By Charles Lumpkins
Charles Lumpkins exhibits that black citizens of East St. Louis had engaged in formal politics because the 1870s, exerting effect throughout the poll and during patronage in a urban ruled by way of robust genuine property pursuits while many African americans somewhere else skilled setbacks in exercise their political and financial rights.
While Lumpkins asserts that the race riots have been a pogrom—an prepared bloodbath of a selected ethnic group—orchestrated by way of convinced businessmen purpose on fighting black citizens from achieving political strength and on turning town right into a “sundown” city completely cleared of African american citizens, he additionally demonstrates how the African American neighborhood survived. He situates the actions of the black electorate of East St. Louis within the context of the bigger tale of the African American quest for freedom, citizenship, and equality.
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Extra info for American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics
Louis, founded a Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen local. 36 Railroad workers in East St. Louis laid the foundation for a labor movement that became a significant political force in city affairs during the nationwide Great Railroad Strike of . They first pressed for a resolution of their grievances during an economic depression that stretched from to , a period when corporations eliminated jobs, slashed wages, and crushed union organizing drives. The Great Railroad Strike, initiated by Baltimore & Ohio Railroad employees in Maryland and West Virginia on July , , quickly swept westward to Chicago, St.
But black townspeople also knew that ultimate control of their schools remained with the white school board and the politicians who controlled patronage and access to other resources. 49 Beginning in the s, African Americans in East St. 1-108 6/13/08 4:35 PM Page 38 government. Patronage supplied jobs that offered black people a steady income, increased their social status, and afforded them greater access to city hall. But most importantly, black East St. Louisans saw patronage as signaling white politicians’ willingness to share a measure of power.
In , upon gaining citizenship, black residents brought about an end to exclusionism by forcing the school board to provide a school for their children. Parents accepted the board’s offer of a segregated facility after white people threatened violence. They witnessed in an attempt by some white Illinoisans to establish de jure segregation. In that year, for example, a Mr. Plater (no first name given) of the Illinois General Assembly filed a bill to allow voters of a school district to authorize segregated schools.