Chicago Race Riots

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Document 22-5 page 138, “An African American Responds to the Chicago Race Riot.” This document describes how race riots exploded in the summer of 1919 in almost two dozen American cities. White mobs were attacking African Americans by beating, shooting, and lynching them. After a gory riot in Chicago, Stanley B. Norvell, an African American man from Chicago wrote to the editor of the Chicago Daily News, Victor F. Lawson. In the letter Norvell described the whites’ ignorance of blacks, pointing out that a “new Negro” had been shaped by the involvements of World War I and the non-stop inequalities of white racism. What did Norvell’s meaning “new negro” mean to African Americans at this time? Did it help them come together and have the determination to fight back? In this he speaks about many things such as social equality and what he believes is right. The letter is moving evidence that in 1919 a Negro with new goals, needs, and beliefs had emerged in the United States. The “New Negro” was determined to protect his life, liberty, and property against the aggressions of the white man ("Views of a Negro during "The Red Summer" of 1919" 209-218). Norvell’s meaning of “New Negro” gave many African Americans the courage to fight back for their rights. It helped to show what numerous Negroes were thinking and felt in 1919. Furthermore, it helped to provide valuable insights into that summer of racial violence. Norvell believed as soon as the white man is willing to inform himself about the true status of the Negro as they view them, and is willing to stop race prejudice then they should be able to see the Negro with the eyes of fairness, and to treat them with justice and equity. Norvell along with other Negroes just wanted to be treated equal, and without discrimination ruining lives that were just as important as the white mans.
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