Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919” as Want to Read:
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

by
3.68  ·  Rating details ·  785 ratings  ·  219 reviews
On a hot day in July 1919, three black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary ...more
198 pages
Published 2017 by Clarion
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Few Red Drops, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Few Red Drops

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  785 ratings  ·  219 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
Chris
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, 2018
Informative and important, but the narrative didn't really grab me. Heavy on background (Great Migration, Eastern/Central European immigration to the United States in the early 19th century) to the extent that the book feels mistitled. Will re-read.
mia :)
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was super interesting! I'd never really learned about this in school and this book was fascinating!
Jennifer Mangler
I really learned a lot from this book, and the history of race and ethnic relations in Chicago is fascinating, but it's not what I was expecting because the book is seriously mistitled. The very beginning and the very end of the book focus on the race riot, but the biggest central part of the book is devoted to setting the stage for the riot. That's necessary and important, because without this part the riot can't be fully understood, but it means that the book is about so much more than the rio ...more
Jamie
Feb 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
*** I received an e galley from Netgalley in return for an honest review.***
I do not read much nonfiction, but I was interested in the topic having read The Hate U Give and All-American Boys. I agree with other readers that most of the book discusses the issues and the history of Chicago leading up to the riots and little on the riots themselves. I thought it was a good read and would make a good pairing with the books previously mentioned.
Barbara
Middle grade and teen readers may find this account of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 fascinating because of the way the story is told. Although on the surface of things, it's clear that the riot began as the result of a white man tossing a rock at a black boy at Lake Michigan on July 27, 1919, resulting in the death of Eugene Williams. This action was only the match that kindled the fire of anger and racial violence, a bonfire that had been building for decades. After tantalizing readers with th ...more
Randall Wallace
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of nine books on this now 100-year-old subject I’ve reviewed on Goodreads, what does it offer over the others? It’s the best-printed and gives you better photos and bigger pages to better envision yourself in Chicago one hundred years ago during it’s summer of racial violence. Chicago was founded in 1837 – it had two canals connecting it to the Mississippi and even the Hudson, and after 1848, when canals were built, the railroads finally came with their ability to move goods all wint ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
A few boys drift too far outside the racially-designated beach at Lake Michigan one summer and trouble ensues. A boy dies and rumors fly and it is soon black against white and white against black. Many die as the destruction goes on for days, fed by lies subtly shared by standing city gangs and by those who profit most from conflict.

It's a dark story of people against people as pressures increase in the city after the war for jobs, for housing. It's a cautionary tale for today as well, with lie
...more
Renata
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, history, nonfiction
This is an interesting topic. I appreciated the depth the author went into about the Great Migration of African Americans to Chicago and the Irish famine, but also it's perhaps ultimately MORE about that than it is the titular riots? It's also a bit dry & academic in tone--would be good for teen research purposes, but harder to sell as a historical read than some other YA history books that read more like novels. Also: why do publishers keep making YA history books in these large sizes?? Teens/a ...more
Jenn
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019
I was really disappointed with this book. The layout is attractive and the supplemental materials (posters, photographs, etc) are interesting. The storytelling is the problem. Hartfield does not seem to take the intended audience in mind as she lays out the history of the race riot. Based on the book's format, I would assume this book is intended for middle grade readers. Teens typically would not pick up a book this size. Hartfield starts with the precipitating event of the riot and then goes b ...more
David
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, race-racism, history
Claire Hartfield's book is, nominally, an examination of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. But she does so much more than that here. Bookended by the riot's precipitating event and its fallout, the majority of this book is an examination of the world of the riot and the forces that shaped that world. Hartfield examines the rise of the Chicago meat-packing industry, the Great Migration, unionization, World War I, conflicts between competing European ethnic immigrant groups and Jim Crow segregation, ...more
Trixi
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
While the focus of the book is the Chicago race riots of 1919, it does a great job in covering the late 1800s/early 1900s changes in Chicago that lead up to the 1919 riots. The influx of immigrants to the city, the meat packing industry and the big bosses who definitely took advantage of the workers as well as the individual ethnic communities all were components that played a part. As the industry became more automated, the workers were being paid less and finally unions took off, but some peop ...more
Kyle Pucciarello
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Informative, but a little dry.

The first half of the book is mostly dedicated to immigration and setting up Chicago's variety of ethnicities. This is important to set up the riots of 1919, but perhaps too much time was spent on this aspect.

Once we get to the riots, we get plenty of information. However, I easily could see this done as narrative non-fiction in a more intriguing way that might truly get to a YA reader.

I also would have liked more of a connection to today's issues, or some grander
...more
Peter Kilkelly
Feb 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Too kind to Chicago authorities and whites, even the idea of a "race riot" is somewhat misleading. This was white's using terroristic violence to enforce the boundaries of where black Chicagoans could go, with the help of the police. Still, it does include a lot of good historical detail and photography, for those unfamiliar with this event.
Emily
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race, non-fiction
Super informative and interesting but didn't really grab me emotionally. The meat packing detail really made me want to stop reading altogether.
Amy
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Literature (2018), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2019)

This piece of history took place 100 years ago in Chicago in July of 1919. It is not a good story, but still an important one that needs to be shared. For some, this will seem like Class Warfare at its finest - the division of classes reminds me a little of those in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. The riot was between the blacks living in Black Belt and the immigrants living in
...more
Kristin
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although titled The Chicago Race Riot of 1919, most of this book focuses on building the background of what led to these riots: building tensions between blacks, white Protestants, and Irish immigrants. The division between blacks and whites, rich and poor, American-born and immigrants became deeper by the day in Chicago. Finally, on an unseasonably hot September day, a group of four black teenage boys was attacked by a white teen throwing rocks as they were swimming and rafting on Lake Michigan ...more
EricaK
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-lit
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield, a 2019 winner of the Coretta Scott King Book Award, is a nonfiction book that details the story of three black teenagers who went swimming in Lake Michigan on a sweltering day in July of 1919, but the carefree day ended tragically when the boys unwittingly swam too close to an unofficial segregated beach in Chicago, setting off a violent and deadly week-long riot that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded. This nonfiction accoun ...more
Alyssa Heun
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-lit
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Young Adult Literature (2018), Coretta Scott King Award for Author (2019)

The story starts the reader off with the tragic event which would start the race riots of 1919 A group of boy were swimming and one of the boys was hit in the head with a rock where he drowned. As that was described, the book then goes into factual depth of what built up to the race riots of 1919. Many events such as tensions between Irish immigrants, blacks, and protestants. As well
...more
Alyssa Gudenburr
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book 10 of my middle grade reads. This one was chosen as my 2nd non-fiction book and won the 2019 Coretta Scott King Author Book Award.

I really enjoyed this book and learned a lot about the history of Chicago that lead up to the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. This book is VERY academic and would be a GREAT resource for middle and high school reports/research. It reads as a mix between a textbook and a retelling of someone who lived through the events. My favorite part was the photographs, newspaper
...more
Katarin
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A quick, interesting and enjoyable read. A Few Red Drops spends the majority of it's time not on the riot itself, but in setting up the context for why such a deadly riot occurred. By building up the history of Chicago at the time, and how the great migration, WWI and Unionizing efforts in Chicago Meat Packing industry stoked tensions along racial and ethnic lines, A Few Red Drops gives a much fuller picture of the 1919 riot. Solid rec.
Anne
Read it online. I knew nothing about the 1919 race riot in Chicago or very much about the meat packing industry and unions involved in it at that time, so it was an informative book, but it could have been much more gripping. The black and white pictures were appreciated and well used. And I felt it smoothed out the current state of unrest more than it should have, given the subject matter, though I suppose it was trying to end on a hopeful note.
Suzanne Dix
2019 marks a century since the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. In that summer of 1919, 38 people died and 537 were badly injured over the course of several days of rioting. Two-thirds of the victims were African-Americans. Despite this type of violence as categorized blithely as a “southern problem,” this marked a huge wake-up call that the North wasn’t as open minded as they liked to believe. Historically, Chicago was both opportunity and oppression to recently transplanted African-Americans and new ...more
Tippy Jackson
This focuses on the factors leading up to the Chicago race riot of 1919. Detailed but engaging, the author does a fantastic job describing the building tensions among the easter Europeans and Irish immigrants and the black migrants from the south, as well as how law enforcement, company owners, unions and politicians played a role in those tensions. It's very well researched, pulling from many different sources to get a complete picture of the time.

The author notes and I will add that there are
...more
Lorena
Aug 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This interesting nonfiction title tells the story of the events leading up to the Chicago race riots of 1919. I must admit I am ignorant on this topic and had no idea of all that transpired in Chicago. It opened my eyes to how racism grew in the north post-civil war.
Emily Jackson
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first book I have read that discusses the Chicago Race Riot and a historical event about African Americans
Kerri
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully organized with a wealth of history about Chicago and the Great Migration this book highlights the ways race is and has always been a barrier in America.
Crystal
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I didn't particularly care for the layout of the book. I did appreciate the history that lead to the riots, though.
Joyce Yattoni
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just finished this nonfiction read about the Chicago race riots of 1919. I was naive before I read this book. I didn’t realize that there were race riots in Chicago. After all, this was the north and I thought the north had a different attitude towards people of color. After the Civil War many African Americans migrated to the north to establish better lives. However, European immigrants did not welcome these individuals with open arms. In fact, many immigrants were given favorable treatment ove ...more
Cheryl
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this.
Amanda Baker
This was a quick read, but informative. While the book discussed the landscape of Chicago during that time, I believe, like many other reviewers, it was lacking in talking about the actual race riots. The narrative was well written and flowed well, but without this pertinent information, this book falls short of its potential.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • 1919 The Year That Changed America
  • Finding Langston
  • The Unwanted: Stories of the Syrian Refugees
  • In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse
  • Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam
  • Denied, Detained, Deported: Stories from the Dark Side of American Immigration
  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
  • When Angels Sing: The Story of Rock Legend Carlos Santana
  • New Kid (New Kid, #1)
  • Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968
  • Torpedoed: The True Story of the World War II Sinking of "The Children's Ship"
  • Clean Getaway
  • The Season of Styx Malone
  • Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and the War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America
  • Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess
  • Best Friends (Real Friends, #2)
  • Genesis Begins Again
  • A Good Kind of Trouble
See similar books…

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
18 likes · 3 comments