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Race Relations and World War 1
WW1 generated jobs and gave black soldiers a glimpse of greater equality.
German propaganda challenged black Americans as to what they were fighting for and why
particularly when they were treated as second class citizens.
EFFECTS OF WW1
When returned from war service there was considerable white resentment at black
competition for jobs and housing.
This led to race riots in 25 million American cities in 1919.
The Chicago riots lasted a fortnight about 50,000 blacks had moved to Chicago between
1919 and 1920.
When a 15 years old boy accidentally crossed a dividing line on a segregated beach near
Lake Michigan, white Americans stoned the boy. When Black Americans protested, the Police
Riots ensued in which 38 people died and 500 were injured.
Governor of Illinois called for a report which suggested desegregation and blamed the riots
on unfair treatment of blacks by white law enforcers, ghetto living conditions and increasing
black `race consciousness.'
FACTORS PROMOTING BLACK UNITY
Black unity increased because of the unrelenting economic social discrimination.
Also, because of the effects of the Harlem Renaissance e.g. black poet Langston Huges and
black jazz musician Duke Ellington.
Not all churches were hotbeds of civil right activity but they provided an area where political
and Civil Rights ideas could be discussed.
FACTORS HINDERING BLACK UNITY
Black community was not always united.
Divisions of class and colour (light or dark skin,) greed, location and career opportunities.
Key difference between north and south hindered progress.
METHODS OF FOSTERING UNITY
Du Bois worked to increase the sense of community through the NAACP.
Philip Randolph established a black trade union of railroad porters in 1925 and encouraged
black workers to cooperate with white trade unions.
Individual who was most influential for arousing black consciousness was Marcus Garvey.
MARCUS GARVEY 1887-1940
Born in Jamaica.
Established the UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) in 1914.
Moved to Harlem, New York in 1916.
`Garvey created the first black, mass movement in the USA. He emphasised racial pride,
self-respect and self-reliance. He was the first great Black Nationalist. (Taken from Vivienne
He suggested God was black and advocated self-help, armed self-defence and separation
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Garvey appealed to racial pride and has a serious love of pageantry, as typified by his
`President of Africa' uniform.
By 1925, half a million urban blacks, frustrated but the lack of change after WW1 joined the
GARVEY: SAINT OR SINNER?
Frightened and alienated many members of his race.
Other black leaders were jealous of his appeal to black working class and light skinned
leaders resented his ideas that blacker was better.…read more