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impossible to assess the issues at East St. Louis by a merely local study. It was part and parcel of our distinctly national negro problem, of the settling of which we have never made even a pretense. Then as always we did our best to hush the hubbub for the moment, straightway proceeding to bury our heads in the sand and to maintain an out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitude toward the problem until the red orgies of Washington and Chicago again brought us to attention.
Now less than ever can we treat these race riots as local issues. They are interknit with the whole complex of post-war passions, prejudices, aspirations and tendencies. The occasions for race riots are superficial and easily determined; the causes of race riots lie deeper. It is these less obvious causes that must be determined and dealt with if we are to do more than bridge over recurrent crises. It is suicidal fool'splay merely to drive the passions of a situation underground, there to gather fresh strength for an even more serious outbreak later. Here is a point at which we must refuse to fall victim to our fatal facility for opportunism. Here is a clear test case of American ability to take the long view, and wrestle with the fundamentals of a national issue.
ington police department. These records, it is asserted, show that the alleged "crime wave" in that city comprised four assaults upon women on June twenty-fifth, twenty-eighth and thirtieth, and on July eighteenth. Three of these four crimes were probably committed by one person, who was already under arrest when the clash came. In addition to these assaults, three similar offenses were committed in contiguous Maryland on July fifth, twenty-first, and twenty-second by a mulatto.
The daily and weekly press have made unnecessary more than a brief reminder of the details of the recent riots. Washington and Chicago at the moment of my writing are the most dramatic points in the situation, but they are only part of a general situation that has been for months growing tenser. Birmingham and Memphis trembled upon the verge of a race clash earlier in the year. Connecticut, Georgia, Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania have had to reckon with tense local situations. The attempt on the part of many newspapers to explain these outbreaks solely on the basis of a colored "crime wave" is of course dismissed by all students of the situation either as superficial analysis or as deliberate distortion of facts. Several weekly periodicals have justly corrected these hasty conclusions by reference to the records of the Wash
The Chicago situation aptly illustrates the course a race riot takes. The situation was packed with inflammable material. An incident provided the torch. A bathing-beach was the Sarajevo of the conflict. Certain parts of the shore were by tacit understanding, not by segragation ordinance, for the use of negroes. On the Sunday afternoon of July twenty-seventh a negro youth aboard a raft floated across the custom-created line that separated the colored from the white sections of the beach. Crowds of blacks were on one side of the line, crowds of whites on the other. With an accurately aimed rock a white man knocked the negro youth from the raft. Negroes who attempted to rescue the negro youth were prevented by white interference. The negro youth was drowned. This white interference with his attempted rescue precipitated the riot. Reliable information indicates that a white patrolman, later suspended by the chief of police, refused negro requests for the arrest of the negro youth's assailant. The assailant was, however, captured by negroes, and other officers arrested him. He was charged with murder, and released under fifty-thousand dollar bail. The first blood drawn was that of a negro who was shot by a negro officer for having fired at a white officer. The rioting spread from the "black belt" into the four smaller negro colonies, blood being shed even in the crowded loop district. The negroes quite generally assert that the white policemen as a body did their duty against serious odds.
The details of the week of rioting are the usual details and are not vital to
this study. It is the details of the situation back of the week of rioting that is vital. It is the soil out of which race riots grow that needs analysis. Chicago is typical of the situation that exists in many, if not most, of our big industrial centers. I shall therefore summarize the factors in the race situation generally prevailing in such centers-factors that made possible the Chicago race riot, factors that will give rise to still other riots unless decisively and constructively handled.
NEGRO MIGRATION NORTHWARD
In the first place, the race situation in Northern industrial centers has been aggravated by the great influx of negro labor from the South during the war. The withdrawal of many white workmen from industry for military service, the return to their native lands of many Italians and other South-European laborers for war duty, and the practical cessation of immigration left Northern industry short of labor supply. Northern industry, facing the demand for increased production, found itself with more work and fewer workmen. turned toward the negro labor of the South to help fill the gap. Attracted by high wages and influenced by direct appeals, something near a half million negro wage-earners moved North. This is the first factor to reckon with in studying the post-war race situation.
This rush of negroes to industrial centers created an acute housing problem. Housing conditions in the negro districts of our cities, with certain exceptions, were none too good before the war; but the colored migrations have brought about a lamentable congestion. Take Chicago as a case in point. The results of the most reliable research to which I have access indicate that the colored population of Chicago has doubled within the last five years, having risen to the total of 125,000 or possibly 150,000. Nine tenths of these negroes are concentrated in Chicago's "black belt," which is a region of about eight square miles on the south side of
the city. There are four other negro colonies in the city, but three of them are small. That this doubling of the colored population, since it came at a time when the capital and energy of the city were unusually diverted from "welfare work" by the demands of war and war production, resulted in serious congestion, is not to be wondered at. In Chicago the main negro quarter happens to be at the old center of a growing part of the city. It lies in a sort of pocket, sealed up by a thriving white population around it that prevents the logical extension of the negro quarter to meet the requirements of the expanding colored population.
BLACK INVASION OF WHITE BLOCKS
When thirty thousand additional negroes attempted to crowd into this district, which was already congested with fifty thousand negroes, the inevitable happened. Negroes who had been receiving high wages in war industries sought better living-quarters than the congested district afforded. For the reason just stated, they could find better quarters only by invading white blocks. In the process of getting into white blocks, the good temper of the negro was not exactly increased, for unscrupulous real-estate agents took advantage of his necessity by boosting both rentals and purchasing prices, in some instances from fifteen to twenty-five per cent. above what white tenants or purchasers would have to pay. Black as well as white real-estate agents played at this game of tribute. Certainly the good humor of the white residents of the invaded blocks was not heightened as they watched the value of their property, for white occupancy, slump. The usual race tension resulted. The bomb and the torch were brought into play to discourage and discipline the black invaders. In face of the indisputable facts of inadequate housing facilities and a veritable hell of congestion, it is unscientific, to say the least, to leap to the conclusion that the negro invasion of white districts has been prompted primarily by a presumptive desire for social equality or for the prestige that might attach to
such residence. That such motives prompted certain individual negroes may not be questioned, but it savors too much of the facile generalization of a politician's mind to see in social ambitions the basic cause of this process.
CONGESTION'S BRUTAL BREED
Aside from the fact that congestion in the "black belts" has forced negroes to invade white districts in a search for better living facilities, among the negroes who remain in the “black belts" the congestion breeds those vicious and criminal qualities that readily unleash in rioting. Graham Taylor, in "The Survey" for August 9, 1919, refers to a recent investigation of two blocks in this district. These significant facts were uncovered. Eightythree families lived in these two blocks. Ninety-six per cent. of the boys in these two blocks were truants. Seventytwo per cent. of these boys were retarded in their development. Thirtyone of these families had been deserted by the father. In twenty-eight of these families the fathers were confirmed drunkards. In twenty of these homes the mothers were heavy drinkers. In forty of these homes the mothers worked all day away from home. Fifty-one per cent. of these homes were broken by death, desertion, divorce, drink, promiscuous living, or degeneracy. Good preparation indeed for the reckless brutality of a riot week. While criticizing brutality born of congestion, it of course behooves white men from comfortable homes to display a bit more self-control during a riot week.
TASTING THE WINE OF EQUALITY
Another matter to be taken into account is the fact that our negro soldiers tasted social equality in France. To them it was no doubt an exhilarating wine, and many of them have returned still flushed with its intoxication. In Europe they found a white attitude toward the negro different from the attitude they had known at home. There he was a white man with a black skin. Certain bitter partisans are
using, with the demagogue's disregard of accuracy, the phrase "French-women-ruined" to describe the mass of returned negro soldiers. This wholesale charge is manifestly unfair both to the French woman and to the American negro, but it rests upon the clear fact that the American negro's social adventures in France have further complicated our race problem.
An interesting side-light on the French attitude toward the negro has just come to my attention through the translation by Theodore Stanton of an incident from pages 3730-2 of the "Journal Officiel" of the French Chamber of Deputies for the sitting of July 25, 1919. M. René Boisneuf, one of the negro deputies of the Chamber, read an official communication, dated last August, which Colonel Linard, chief of the French military mission with the American Army in France, addressed to French officers. The communication attempted to interpret to French officers the attitude of the white American officers toward the American negro officers, and to prescribe how French officers should act in their relations with American negro officers and American colored soldiers in general in order to conserve FrenchAmerican harmony in the matter. The communication contained a long and explicit set of recommendations. The tone of the communication is illustrated by this quotation:
American opinion is unanimous on this "negro question" and permits no discussion of the matter. . . . The kindly spirit which exists in France for the negro profoundly wounds Americans, who consider it an infringement on one of their national dogmas, and if observed by us will greatly indispose American opinion toward us.... If French officers treat American negro officers as they treat French negro officers, white American officers will warmly resent it. We should not sit at table with them and should avoid shaking hands with them. . . The merits of the American negro troops should not be too much praised, especially in the presence of Americans.
M. Boisneuf paid a glowing tribute
to the American colored troops, and declared amidst enthusiastic applause that "in France no distinction is made between her sons, no one asks whence they come or who they may chance to be." The interpellation ended with the unanimous passage of this resolution:
The Chamber of Deputies, faithful to the immortal principles of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, reproving and condemning every prejudice of faith, caste, and race, affirms and proclaims the absolute equality of all men without distinction of origin or color in the enjoyment of the benefits and protection of all the laws of the land.
The subtle psychological influence of this French attitude on the minds of many of our returning negro soldiers is being played upon and appealed to by that element in negro leadership which has a hankering after social equality.
A NEW RACE PRIDE
Then, too, the negro's race consciousness and race pride have been aroused by his record in the war both as soldier and as civilian. They look with pride upon the near four hundred thousand picked blacks that were drafted into the army and there played their part as Americans. They remember the part they played in essential war industries. They still feel the thrill of self-respect that came with their help in food conservation, the buying of liberty bonds and thrift-stamps, their contribution toward the Red Cross and other relief agencies. This freshened race consciousness has put a confident and aggressive tone into hitherto latent or feebly voiced aspirations.
THE BROKEN TETHER
Another factor entering into the changed attitude of the negro grows out of the fact that the colored migration into Northern industrial centers has shown the Southern negro that he can make a living in the North and that he can stand the Northern climate. Hitherto the rank and file of Southern negroes have been strangely tethered to the South by the fear of Northern
climate and Northern conditions. Negroes who have moved North during the last five years say that letters from their home-folk are filled with eager inquiries about the possibility of the negro's adapting himself to the Northern climate and of adjusting himself to the social and industrial situation that prevails. The answers that the homefolk are receiving are giving the negro throughout the South a sense of the possibility and freedom of movement that he has not had. This is a very real psychological factor that introduces an element of restlessness into the race situation.
FIGHTING FOR FREEDOM-IN EUROPE
Then, too, the old limitations, social and industrial, appear even more onerous to the negro as he throws them into contrast with the ideals of freedom, democracy and equality for which he was asked to fight during the war. The negro mind is to-day brooding over what it regards as an essential contradiction between our actions in race relations and our ideals in international relations. The negro is displaying that penchant for analogy to which I referred in the opening paragraph of this paper. This began early in the war.
R. H. Leavell, in a recent issue of "The Outlook," recounts a conversation he had with a negro youth in Mississippi four months after the United States entered the war.
"What all dis wah in Europe about?" asked the negro youth.
"The object of this war," said Mr. Leavell, "is to make the world safe for democracy in Europe."
A shrewdly intelligent negro teacher who was standing in the group hastened to translate the sentence into simpler words that might find readier comprehension in the youth's mind.
"That means that we are fighting to get freedom for the people in Europe. You are willing to fight, are n't you, to help them get it?"
"Yaas," was the quick reply, "but while I 'se fightin' I 'd like to get a little mo' freedom fuh myself."
This application of our war aims to the problem of his civic and social privi
leges went on in the negro's mind throughout the war.
UNDERWORLD INVADES BLACK QUARTER
Another factor that figures in the race situation in certain cities, Chicago being a good instance, has grown out of the breaking up of the segregated vice districts. In Chicago, when these vice districts were broken up, many of the women moved southward toward and into the "black belt," where their promiscuous relations with blacks introduced two psychological factors, both of which have made for race tension. This mingling of black men and white women fanned alive in many black minds the social equality idea and produced a certain number of black braggadocios, whose swagger irritated the nearby whites. This black swagger and the white resentment were elements in the situation.
BLACK MEN HOLDING WHITE MEN'S JOBS
As white soldiers returned to Northern industrial centers, they found jobs they had held before the war being held by negroes. The white workmen were and are quite naturally impatient to step back into their old jobs. As we know, the problem of fitting our returning soldiers back into our industrial life is not an easy administrative task. In the very nature of the case the process will proceed at a rate discouragingly slow to the man waiting for a job. His impatience seems to take on a more aggressive character when the job is being held by a negro. This situation is further aggravated by the fact that many of the negro laborers are nonunion men, while the white men whom they displaced during the war are to a far greater degree union men. This fact figured distinctly in the situation in the Chicago Stock Yards district, where much non-union negro labor was employed during the war, and was found at work when whites returned from France.
before closing this tabulation of the more obvious elements that enter into the race situation out of which riots are springing, and that fact is this: there is a "changed attitude" on the part of the negro toward the question of methods for advancing his social and industrial interests. The Chicago "Defender," which is a negro periodical, apropos of this says:
THE "CHANGED ATTITUDE" OF THE NEGRO
One more fact should be mentioned
The younger generation of black men are not content to move along the lines of least resistance, as did their sires. . . . We have little sympathy with lawlessness, whether those guilty of it be black or white, but it cannot be denied that we have much in justification of our changed attitude.
W. E. Burghardt Du Bois, the brilliant, but bitter, negro editor of "The Crisis," has been lately indulging in unrestrained counsel of "fight" to his constituency. There is clear evidence that one wing of negro leadership is inclined to counsel violence if the aspirations of the race find the road toward realization blocked. These leaders would probably experience little difficulty in finding a casus belli in the present strained relations. I intend no wholesale charge that the negro leadership of the country has turned revolutionary. That is not true. But I must, in the interest of accuracy, list this germinal idea at work in the negro mind as one of the elements in our immediate race situation. There is being carried on, beyond doubt, a propaganda in behalf of the tactics of violence. This propaganda is fostered not only by one type of negro leader, but also by those social revolutionaries who vulture-like hover over every field of discontent. There is undoubtedly an attempt being made to capitalize colored disaffection in the interests of the social revolution.
Here, then, are the more important of the factors that enter into our postwar race problem in the United States:
(1). The great influx of Southern negro labor into Northern industrial centers.
(2) Inadequate housing facilities for the new negro population in the