American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black by Charles Lumpkins

By Charles Lumpkins

On July 2 and three, 1917, race riots rocked the small business urban of East St. Louis, Illinois. American Pogrom takes the reader past that pivotal time within the city’s heritage to discover black people’s activism from the antebellum period to the eve of the post–World conflict II civil rights movement.

Charles Lumpkins indicates that black citizens of East St. Louis had engaged in formal politics because the 1870s, exerting impact in the course of the poll and during patronage in a urban ruled by means of strong actual property pursuits at the same time many African americans in different places skilled setbacks in exercise their political and fiscal rights.

While Lumpkins asserts that the race riots have been a pogrom—an equipped bloodbath of a specific ethnic group—orchestrated by way of definite businessmen motive on combating black citizens from achieving political energy and on turning the town right into a “sundown” city completely cleared of African american citizens, he additionally demonstrates how the African American neighborhood survived. He situates the actions of the black voters of East St. Louis within the context of the bigger tale of the African American quest for freedom, citizenship, and equality.

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Additional resources for American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics

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Strike leaders in St. Louis, as opposed to those on the east side of the river, held socialist views. Members of the socialist Workingmen’s Party roused the anger of industrialists who feared an American version of the working people’s government that briefly appeared as the Commune in  in Paris, France. The nonsocialist strike committee in East St. Louis directed by Eastman and other leaders shunned the politics of their radical St. Louis colleagues so as not to alienate Bowman’s business constituents.

20 East St. Louisan businessmen thought their city had the opportunity to surpass St. Louis economically, especially after East St. Louis became the terminus of rail traffic for St. Louis. No bridge spanned the Mississippi River at St. Louis until , when the Eads Bridge was constructed. City boosters took advantage of the St. Louis-Chicago rivalry in hopes of propelling East St. Louis into industrially outdistancing St. Louis. They had to be aware that during the s and s, economic leadership of midwestern cities had shifted from St.

They witnessed in  an attempt by some white Illinoisans to establish de jure segregation. In that year, for example, a Mr. Plater (no first name given) of the Illinois General Assembly filed a bill to allow voters of a school district to authorize segregated schools. 47 African American parents demanded that the East St. Louis school board either allow black children to attend white schools or improve black schools. In August , black residents decided against sending their children to classes in a building in need of repair.

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