Sunday, July 28, 2019

Today -100: July 28, 1919: Furious race riots are the worst kind


Headline of the Day -100:


The precipitating factor: some blacks on a raft drifted into the white section of the 29th Street beach (the unofficial white section; there is no legal segregation in Illinois). White beach-goers attacked them with stones, killing a black on a raft and a white swimmer. It escalated from there after a white cop refused to arrest the white man who threw the rock that killed Eugene Williams, l17, eading to street brawls, shooting, and I think arson. This is Day One. There was a good article in the Chicago Tribune earlier this month.

Washington DC’s race riots seem to be over, and the troops brought in last week have been removed. The state of Maryland is demanding the extradition of a black man accused of assaulting a white woman, but the DC police are refusing because they believe his alibi and that he’d be lynched as soon as he was handed over.

The NYT accuses “Reds” – defined as the IWW, Socialists, and Bolsheviks – of conducting a “vicious and apparently well financed propaganda” to “stir up discontent” among negroes. It quotes one of these vicious publications, shown to it by an unnamed federal official, calling viciously for “a new society – a society of equals, without class, race, caste, or religious distinctions.” Vicious.

And in an editorial, the Times darkly asserts, “It is rather hard to believe that in such widely separated cities as Washington and Chicago there could be an outbreak of violent racial animosity within a certain number of days, and all without influence or suggestion from any outside source.” It goes on to suggest that the IWW propaganda among the negroes follows the German-pacifist propaganda early in the Great War. It doesn’t explain how the IWW got a white racist to throw rocks at black kids on a raft. It warns: “the worst enemies of the negro race are those who may have incited them to stir up a dormant feeling which cannot result in anything but injury to them.”


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