A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

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Annotation: Examines the events and forces leading up to the 1919 race riots in Chicago.
Catalog Number: #138894
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: c2018
Pages: 198 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-544-78513-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-97191-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-544-78513-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-97191-2
Dewey: 305.896
LCCN: 2016026969
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
This well-documented text outlines the events leading to the race riot in Chicago in the summer of 1919, which caused 38 deaths and more than 500 injuries. The prologue, the first two chapters, and the last three chapters (out of 20) address the riot; the rest provide a detailed and accessible history of the growth of Chicago as a meat-processing center, the formation and influence of trade unions, the influx of European immigrants, and the WWI-era black migration from the South. Quotes, statistics, and period photos help build background. An epilogue describes the partly successful results of a commission charged with instigating change and mentions other unhappy events of the "Red Summer" of 1919: 25 additional race riots across the U.S. The conclusion paints a positive picture of diverse, present-day Chicago, noting that the past century has brought many needed changes. This solid entry covers a topic not often mentioned in YA literature, and will support researchers looking for balanced coverage for history, civil rights, and economics reports.
Horn Book
This readable, compelling history explores the deeply rooted causes of the 1919 Chicago Race Riot, which left thirty-eight people dead and 537 wounded. Two-thirds of this book carefully unpacks the underlying factors leading to the unrest; the remainder details each violence-filled day of the week-long, citywide uprising. Meticulously chosen archival photos, documents, newspaper clippings, and quotes from multiple primary sources add authenticity. Bib., ind.
Kirkus Reviews
A clash on a hot summer's day served as catalyst for a deadly race riot in 1919 Chicago.The deep racial and ethnic resentments that permeated Chicago in the early years of the 20th century exploded into violence when the death of a young African-American teen was caused by a rock-throwing young white man, whom a white policeman refused to arrest. The incident quickly escalated, and after days of unrest, 38, whites and blacks, were dead, and more than 500 were wounded. From the epigram taken from a Carl Sandburg poem, this detailed work is deeply grounded in Chicago history. Details about the actual riot bookend the narrative. In between, Hartfield introduces black Chicagoans from the middle of the 19th century as well as later arrivals who fled the racial violence of the South. She includes the role of the black press in articulating the demands of the black community as they became urban dwellers. The stories of white ethnic groups, their struggles to achieve the American dream, and their racial animosity are examined, as is the role of labor unions. Richly illustrated with contemporary photographs, the narrative is also carefully researched, drawing on accounts from the time. There is a great deal to digest, and it sometimes overwhelms the core story. However, it is successful in demonstrating that past conflicts, like current ones, have complex causes.A comprehensive, careful account. (source notes, bibliography, map, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)
Publishers Weekly
Taking her title from a line in a Carl Sandburg poem, Hartfield (Me and Uncle Romie) examines a weeklong clash between black and white Chicago residents in August 1919. She plunges readers into the story with a description of the event that sparked the riots, the accidental but racially motivated killing of a 14-year-old black boy at a Chicago beach. Hartfield then provides a detailed history of racial tensions in her native city, highlighting the economic and societal impact of the waves of Southern blacks who migrated north to Chicago between the middle of the 19th century and WWI, lured by the promise of work and educational opportunities. Racial tensions, Hartfield explains, were further fueled by the influx of Irish and Eastern European immigrants, themselves the target of discrimination and scorn (-Chicago was a hotbed of prejudice-). The author bolsters her account of this long-simmering conflict with succinct profiles of various Chicagoans, including abolitionists, meatpacking barons, union leaders, journalists, and politicians. Photos, editorial cartoons, and advertisements further immerse readers in a vivid chronicle with no shortage of contemporary relevance. Ages 12-up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-When 17-year-old Eugene Williams was murdered while rafting on the unofficially segregated beaches of Lake Michigan and a white police officer refused to arrest the murderer, Chicago became the site of a deadly race riot. Hartfield backtracks from that moment to explore how turn-of-the-century Chicago was a beacon for both African Americans from the South and European immigrants. However, with the end of World War I, the numerous job opportunities turned scarce and white gang activity against black residents increased. Powerful stories of resistance and inspiring profiles of John Jones, Ida B. Wells, and others who created libraries, hospitals, The Chicago Defender , and other initiatives balance the narratives of discrimination and violence. The stoning of Williams and the riots that followed are not the primary focus; rather, Chicago's history as a destination in post-Reconstruction era United States, its labor movement, the Great Migration, and how all these factors were the underlying elements for the riots make up the bulk of the book. Under 200 pages, this is a relatively slim but powerful account of early 20th-century U.S. history. A plentiful amount of clear and intriguing photography, as well as primary source materials, is included. Back matter includes research citations, an extensive bibliography, and picture credits. VERDICT A worthy and gripping account of early 20th-century African American, immigrant, and labor history framed by the haunting murder of a young black man. Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, VA
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Word Count: 33,150
Reading Level: 7.9
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 7.9 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 500342 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:10.6 / points:10.0 / quiz:Q70994
Lexile: 1120L

On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the "white" beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture. Archival photos and prints, source notes, bibliography, index.

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