Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices, appears in a documentary titled, “EASTLAND: The Shipwreck That Shook America.”
EASTLAND will air on these dates and channels:
- WTTW Chicago IL, Friday 7/24/2020 at 9:00:00 PM
- WTTW Prime Chicago IL, Sunday 7/26/2020 at 7:00:00 PM
For more show times, click here.
In this documentary, Clifford talks about the legal consequences of the 1915 ship excursion in Chicago that turned to tragedy when the steamship capsized, resulting in the deaths of 844 people – the largest loss of life in the history of single shipwrecks on the Great lakes. In the documentary, Clifford also addresses how those responsible managed to evade liability due to their wealth and power.
On July 24, 1915, 2,500 workers of Western Electric and their families boarded the Eastland steamer for a day of fun on Lake Michigan. As more and more people continued to board the ship at the Clark Street Bridge, the ship took on water and tilted to the left. Within 20 minutes the ship had turned to its side, trapping many people below. With most of the victims being young women and children, witnesses said that the screams of children were “too much to bear.”
Thousands of relatives never received compensation for the loss of human life after the incident due to poor representation and the cover-up by the rich and powerful in Chicago. It had become a forgotten footnote in history leaving broken families without the justice they deserved.
Clifford also participated in the mock criminal re-trial for this event in 2015 sponsored by the Bohemian Lawyers Association at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. He acted as the prosecuting attorney against the defendants in this case.
In 2001, Moshman and Coppola produced “The Eastland Disaster”, a two Emmy Award-winning, hour-long film for WTTW on this tragic event. This new documentary will expand on the subject and include new research and the legal consequences of the event.