Race Riot: The Conjuncture

  • Malcolm McLaughlin


In the summer of 1917, East St. Louis slid into a cataclysm of racial violence. On 2 July 1917, the city erupted in one of the bloodiest race riots in American history. In an explosion of racial hatred and rage, white mobs—cheered on by crowds of hundreds upon hundreds of local whites—mercilessly beat and shot black men, women, and children in the streets, and set black businesses and homes ablaze. The rioters claimed the lives of at least around forty black people, and left many more injured, some appallingly so.1 Entire sections of African American neighborhoods were devastated, razed to the ground, and thousands of black families were forced to flee the city.


Racial Discrimination Black Worker National Guard White Worker Real Estate Agent 
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  1. 1.
    Elliott M. Rudwick, Race Riot at East St Louis, July 2, 1917, Cleveland and New York, World Publishing Co., 1964, p. 50.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Jeremy Krikler, “The Inner Mechanics of a South African Racial Massacre,” in The Historical Journal, 42, 4 (1999), 1067–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. David Brody, The Butcher Workmen: A Study in Unionization, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University Press, 1964, pp. 73–74.Google Scholar
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    William M. Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919, New York, Atheneum, 1970, pp. 157–183.Google Scholar
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    See, e.g., Joel Kovel, White Racism: A Psychohistory, New York and London, Penguin, 1988 (1970), pp. 84–92.Google Scholar
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    William Fitzhugh Brundage, Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880–1930, Urbana and Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1993. See esp. pp. 34–35.Google Scholar

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© Malcolm McLaughlin 2005

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  • Malcolm McLaughlin

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