The Red Summer
Reeling from the unprecedented devastation of global pandemic. Nurturing wounds from a brutal military victory abroad. Struggling to accommodate demobilized soldiers into a slumping economy fraught with heated competition for jobs. Jim Crow separate, but equal policies endorsed by the president of the United States himself. Now firmly in place as the law of the land. White supremacists targeted terrorist attacks. On an all-too-familiar scapegoat. In another epidemic GLAC citizens found themselves on the lethal end of an outbreak of racial violence in one, thousand, nine, hundred, thousand, nine, so horrific that the civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson called it the red summer. The events unfolding across the United States today. In the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd. are in eerie repetition of events that marred the history of race relations in this country. Almost exactly a century ago. African. American soldiers returned from Noble Service in Europe during World War One fully expecting that their sacrifices to their country would at long last entitled them to their full rights as equal citizens. Instead The uniforms they wore, literally became targets on their backs. wbz Do boys famously said that we return from fighting we returned fighting. We've saved democracy overseas and we're going to save it in the United States. That didn't happen. Between. November of nineteen, nineteen with a country devastated by an influenza pandemic known as the Spanish flu. Racial unrest rolled through the south and north in the Mid West where the great migration was just unfolding in its earliest years. The immigration of course had transformed large parts of the north and the West. In, Nineteen fifteen, there were hardly a few black people in Chicago Nineteen Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety one point. Two million people have spread themselves across the map. This demographic transformation of the color of the urban, north. Coupled with the stresses of a postwar economic downturn, combined to create the volatile conditions under which African American workers. Conveniently became magnets for white resentment in fear. The pushback was fierce. Chicago was wracked by fights along a dividing artery between one population and the other hundreds of people are dead. Cities are smoldering. It was one of the most vicious virulent violent race riots in our nation's streets. Small towns were also shaken by race fueled violence in Elaine Arkansas, for example, white vigilantes joined plantation owners. Sheriff's Deputies and even state officials to battle with faecal. And Uprising. Hundreds of black sharecroppers were murdered. Merely for trying to form a union. Yet in the aftermath, a grand jury callously indicted more than one hundred black women and men for their so called crimes. Of course, racial violence was anything but new in the America that time. Still. Amid the fallout from the Great War the rising generation, calling themselves new negroes. Was Not about to fold their tents. Instead read summer saw black. Americans, not only picking up arms to defend themselves. But also utilizing political organizations like the end of way C. P.. To challenge the violence in Congress in the courts in the media. And on the streets. In if we must die. The poet Claude McKay. Captured the tenor of the Times. In, his immortal call for defiance in the face of tyranny and terror. What the before us lies the open grave. Like men will face the murderous cowardly pack. Pressed to the wall dying. But fighting back.