Irish Americans came into Chicago during the early years of the city’s existence. The fourth largest Irish population by 1860 would be found in Chicago. Many of them worked in labor from lumber wharves, railroads, stockyards, and steel mills. As time went on, the Irish people had a great influence in Chicago’s city government, the police force, the fire department, and the public school system. Since Chicago has a very large Catholic population, many Irish were leaders of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese. Chicago has great ethnic diversity and tensions arose among many ethnic groups, especially during back in the day. Yet, as time came on, many people have learned to live together as people. Every year, there is the South Side Irish parade on Western Avenue. It has rivaled the traditional downtown parade in size and influence. To this day, Irish citizenry in Chicago has done scholarly preservation, social activism, and other contributions in society. There are many other diverse ethnic groups in Chicago. Germans came into Chicago by the 1830’s. By 1845, there were 1,000 Germans in Chicago. People know about the Lager Beer Conflict that came about when Mayor Levi Boone of Chicago declared that on Sundays, all beer gardens and saloons will be closed. Many Germans were involved in antislavery abolition movements and in anarchist politics. Many were leaders of the labor movement. The peak of German immigration would be in 1890. Those of German descent were the largest ethnic group of Chicago from 1850 to the turn of the century. Polish people have a long history too. Polish Chicago is sometimes called Polona. People came from Poland to Chicago for economic reasons from the 1850’s to the early 1920’s. By 1930, Polish immigrants replaced the Germans as the largest European ethnic group in Chicago. During World War II and after the Communist takeover of Poland, more Polish people came into Chicago. Many of them set up institutions and neighborhoods. During the Solidarity movement, more Polish immigrants came into Chicago during the 1980’s. They are known for forming a community in the Northwest Side. Anthony Smarzeski-Schermann was a man who worked with the youth too. Polish newspapers opened offices throughout Chicago like the Gazeta Polska or the Polish Gazette in 1872. Polish Chicagoans of course worked in the labor movement. The Copernicus Center was created in the early 1980’s as a Polish cultural center. The Polish National Alliance has moved its headquarters to the far North Side of Chicago. There are Bosnians, Lithuanians, Welsh, Italians, Assyrians, Arabic people, Armenians, Iranians, Kurds, and other ethnic groups found in Chicago.
The Atlanta race riot of 1906 was a key part of the history of Atlanta. It happened from September 22-24, 1906. First, it is time to show the causes of the riot. Atlanta during the 1880’s has grown massively. Race relations in Atlanta back then (before the riot started) were better as compared to other Southern cities. It had become a regional economic power of the South. The city grew from 89,000 people to 150,000 in 1910. The black population grew from 9,000 people in 1880 to 35,000. Black men in Atlanta could vote. This political power caused more black people to be involved in the political realm. Black people in Atlanta during Reconstruction and beyond created businesses, more social networks, and built communities. There was a black elite who acquired more wealth, education, and prestige. Some of them distanced themselves from the black working class and especially the unemployed black people who were in the saloons on Atlanta’s Decatur Street. African-American women were also quite active in Atlanta. Many joined African American women joined women’s clubs. Most of these clubs were related or affiliated with the National Association of Colored Women. This organization was the dominant black women's organization in America. Women took it upon themselves to provide community services to poor black human beings. The men's organizations invested their energy into building social and fraternal organizations that worked for community betterment. Many whites were jealous of the advances of the black elite. They opposed the saloons as a pretext to try to harm the rights of black people. The political elites exploited the job completion among black and white workers. There were class distinctions between the rich, middle class, and poor residents of Atlanta. The city’s white political leaders wanted to promote more restrictions of the growing working class. This white political leaders exploited racial issues as a way to scapegoat black people for every problem in Atlanta back then. These racists feared the social intermingling of the ethnic groups. So, Jim Crow expanded to separate white and black neighborhoods and separate seating areas for public transportation.
The governor’s race in 1906 had 2 white supremacist candidates running. Their names were Hoke Smith (or the former publisher of the Atlanta Journal) and Clark Howell (the editor of the Atlanta Constitution). They used the newspapers to sway public opinion. Smith inflamed racism by wanting black people to be docile. Smith opposed the economic and social equality of black people. Howell said that he wanted a poll tax to limited black voting. Howell said that Smith was not a bigger racist than he was. Both were racists. The Atlanta Georgia and the Atlanta News newspapers made the slander that massive amounts of black men were raping white women. This angered many white readers. These newspapers also scapegoated black people with stories, editorials, and cartoon portraying black people as rapists, murders, and other evil stereotypes. This provocation influenced whites to use mob to use violence against innocent black people. On the afternoon of Saturday, September 22, Atlanta newspaper falsely reported four alleged assaults on local white women. City leaders, including Mayor James G. Woodward, sought to calm the increasingly indignant crowds but failed to do so. By early evening, the crowd had become a mob; from then until after midnight, they surged down Decatur Street, Pryor Street, Central Avenue, and throughout the central business district. On Saturday, September 22, white crowds along Decatur Street, many of them drunk and inflamed by the headlines, began to gather. Someone shouted, "Kill the n____s," and soon the cry was running along the crowded streets. Some 10,000 men and boys in the mob began to search for African Americans. This white racist mob attacked black owned businesses, smashed windows of the black leader Alonzo Herndon’s barbershop. Many barbers were killed. The racists attacked streetcars. They entered trolley cars and beat black men and black women. At least 3 men were beaten to death. A heavy rain came in 2 am. Later, the state militia came in to control Atlanta. On Sunday, September 23, the state militia continued to stay in Atlanta. The militia patrolled the streets and key landmarks. They guarded white owned property. White vigilante groups still invaded some black neighborhoods. Black people obtained weapons to defend themselves. Many African Americans defended their homes from white racists. Ironically, a white man saw the riots as a boy. His name was Walter White and he became a secretary of the NAACP. On Monday, September 24, a group of African Americans held a meeting in Brownsville, a community located about two miles south of downtown Atlanta and home to the historically black Clark College (later Clark Atlanta University) and Gammon Theological Seminary. The blacks were heavily armed. The black people have every right to have a meeting when their homes were being destroyed and their people were being killed. When Fulton County police learned of the gathering, they feared a counterattack and launched a raid on Brownsville. A shootout ensued and an officer was killed. In response, three companies of heavily armed militia were sent to Brownsville, where they seized weapons and arrested more than 250 African American men. Meanwhile, sporadic fighting continued throughout the day.
On Monday and Tuesday, businessmen, clergy, and the press called for an end to the violence. They didn’t do this for morality sake or the sake of causing revolutionary change. They did for the sake of maintaining Atlanta’s image as a thriving New South city. The riot exposed the truth that a massive amount of racism and classism still existed in Atlanta. The riot has been covered nationwide and internationally. Le Petit Journal reported on the riots. White civic leaders wanted a dialogue with black elites. This was rare since such a dialogue would rarely happen, especially during this time period. So, they had a dialogue. One group promoting racial reconciliation and understanding was called the Commission on Interracial Cooperation from 1918. It later was named the Southern Regional Council. The issue was that this interracial cooperation didn’t address the black social divisions based on class. Many black elites back then wanted to distance from its lower class Brothers and Sisters. Also, black people (regardless of class) are the victims of racism/white supremacy. So, I want to make that perfectly clear. No one of any class should suffer racism or oppression. Atlanta continued to be segregated and socially stratified based on class. The events caused the black community in Atlanta to be retrenched. African Americans were more likely to live in settled black communities. These communities were mostly found in the west of the city near Atlanta University or in eastern downtown. Black businesses were dispersed to the east where a thriving black business district soon developed. Its businesses and residences to grow, but there were statewide prohibition and black suffrage restriction in 1908, which was caused by white racists. This event refuted the accomodationist strategy of Booker T. Washington (who was right on many issues to his credit like promoting education for black people, but you know I disagree with his advocacy of capitalism. I disagree with his Atlanta Compromise speech). Militant activism is needed for black people to be free. W.E.B. DuBois lived in Atlanta during that time and he had a shotgun to defend his home during the riot. He wrote a powerful poem called, "The Litany of Atlanta." The riot at least killed 10 black people (some say that as high as over 20 black people were killed) and 2 whites. Still, black people continued to fight for justice then and now.