Epilogue: The Case for Reparations
In the first decades of the twentieth century, America was swept by an unprecedented wave of urban racial violence. Black communities came under attack by rampaging white mobs in city after city, large and small, North and South. Wilmington, North Carolina (1898), Atlanta, Georgia (1906), Springfield, Illinois (1908), East St. Louis (1917), Chicago (1919), and Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921), to name only half a dozen of the more severe episodes, all witnessed brutal racist outbursts. Over the course of this period, hundreds of black men, women, and children were killed, thousands were displaced, and millions of dollars worth of property— homes and businesses—were destroyed. These horrific urban attacks exposed how little meaningful protection the rule of law in white-dominated society offered black communities: white mobs were usually not restrained and, often, race riots were actively supported by the local police or National Guard. Against the background of a historic upsurge in lynching and the locking into place of Jim Crow segregation, the race riots of this era represented a further and brutal layer of white supremacist oppression.
KeywordsBlack Community State Legislature National Guard Black Resident City Authority
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