red summer of 1919

National Archives

One hundred years ago, Americans were adjusting to life after a destabilizing world war. The Spanish influenza decimated communities, fears of Bolshevik-style communism ran rampant and hundreds of thousands of returning veterans were competing for jobs and housing ⁠— including African Americans confident that fighting abroad earned them the right to freedom at home. 

Throughout the summer of 1919, the war between nations gave way to a war between races. Mobs targeted and lynched black Americans.