East St Louis riots


The East St Louis riots (1917) took place across the Mississippi River from St Louis. W.E.B. Du Bois called it the Massacre of East St Louis. It left eight Whites and 39 to 200 Blacks dead. Nearly half of the city’s Blacks were burned out of house and home.

The worst of the riots took place on May 28th and July 2nd. Both times it became a free-for-all of White violence against Blacks, touched off by a report of Black-on-White violence. Both times the governor had to send in the National Guard to restore order.

East St Louis: Because of the First World War there was plenty of work in East St Louis for unskilled labourers.

  • For Blacks, coming from the Klan violence and low pay of the Jim Crow South, East St Louis offered good pay and friendly Whites. But:
  • The White working class, in the…

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