American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics
On July 2 and 3, 1917, race riots rocked the small industrial city of East St. Louis, Illinois. American Pogrom takes the reader beyond that pivotal time in the city’s history to explore black people’s activism from the antebellum era to the eve of the post–World War II civil rights movement.
Charles Lumpkins shows that black residents of East St. Louis had engaged in formal politics since the 1870s, exerting influence through the ballot and through patronage in a city dominated by powerful real estate interests even as many African Americans elsewhere experienced setbacks in exercising their political and economic rights.
While Lumpkins asserts that the race riots were a pogrom—an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group—orchestrated by certain businessmen intent on preventing black residents from attaining political power and on turning the city into a “sundown” town permanently cleared of African Americans, he also demonstrates how the African American community survived. He situates the activities of the black citizens of East St. Louis in the context of the larger story of the African American quest for freedom, citizenship, and equality.
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African Americans Aluminum Ore Company April August black and white black community black East St black laborers black migrants black political black politicians black residents black southern migrants black townspeople black voters black women black workers bosses businessmen Canavan Chicago Citizens City Directory city hall city’s Clair County Club Colored Committee CTLU Democratic Party economic eﬀorts election employees employment ESIDJ ESLDJ ESLJ federal ﬁrst folder House Transcripts industrial inﬂuence leaders Louis Argus Louis Massacre Louis Riots Louisans mass racial violence Mayor McLaughlin meatpacking Mollman NAACP National National Urban League Negro November October oﬃce oﬃcers oﬃcials organizations patronage pogrom police politician-businessmen progressive reformers Race Riot Racial Killing racism railroad real estate Records Republican Riot at East Rudwick saloons segregation September September 21 signiﬁcant social strike Sundown Towns TINCF tion TLNCF union University Press Urban League vote W. E. B. Du Bois Wells-Barnett white supremacy white workers William York