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African-Americans & the Black Experience: Jim Crow

Selected Websites on Riots and Lynching

  • 1906 Atlanta Race Riot (American Masters/PBS). Born in 1900, young Margaret Mitchell was profoundly influenced by a violent race riot perpetrated by white mobs against innocent blacks. The Atlanta Race Riot of 1906 ravaged her home city and haunted the hub of the South for decades.
  • 1906 Atlanta Race Riot.  New Georgia Encyclopedia entry.
  • Walter White Recalls Defending Home and Hearth (History Matters).  The riots that broke out between 1898 and 1906 were part of a pattern of anti-black violence that included several hundred lynchings each year. One of the most savage race riots in these years erupted in Atlanta on September 22, 1906 after vague reports of African Americans harassing white women. Over five days at least ten black people were killed while Atlanta’s police did nothing to protect black citizens, going so far as to confiscate guns from black Atlantans while allowing whites to remain armed. In this selection from his memoirs, Walter White, the future head of the NAACP recalled how, at age 13, he and his father defended their home from white rioters.
  • "When Blacks Succeed: The 1906 Atlanta Race Riot" (YouTube) part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6.
  • Baltimore 68: Riots and Rebirth. Offers oral histories, newspaper clippings, local government documents and photographs related to Baltimore's riots following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Black Panther Chronology. Embedded within this chronology are links to texts, photos and media clips. (archived copy)
  • Civil Rights History Project. Oral histories (with interview transcripts) and digital photographs of people who participated in the civil rights movement.
  • Celia, A Slave by Melton A. McLaurin.  Melton Alonza McLaurin has written a definitive account of Celia, and what happened to her (both before, and after, the murder of Robert Newsom).  Courtesy of Awesome Stories.
  • Chicago Race Riot of 1919 / History Channel.
  • Chicago Race Riot of 1919 / Susan OHalloran via YouTube.
  • Chicago Race Riots of 1919 / Powerpoint by Sarah Bailey with list of sources.
  • Detroit Race Riots, 1943.
  • Detroit Race Riots, 1943 via NewsOne.
  • Detroit Race Riots, 1943 by Vivian M. Baulch and Patricia Zacharias / The Detroit News via Rearview Mirror.
  • Detroit Race Riots, 1943 via Reuther Library (Wayne State University).
  • Detroit Riots of 1967.
  • Detroit Riots of 1967 - Detroit Burning, Photos from the 12th Street Riot via Time.
  • Detroit ‘67 Project. The Detroit 1967 Oral and Written History Project collects stories and memories of Metro Detroiters that relate to their lives and experiences before, during, and after the unrest of July 1967. Sponsored by the Detroit Historical Society.
  • Duluth (Minnesoto) Lynchings Online Resource, Historical Documents Relating to the Tragic Events of June 15, 1920.  The Duluth Lynchings Online Resource provides an opportunity to remember and learn from this tragic incident in Minnesota history. With the activities of the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial Committee (CJMMC) — a citizen group dedicated to the remembrance of the three lynching victims — and the Duluth Branch of the NAACP, the lynchings have begun to be studied more extensively. The 2000 publication of Michael Fedo’s The Lynchings in Duluth by the MHS Press has also spurred new interest in the lynchings. The Minnesota Historical Society now presents this web site to provide an in-depth and scholarly resource of primary source materials on the subject, designed also for those unfamiliar with this tragic event. Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society.
  • Each Dot on This Map is a Place Where a Person of Color Was Lynched. A new web site maps lynching victims in the United States. In total, in the century after the Civil War, as many as 5,000 people of color were lynched by mobs in the United States. In the 1890s, on average, nine people were lynched each month. A new website documents each known death on a map, often along with gruesome details about the killing and the size of the crowd.”
  • The Elaine Race Riot, 1919, Part 1, Part 2. Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation.  This engaging 20 minute documentary, narrated by Ossie Davis, tells the story of the 1919 race riot in Elaine, Arkansas. Through this important early chapter in the Civil Rights Movement, African American farmers in the Delta region experienced great tragedy, fought for social justice, and ultimately found vindication in the US Supreme Court.
  • Ferguson Resources Library Guide from Michigan State University Libraries.
  • Ferguson Resources Library Guide from the University of Arizona.
  • George Zimmerman Trial & Trayvon Martin Case - CBS News.
  • 1917 Houston Race Riot, for more information see DeNeen L.Brown, "Seeking Justice for the Mass Hanging of Black Soldiers.
  • After the Bloody 1917 Houston Riots", Washington Post, August 24, 2017.
  • Loving vs. Virginia (1967).  In this case, the United States Supreme Court concluded that the Virginia law which prohibited Blacks and whites from marrying in the state or marrying elsewhere and returning  was unconstitutional.  The Court asserted, "[t]he fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy." From the Encyclopedia of Virginia.
  • Lynching In America : Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.  Equal Justice Initiative, 2015.  documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date....Lynching in America makes the case that lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported phenomenon used to enforce racial subordination and segregation. Lynchings were violent and public events that traumatized black people throughout the country and were largely tolerated by state and federal officials. This was not “frontier justice” carried out by a few marginalized vigilantes or extremists. Instead, many African Americans who were never accused of any crime were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. People who participated in lynchings were celebrated and acted with impunity. Not a single white person was convicted of murder for lynching a black person in America during this period.
  • Ida B. Wells and Anti-Lynching Activism.   Ida B. Wells was a journalist, lecturer, civil rights leader, and the leading activist against lynching during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. “Lynching” refers to an instance when a person or group of people acting outside the law physically punishes another person, often resulting in death. During Reconstruction and after, instances of lynching in the US rose dramatically as Southern white communities targeted, threatened, and killed African Americans, often with little or no justification, The documents and images in this primary source set follow the development of Ida B. Wells’ career as a journalist and activist and also represent the practice of lynching that she dedicated her career to fighting against.  A collection by Samanatha Gibson, Digital Public Library of America.
  • The Press and Lynchings of African Americans. A summary of an article by Richard M. Perloff,Cleveland State University appearing in Journal of Black Studies, January, 2000, pp. 315-330.
  • Racial Violence in America: Lynchings, 1877 to 1920.  The History Institute, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Remembering Rosewood.  Rosewood was a small Black community in Florida.  Following an alleged attack on a white woman by an unidentified Black man on January 1, 1923, white vigilantes killed  several Blacks, burned all the buildings in the town, and forced the Black residents to flee into the woods in fear for their lives. 
  • Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing.  On September 15, 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killed four little girls. These powerful images, newspaper clippings, and documents show the immediate and widespread destruction of the tragedy and heartbreak that inspired a movement.  Courtesy of the Birmingham Public Library.
  • Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860.  Contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents, most from the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance. Of the cases presented here, most took place in America and a few in Great Britain. Among the voices heard are those of some of the defendants and plaintiffs themselves as well as those of abolitionists, presidents, politicians, slave owners, fugitive and free territory slaves, lawyers and judges, and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Significant names include John Quincy Adams, Roger B. Taney, John C. Calhoun, Salmon P. Chase, Dred Scott, William H. Seward, Prudence Crandall, Theodore Parker, Jonathan Walker, Daniel Drayton, Castner Hanway, Francis Scott Key, William L. Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Denmark Vesey, and John Brown.  Slaves and the Courts was made possible by a generous gift from the Citigroup Foundation.  Part of the Library of Congress, American Memory Project.
  • Springfield Race Riot of 1908.  Illinois History Teacher, 1996.
  • “Their Own Hotheadedness”: Senator Benjamin R. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman Justifies Violence Against Southern Blacks.  In this March 23, 1900, speech before the U.S. Senate, Senator Benjamin R. “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman of South Carolina defended the actions of his white constituents who had murdered several black citizens of his home state. Tillman blamed the violence on the “hot-headedness” of Southern blacks and on the misguided efforts of Republicans during the Reconstruction era after the Civil War to “put white necks under black heels.” He also defended violence against black men, claiming that southern whites “will not submit to [the black man] gratifying his lust on our wives and daughters without lynching him”—an evocation of the deeply sexualized racist fantasies of many Southern whites.  History Matters.
  • Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.  Tulsa's Greenwood district is the site of one of the most devastating race disturbances in the history of the United States. Before May 31, 1921, Tulsa's black business district known as Greenwood flourished in spite of segregation. It boasted of several restaurants, theaters, clothing shops and hotels. Dubbed the "Black Wall Street," Greenwood was an economic powerhouse....After May 31, 1921, Greenwood would never be the same. The tension mounted between the black and white communities over an incident that allegedly occurred in an elevator at Drexel building in downtown Tulsa involving Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white elevator operator, and Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old black man. There are several versions of what supposedly transpired, but the most common being that Dick Rowland accidentally stepped on Page's foot in the elevator, throwing her off balance. When Rowland reached out to keep her from falling, she screamed. Many Tulsans came to believe through media reports that Rowland attacked Page although no sufficient evidence surfaced to substantiate the claim. The incident was further escalated by a local newspaper headline that encouraged the public to "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator."...The strained relationship between the white and black communities, the heightened jealousy of the success of the Black Wall Street area and the elevator encounter led to the Tulsa Race Riot....Armed white men looted, burned and destroyed the black community. When the smoke cleared, mere shells of buildings were all that remained of the business district. The Red Cross estimates that more than 300 people were killed and approximately 1,200 homes were destroyed....A compilation of resources by the Tulsa City-County Library African American Resource Center.
  • Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 Archive Photographs. Courtesy of the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Tulsa Race Riot of 1921:  Allison Keyes, "A Long-Lost Manuscript Contains a Searing Eyewitness Account of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921", Smithsonian.com -An Oklahoma lawyer details the attack by hundreds of whites on the thriving black neighborhood where hundreds died 95 years ago.
  • Tulsa Race Riot : the Destruction of the Black Wall Street. History Teaching Institute, Columbus, Ohio.
  • Tulsa Race Riot : The Report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
  • Tulsa Reparations Coalition.  This site, from a group seeking reparations to living survivors of the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921, has accounts of survivors, the complete text of the 2001 Final Report of the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, links to other online resources, and other suggested readings.
  • 1898 Wilmington : Debunking the Myths.
  • Wilmington Race Riots of 1898.  2006 article from NCpedia by the State Library of North Carolina.
  • Wilmington Race Riots of 1898.  2010 article from NCpedia by the State Library of North Carolina.
  • Wilmington (N.C.) Race Riot of 1898 from BlackPast.org.
  • Wilmington Race Riots of 1898, Early African American Perspectives.

Segregation

  • Behind the Veil: Documenting African Americans Life in the Jim Crow South. An ambitious documentary project created by Duke University that seeks to correct historical misrepresentations of African American experiences during the period of legal segregation in the United States.
  • A. P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive. Recorded by historian A.P. Marshall in the 1980s, these interviews span several generations and help to tell the rich and varied story of African-Americans in Ypsilant, Michigani. Each discussion illuminates eras of profound social change and offers an intimate look into the social, home and political life of an historic Michigan community.
  • African American Experience in Ohio, 1850-1920. This digital collection illuminates specific moments in the history of Ohio’s African-Americans and provides an overview of their experiences during the time period 1850 to 1920 in the words of the people that lived them. Part of the Library of Congress American Memory Project.
  • African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907: A panoramic and eclectic review of African-American history and culture from the early nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries, with the bulk of the material published between 1875 and 1900. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Benjamin W. Arnett, Alexander Crummel, and Emanuel Love. Courtesy of the Library of Congress American Memory Project.
  • Behind the Veil: Documenting African Americans Life in the Jim Crow South. An ambitious documentary project created by Duke University that seeks to correct historical misrepresentations of African American experiences during the period of legal segregation in the United States.
  • Black Archives of Mid-America at Kansas City. Houses a large collection of manuscripts and artifacts including photographs, personal correspondence, oral histories, and rare books. Artifacts are from the 19th and 20th centuries and depict African American heritage in the Midwest and the World. The web site provides a generous sample from numerous areas.
  • Documenting the American South: Primary Resources for the Study of Southern, History, Literature, and Culture. A digital publishing initiative that provides Internet access to texts, images, and audio files related to southern history, literature, and culture. Currently DocSouth includes twelve thematic collections of books, diaries, posters, artifacts, letters, oral history interviews, and songs. Includes many resources on both African Americans and Native Americans in the South. From the University Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • The Freedmen's Bureau.    The Freedmen’s Bureau (also called the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands) was an agency established at the end of the Civil War to help support freed slaves (or freedmen) in the South. The Bureau was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865, but faced substantial challenges by both President Andrew Johnson’s administration and the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. This collection of documents, images, and readings from the era give an overview of the work done by the Freedmen’s Bureau and the racial and political struggles the agency faced during the Reconstruction Era.   Courtesy of Hillary Brady and the Digital Public Library of America.
  • The Green Book courtesy of the New York Library Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. This travel guide started in 1936 with the goal of providing African-American travelers during the era of segregation information to prevent difficulties, embarrassments and to trips more enjoyable.
  • Legacy of Slavery in Maryland.   This program seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland's African American population. From the day that Mathias de Sousa and Francisco landed in St. Mary's county aboard the Ark and the Dove in 1634, Black Marylanders have made significant contributions to both the state and nation in the political, economic, agricultural, legal, and domestic arenas. Despite what often seemed like insurmountable odds, Marylanders of Color have adapted, evolved, and prevailed. The Maryland State Archives' Study of the Legacy of Slavery Staff invites researchers to explore all of these elements and more within its numerous source documents, exhibits and interactive online presentations.  Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives.
  • Marcus Garvey Documents Library from Teaching American History, courtesy of Ashland University.
  • Navigating the Green Book, by Victor Green, from the New York Public Library. This resource provides access to the content of The Green Book, published periodically between 1936 and 1966. These displays show the concentration of businesses friendly to African American travelers for just two particular dates, 1947 and 1956 (although covers and the content of the travel guide are viewable for additional years, issued under various titles including The Negro Motorist Green Book or The Negro Traveler’s Green Book: The Guide to Travel and Vacations).
  • Navigating the Green Book, by Victor Green, from the New York Public Library. This resource provides access to the content of The Green Book, published periodically between 1936 and 1966. These displays show the concentration of businesses friendly to African American travelers for just two particular dates, 1947 and 1956 (although covers and the content of the travel guide are viewable for additional years, issued under various titles including The Negro Motorist Green Book or The Negro Traveler’s Green Book: The Guide to Travel and Vacations).
  • Negro League Baseball.    Between the end of the Civil War and 1890, some African American baseball players played alongside white players in minor and major leagues. After 1890, Jim Crow segregation dominated the sport until Jackie Robinson integrated major league baseball in 1947. Consequently African Americans formed their own professional baseball leagues commonly and collectively known as Negro League baseball. During its heyday in the 1920s and 30s, the Negro Leagues drew large crowds and fielded over thirty teams throughout the East Coast and Midwest.In this primary source set, students will view original photographs, listen to oral history recordings, and read historical texts to gain a better understanding of of the lives and experiences of Negro League baseball players.  Courtesy of Jamie Lathan and the Digital Public Library of America.
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Located in Kansas City at 1616 East 18th Street.
  • Race and Place: An African-American Commuity in the Jim Crow South. An archive about the racial segregation laws, or the 'Jim Crow' laws from the late 1880s until the mid-twentieth century. The focus of the collection is the town of Charlottesville in Virginia. The Jim Crow laws segregated African-Americans from white Americans in public places such as schools, and school buses. The archive contains photos, letters, two regional censuses and a flash map of the town of Charlottesville. The Jim Crow laws were not overturned until the important Brown versus Board of Education court ruling in 1954 (but not totally eliminated until the Civil Rights Act of the 1964)....The project intends to connect race with place by understanding what it was like to live, work, pray, learn, and play in the segregated South. We plan to develop manuscript collections and oral histories of African Americans in the segregation period, and construct the social, political, and economic history to understand race in the context of place. This research effort is a collaborative project of the Virginia Center for Digital History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute of African and Afro-American Studies.
  • From Slavery to Freedom : The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909.  Presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Kelly Miller, Charles Sumner, Mary Church Terrell, and Booker T. Washington. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, American Memory Project.
  • Legacy of Slavery in Maryland.   This program seeks to preserve and promote the vast universe of experiences that have shaped the lives of Maryland's African American population. From the day that Mathias de Sousa and Francisco landed in St. Mary's county aboard the Ark and the Dove in 1634, Black Marylanders have made significant contributions to both the state and nation in the political, economic, agricultural, legal, and domestic arenas. Despite what often seemed like insurmountable odds, Marylanders of Color have adapted, evolved, and prevailed. The Maryland State Archives' Study of the Legacy of Slavery Staff invites researchers to explore all of these elements and more within its numerous source documents, exhibits and interactive online presentations.  Courtesy of the Maryland State Archives.
  • John Franklin Hope: Imprint of an American Scholar. John Hope Franklin was one of the most well-known and influential scholars of his era. Over the Course of his nearly 70 years as a historian, Franklin molded hundreds, if not thousands, of students to raise scholastic standards within his field and broke countless professional barriers along the way. Franklin was also the definition of a public intellectual, continuously lending his scholarship and influence to causes beyond the walls of academia. This exhibition explores his indelible imprint on the classroom, the institution, his public and private relationships, and his life's work of utilizing history and knowledge to cultivate a better human society.
  • The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers Project : Secondary sources on Marcus Garvey and primary documents written by Garvey during the period of the Harlem Renaissance.Provided by the UCLA African Studies Center.
  • Marcus Garvey Documents Library from Teaching American History, courtesy of Ashland University.