Legislative Branch

Guide to House Records: Chapter 22: 1910-1946 Interstate Commerce between Illinois and Missouri

Chapter 22. Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives

Table of Contents

Records of the Select Committees of the House of Representatives (1789-1988) from Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States, 1789-1988

Committee records described in this chapter:

Select Committee to Investigate Conditions Interfering with Interstate Commerce between the States of Illinois and Missouri (1917-18)

Select Committee to:VolumeCongress (dates)
Investigate Interstate Commerce between
Illinois and Missouri
2 feet65th (1917-18)

22.64 East St. Louis, IL, a heavily industrialized city across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO, was the scene of race riots stemming from labor unrest and characterized by indiscriminate attacks on blacks during the summer of 1917. According to official reports, 9 whites and at least 39 blacks were killed, hundreds were wounded, and more than 300 buildings and 44 railroad freight cars were destroyed in the riots. The Illinois National Guard was called in to assist the East St. Louis Police Department, but firsthand accounts indicated that certain members of the law enforcement groups participated in, rather than suppressed, the riots.

22.65 Agencies and citizens of East St. Louis asked the Federal Government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the riots. In response, the House established the select committee on September 11, 1917, with Ben Johnson of Kentucky as chairman (65A-F30.1). The committee collected information from a wide variety of sources and interviewed a broad range of witnesses before its report was presented to the House on July 6, 1918 (H. Doc 1231, 65th Cong., 2d sess., Serial 7444).

22.66 Records of the committee include unpublished hearings, exhibits, photographs, transcripts of the June 1917 hearings held by the Labor Committee of the Illinois State Council of Defense to investigate the cause of the migration of Southern blacks to East St. Louis, labor bulletins, a grand jury report, and a petition from the citizens of East St. Louis demanding improvements in law enforcement. There is a draft of the committee report, as well as financial and other administrative records of the committee.10


10. The National Archives has produced a microfilm publication of these records. For information, see Appendix H.

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Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to the Records of the United States House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989: Bicentennial Edition (Doct. No. 100-245). By Charles E. Schamel, Mary Rephlo, Rodney Ross, David Kepley, Robert W. Coren, and James Gregory Bradsher. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1989.