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The Global Challenge of Peace1919 as a Contested Threshold to a New World Order$
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Matt Perry

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781800857193

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781800857193.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Black and the Red

The Black and the Red

The Elaine, Arkansas, Massacre of 1919

(p.23) 1 The Black and the Red
The Global Challenge of Peace

Tyler Stovall

Liverpool University Press

In the fall of 1919 black sharecroppers in Elaine Arkansas attempted to organize a union to fight for better conditions. The local white population responded with a massacre, killing at least one hundred blacks, and more likely 200-250. The Elaine Arkansas massacre thus stands out as one of the worst instances of racial violence against blacks in American history. This essay considers the Elaine massacre in the context of the broader global history of race and working-class insurgency in 1919, exploring how it relates to the three themes of labor militancy, race riots, and colonial uprisings. It argues that the massacre was both the repression of a union movement and at the same time a racial pogrom, and looks at the ways in which these two different but related characteristics interacted both at the time and in our conceptualizations of the event ever since. Finally, it asks the question: how does the intersection of race and class in Elaine shape our understanding of the revolutionary nature of 1919 in general? Elaine Arkansas in 1919 was a small, rural town far removed from the dramas of Paris and Petrograd, but its terrible history nonetheless has much to teach us about the events of that momentous year.

Keywords:   Racial violence, Labour, Trade unions, Black, White, Sharecroppers, W.E.B. Dubois, Eliane, Arkansas, 1919, Red summer

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