Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America
A narrative history of America's deadliest episode of race riots and lynchings
After World War I, black Americans fervently hoped for a new epoch of peace, prosperity, and equality. Black soldiers believed their participation in the fight to make the world safe for democracy finally earned them rights they had been promised since the close of the Civil War.
I didn't know that originally the NAACP was led by whites. During the course of this summer, the NAACP not only tripled its size and spread across the nation, but its leadership ...more
The bulk of Red Summer traces horror after horror through that year, as white Americans attacked blacks across the country. In Chicago, Washington DC, Knoxville, Omaha, and small towns from Arkansas to Georgia similar stories unfolded, beginning with accusations of criminal misdeeds by black men. White mobs assembled and set to work, lynching, destroying buildings, or rampaging through black-populated areas ...more
African-Americans have returned from meritorious service and victory in World War I in Europe. They have been celebrated and feted in the early months of the year for their service with parades and speeches. Hope for a better earned life is in the future for African-Americans as a share in the American Dream.
Post war domestic tranquility is not to be had for any or all. Economic slumps, social change and unrest, and old beliefs are all part of a dangerous fuel that will lead to the Red ...more
(after the Chicago riot) Others saw white prejudice and economic disparity at fault. The Urban League declared Washington and Chicago were "solemn warnings to our country" and "only by improving the housing, health and recreation opportunities of the Negro at the same time that we demand of him the contribution of his hands and brain in industry can we look for fundamental ...more
The summer of 1919 saw the worst of this with widespread riots in the south and the north and even in DC. But something unprecedented happened. Blacks began fighting back. Intensely. Jim Crow was still highly in effect but with many Black soldiers returning from WWI, the ...more
Who and what was responsible for this outbreak? Many factors played a part, but the main reason it seems is that after fighting for ...more
(don't remember what pointed me to this book, that I had to get thru interlibrary)
There's some difficult gore, made most difficult due to the horror of how humans can treat one another. I know this is factual, but found it extremely difficult to comprehend the inhumanity of whites and white crowds brutally torturing and killing fellow humans simply because of their black skin color.
Maybe today's brutalities aren't so unusual after all; while we hear more ...more
My only issue with the book was that, while covering the violence in the various towns, McWhirter throws out names of victims without ever letting readers get to know any of them. The names pile up--in a way a fitting ...more
That such violence spread in cities and farm communities makes me wonder what happens in the quiet countryside and sleepy waters of swamp and timber land. I notice that mid-Atlantic states are not mentioned but surely there must be activity there during the Red Summer.
Like any good read it answers many questions but also leaves you wanting more.
A tough topic not to carry an opinion within the soul.
A must-read for knowing the identity of American citizenship.
The book itself is well-written. Using Joe Ruffin's story from start to finish gave a nice narrative to the incidents making up the Red Summer.