the "white" section of the beach, and the boys there threw rocks at him. Whether a rock hit him or he grew tired and couldn't get to shore the result was he drowned. His par ...more
Alisa Wilhelm
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most powerful books of poetry I have ever read. Each poem is introduced by an excerpt from a 1922 report called "The Negro in Chicago: A Study on Race Relations and a Race Riot." The riot in question is the 1919 Chicago riot where 38 people were killed and hundreds injured following the stoning of a Black boy who ultimately drowned while a White police officer looked on. Interspersed throughout the book are photos from the riot. I think what makes the poems so powerful is that ...more
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Dr. Eve Louise Ewing is a writer and a sociologist of education from Chicago. Ewing is a prolific writer across multiple genres. Her 2018 book Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism & School Closings on Chicago's South Side explores the relationship between the closing of public schools and the structural history of race and racism in Chicago's Bronzeville community.

Ewing's first collection of poetry, e

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