Writing Assignment 2
10 April 2013
Contextual Information and Identification of the Thesis
The summer of 1919 was a violent period in Illinois history with approximately twenty-five race riots ending in a multitude of injuries and thousands of deaths. It came to be known as the red summer because of the massive amount of blood shed. Due to the Great Migration thousands of African American migrants settled in neighborhoods on the South side of Chicago. These neighborhoods, commonly called the ‘Black Belt’, were near the stockyards and meatpacking plants which offered jobs for the newly settled African Americans. However working conditions were horrendous and workers were brutally exploited. The “’Black Belt’-an improvised African American district south of the Loop-and the Back of the yards neighborhood would have seen wreckage whichever way they looked” (p. 262). Race relations in Chicago at this time were quickly deteriorating due to a wave of bombing against blacks, not enough jobs, and a shortage of housing. Tensions due to the end of World War I, inadequate housing, deplorable working conditions, an uncertain economy, and changing political power all lead to the Chicago Race Riots in 1919. Heath W. Carter analyzes the impact the church leaders had after the Chicago Race Riot of 1919. In his essay titled Making Peace with Jim Crow: Religious Leaders and the Chicago Race Riots of 1919, he answers the question, “How did religious persons and institutions respond to the violent outbreaks, and what light does their reaction shed on relationship between religion and race…”(p.263)? Heath W. Carter’s thesis and main point is that, “Chicago’s white and black religious elite shared an underlying conservatism on race; advocates of racial uplift and yet opponents of social equality, the churches proved, in this way at least, bulwarks of Jim Crow” (p. 263). Heath Carter believes that although most religious leaders were in favor of improving the...
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