Friday, March 20, 2009

Post WWI Race Issues

If I were to post about the scanning project it would be drastically short, seeing as I haven't started yet. Instead, I would like touch on the racial climate following World War I. Once America joined the Allied effort in the first world war, the majority of middle and lower class workers answered the call to battle. This created a large void in jobs, and people who were early pushed away, were welcome in the work place. Immigrants for one, were finally able to gain more representation in the workplace. The demand for workers brushed away racial preference, and immigrants saw a significant rise in job placement. Southern blacks also took advantage, spurred by the push of racial discrimination in the south and the pull of higher wages in the north. African Americans in the South were able to find jobs, but their wages were significantly lower then there white counterparts. What they made in a normal work month were sometimes matched by a normal day's wage in the North. As more and more African Americans followed the Great Migration, they began to settle in Chicago's southern district. The African American population in Chicago doubled during WWI, which would fuel a housing crisis once the veterans returned. Following WWI, veterans returned to an overcrowded Chicago and a strangled work force. Angered by the prospect of competition for their old jobs, violent riots broke out all over the city.

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