The Red Summer Centennial

Military service had “probably given these men more exalted ideas of their station in life than really exists, and having these ideas they will be guilty of many acts of self-assertion, arrogance, and insolence . . . this is the right time to show them what will and what will not be permitted, and thus save them much trouble in the future.”
– newspaper editorial

The only good thing that occurred in 1919 was the birth of my mother. Otherwise, in the aftermath of the Great War, the United States was in the midst of the influenza pandemic that killed 675,000 people — more than fifty-million world-wide. Gamblers paid the Chicago White Sox to throw the 1919 World Series and ever after be known as the Black Sox. 1919 was also the Red Summer of race riots, three dozen, mostly in cities, but the most deadly in rural Elaine, Arkansas, where more than two-hundred African-Americans and five white men were killed.

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