In his 1919 editorial, “Returning Soldiers,” W.E.B. Du Bois wrote: “We return. We return from fighting. We return fighting.” Du Bois pointedly addressed the war African Americans fought “over there” and the ongoing one waged at home. Black soldiers returned from World War I with a newfound sense of pride and determination for full citizenship and equality. These veterans, however, came home to a country actively plagued by racial violence, discrimination and inequality. Their patriotic service aggravated racial tensions, catalyzing in the “Red Summer.” From May through September 1919, 25 riots targeting African Americans broke out in major cities across the U.S. from D.C. to Houston to East St. Louis, killing and injuring hundreds.
On the centennial of this critical period in American history, join us as we examine the legacies of the Red Summer with renowned scholar Dr. Saje Mathieu, author of the upcoming The Glory of Their Deeds: A Global History of Black Soldiers and the Great War Era and Cameron McWhirter, Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Presented in partnership with the National Archives at Kansas City and the Greater Kansas City Black History Study Group. FREE with RSVP | J.C. Nichols Auditorium