Summer 2020

Rioting in San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Knoxville, Charleston, and Montgomery. And this is just the list of large cities, many smaller protests and riots are happening all over the country.

The reason, as usual, centers around race. This is America, so it usually is about race. Rampant unemployment. An economic slowdown. Recovering from a recent pandemic. An unabashed racist in the White House.

Welcome to the summer of 1919, long known as Red Summer. As we look at today’s protests and rioting after the murder of George Floyd, an honest question arises, has anything changed over the past hundred years? Have we learned nothing?

The racial animosity of Red Summer took many years of Jim Crow to fester. Many of these root causes have changed. First and foremost, lynching. And the caste system in the American South has ended. Brown v. Board. We have had the Civil Rights movement. Affirmative Action. President Obama.

Furthermore, the goals of the rioting of Red Summer were much different than today’s unrest. To understand this difference, look at the Great Depression. In 1935 Harlem, a young 16-year-old boy, was beaten for shoplifting a penknife. The ensuing riot resulted in 125 arrests a 100 injuries, and the deaths of three black people. Today the Harlem riot is considered the first “modern-day” riot.

The rioters were not attacking another group of people. Red Summer was primarily white rage targeting black communities. As was The Tulsa Race Riot. And the Springfield Riot of 1909, which inspired the formation of the NAACP. However, in Harlem, the citizenry was upset about the unfairness of being excluded from the American Dream. The fact that America had changed between Red Summer and the onset of World War 2 is notable. No longer were African American communities being displaced and destroyed, punished for imagined digressions of unwritten rules, or forced to endure the lynching of a member of their community. The tipping point between victimhood and becoming a voice had been reached.

Today the President’s advisors are on TV pushing theories that these are not authentic voices. This is the voice of Antifa, of the radical left. In this respect, nothing has changed. This same strategy has been employed since the days of Red Summer, except then it wasn’t an American far left the government wanted to blame, it was “Bolshevism.”

But one other notable change is today the Russians are friends of Trump’s Republican Party.

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