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Mon, 07.02.1917

The East Saint Louis Race Riot Occurs

Newspaper story

*The East Saint Louis Race Riot occurred on this date in 1917.  This bloody outbreak of violence in East St. Louis, Ill., stemmed specifically from the employment of Black workers in a factory holding government contracts.

It was the worst of many incidents of American racial hostility during World War I that were directed especially toward Blacks newly employed in war industries. In the riot, whites turned on Blacks, indiscriminately stabbing, clubbing, and hanging them and driving 6,000 from their homes; 40 Blacks and 8 whites were killed.

On July 28 the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) staged a silent parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City, protesting the riot and other acts of violence toward Blacks. German propaganda magnified these incidents in an attempt to arouse antiwar sentiment in the American Black community, and President Woodrow Wilson publicly denounced mob violence and lynchings, of which there had been 54 in 1916 and 38 in 1917.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

At night while whitey sleeps the heart of a thousand African fires burns across my chest I hear the beat of a war drum dancing from a distant land dancing... BLACK WARRIOR by Norman Jordan.
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