Weird History

During The Red Summer, White Americans Panicked That Black Veterans Were Spreading Communism

In 1919, Black WWI veterans returned home to a segregated America. It didn't take long to realize that white Americans weren't going to welcome Black veterans with open arms. Instead, they faced discrimination, Jim Crow laws, and a summer of fury. The unrest that spread across the country led civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson to call it the "Red Summer." 

The combination of the First Red Scare, labor strikes, and the demand for civil rights led white Americans to conclude that Black Americans were spreading communism. The military warned that Soviets and Black Americans were working together, and President Woodrow Wilson himself declared that Black veterans were a communist threat. 

Rampant prejudice in America only escalated with the effects of the Red Summer of 1919. Fights and protests took place in many major cities, and hundreds of Black citizens suffered. The Red Summer shaped the civil rights movement for decades.