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''The monsters we defy'': Washington, D.C. in the Red Summer of 1919.

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This dissertation examines a race riot in the nation's capital, one of the dozens of racial "clashes" instigated by white mobs that swept across the U.S. in the summer of 1919. That July in Washington, D.C., hundreds of white military men, soon joined by civilians, began attacking black citizens after weeks of sensationalized reports of black attacks on white women. Black This dissertation examines a race riot in the nation's capital, one of the dozens of racial "clashes" instigated by white mobs that swept across the U.S. in the summer of 1919. That July in Washington, D.C., hundreds of white military men, soon joined by civilians, began attacking black citizens after weeks of sensationalized reports of black attacks on white women. Black Washingtonians were expecting violence; some had written letters to the city's daily papers protesting the inflammatory headlines and warning that they would lead to violence. The city's black newspaper, echoed by ministers and other leaders, exhorted black citizens to protect their homes and families.;Using both social history and cultural history methodologies, this study examines the riot in the larger context of racial violence, in particular lynching, and the African American experience of World War I. It offers a brief history of the nation's capital, focusing on its substantial and relatively prosperous black population. The panoramic story of the riot is drawn from a combination of sources, while later discussion focuses on specific stories, investigating closely narrative content, context, and form in order to unpack the implications around race, gender and sexuality with which they are fraught. Black and white newspapers, government officials, civil rights activists, individual citizens, a former president, and military intelligence agents all offered explanations of and predictions based on the Washington riot. My analysis traces contemporary evaluations, drawing connections among them and making suggestions as to their specific implications for American racial politics.;The black self defense of 1919 rose from a long tradition of resistance to white violence and fed in its turn the political and intellectual discourse which would find fuller expression decades later in the postwar civil rights movement. This riot represents a central and insufficiently examined aspect of racial formation in the U.S.; the long history of white violence and an emergent "New Negro" spirit met there in what many called "race war." This study offers the first extended examination of this decisive event and its significance for contemporary American culture and consciousness, which continue to have race at the core.


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This dissertation examines a race riot in the nation's capital, one of the dozens of racial "clashes" instigated by white mobs that swept across the U.S. in the summer of 1919. That July in Washington, D.C., hundreds of white military men, soon joined by civilians, began attacking black citizens after weeks of sensationalized reports of black attacks on white women. Black This dissertation examines a race riot in the nation's capital, one of the dozens of racial "clashes" instigated by white mobs that swept across the U.S. in the summer of 1919. That July in Washington, D.C., hundreds of white military men, soon joined by civilians, began attacking black citizens after weeks of sensationalized reports of black attacks on white women. Black Washingtonians were expecting violence; some had written letters to the city's daily papers protesting the inflammatory headlines and warning that they would lead to violence. The city's black newspaper, echoed by ministers and other leaders, exhorted black citizens to protect their homes and families.;Using both social history and cultural history methodologies, this study examines the riot in the larger context of racial violence, in particular lynching, and the African American experience of World War I. It offers a brief history of the nation's capital, focusing on its substantial and relatively prosperous black population. The panoramic story of the riot is drawn from a combination of sources, while later discussion focuses on specific stories, investigating closely narrative content, context, and form in order to unpack the implications around race, gender and sexuality with which they are fraught. Black and white newspapers, government officials, civil rights activists, individual citizens, a former president, and military intelligence agents all offered explanations of and predictions based on the Washington riot. My analysis traces contemporary evaluations, drawing connections among them and making suggestions as to their specific implications for American racial politics.;The black self defense of 1919 rose from a long tradition of resistance to white violence and fed in its turn the political and intellectual discourse which would find fuller expression decades later in the postwar civil rights movement. This riot represents a central and insufficiently examined aspect of racial formation in the U.S.; the long history of white violence and an emergent "New Negro" spirit met there in what many called "race war." This study offers the first extended examination of this decisive event and its significance for contemporary American culture and consciousness, which continue to have race at the core.

4 review for ''The monsters we defy'': Washington, D.C. in the Red Summer of 1919.

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