By Harper Barnes
The dramatic and primary well known account of 1 of the deadliest racial confrontations within the twentieth century—in East St. Louis in the summertime of 1917—which prepared the ground for the civil rights movement.
In the 1910s, part 1000000 African americans moved from the impoverished rural South to booming commercial towns of the North looking for jobs and freedom from Jim Crow legislation. yet Northern whites spoke back with rage, attacking blacks within the streets and laying waste to black neighborhoods in a terrible sequence of lethal race riots that broke out in dozens of towns around the kingdom, together with Philadelphia, Chicago, Tulsa, Houston, and Washington, D.C. In East St. Louis, Illinois, corrupt urban officers and industrialists had overtly courted Southern blacks, luring them North to switch remarkable white laborers. This tinderbox erupted on July 2, 1917 into what might turn into one of many bloodiest American riots of the realm battle period. Its influence was once huge, immense. “There hasn't ever been a time whilst the insurrection used to be now not alive within the oral tradition,” comments Professor Eugene Redmond. certainly, well-liked blacks like W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Josephine Baker have been eternally encouraged by way of it.
Celebrated St. Louis journalist Harper Barnes has written the 1st complete account of this dramatic turning element in American historical past, decisively putting it within the continuum of racial tensions flowing from Reconstruction and as a catalyst of civil rights motion within the a long time to return. Drawing from bills and resources by no means prior to applied, Harper Barnes has crafted a compelling and definitive tale that enshrines the insurrection as an old rallying cry for all who deplore racial violence.
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Extra resources for Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement
Some of them became criminals. But in nineteenth-century Philadelphia and other Northern cities, as in twentieth-century East St. Louis, Washington, Chicago, and Tulsa, when whites attacked blacks on downtown streets and rampaged through black neighborhoods, burning and looting and killing, the victims were almost entirely ordinary, law-abiding men and women and children, not criminals. If whites were driven to riot by the crimes of blacks, they attacked the wrong people, as lynch mobs and race rioters so often do.
Three months later, in the swelter of late July in New Orleans, the Radical Republican governor of Louisiana convened a constitutional convention to enfranchise blacks—and at the same time to prohibit former Confederate soldiers from voting. On the day of the convention, fighting between blacks and whites broke out on the streets outside the convention hall. Police—mostly former Rebel soldiers—arrived en masse and joined the white rioters, wielding billy clubs and firing guns. The melee turned into a massacre.
Louis—was settled by free blacks and escaped slaves and became one of the oldest black-founded communities in the United States. But much of the white population of southern Illinois supported slavery, and many in the predominantly rural region of mines and small hardscrabble farms were adamant and sometimes brutal in their resistance to abolition. Alton, Illinois, on the east bank of the Mississippi a few miles north of Brooklyn, was the headquarters of antislavery crusader Elijah Lovejoy, a Presbyterian minister whose home was an important stop on the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves.