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Black 1919Riots, Racism and Resistance in Imperial Britain$
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Jacqueline Jenkinson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781846312007

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846315138

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The wider context of the seaport riots

The wider context of the seaport riots

(p.38) Chapter 1 The wider context of the seaport riots
Black 1919
Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the inter-locking causes of the seaport riots. These included the high level of post-war unemployment in the merchant navy and the tension caused in overcrowded ports by the arrival of increased numbers of black people to work and settle. The social dislocation produced by the end of the war and the problems created by four and half years of conflict are also evaluated. In 1919, rioting in the ports constituted a wider part of dissent and violence among sections of the working class left disenchanted by their peacetime prospects. The National Seamen's and Firemen's Union (NSFU) was the oldest and largest seamen's union and traditionally adopted an ambivalent stance to the presence of sailors from overseas on British ships. The compliant behaviour of the NSFU left many merchant sailors feeling powerless. Furthermore, colonial workers in France were involved in riots.

Keywords:   seaport riots, post-war unemployment, merchant navy, 1919, violence, NFSU, British ships, France

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