Over the past century, beginning before World War I, many incidents have occurred involving white mob assaults against entire black communities. In most of the cases these white mobs attacked the black neighborhoods, beating and killing the residents in many numbers. They also set fire and destroyed the blacks property. This was the result of the white society trying to maintain their superiority over the black communities, keeping them as the minority. These brutal confrontations are mostly referred to as race riots.
Out of the many and many of these race riots that have been committed over the years, I have chosen a few to talk about in my paper. In September of 1906, in Atlanta, Georgia, months of fury had broken out of race hatred. The newspapers had begun to treat black crime, mostly rape and assault, in an inflammatory manner. It had been reported that twelve white females had been raped in on week. The impression was given that it was black males who had been doing this. That began the riot. Mobs of whites murdered blacks, also destroying and looting their homes and places of work.
This came with little help from the local authorities. The blacks attempted to resist the whites, but were too outnumbered. Some blacks armed themselves in self-defense, but were arrested. After the rioting went on for four days, two whites and ten blacks were dead with hundreds injured, and over a thousand had left the city. In 1917, in East St. Louis, many white working men felt that blacks were threatening their political and social status. After workers of a labor union at an aluminum plant went on strike in April of 1917, the plant hired blacks to do the work.
When a militia, of both white and black, destroyed the strike the whites blamed the blacks for the defeat of the strike. A rioted was started, when whites began to burn and demolish blacks buildings. Many blacks were also beaten, and the only thing that the police did was to take the injured to the hospital. On July 1, a few whites in a Ford car drove down streets in a major Negro part of town. They shoot into many homes and buildings. After this the blacks armed themselves, so when the police came to investigate, who also were driving in a Ford, the blacks fired upon them, killing two police men.
This caused another riot to break out, with more fires and attacks. Nine whites and thirty-nine blacks were said to have been killed, but the NAACP estimated that between 100-200 blacks were killed. On July 27, 1919 a young black male, named Eugene Williams, drowned off of the 29th Street beach, in Lake Michigan. The cause of his death was due to a single white male that was throwing rocks at Eugene for being on a beach marked for whites only. Eugene was hit in the head and clang to a floating railroad tie, until he was unable to hold on anymore.
He was unable to swim to shore, due to blacks and whites who had started rioting, and throwing stones at each other. The man who had thrown the rocks fled the scene, but was later identified. Even though the male was identified by a witness, the police refused to arrest him, but instead, arrested a black man. This incident lead to five days of rioting in Chicago that ultimately claimed the lives 15 whites and 23 blacks. It also caused 291 to be seriously injured. On May 31, 1921, mobs of whites announced the lynching of Dick Rowland, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
This black male shined shoes for a living, but was accused of assaulting a white female, Sarah Page, in an elevator, which she worked in a building in downtown Tulsa. The newspaper played a big role in announcing the story of the hanging, that was to take place that night. When a mob of whites and blacks met outside the courtroom, one white male confronted a black male about caring a gun. The black male was asked what he planned to do with the gun, and he responded, Im going to use it if I have to. The white male attempted to take the gun from the Negro, when it went off and shot the white male, killing him.
This set off the riot. Truckloads of white mobs came into the black town, known as Little Africa, setting fire and firing shots. After it was all over the next day, the official death count was some where below 100, most were black, of course. It is estimated now that over 300 people were killed though. Due to the increased racial friction between whites and blacks over jobs and Negro population, competition escalated. On June 20, in Belle Isle, rioting broke out. This area is a recreational place used by both whites and blacks, but the majority is black.
Big conflicts were started after fist fights broke out, which spread to other cities. This lead to fires and looting of Negro homes, beginning in a area called Paradise Valley. 25 blacks and 9 whites were killed, causing $2 million worth of damage, before federal officials got there. As you can see over the many years of the 1900s, there have been numerous occurrences dealing with racial riots. This historic pattern shows that in most cases it is the whites that begin the riots, and it is the blacks who end up with the most casualties. Luckily these riots have almost ceased to exist.