The Progressive Era Of African Americans

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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 cities in the North were heavily affected by these changes. Chicago, during the Progressive Era, experienced the most racial tension out of all the cities in the North because it had the largest increase in African American population during the Great Migration, the most aggressive race riot in 1919, and most severe violence. The large influx in the population of African Americans in Northern cities, mainly Chicago, during the Progressive Era, caused racial tension between the unaccustomed whites and the freed African Americans. Though there was a migration of at least 450,000 blacks to many cities in the North from 1916 to 1918, Chicago experienced the brunt of it. The Great Migration brought together two groups of people who were extremely segregated prior. After the Civil War, blacks began leaving the South in hopes of escaping segregation. The “Chicago Defender” was one of the largest causes of racial tension in Chicago, and also a reason for the migration. It was editorials urging sout... ... middle of paper ... ...n population during the Great Migration, the most aggressive race riot in 1919, and the most severe violence which led it to have the greatest racial tension out of all the cities in the North. After the migration of Southern African Americans to Northern cities, Chicago became a city of palpable racial tension between blacks and whites that eventually erupted into the most well known race riot in 1919. The riot exemplified that moving to the North did not mean that all racial tensions would be gone. The states were still very segregated and agitation from the discrimination often boiled over into violence. As the violence increased between juveniles and adults in different races, the racial tension increased as well. Ultimately, the Progressive Era was a time of change and a time of beneficial movements, but racial tension still divided whites and blacks in Chicago.

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