World War I race

Olamide Yussuf
10/10/2010
History 157
Dr. Kathleen Sander

After World War I, America began transitioning into a modern era, which changed America forever. The 1920s saw drastic political and social revolution in the United States. The ending of World War I also began advances in technology that led to economic growth. ?The first Industrial Revolution century had catapulted the United State into the forefront among the world?s richest and most developed nations? (Divine, 720). The United States became the wealthiest nations in the world because the consumer goods industry. During this period, ?American industrial output nearly doubled and the gross national product rose by 40 percent? (Divine p. 720). The United States had the best growth with consumer items such as automobiles, appliances, furniture and clothing. In 1929, ?the national per capita income increased by 30 percent to $681? (Divine p. 720).Electricity was a driving force in the industries. The majority of industrial power was from electricity. The new technology was such a major asset that worker production increased by 75% and was producing double the amount of goods (Divine p. 720).
The biggest of consumer goods was the automobile industry. The auto industry was building cars at a very rapid rate, but other industries were building items such as electrical appliances and furniture (Divine p.720). In 1920, ten million cars were in produced and sold. Before the turn of the century, nearly twenty six million cars were sold. ?Production jumped from fewer than two million to more than five million by 1929? (Divine p.720). By the end of the 1920?s, the majority of families enjoyed electricity and ?spent vast sums on washing machines, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and ranges. With the advanced technology of these items, families were able to enjoy themselves more, because of the extra time they had.
In addition, Radio broadcast and motion pictures became successful. The first radio show was in Pittsburgh, which became the driving force for eight hundred independent radio shows to begin (Divine p.721). The motion picture industry expanded as well. By the mid 20?s, many cities had their own movie theaters which entertained thousands of people and families.
Marketing also found enormous growth as well. Advertising earning nearly doubled from 1915 to 1926. Numerous stores such as A&P and Woolworths expanded rapidly over the years. Many smaller stores were selling out to bigger companies because they could not compete (Divine p.722).
However even though America was entering a new modern era with temporary economic growth there were things that still did not change. Racial relations between blacks and whites grew more hostile. Despite blacks fighting and dying along side whites in World War I, blacks still did not receive the same rights as whites. (Divine, 712) Racial violence, and riots, was rampant throughout the United States. Race wars were happening throughout the country. In Illinois 9 whites and 40 blacks were killed. In Washington DC a race riot led to 6 deaths. In Chicago, a riot killed 15 whites and 23 blacks. Lynch mobs were murdering more than 40 African Americans a year from 1917 to 1919. Even black war veterans were murdered, some still in uniform. (Divine, 711) Unfortunately, some black soldiers fought for their country, just to be murdered by the people they helped protect.
Usually the race riots involved a lynch mob of whites attacking innocent black people. However, the 1919 riots were different in that, they also involved blacks fighting back. The NAACP singled this change by urging blacks not just to demand government protection, but also to retaliate, to defend themselves. Claude McKay, Roscoe Jameson, and other black poets wrote poetry as inspiration for Blacks to fight. One black veteran returning from France said ?I?m glad I went, I done my part and I?m going to fight here till Uncle Sam does his.? (Divine 712) Blacks were not going to be terrorized by whites anymore without defending themselves and fighting back.
Fueled by postwar fears and promotional techniques, memberships of the white supremacy group, the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) grow exponentially. (Divine, 735) Chapters were formed in villages, towns, and small cities across the nation. Ku Klux Klan members even infiltrated the government by gaining control of legislatures in several states. The Ku Klux Klan?s membership grew to an estimated number of five million by the mid-1920s. (Divine, 735) A lot of the violence against blacks was caused by this radical group.
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