1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back

DAVID KRUGLER

In 1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back (Cambridge University Press, 2014), David Krugler chronicles the origins and development of ten major race riots that took place in the United States during that year. Although sustained, anti-black violence both predates and succeeds the year under examination,  1919 distinguishes itself by the sheer number of major racial conflicts occurring between late 1918 and late 1919. Krugler argues that these riots can be seen as a direct result of the societal upheavals engendered by the Great War and less directly, as a continuation of Reconstruction violence. Krugler uses the term “race riot” as shorthand for “anti-black collective violence”, which took several forms including mob attacks and lynchings. He describes the armed resistance of African Americans to this systemic and systematic terror as a three-front war comprised of self-defense, “the battle for the truth about the riots”, and the fight for justice.

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