Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Alexander W. Pisciotta
In the 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds of racially motivated battles—primarily between Whites and Blacks—occurred in all sections of the United States, including urban and rural areas. The causes, dynamics, outcome, and impact of each race riot were unique. But, they shared one common thread: an intense hostility between White and Black Americans rooted in long-standing and far-reaching economic, political, social, cultural, and legal oppression. A historical analysis of race riots reveals that their basic character and contours changed markedly over time. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African Americans were nearly defenseless against White attacks. White mobs—often with the approval and support of police and governmental officials—attacked, murdered, and lynched Black citizens with impunity. White mobs struck Black neighborhoods with the force and savagery of an invading army, burning, looting, and killing. But toward the end of the Progressive era—particularly, the “Red Summer” of 1919—Blacks began to ...