For All Points-Of-The-View.
One God, One Aim, One Destiny
Period: 1916 to 1928
Marcus Garvey arrives in New York on a lecture tour he thinks will last only five months and will be restricted to traveling in the South, where he hopes to meet Booker T. Washington. He takes a room at 53 West 140th Street in Harlem. In 1918 he founds the Negro World, a weekly newspaper covering events in the international Black World.
"Realization of a Negro’s Ambition" is the first successful feature film of the African–owned Lincoln Motion Picture Company. This is the first movie to depict the African American middle class in non-stereotyped roles and initiates the era of all-black film productions. Noble Johnson, Beulah Hall, Lottie Bowles, Clarence Brooks and George Reed star in this film about a young Tuskegee graduate who seeks his fortune in the California oil fields.
Over a period of 18 months more than 350,000 American Africans migrate from the South. Out–migration from the South is so intense that Jacksonville, Florida, for instance, requires labor recruiting agents to pay a $1,000 fee.
The Chicago Fellowship Herald is first published.
The United States purchases from Denmark the West Indian Islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix for $25 million. With reference to guaranteeing the islands’ inhabitants fair treatment, the American minister says, the U.S. is “so well acquainted with the true character of the Negroes that they could make them more content than the Europeans.”
J. Anthony Josey begins editing the Wisconsin Enterprise Blade in Milwaukee.
Pancho Villa, Mexican revolutionary, sends 200 raiders across the U.S. border to sack Columbus, New Mexico.
After Booker T. Washington’s death, W.E.B. DuBois plans the Amenia Conference which is to reconcile the differences between various African leadership factions.
D.W. Griffith produces American Aristocracy, based on a story by Anita Loos.
John Oliver Killens, author of And Then We Heard the Thunder (1963), is born in Brooklyn, New York. He dies in 1988.
The Houston Observer begins a five–year publication history in Texas.
A punitive force of 10,000 men under Brig. General John J. Pershing crosses Mexican border in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Pershing is assisted by Lt. George “the bandit” Patton. Advancing 350 miles into Mexico within a month, Pershing’s forces clash with the Mexican army under President Carranza, whom the U.S. originally supported. Two African regiments, the 10th Cavalry (a squadron of which is commanded by Charles Young) and the 24th Infantry, are part of the American contingent.
The Kansas Elevator is published until 1918 in Kansas City.
There are at this time 67 African public schools which enroll only 20,000 students.
The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History is founded by Carter G. Woodson, who also edits the Association’s Journal of Negro History. In the 1970s the Association changes the word “Negro” in its name to “Afro–American.”
President Wilson orders U.S. military occupation of the Dominican Republic; the Marines remain until 1934.
The Chronicle is edited by Alfred Haughton in Boston.
The first solo arrangement of spirituals is published by Harry T. Burleigh.
Frank Yerby, novelist, is born in Augusta, Georgia. His novels include The Foxes of Harrow (1946), The Vixens (1947) and Pride’s Castle (1949).
Samuel Gomper’s negative attitude toward African people leads to the defeat of anti–discrimination resolutions at the AF of L National Conventions in 1917, 1921 and 1924.
General Pershing is ordered to withdraw all U.S. forces from Mexico.
A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen edit the radical Messenger magazine. It ceases publication in 1928.
Thirty–eight Africans are lynched during the year.
Approximately 5,000 Africans living in Oakland, California, publish the Colored Directory, a 140–page picture book of their homes, churches and businesses. This is one of the first “Black Pages” published in the black community to inspire respect and promote black economic solidarity.
J.J.J. Oldfield edits the Chattanooga, Tennessee Defender.
The subjugation and despoliation of Africa by European imperialism is a fresh memory. See Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (1972). In response to this an infinite number of nationalist and Pan–Africanist organizations come into being in Africa, Europe, North America, the West Indies, Central and South America — everywhere African people live. All of these organizations look forward to the restoration of African independence. Garvey’s UNIA is in the vanguard.
Germany urges Mexico and Japan to declare war on the U.S., the final perturbation before the U.S. decides to enter World War I.
S.M. Makgatho is elected as the second ANC President–General.
The Russian revolution disrupts European capitalist tranquility. The Bolsheviks under Vladimir Ilyich Lenin come to power. Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna are killed, ending Romanov family rule. During their reign, both the Tsar and his consort are under the mystical influence of Rasputin, an illiterate peasant and debauchee.
The Huntsville News is published in Alabama until 1923.
Jacob Lawrence, artist, is born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He is currently on the art faculty of the University of Washington in Seattle. He is famous for his historical murals, “The Life of Toussaint l’Ouverture” and “The Life of Harriet Tubman.”
Storyville, the famous red–light district, is closed in New Orlean.
A violent race riot erupts in East St. Louis, Illinois. Estimates of number of Blacks killed range from 40 to 200. Martial Law has to be declared. See “Report of the Special Committee Authorized by Congress to Investigate the East St. Louis Riots,” House of Representatives, 65th Congress, Doc. No. 1231, July 15, 1918; and Elliott Rudwick, Race Riot in East St. Louis, January 2, 1917 (1964).
The Emancipator publishes its first issue in Montgomery, Alabama.
African soldiers of the 15th New York Infantry are refused service and assaulted in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The entire regiment is sent to Europe to avoid a repeat of the Brownsville, Texas incident.
In New York City, some 10,000 American Africans march down Fifth Avenue in silent parade protesting lynchings and racial indignities.
The Ethiopian World (aka the Negro World and the World Peace Echo) is published in New York City.
Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet laureate of Illinois, is born in Topeka, Kansas. She dies in 2001
East Indian immigration to British West Indies ceases after a total of 429,623 immigrants enter: 238,909 in Guyana; 143,939 in Trinidad; 36,412 in Jamaica; 4,354 in St. Lucia; 3,200 in Grenada; 2,472 in St. Vincent; and 337 in St. Kitts. East Indians deciding to remain permanently in West Indies number 163,362 in Guyana; 110,645 in Trinidad; 24,532 in Jamaica; and 6,252 in the Windward Islands.
A race riot erupts in Houston, Texas between African soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment and white citizens. Two Africans and 17 whites are killed. Martial Law is declared and 13 members of the regiment are sentenced to death. President Wilson commutes sentences to life imprisonment. Over the next four years, the NAACP wins the release of some and the reduction to life sentences for others. President F.D. Roosevelt releases the last prisoner in 1938.
O. Willis Cole edits and publishes the Louisville Leader in Kentucky.
Ossie Davis, actor–playwright, is born in Cogdell, Georgia.
A Supreme Court decision strikes down as unconstitutional a Louisville, Kentucky ordinance which requires Blacks and whites to live in separate residential blocks. The NAACP initiated this court battle in 1910.
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie is born in Cheraw, South Carolina.
In an effort to meet General Leonard Wood’s challenge to recruit 200 college–educated Africans for an African officers school, the Central Commitee of Negro College Men collects 1,500 volunteers. Four months later 639 are commissioned: 106 captains, 329 1st lieutenants and 204 2nd lieutenants.
The Jazz “migration” begins when Joe Oliver leaves New Orleans and settles in Chicago where he is joined by Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong and other pioneer jazz stars.
Lena Horne, entertainer, is born in Brooklyn, New York. She stars in "Cabin in the Sky" (1943) and "Stormy Weather" (1943).
Emmett J. Scott is appointed by Newton D. Baker, the Secretary of War, as his Special Assistant for Black Affairs.
The treaty authorizing the purchase of the Danish West Indies (the U.S. Virgin Islands) is ratified. The military government set up by U.S. Marines lasts until 1931.
A Jazz Concert by Jim Europe’s 369th Infantry Band at the Théatre des Champs Élysées “conquers Paris.”
The Enterprise is published in Chicago.
Africans buy war bonds and stamps valued at $250,000,000 to help finance the U.S. expeditionary forces in Europe during World War I.
Oscar Micheaux produces his first film, "The Homesteaders," which is taken from his novel about his experiences as a 25–year–old rancher in South Dakota. Charles Lucas, Iris Hall and Evelyn Preer star in this film.
By this year only two of Cleveland, Ohio’s leading restaurants and hotels continue to employ African American waiters (especially headwaiters).
D.W. Griffith produces "The Greatest Thing in Life," which shows a white soldier holding and kissing a dying black comrade.
The Journal is first published in Savannah, Georgia.
The average monthly rent for white laborers in Cleveland is $13.12; for African Americans living in comparable housing the average rent is $22.50.
The anti–pass campaign conducted by South African women ends in triumph and is led by the Bantu Women’s League of South Africa — the women’s section of the ANC — formed by Charlotte Maxeke.
During this year, 58 more African Americans are lynched.
Joseph White, the famous Afro–Cuban violinist, dies.
After this year, most African American women in manufacturing lose their jobs to returning soldiers. By 1930 the overwhelming majority will again be engaged in domestic or personal service.
Civil war erupts in Russia and lasts until 1920, when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is formed.
The Bucket Strike is organized in South Africa. African sanitary workers in Johannesburg put down their buckets and demand a 6d (approximately six cents) raise. One hundred fifty–two strikers are sentenced to two months’ hard labor for breach of contract under the Masters and Servants Act. The ANC launches a campaign for the release of the strikers, which soon turns into a campaign for a general wage increase of 1 shilling (14 cents) a day and the threat of a general strike. The strikers are released.
Chandler Owen and A. Philip Randolph are sentenced to jail for 1 to 2 1/2 years for their editorial in the Messenger, “Pro–Germanism amongst the Negroes.” The Messenger is also denied second–class mailing privileges.
A race riot takes place in Chester, Pennsylvania. Five Africans are killed. Another riot breaks out in Philadelphia where four Africans are killed and 60 or more are injured.
The NAACP now has 88,500 members and 300 branches. The sharp increase in membership since 1912 is a result of its militancy in combating racist governmental policies and practices, pointed propaganda via the Crisis, and the continuing incidence of race riots and lynchings.
The United States and Central American governments close their doors to West Indians seeking better employment opportunities.
John H. Johnson is born in Arkansas. He begins his publishing career in 1942 with the Negro Digest (later changed to Black World). He subsequently publishes Ebony and Jet maga- zines.
Armistice is proclaimed on November 11. World War I comes to an end. American Africans furnish about 370,000 soldiers and 1,400 commissioned officers. A little more than half of these troops see service in Europe. Three African American regiments — 369th, 371st and 372nd — receive from the French theCroix de Guerre for valor. The 369th is the first Ameri- can unit to reach the Rhine River which forms the border between France and Germany. Several individual black soldiers are decorated with the French Croix de Guerre for bravery. The first soldiers in the entire American Expeditionary Forces to be decorated for bravery in France are two Africans, Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts. See Emmett J. Scott, The American Negro in The World War(1919), for a contemporary and “full account of the War Work organizations of colored men and women and other civilian activities including the Red Cross, the YMCA, the YWCA and War Camp Community Service.”
Benjamin F. Vaughan and Wallace Van Jackson edit the Voice in Richmond, Virginia.
At the end of World War I, there are 50,000 Africans in military service battalions. Ten thou- sand serve as messmen in the Navy. In all some 370,000 Africans (100,000 serve in France) are drafted, which represents 11% of the American Expeditionary Forces. More than half of these troops are assigned to the 92nd and 93rd combat divisions.
George H. White, ex–Congressman from Philadelphia, dies.
“The rise of an ‘all–black’ cinema was inevitable, given the pre–World War I legal and de facto segregation of American movie houses; but black ‘Hollywood,’ like white Hollywood, was born in response to D.W. Griffith’s racist masterpiece "The Birth of a Nation" (1915). This was a film which literally galvanized the world with its stupendous artistry and explosive propaganda. Black leaders were divided as to how to respond to Griffith’s vision of crazed ex–slaves running amock, raping and killing their ‘saintly’ masters. While the six–year–old NAACP opted for the frustrating, futile path of court injunction and legal censorship, Emmett J. Scott, who had been Booker T. Washington’s secretary, raised money among the black middle class for the purpose of filming an epic refutation to Griffith’s version of history. This ambitious project (called first ‘Lincoln’s Dream’, and then ‘The Birth of a Race’) took three years to complete, plagued by inexperience and spiraling costs. Ultimately Scott was forced to seek an infusion of white [and Jewish] capital. The subsequent loss of black control, ensuing mismanagement and chicanery resulted in a film that was thematically diluted [to propagandize the ill–treatment of the Jews in Germany], technically confused, and a financial disaster” (J. Hoberman, Village Voice, November 17, 1975). “'The Birth of a Race' begins with the Kaiser and his counsellors discussing when to open hostilities. A workman, meant, it seems, to represent Christ, breaks in on the meeting and for over an hour relates the history of man since the creation, including such unrelated episodes as the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the Jewish flight from Egypt, the crucifixion, the discovery of America by Columbus. The first part of the movie lacked, in one reviewer’s words, ‘any tangible reason and was about as easy to follow as the dictionary is to read.’ The second part, also over an hour long, is set in the World War I perod and deals in extremely melodramatic fashion with sabotage, suicide, murder, and the divided loyalties of a family of German–Americans” (Daniel J. Leab, From Sambo to Superspade, 1975). [See Seymour Stern’s “Griffith: I — ’The Birth of a Nation’” in Film Culture, No. 36, Spring–Summer 1965, for a thorough and scholarly analysis of this film’s racist theme and impact on the white psyche, nationally and internationally.] See also Thomas Cripps, The Black Film as Genre (1978) and Henry Sampson, Black in Black and White (1977) for in depth analyses of stereotypical depiction of African people in the American film industry.
The Universal Negro Improvement Association (“Conservation” was dropped from the organiza- tion’s title along the way) is incorporated under the laws of New York on July 2. The African Communities League is incorporated as a business corporation. A month or two later the Negro World appears.
The first Pan-African Congress organized by W.E.B. DuBois holds meetings at the Grand Hotel, Paris, February 19–21. DuBois writes in Crisis that . . .
“in Africa the only independent states were the Republic of Liberia, and the King- dom of Abyssinia [Ethiopia] which, according to history, has been independent since the days of Menelek, the reputed son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The number of souls thus under the rule of aliens, in the case of England, France, Germany and Belgium, amounted to more than 110,000,000. During the course of the war Germany lost all four of her African colonies with a population estimated at 13,420,000. It is the question of the reapportionment of this vast number of human beings which has started the Pan–African Movement.”
Dr. Charles Garvin is the first African physician to serve on the staff of any hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. As late as 1930 no hospital would admit Blacks to internships or nurses’ training programs. Jane Edna Hunter has one white physician bluntly tell her that doctors do not employ “nigger” nurses!
Cleveland’s black workers solidly back the Great Steel Strike.
M.O. Seymour publishes the Western Ideal in Pueblo, Colorado.
Frederick M. Roberts, an Ohio Republican, becomes the first African elected to the California legislature. He remains in that body until 1933. Roberts also publishes and edits The New Age, an African newspaper in Los Angeles.
Marcus M. Garvey’s Black Star Line Steamship Corporation is incorporated. In the same year Garvey is shot twice by attempted assassin George Tyler, who dies mysteriously in jail. Between 1919–1929 the UNIA will be instrumental in forming the Black Cross Navigation Co., Ltd. This Coporation over the years of its existence owns five ships: The Frederick Douglass (Yarmouth), the Shady Side, the Antonio Maceo (Kanawha), the Philiss Wheatley and the Booker T. Washington (General Goethals). African people lose $1.25 million in these navigation enterprises because of inexperience and corruption with white connivance. See Tony Martin, Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA (1976).
The Industrial Commercial Union of South Africa (ICU) is founded in Cape Town. At its height it embraces workers nationwide.
The National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) is formed.
The Chicago Whip begins publishing. It expires in 1932.
The Southern Syncopated Orchestra, under the direction of Will Marion Cook, tours Europe.
White residents of Chicago’s Kenwood and Hyde Park districts oppose the African “invasion” of formerly all–white area. See Charles S. Johnson,Backgrounds to Patterns of Negro Segregation (1970), for an itemization of the racist rationalizations used by white Americans in support of the American version of apartheid.
Two African Americans, T.J. Pree and R.T. Sims, a former International Workers of the World (IWW) organizer, form the National Brotherhood of Workers of America. A. Philip Randolph is a member of the board. The AF of L fights the Brotherhood until it is disbanded in 1921.
Billed as another African American answer to D.W. Griffith’s "The Clansman," the film "Injustice" (or "Loyal Hearts") is a commercial failure when it is rejected by white audiences. This five–reel WW I drama stars Sidney Preston Dones and Thais Nehli Kalana, the Red Cross nurse, who, in the film, is attacked by the Germans on a French battle field and is rescued by Dones, her former butler.
The Houston Informer is first published. From 1931–1934 it is known as the Houston Informer and Texas Freeman.
The British Guiana (Guyana) Labor Union is organized by Hubert Critchlow.
Cuba’s African population is 323,118, or 11.1%.
G.H. Wright edits the Register in Hannibal, Missouri.
There are 26 race riots during the “Red Summer” of 1919. A race riot erupts in Longview and Gregg County, Texas, on July 13. Martial Law is declared. Six persons are killed and 150 are wounded in a Washington, DC, riot, on July 19–23. Troops are called out to put down a Chicago race riot which erupts on July 27; fifteen whites and 23 Africans are killed and 537 are injured. Five whites and 25 to 50 Africans are killed in rioting at Elaine, Phillips County, Arkansas on October 1. See Carl Sandburg, The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919 (1919); and William M. Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (1970).
American African schools and churches are burned in Georgia.
A riot erupts in Knoxville, Tennessee where two Africans die and four are critically injured.
A race riot erupts in Omaha, Nebraska where a mob of crazed whites is numbered at several thousands. Military is called in to maintain order.
Seventy thousand South African miners strike against their work status and pig–level existence. The strike is highly disciplined and organized and an alarmed government throws police cordons around each of the compounds, preventing coordination of demands and actions. Troops break through the workers’ barricades with fixed bayonets, killing three and wounding 40. The police and armed white civilians attack a meeting of the striking miners, killing eight and wounding 80.
The NAACP holds a National Anti–Lynching Conference in New York.
Black newspapers are banned by city ordinance in Sommerville, Texas.
After African farmers in Elaine, Arkansas attempt to organize the Progressive Farmers and Household Union to fight against the low prices paid for their cotton, riots break out and over 200 Africans are killed. Seventy–nine Africans are indicted and brought to trial; 12 are sentenced to death. Six of the death sentences, however, are reversed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. See Harold Cruse, Plural but Equal (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1987).
The U.S. Government resorts to a process used earlier in the West Indies and imports 2,500 male Africans from the Caribbean to work as construction laborers in Charleston, South Carolina. Laborers are also imported from the Bahamas to work on the truck farms in Florida. Africans emigrate to U.S. from the Caribbean Islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe over the next 10–year period. Most settle in New York City. (See 1838, 1841, 1843, 1858 and passim.)
The California Voice is published in Oakland.
The federal government creates a town exclusively for African people at Truxton, Virginia. This town is near the Naval Station at Portsmouth where most of the Africans work.
The Kansas City Call is edited by C.A. Franklin.
The International League of Darker People is founded by Madam C.J. Walker at her Villa Lawaro estate in New York.
Nat “King” Cole, recording artist, is born in Chicago. He dies in 1965. Among his most well– known recordings are "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "Mona Lisa," "Nature Boy," "Somewhere Along the Way," and "Pretend."
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson, athlete, is born in Cairo, Georgia and raised in Pasadena, Califor- nia. In 1947, while playing for the “Kansas City Monarchs,” a professional black baseball team, he is signed to play for the “Brooklyn Dodgers,” breaking the racial barriers in white major league baseball. Fritz Pollard becomes the first black professional football player. Ironically Blacks can play pro–football from 1919 to 1933; however, they are excluded from the sport from 1933 to 1946.
The LaFayette Theatre opens in Harlem with E.C. Brown as manager. During this year Lester A. Walton forms a circuit of African theatres.
U.S. population is 105,710,620. The American African population is 10,463,131, 9.9% of the total population. The life expectancy of African males is 45.5 years; African females 45.2. For white males it is 54.4; 55.6 for white females. Fifteen percent of black population is of mixed blood. Eight percent of the North’s African population is illiterate; 60% of the children, however, attend school. Eighty–five percent of African school–aged children in the South attend school for the first time. Twenty–six percent of Southern Blacks are illiterate compared to only 5% illiteracy for Southern whites.
The Detroit Contender is first published.
Of all the girls committed to Ohio’s Girls Industrial School from Cleveland between 1920–1926, 38% are African.
The Michigan State News is published in Grand Rapids.
The first International Convention of Marcus Garvey’s Univer- sal Negro Improvement Association opens in Liberty Hall in Harlem on August 1. The next night Garvey addresses some 25,000 Africans in Madison Square Garden. Garvey’s black nationalist movement reaches the peak of its influence in 1920-21. At this convention the red, black, and green flag is adopted as the official colors of the African race: Red for “the color of the blood which men must shed for their redemption and liberty,” Black for “the color of the noble and distinguished race to which we belong,” and Green for “the luxuriant vegetation of our motherland.” The Afro–American flag is inspired by Garvey’s urge toward Nationhood and the derisive but popular song “Every Race Has A Flag but the ‘Coon,’” which is sung by whites.
The Washington Tribune is published in the District of Columbia.
Walter H. Sammons invents and patents a hot comb for grooming hair.
The section of Harlem bordered approximately by 130th Street on the south, 145th Street on the north, and west of Fifth to Eighth Avenue is predominantly African — and inhabited by 73,000 persons.
William Warfield, baritone, is born in Arkansas. He stars with the New York City Opera Com- pany in 1961 and 1964.
P.R. Jervay publishes the Carolinian in Raleigh.
Between 1890–1920, 2,000,000 Africans in America leave the South; within the ten–year period 1910–1920, more than 330,000 Africans migrate to the North and West from the South. Within this period the population of New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit increases by 750,000.
M.L. Collins edits the Shreveport Sun in Louisiana.
J. Walter Wills establishes himself as Cleveland, Ohio’s leading African undertaker. The “House of Wills” is located on E. 55th Street, between Woodland and Quincy Avenues.
W.E.B. DuBois editorializes in Crisis that a Race War might be inevitable.
Two new “race” papers appear in Cleveland: The Call, founded by Garret A. Morgan, and the Post founded by Norman McGhee and Herbert S. Chauncey. In 1921 the two papers merge to form the Call and Post, edited by William O. Walker. This paper will be the city’s major so-called “race” paper for the next sixty years.
Forty–six point six percent of American Africans are farm laborers.
TheColored American, which expires in 1925, is published in Galveston, Texas.
The first recording of a vocal blues rendition by an African American artist, "Crazy Blues," sung by Mamie Smith, is released in New York City.
Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, first President of FRELIMO, Mozambique’s Liberation Front, and scholar, is born. He is assassinated in 1969.
The Northwest Enterprise is published in Seattle, Washington.
Farm property owned by Africans is valued at $2.25 billion.
Eugene O’Neill’s "Emperor Jones" opens at the Provincetown Theatre in Greenwich Village with Charles Gilpin in the title role.
W.T. Andrews edits the Herald–Commonwealth in Baltimore, Maryland.
Sixty–one American Africans are lynched this year.
A reorganized Ku Klux Klan has over 100,000 members in 27 states.
W.E.B. DuBois publishes his book of poems and essays, Dark Water.
The Gilpin Players is organized in Cleveland and eventually gains national recognition for its excellent productions.
The Supreme Life and Casualty Company is formed to insure African people. It has its headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
James Farmer, founder of the Congress of Racial Equality (C.O.R.E.) is born in Marshall, Texas.
Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, alto-saxophonist, is born in Kansas City, Missouri. He dies in 1955 at age 34..
The Harlem Renaissance begins and lasts until 1930. Many African American intellectuals, however, do not believe this period constituted a true renaissance, for it, for the most part, continues to address African aesthetics to European cultural values. See Harold Cruse, Crisis of the Negro Intellectual (1967), Nathan Huggins, The Harlem Renaissance (1971), Alain Locke, The New Negro (1925) and Margaret Just Butcher, The Negro in American Culture (1956).
Before long Broadway helps to kill the Harlem Theatre Movement by staging musicals written by Africans, e.g., "Shuffle Along," "Goat Alley," "Strut," "Chocolate Dandies," and "Topsy and Eva."
The Colored Players Film Corporation of Philadelphia, produces "Ten Nights in a Barroom," one of the period’s most successful African films.
The National Negro Baseball League is formed.
DuBois’ second Pan–African Congress is held in London, Paris and Brussels. DuBois writes that “This body after careful conference adopted the resolutions concerning legislative reforms, the franchise, administrative changes, a West African University, commercial enterprise, judicial and sanitary programs. [The Congress] also stated their opinion concerning the land question and self–determination . . .”
Sixty–three Africans are lynched; only one lynching occurs in a Northern state, however.
The second UNIA International Convention is held in New York. At this time the UNIA has 859 branches: 418 chartered divisions, 422 not yet chartered, and 19 chapters.
Tulsa, Oklahoma's "Black Wallstreet" is the scene of an African Holocaust that erupts on the evening of May 31 and lasted until the afternoon of June 1, 1921. There are two other versions of this riot . . .
One: “It was rumored that a Negro had attacked a white orphan girl. Of the 31 persons killed, 21 were Negroes, and damage was estimated to exceed $1.5 million. Property damage was largely the result of a fire which destroyed a one–block area in the Negro section and left 3,000 Negroes homeless. . . . Though 75 rioters were arrested for looting. . . . During the . . . investigation an attempt was made to shift the blame to Negroes, but the jury declared that most Negroes were not implicated” (Peter M. Bergman and Mort N. Bergman, The Chronological History of the Negro in America, 1969).
Two: “During one of the worst race riots in American history, Tulsa, Oklahoma became the first U.S. city to be bombed from the air. More than 75 persons — mostly blacks — were killed. . . . Tulsa blacks were so successful that their business district was called ‘The Negro’s Wall Street.’ Envy bred hatred of the blacks. . . . A white female elevator operator accused Dick Rowland, a 19–year–old black who worked at a shoeshine stand, of attacking her. . . . The Tulsa Tribune ran a sensational account of the incident the next day, and a white lynch mob soon gathered at the jail. Armed blacks, seeking to protect Rowland, also showed up. . . . Whites invaded the black district, burning, looting and killing . . . the police commandeered private planes and dropped dynamite. Eventually . . . martial law [was] declared. The police arrested more than 4,000 blacks and interned them in three camps. All blacks were forced to carry green ID cards” (Irving Wallace et al., Significa, 1983).
The first version is very inaccurate in most if not all of its particulars. The second version of this riot is more accurate, but it, too, is wanting. Nevertheless, it is one of the first riot accounts to record an instance of African Americans being placed in detention camps and of a “pass law” being used against African people in the U.S., antedating similar laws enacted by the avowedly racist Republic of South Africa some nine years later.