Atlanta Riots of 1906

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Kimberly Harper
November 8,2009
Professor Hallman
History After 1877

“Atlanta Riots of 1906”

Atlanta Georgia was thought to be a prime example of how blacks and whites could live together in harmony: however the 1906 race riot was a mass civil disturbance. By the 1900’s Atlanta was the place of regional economy. The population increased from 89,000 in 1900 to 150,000 by 1910, the black population went from 9,000 in 1880 to 35,000 by 1900. Such added rising tension between white and blacks. This riot was feasible because it increase job competition, heightened class distinctions, and aided in the development of blacks desire for civil rights. This riot occurred September 22 - 24, 1906 During reconstruction , black men were given the opportunity to establish businesses, create social networks, and build communities. As these blacks acquired wealth, education, and prestige, they began to distance themselves from the black working class. Many whites were uncomfortable with the status of the black elites. The whites also disapproved of saloons on Atlanta’s Decatur Street. White’s were concerned about such an establishment and began to blame black saloon goers for the growing crime rate. Also, during reconstruction blacks were given the right to vote, and became more involved in political realm. Whites hated blacks or began to instill hatred because of a fear of their places in the upper class being taken. The whites feared a social intermingling of the races. Tensions began to boil during the election in which Hoke Smith and Clark Howell competed for the Democratic nomination. Both candidate were looking for ways to disenfranchise black voters, to ensure that blacks were kept “ in their place”, that is, in a position inferior to whites. Both Smith, the former publisher of the Atlanta Journal, and Howell, the editor of the Atlanta Constitution, were in the position of being able to influence the public through their newspapers....
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