Is a ‘Red Summer’ coming to Chicago?
As weekend shootings continue in Chicago, we wonder if worse is ahead.
The original Red Summer was in 1919.
“The ‘Red Summer’ of 1919 marked the culmination of steadily growing tensions surrounding the great migration of African Americans from the rural South to the cities of the North that took place during World War I. When the war ended in late 1918, thousands of servicemen returned home from fighting in Europe to find that their jobs in factories, warehouses and mills had been filled by newly arrived Southern blacks or immigrants. Amid financial insecurity, racial and ethnic prejudices ran rampant. Meanwhile, African-American veterans who had risked their lives fighting for the causes of freedom and democracy found themselves denied basic rights such as adequate housing and equality under the law, leading them to become increasingly militant.”
The nation’s civil disorder wasn’t confined to Chicago. It happened in other cities including Washington, D.C., Knoxville, Tennessee, and Omaha, Nebraska. But the violence was noteworthy in Chicago when,
“Violence soon broke out between gangs and mobs of black and white, concentrated in the South Side neighborhood surrounding the stockyards. After police were unable to quell the riots, the state militia was called in on the fourth day, but the fighting continued until August 3. Shootings, beatings and arson attacks eventually left 15 whites and 23 blacks dead, and more than 500 more people (around 60 percent black) injured. An additional 1,000 black families were left homeless after rioters torched their residences.”
Chicago is high on the distressed list of failing Big Red Cities. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, isn’t universally loved. The public schools, operated by the city, are failing. And the city’s population is declining. In short, the city – and the entire state – is a financial disaster, waiting to worsen.
When the Windy City wasn’t chosen as the site for the 2016 Summer Olympics, its prospects for a recovery took a serious blow. Perhaps even a fatal one.
A perfect storm of hot weather, ever-declining job opportunities, Black Lives Matter agitation in conjunction with another police shooting like that of Laquan McDonald, along with the a heated presidential campaign and first-responder pension woes for Chicago police and fire departments, could bring another, ugly Red Summer to Chicago.
If so, we can anticipate blame being directed toward the Trump campaign by the Democrats.