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Race Riot

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This book review was on the book of Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919. It was a long-term study done by William M. Tuttle, Jr. Its objective was to make a comprehensive documentation of the events of 1919 in Chicago. The book dealt with all aspects and perspectives of the event. The author's objective was to leave no stone uncovered. That every aspect would be talked about in detail. Some important aspects that he arose throughout the book are going to be the focal point of this book review.

I think that it would be proper to give a little history about the author. William Tuttle was a graduate from Denison University in 1959. He obtained his Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1967. He is a college professor and taught at various institutions. He has had many other writings in print. He has had his articles printed in various journals. He also written another book called W.E.B. DuBois: Great Life Observed. He was a recipient of a fellowship and grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies. As you can see, Dr. Tuttle was a very accomplished individual.

I think the first major aspect you get is idea of the riot. He goes into great length talking about various riots that happened all throughout the nation. However, from reading it they all seemed to go down the same line. The riots are not like we typically think of but they are for the same reason. In the books, perspective the killing of a black mostly started these riots. Black people would then retaliate by rioting. This theme was recurrent. Usually the papers or word of mouth instigated the riot. Reason for this being an interesting aspect is the perception of the riots. When whites rioted, it was to protect dignity and to do the right thing. They had a so-called legit moral purpose for their actions. As Tuttle states blacks rioting were often seen as ruthless and they are depicted as animals and should be dealt with. This difference in depiction was interesting to me. I guess it would lie in the mindset of the people of those prevailing times.

One of the most highlighted points I think that Tuttle makes throughout the book is the role of the police. You can apply their actions to all of the riots. They definitely played an important role in these riots. All throughout the book, they were instigators. They made false reports of blacks and their roles. They also had an important part in fueling the fire. With their support, the brutal attacks on blacks went on without repercussions thus inviting more to join in the abuse. Many instances Tuttle states that the police not only condoned the beatings and killings but also participated in many of them. He often made the point of police involvement. Like when the two black officers came to arrest the suspected stoners the other white officers did not allow them to arrest them and let them go free. These actions put fear into blacks. Tuttle states, "They had expected little else of a police force which they had come to view as the armed representative of white hostility"(Tuttle, 33). These actions may explain the resentment and hatred of police today by many blacks.

There was also a big influx of blacks to Chicago. The numbers of blacks migrating to Chicago was tremendous. Many reasons Tuttle states are the cause for this. The major one is just blacks wanting to leave the south. They wanted to leave the segregated south in hope of a better future. They were tired of the Jim Crow laws, lynching, poor school, and constant harassment. A black said, "Anywhere north will do us"(Tuttle, 79). Another reason was jobs. In the time of war, the big manufactories trying to keep up with the needs of the military were in dire needs of people to work. There were actual labor recruiters whose job was to go out and recruit blacks to work in the factories. Moreover, when the opportunity to work opened up blacks took them in full demand. It was a way out of the south. Massive train system that developed to move the goods also moved blacks from the south to Chicago. In addition, the probably main factor was the success stories that you heard coming form various sources. The main being the defender newspaper. "It was the Defender's emphatic denunciation of the Southern treatment of blacks and its emphasis on pride in the race that increased its circulation tenfold between 1916 and 1918"(Tuttle, 90). In addition, you heard stories or got letters from relatives that told of the money, freedoms, and opportunities that the north especially Chicago had. These ideas produce one of the migrations that this country has ever seen. I am not for sure but I heard now it is the exact opposite their is a great migration back south for blacks.

As stated before this great influx of black workers was also coinciding with the great influx of unions. This was a seed of tons of violence. Blacks did not want to join the union and denounced it very openly. A black worker said "Fuck the union, fuck you in the [union] button"(Tuttle, 109). This enraged the white organizers. This many of the times ended up in bloodshed. Many of the workers on both sides were coming to work armed with guns and knives. This hostility came towards the union for some of the unions fault. It was said "No matter how expert a colored man may be it is said that it is next to impossible for him to secure membership in a union in Chicago"(Tuttle, 114). Because of this, the only way for blacks to work was as scabs coming across the union strike line. For most white workers at the time blacks and scabs meant the same thing. As the union strikes grew, the more blacks were being used as scabs. The more hostility grew among them and the union workers. As all conflicts of the time, these labor wars soon became race wars, which left many dead and severely injured. The cure was to unionize the blacks' workers. At first, it was not successful at all. One reason was the rejection in the first place of the unions. The second is the major lack of understanding of the idea of organized labor. There was little success in a black union movement but it soon faded because of lack of equal pay for same skilled union work.

One was the influx of blacks to use to be all white neighborhoods. The black belt of the inner Chicago was a slum to say the least. The property owners denied all request to do repairs in the buildings. The police allowed open vice and crime to run rampant in all parts. This combo led to an environment of disease and violence. Many blacks wanted to leave the area in search for better housing. This is where the violence can in. The areas where blacks moved out and the realtors who sold them housing were bomb. It was an attempt to control



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