Visit and learn about the darkest manifestations of unchecked hate and apathy, enabling critical reflection of the past in order to transform the present and protect futures for all in Red Summer.
Selections from photographer Wendel White’s Red Summer series document sites of 1919 racial uprisings in the United States. 1919 saw mounting frustrations as a result of national inflation, unemployment, and returning African American World War I veterans who, having fought for democracy abroad, were less tolerant of injustice and inequality. In addition, half a million African Americans from the South had migrated to urban centers of the Northeast and Midwest to work in factories to support the war effort and remedy wartime labor shortages. When the war ended, this population represented employment competition for returning white veterans. Tensions increased and dozens of documented lynchings of African Americans followed, at least 13 of which were veterans, some lynched in uniform. African Americans responded by defending their communities, resulting in 25 documented riots from April through November 1919. Red Summer maps cities and towns across the US where such incidents, often characterized by the press as “Race Wars,” occurred.
The series facilitates a conversation between the present and the past, with somber contemporary photographs paired with newspaper clippings recounting the haunting events that once took place in the frame. With almost no commemorative plaques at these sites, White’s Red Summer serves as a memorial to those who lost their lives, a record of American history, a cautionary tale of a nation divided, and a tool for reconciliation.
Don’t forget to register for the event on July 31 with artist Wendel White: Red Summer: Talkback with Artist Wendel White
About the Curatorial Team:
- Lauren Tate Baeza, Head of Content, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc.
- Designed by: Samuel Landis, Senior Designer, The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Inc.
In Partnership With:
Red Summer Resources
Resources from Zinn Education Project
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Learn about The American Civil Rights Movement and its significance
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