During the past week I have been posting to the Smithsonian Magazine‘s Instagram feed. I know that some folks may not have access and so now that the week is over, I am reposting all of the photographs and texts.
For the better part of the past few of decades, my work has been concerned with the history of African Americans in the U.S. In 2003 my book “Small Towns, Black Lives” was published by @noyesmuseum and in 2015 my recent work on the project titled “Manifest” was published by Chroma @artsatciis
During the next week I will be posting images from a current project (in progress) with a working title of #RedSummer. Red Summer was a name given to a series of race riots in the U. S. during 1919. However, I have extended the timeframe to include 1917-1923 ( Red Summer being the peak during this period). I am currently traveling to sites this week and so I will post a mixture of existing work and work fresh out of the oven (even if it’s not yet done).
Visiting this location prompted the concept for the #RedSummer project.
Intersection where burned and dismembered body of Will Brown was centerpiece for a well known #lynching photograph. Omaha, NE
The Greensboro Patriot
29 September 1919
NEGRO HANGED BY MOB
AND JAIL IS FIRED
THE MAYOR, WHO APPEALED TO
MOB, STRUNG UP BUT SAVED
Omaha, Sept. 28. – A lynching which developed many characteristics of a race riot, held this city terrorized for nine hours to-day.
#Bisbee #Arizona. Though I started with the site of an infamous lynching that led to riots, there were several underlying causes to these riots, in addition to race. In #Bisbee, #RedSummer riots were the result of clashes between civilians and soldiers, in this case, #WWI #veterans. @wendel.white
The Washington Post
5 July 1919
FIVE ARE WOUNDED
IN CLASH OF RACES
Negro Soldiers Fight With
Civilians at Bisbee,
Bisbee, Ariz. July 4. — Five persons were wounded in a fight here between soldiers of the Tenth United States calvary (negroes) and the civilians at midnight last night.
Yesterday in #Gary #Indiana. Clashes between European immigrants and African Americans were of course defined by race, as well as competition for labor opportunities. African Americans were not admitted to many labor unions during this time. #RedSummer @wendel.white
The Evening World (NY)
20 October 1919
STEEL PLANT TIE-UP
IS NEARING AN END,
SAYS MARTIN GREEN
Gary, Ind. Oct. 20…The Gary negro colony is on the outskirts of the city on the south side adjoining and at points mixing with a colony of foreign language strikers. Information that men of influence among the foreigners were beginning to spread the statement that the steel corporation is importing negroes to take the place of all strikers…
1919 #Charleston SC #RedSummer #RaceRiots @wendel.white
In this riot, white #sailors retaliated for the shooting of a sailor. The attacks were mostly against individuals that were not involved in the original conflict. Two black citizens died.
Durham Morning Herald
11 May 1919
RIOT IN CHARLESTON
Charleston, S. C., May 10.—Rioting which started as the result of a negro shooting a sailor early in the night finally was quelled by the calling from the navy yard marines who have completely put all the negroes to flight.
Latest casualties show that one negro dead, one dying and ten to twenty seriously to slightly injured in the hospitals.
About 100 infuriated sailors gathered weapons of all kinds, including billiard cues, iron bars, pool table legs, and proceeded up King street, in the main artery, attacking every negro that was sighted. They completely wrecked a negro joint.
#Chicago #RedSummer #RaceRiots @wendel.white
A commemorative plaque near the site reads “ Sunday July 27, 1919 a group of boys rafting on lake Michigan drifted over an invisible racial barrier.” It refers to the segregated beaches and the rock throwing which resulted in the death of one of the boys. The Chicago coroner’s official report concluded that “15 whites” and “23 colored” were killed as a result of the rioting. The riots lasted for several days and troops were needed to restore peace.
.On the second day of the riots
28 July 1919
UPPER HAND IN
Two Negroes Are Killed and
Fifty or More of Both Sides
Injured in Clashes
Chicago, July 28 — Trouble between whites and negroes was renewed in Chicago’s black belt today when Moses Thomas, a negro, fired several shots at a wagonload of white workman being taken to a South Side factory.
#EastStLouis #RedSummer @wendel.white
In 1917, two years before the Chicago riot, one of the worse race riots in American history took place in East Saint Louis, IL. This photograph was made at the location where the opera house once stood.
One story recounted a single incident among the many deaths.
Times Herald, Olean, New York
5 July 1917
East Saint Louis, Ill., July 5.—Work of clearing the wreckage of the burned Broadway opera house, the building in Main street where many negroes ran for refuge at the height of the race riots, revealed last night that about 30 bodies of both sexes were in the debris. Fire, suffocation and burial by the collapsing walls were the causes of death.
#Springfield #Illinois #RedSummer @wendel.white
For some time before the #RedSummer riots, black populations were beginning to resist the mob justice that had lynched thousands of black men (mostly men, and boys but women were also lynched) for several decades after the #CivilWar. Formerly a small black business district, rioters demolished black (and Jewish) owned businesses.
15 August 1908
NEGRO LYNCHED BY
RIOT AT ILLINOIS CAPITAL RE-
SULT OF ASSAULT UPON
TWO OTHER PERSONS KILLED
AND MUCH PROPERTY DE-
STROYED BY FIRE
Springfield, Aug. 15.—Two white men were killed, one negro was lynched, more than a half hundred persons were injured and two score of houses, mostly occupied by negroes were burned last night, the result of the attempt of a mob to lynch a negro who assaulted a white woman.
#RedSummer #Elaine #Arkansas #RaceRiot @wendel.white
Elaine Arkansas was another particularly brutal conflict between blacks and whites during the summer of 1919. The total number of dead varies widely and due to it’s remote location and the various factions involved, determining the real number is likely impossible. The estimates range from tens to many hundreds, with some of the best contemporary studies estimating more than two hundred dead (mostly African American).
The Ft Wayne News and Sentinel
2 October 1919
RACE HATRED FLAMES;
DEADLY RIOTS REOPEN
Race War is Renewed in Arkansas Today Following Day and Night of Fighting; Negroes Fire on Officers From Ambush and Precipitate Armed Warfare; Many Killed in Street Battles
6 October 1919
NEGROES PLANNED A
OF ARKANSAS WHITES
Confessions by Captured Blacks Indicate Widespread Plot Says Sheriff In Public Statement
#RedSummer #Longview #Texas #RaceRiots @wendel.white
Most newspapers (white owned) are sympathetic to the ongoing fear that blacks will revolt and kill whites. These sentiments are exaggerated by the growing dissatisfaction among African Americans with progress toward full rights and privileges of American citizens.
The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel
11 July 1919
BLOODY RACE WAR BREAKS
OUT AT LONGVIEW, TEXAS
Negroes Ambush Mob of White Men Who Were Looking for Colored Man.
FOUR WHITES WOUNDED
LONGVIEW, Tex, Jul 11.— Four white men were wounded today, when negroes fired upon a group of whites they had waylaid in the negro section, where whites had gone in search of a negro school teacher, accused of causing the publication in a negro newspaper of a statement derogatory to a young woman of this county.
#RedSummer #Cadwell #Georgia @wendel.white
Throughout the era and particularly during #RedSummer, the fear of black violence was widespread in the south.
The Washington Times
29 August 1919
DUBLIN, Ga., Aug. 29—A rumored “negro uprising” set for thirty days’ hence, was the motive given today by officials for the lynching of Eli Cooper, negro, at Cadwell, near here, early yesterday.
Several white residents of Cadwell were informed the uprising would occur thirty days from last Wednesday, according to reports received here today. Circulation of a Chicago negro newspaper is alleged to have caused unrest among the negroes at Cadwell.
“The negroes have been run over for fifty years, but this will be all changed in thirty days” Cooper is alleged to have boasted before being lynched.
Cooper’s charred body was found yesterday in the ashes of a negro church just across the Dodge county line.
Several negro churches and lodge buildings were burned at Cadwell early Wednesday by unknown parties.
#RedSummer #Corbin #Kentucky @wendel.white
This is one of many cases of blacks being expelled from their communities. The film Wilmington On Fire documents one of these events at the end of the 19th century https://vimeo.com/wilmingtononfire
Abilene Daily Chronicle
1 November 1919
CITY DROVE OUT ITS NEGROES.
Robberies and Attacks Angered Residents of Corbin Ky.
Corbin, Ky., Nov. 1.—Angered by a series of robberies and attacks on white men, a mob rounded up practically all negroes in Corbin except the older residents yesterday, placed more than two hundred of them on departing trains and forced the remainder to leave on foot.
During the demonstration a large number of shots were fired. One negro was killed, according to reports and two others wounded. The town is quiet now.
#RedSummer #Tulsa #RaceRiot @wendel.white
Although not part of the #redsummer riots, the destruction of Tulsa’s black community occurred just a few years after the riots of 1919 and within a period of racial upheaval that has had implications for the shape and nature of many black communities today.
Capital Journal, Salem Oregon
1 June 1921
NINE WHITES AND 65 BLACKS KILLED IN RIOTS
Negro Section of Tulsa Oklahoma, Burned by Whites During Battle
City Placed Under Rule of State Troops; Assault on Girl Precipitates Clash
The Daily Ardmoreite, Ardmore, OK
TULSA BUSINESS MEN LAY PLANS FOR
THE REBUILDING OF HOMES FOR THE
NEGROES; DISTRICT IS TO BE WELL
SEGREGATED FROM WHITE SECTION
#RedSummer #Donora #Labor #RaceRiot @wendel.white
It has been a great pleasure to share the progress of this project. These #photographs are the basis of my recent work on the project #RedSummer and will appear on my website before the end of the summer. Special thanks to @mollyrob and @smithsonianmagazine for providing the opportunity to share this work. Follow this and other projects @wendel.white on IG, @cameraimages on Twitter, Wendel A. White on FB and on my website at wendelwhite.com
The Bridgeport Times and Evening Farmer
9 October 1919
Negro Workers And Aliens
Clash At Donora, Penn.
Pittsburgh, Oct. 9.— A clash between negro workers and foreign born strikers at Donora today resulted in two men being shot and wounded and a number injured.