Claire Hartfield

Claire Hartfield

The Ridge Historical Society (RHS) will host a program by nationally recognized children’s book author and education leader Claire Hartfield, featuring a reading from her most recent non-fiction book, “A Few Red Drops: the Chicago Race Riot of 1919,” at the Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th Pl., on Sunday, July 28, at 2 p.m.

On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the “white” beach. An angry white man threw stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook Chicago to its foundations.

Drawing on first-hand accounts from her grandmother that she heard as a child, Hartfield examines the racial tensions of 1919 and the connection to our lives 100 years later.

“A Few Red Drops: the Chicago Race Riot of 1919” is categorized as young adult material. This program will be of interest to teenagers ages 12 and up, adults and educators.

The book earned Hartfield the 2019 Coretta Scott King Book Award and was a finalist for a 2019 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The book has also been honored as a Junior Library Guild Choice, a 2019 Illinois Reading Council Top Book and a Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books 2018.

Hartfield’s career has centered on providing underprivileged children with opportunities to achieve their potential through education. After graduating from Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, she oversaw development of school desegregation plans for Chicago and Rockford, Ill. More recently, she led a non-profit organization that develops leaders for elementary and secondary education.

She is currently board chair and a senior consultant for one of Chicago’s highest performing charter schools. Hartfield is a lifelong resident of Chicago.

The cost for the program is $5 for RHS members and $10 for non-members. Attendees ages 12 to 16 are free and must be accompanied by an adult. Light refreshments will be served.

For more information, call (773) 881-1675 or email