Advertisements
News Ticker

Day 18: Longview was the site of one of many race riots happening across the country during ‘Red Summer’

28 Days of Black History

Longview Race Riot, photograph, 1919; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth403366/m1/1/: accessed February 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Longview Public Library.

Longview Race Riot, photograph, 1919; A collection of guns as required by Texas officials while the city was under martial law. University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Longview Public Library.

By Coshandra Dillard

From May through October of 1919, what is now known as Red Summer, cities and some rural towns across the country experienced a violent rash of race riots resulting in hundreds of deaths.  This included Longview.

Like in the Slocum Massacre, the riots stemmed from attacks on African American communities by white mobs, primarily due to racial resentment and/or in response to rumors of assaults being planned by black men.

The most notable violence happened in Chicago, Washington D.C. and in Elaine, Ark. , where black residents fought back, resulting in the deaths of white citizens as well.

Longview was a cotton and lumbering community with  a population of about 5,700 at the time. Nearly one-third of the population was black.

According to “Race and Racism in the United States: An Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic,” racial tension was already high because prominent black leaders, Samuel L. Jones and Dr. Calvin P. Davis, urged black farmers to avoid local white cotton brokers and instead sell directly to buyers in Galveston.

In addition, an article in the July 10 issue of the Chicago Defender, described the death of  Lemuel Walters, of Longview, who had been in an interracial relationship with a white woman.

 Jones, taught school in Longview and was a correspondent for The Chicago Defender. He was beaten by two white men on Thursday, July 10 because of the article. Tempers flared among both white and black residents and later that night, a group of 12 to 15 white men drove to Jones’s house, where they were met by gunfire. The white men recruited more men, retrieved guns and ammunition, and set off a riot.

A clipping from an unknown newspaper detailing the violence in Longview during “Red Summer.”

By that Friday morning, County Judge E. M. Bramlette and Sheriff D. S. Meredith called Gov. William P. Hobby, who ordered Texas Rangers to go to Longview and placed Texas National Guard units in East Texas on alert.

According to The East Texas Historical Journal, Rangers arrested 17  white men on attempted murder charges; and each was released on $1,000 bond. Nine white men were also charged with arson. As for the 21 black men involved, they were arrested, charged, and sent to Austin temporarily for their own safety.
No one — white or black — were ever tried. Tensions finally subsided by July 18, 1919,  and the governor ended the martial law order.

 

Advertisements

1 Comment on Day 18: Longview was the site of one of many race riots happening across the country during ‘Red Summer’

  1. Great article! I just posted about Red Summer this week too!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s