Red Summer






Guest Book

The Red Summer of 1919: Relating to the Times

This page will help provide you with a clearer view of the era.
The 1910 Census showed that there were 9,872,763 blacks which constituted 10.7% of the population. (Total U.S. Population: 93,402,151). In 1919, the NAACP was just 10 years old. 76 Black Americans were reported to have been lynched in 1919. World War I had ended and Blacks who were celebrated overseas, returned to find harsh realities back on the farm. Disheartened and disillusioned, Blacks began The Great Migration to Northern Cities from the South.


370,000 Blacks served in WWI--over half in France.


Life Expectancy: Males--48.4 and Females--51.8.

National Debt: 1.15 billion.

Prohibition (outlawing the sale of alcohol in the U.S.) was adopted.

Unemployment: 1.4%

Milk was 32 cents a gallon.

A stamp was 3 cents.

July 27, 1919 a young black boy, Eugene Williams, accidently drifts into a whites-only swimming area in Chicago. The 5 day riot which ensued, left 23 blacks and 15 whites dead.

Child labor laws were enacted.

Woodrow Wilson was President.

Thurgood Marshall was 11.

Consumer Price Index: 17.3

The Jazz Age had begun.

Average Salary: per year.

365,000 steelworkers went on strike in protest over long hours and low pay.

Women did not yet have the right to vote.

Rioting in the streets of Washington, D.C. took place in July when hundreds of whites rampaged a black community. During the 4-day event, over 150 people, black and white, were injured or killed

Many southern states required "poll taxes" or tests to be passed, as a prerequisite to voting.

26 Cities had Race Riots during 1919.

W.E. B. DuBois organizes the first Pan-African Congress.

The Shortwave Radio was invented.

Name: Charlottesville and Albemarle Railway Company Machine. Wednesday, May 8, 1918.

Photo, left from the Holsinger Studio Collection, University of Virginia. Used with permission. For a link to the site, please go to the Links Page.