November 15, 2010
Influences of the Atlanta Race Riot
“A city lay in travail, God our Lord, and from her loins sprang twin Murder and Black Hate. Red was the midnight; clang, crack and cry of death and fury filled the air and trembled underneath the stars when church spires pointed silently to Thee. And all this was to sate the greed of greedy men who hide behind the veil of vengeance” (Primary Source 20, line 20). The Atlanta Race Riot occurred in 1906 in Atlanta, Georgia. Many innocent African Americans were murdered by hostile mobs of white men. Racism and hatred towards African Americans had been around long before the Atlanta Race Riot, but previously built tensions of jealousy, hostilities, abuse of blacks and whites eventually lead to this event. Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, and many other African American and white leaders tried to gain respect from whites for the black community and earn equality, but the majority of whites were not willing to cooperate. The main influences of the Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 were poor whites and the “sexual assaults” they accused blacks of, politics, and media releases.
After slavery had ended, and African Americans were free, whites still felt that they held a power over the blacks. So, when African Americans were becoming more successful, by owning their own pharmacies, grocery stores, and businesses the poor and middle class whites were not thrilled. These white classes were angry, because blacks were accomplishing more and making better wages then they were. The poor whites were so furious that they started creating mobs against all African Americans accusing them of wrong doings that many had no part in. “The men composing the mobs, which created the disorder were principally of the hoodlum class” (Primary Source 13, page 7). Anytime a white man even heard of an African American touching a white woman, mobs would immediately form and attack, often killing a...