In the summer of 1919, a wave of racist violence played out in the U.S. In many ways, the violence of Red Summer was a response to (but NOT caused by) two earlier events: the Great Migration and the return of black soldiers who had fought in World War I.
Several times over the past few years, we’ve done an episode on something from U.S. history, and afterward we’ve gotten notes from listeners about the same thing happening in Canada – although this episode starts with one that’s the reverse.
Ida B. Wells-Barnett connects to a lot of episodes in our archive. She fought against lynching for decades, at a time when it wasn’t common at all for a woman, especially a woman of color, to become such a prominent journalist and a speaker.
In 1898, a mob of armed white men enacted a violent plan against Wilmington, North Carolina’s black community. It was the only known successful coup d’état in U.S. history; the white mob overthrew the duly elected government of Wilmington.
Resistance to post-Civil War reconstruction efforts, hotly contested elections, political corruption, and open racism all led to a climate of unrest and white supremacist violence in late 19th-century Wilmington, North Carolina.
In July 1900, an interaction between New Orleans police and two black men set off a chain of horrific events. A man hunt, bloodthirsty mobs and senseless murders were all catalyzed by that meeting in a city already grappling with racial tension.
In WWI, a black U.S. Army unit became one of the most decorated of the war. When these soldiers returned home, they were greeted as heroes, but were still targets of segregation, discrimination and oppression.
"Black Wall Street" was a nickname for Greenwood, a vibrant suburb of Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was destroyed in a race riot in 1921. And while Greenwood's destruction was definitely the product of racial tensions, the event was much more one-sided.
To recruit troops for the U.S. Civil War, the Federal Congress passed the Union Conscription Act in 1863, which drafted able-bodied men between the ages of 20 and 45. Needless to say, this didn't go over well in New York. Tune in to learn more.