Remembering Red Summer
Remembering Red Summer ---- Which Textbooks Seem Eager to Forget
The racist riots of 1919 happened 100 years ago this summer. Confronting a national epidemic of white mob violence, 1919 was a time when African Americans defended themselves, fought back, and demanded full citizenship in thousands of acts of courage and daring, small and large, individual and collective. 

Teen Vogue  featured a Zinn Education Project article by Ursula Wolfe-Rocca , on Red Summer as part of their OG History series that unearths history not told through a white, cisheteropatriarchal lens.  

Read more

See our If We Knew Our History series for a longer version of this article.
This Day in History
Here are a few key events from Red Summer, 
featured in our This Day in History series.

JULY 19, 1919 
Riot in Washington, D.C.
White mobs, incited by the media, attacked the African American community in Washington, D.C., and African American soldiers returning from WWI. This was one of many violent events that summer and it was distinguished by strong and organized Black resistance to the white violence.

JULY 27, 1919 
Riot in Chicago
Sparked by a white police officer's refusal to make an arrest in the murder of a Black teenager, Chicago's Red Summer violence lasted almost a week. At least 38 people were killed and thousands of Black homes were looted and damaged.

AUGUST 30, 1919
The Knoxville Riot

In Tennessee, a group of whites rioted after forming a mob to lynch a Black man in custody for the alleged murder of a white woman.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1919
The Omaha Courthouse Lynching and Riot

A white mob of between 5,000 to 15,000 lynched African American Will Brown. The Army arrested mob ringleaders. Even though photographs identified them, all of the suspects were eventually released.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1919
Elaine Massacre

Black farmers were massacred in Elaine, Arkansas, for their efforts to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices. A white mob shot at them, and the farmers returned fire in self-defense.

Additional Resources on Red Summer
1919 Book Cover

1919 ---- Poetic Reflections on the Chicago Race Riots

By Eve L. Ewing

In 1919, award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores the story of the Chicago Race Riot of 1919 ---- which lasted eight days and resulted in 38 deaths and almost 500 injuries. Ewing's speculative and Afrofuturist poetry recounts the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city.

1919 The Year of Racial Violence

1919, The Year of Racial Violence

By David F. Krugler

Krugler's book details the wave of racist violence that swept the United States in 1919 through the lens of Black armed resistance and freedom struggle. His scholarship reminds readers of the limitations of mainstream curriculum, which too often leaves out the tradition of armed self-defense in the long Black freedom struggle.

More Resources

Zinn Education Project - Stacked logo 
Rethinking Schools logo
PO BOX 73038, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20056 
202-588-7205 |

ZEP Donate Now