Racial Challenges During The Progressive Era

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In an era of addressing social issues and inequality, many African Americans were segregated and divided; they fought for justice but racial tensions still formed. The Progressive Era: a time of major movements of the American population. During the decades between the 1890s and 1920, Americans were faced with many challenges and in turn, they entered a modern era of change. The states and cities were experiencing a newly diverse and urban society. There were new technological advances and industrial economics were growing rapidly since the Civil War. Although, not all innovations made during this time were beneficial. With the large innovations in society and the progressive mindsets, the lives of African Americans dramatically changed. The…show more content…
The Chicago riot was the most serious of the multiple that happened during the Progressive Era. The riot started on July 27th after a seventeen year old African American, Eugene Williams, did not know what he was doing and obliviously crossed the boundary of a city beach. Consequently, a white man on the beach began stoning him. Williams, exhausted, could not get himself out of the water and eventually drowned. The police officer at the scene refused to listen to eyewitness accounts and restrained from arresting the white man. With this in mind, African Americans attacked the police officer. As word spread of the violence, and the accounts distorted themselves, almost all areas in the city, black and white neighborhoods, became informed. By Monday morning, everyone went to work and went about their business as usual, but on their way home, African Americans were pulled from trolleys and beaten, stabbed, and shot by white “ruffians”. Whites raided the black neighborhoods and shot people from their cars randomly, as well as threw rocks at their windows. In retaliation, African Americans mounted sniper ambushes and physically fought back. Despite the call to the Illinois militia to help the Chicago police on the fourth day, the rioting did not subside until the sixth day. Even then, thirty eight…show more content…
The increase in population due to the Great Migration led Chicago to be the nation’s fastest growing city. In the city, homicide rates increased dramatically. The nature of homicide among African Americans in Chicago changed when the traditional impulsive violence between young boys became family violence or fights with acquaintances. Essentially, the Southern African Americans who moved to northern cities for freedom still experienced discrimination in jobs and housing from whites living in the neighborhoods prior. Many of them became frustrated about this and proceeded to demonstrate that through violence. In result of the increased violence, juvenile courts were developed. To address the concerns of juvenile delinquency, Chicago initially advocated courts to punish them for the acts of violence. The courts were filled with cases of violence between races due to the increasing racial tensions in neighborhoods throughout Chicago. Often, racist comments would be made, or an African American would fight against segregation or speak out and there would be a fight. Acts of violence became more and more common throughout the city and the juvenile courts were only one way to attempt to solve it. In Standing at Armageddon: A Grassroots History of the Progressive Era, it is said that the violence in Chicago was “the
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