High-speed rail construction in Springfield revealed some history, and State Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) worries the people involved are not being careful enough with it. The find: a handful of foundations of homes which burned during the race riots of 1908. The riots are credited with the birth of the NAACP. “We sort of have some truth hiding in plain sight,” Riley says of the Carpenter Street underpass construction site a few blocks northeast of the Capitol. “The area has some very significant historical characteristics that have to be looked into, I think.
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“People in the city of Springfield should have been given an opportunity to speak on it,” he continues. “The architects and the engineers should come up with a plan to notify the public about the important archeological implications of saving this area.” Riley is preparing to introduce a resolution about this.