How our lives changed 

Metro MRI
550 15 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home Inc.
614 Main St
Davenport, 52803

Ward Chiropractic
1802 W Locust St
Davenport, IA 52804

Cannon Precision Manufacturing
PO Box 289
4th and Washington St
Keithsburg, IL 61442

Associated Environmental Management Services Inc
PO Box 586
1701 13 St
Viola, IL 61486

Edward Jones
1632 5th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265

Downtown Davenport Association
102 S. Harrison St.
Davenport, IA 52801

Donald J. McNeil, D.D.S.
1030 41st Street
Moline, IL 61265

Valley Dental Center
Dr. Margarida R. Laub
Route 6, Coal Valley, IL

Sylvan Learning Center
1035 Lincoln Road
Bettendorf, IA

Alleman Development Office
1103 40 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Bank of Rock Island
3730 18 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

The Bar and Stool Shoppe
842 18 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hodgson Funeral Home
608 20 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Tire & Battery
120 E 1 Ave
Milan, IL 61264

IH Missiissippi Valley Credit Union
4206 5th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Illini Hospital
801 Hospital Rd
Silvis, IL 61282

Jerry's Market
1609 17 St
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1211 16 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

3900 26 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

United Way of the Quad Cities Area
3247 E 35 St Ct
Davenport, IA 52807
355-4310 Bornhoeft Heating & Air Conditioning
620 15 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Dans Automotive
1504 16 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Derbytech Computer Works
700 16 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Achor Do-It Center
1505 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Bobb Chiropractic Center
813 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Ricks Lawn & Garden
1844 42 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

In 1972, racial tensions came to a head

By Carol Loretz, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

When racial turmoil erupted at Rock Island High School in 1972, authorities clamped down hard. They arrested participants, canceled classes, imposed a curfew, and banned the sale of firearms, ammunition, and gasoline in containers.

The Oct. 10 disturbance may have stemmed from a fracas four days earlier at a Friday night football game in which two people were injured and 16 arrested, according to The Argus. An argument over whether a Rock Island teen could sit in a reserved area of the stadium apparently prompted police to remove him, which led others to shout obscenities at police.

However, the deeper causes of confrontations between black and white students, and between students and police, likely could be traced to the economic and social inequalities that ran throughout American life.

The following week, police were called to Rock Island High School about 12:45 p.m. when a crowd of several hundred students spilled out of the building, the Argus reported. That morning, two students had been arrested after 30 black students refused to go to class after entering the building.

The students' parents were called to take them home, but the students returned during the noon hour, the newspaper said. A skirmish ensued outdoors with students eating their lunches, according to then-superintendent Charles O. Austin.

``A black police officer on the scene asked a black adult bystander why the black students kept picking fights with white students,'' the paper said. ``|`Because the police are beating on the black students,' the adult said.''

An Argus reporter on the scene said he never saw police use more than minimal force in more than a dozen arrests he observed. In one incident, the reporter said, a white girl hit a policeman on the head with a dog chain. She said she had brought her dog on the chain, but the dog had gotten lost.

By 1:15 p.m., police said, nine students -- six blacks and three whites -- had been taken to the station. Police in riot gear stood by with tear gas, gas masks, and extra helmets and handcuffs.

Rock Island County State's Attorney James DeWulf said he would prosecute the 12 students arrested that day as adults to the full extent of the law. By the end of the month, more than 50 warrants had been issued.

Racial fighting broke out again the next day in Rock Island and also at United Township High School in East Moline, the Argus reported. In East Moline, classes were dismissed from both high-school campuses after a disturbance.

Groups of 30 black and white students taunted each other from opposite sides of Rock Island's 25th Avenue about 12:20 p.m., the Argus reported. Several from each group moved into the street and threw punches. Police and school officials separated the groups, and at least one black student was taken by ambulance to a hospital. Two white youths were arrested.

Later that afternoon, police headed off a group of Alleman High School students on their way to Rocky after Rocky students appeared outside Alleman.

The next day, the first of a proposed series of meetings between nine black and nine white students occurred. They agreed their first step would be to speak to the ``troublemakers'' and try to calm them down, the Argus reported.

``Calm prevails, but solution to school problems still awaited,'' read The Argus headline of Oct. 13. The high school was to reopen Oct. 16.

A curfew ordered by Rock Island Mayor James Haymaker for the previous two nights was lifted, though the ban on selling firearms, ammunition, and gasoline in containers remained in effect.

The Rock Island Human Relations Commission admitted its own ineffectiveness and asked the city to grant it subpoena power and $25,000 to hire a full-time director. Commissioner J.B. Jamison said the city should hire more blacks in its police department.

In a separate meeting, a seven-member group of black residents was chosen to bring concerns of the black community to police, school and city officials. The seven were James Davis, Ray Lomas, James Flowers, Elaine Houston, Bobby Wilson, Helen Allen and Virginia Brooks.

The group requested amnesty for all involved in the high-school incidents, and asked that no police be in the building when the school reopened.

The mayor and city council, however, said charges against the students would not be dropped.

Rocky reopened Oct. 16 under the eyes of Illinois State troopers, the Argus reported. The U.S. Department of Justice sent a member of its community-relations service to the city to help resolve conflicts at the school.

``The great majority of Rock Island High School students are serious about their purpose in acquiring an education,'' principal Harold E. Voyles said. ``We propose to see that they have this opportunity without interference.''

The next day, Mr. Voyles announced Rocky's homecoming festivities would take place Oct. 20 as scheduled.

Two weeks later, the city council voted to hire a counselor from the Positive Peer Culture Center to address civic unrest throughout the community.

A strategy for liberation

In February 1972 -- the same year racial turmoil erupted in Quad-Cities high schools -- the Quint-City Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality announced its strategy for the liberation and self-determination of black people. The group's four-point program:

-- Develop a plan for equal education, including launching an action program within the school system to solve black problems, and to form a line of communication with black teachers and those who teach black students. The work includes analyzing counseling and disciplinary codes within schools.

-- Seek full employment and decent wages for all black people willing and able to work, including those who need education or training to make them so. The group plans to contact employment agencies and trade unions for apprenticeships and other training programs.

-- Strive for decent and affordable medical care and a decent standard of living for those who cannot or should not work. All welfare recipients should receive information about their rights.

-- Eliminate illegal drugs.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.