In an act of renegade militancy, an unidentified person or group of persons lobbed a Molotov cocktail through the front plate glass window of the Big B Barbershop in downtown Peoria.

After the barbershop’s owner, Rush Rehm, had refused to cut the hair of black customers six months earlier, it had become the target of protests. Peoria’s NAACP had filed suit against Rehm for violating the Illinois Civil Rights Act, but a jury had found him innocent.

Rehm had suffered one consequence for refusing service: a ten-day suspension of his license by the Illinois Department of Registration and Education. Rehm had protested the suspension by filing a petition for a rehearing, set to take place a week after the bomb struck.