The present riots are simply part of how the US was built. Even if people despise me for talking about history, I must do this rather than massage group think. Across the river from today’s riots is East St. Louis. That city had a race riot with whites running amok attacking blacks back in 1917. Virtually all the whites running wild were recent immigrants brought in to settle the West and take it away from the natives and to replace former slave labor. Today, the city is one of the worst in the US, like Camden, NJ. The city has many, many homes and businesses empty and abandoned or razed to the ground and continues to slowly die.
The city of East St. Louis was the scene of one of the bloodiest race riots in the 20th century. Racial tensions began to increase in February, 1917 when 470 African American workers were hired to replace white workers who had gone on strike against the Aluminum Ore Company.
This is key to what is happening even today. The ‘white workers’ were all brought in earlier to provide cheaper labor and displace the English/Scottish earlier immigrants who came before the Revolution. Wages fell thanks to this. During WWI, production shot upwards and many whites moved to the cities instead of farming which is what they originally were invited to do.
As wages fell due to incoming populations from farm to city, union organizers tried strikes which usually were suppressed often quite violently by the government at the behest of the business owners. As is usual even today, tribal, religious and ethnic affiliations are very strong and leads to clashes between competing groups. All over the planet we see this and this has been ongoing in the US for hundreds of years. It is nothing new at all. It is the same old same old.
The violence started on May 28th, 1917, shortly after a city council meeting was called. Angry white workers lodged formal complaints against black migrations to the Mayor of East St. Louis. After the meeting had ended, news of an attempted robbery of a white man by an armed black man began to circulate through the city. As a result of this news, white mobs formed and rampaged through downtown, beating all African Americans who were found. The mobs also stopped trolleys and streetcars, pulling black passengers out and beating them on the streets and sidewalks. Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden eventually called in the National Guard to quell the violence, and the mobs slowly dispersed. The May 28th disturbances were only a prelude to the violence that erupted on July 2, 1917.
Virtually all riots begin thanks to often exaggerated or even totally false rumors. Any spark can ignite rage. Just as in racist riots like the Rodney King one in LA, innocent people who are of the wrong tribe or belief are suddenly attacked by enraged mobs and beaten or killed. Businesses that are totally innocent are burned.
After the May 28th riots, little was done to prevent any further problems. No precautions were taken to ensure white job security or to grant union recognition. This further increased the already-high level of hostilities towards African Americans. No reforms were made in police force which did little to quell the violence in May. Governor Lowden ordered the National Guard out of the city on June 10th, leaving residents of East St. Louis in an uneasy state of high racial tension.
On July 2, 1917, the violence resumed. Men, women, and children were beaten and shot to death. Around six o’ clock that evening, white mobs began to set fire to the homes of black residents. Residents had to choose between burning alive in their homes, or run out of the burning houses, only to be met by gunfire. In other parts of the city, white mobs began to lynch African Americans against the backdrop of burning buildings. As darkness came and the National Guard returned, the violence began to wane, but did not come to a complete stop.
Crime rate in East St. Louis, Illinois (IL): In 2010, it peaked at 2552 crimes per 100,000. The national rate is 300 per 100,000.
The first people at St. Louis were the Chockians, a tribe that vanished before the Europeans invaded. Then, it was French until the Napoleonic wars when the US took it over. Part I: Peopling St. Louis
By 1850, 43 percent of all St. Louisans were born in either Ireland or Germany. Irish immigrants often brought limited skill levels, putting them into direct competition with free blacks in cities for lower level jobs. In this case, economics drove politics; Irish immigrants in cities tended to be strongly pro-slavery, out of fear that liberating African-American slaves would create a glut of unskilled labor, driving wages even lower.
Germans arriving after 1850 were usually ardent abolitionists and nationalists. Their political activism made them instrumental in keeping Missouri in the Union during the Civil War. Friedrich Hecker is an example. Fleeing Germany in 1848, Hecker found his way to St. Louis. He became an avid abolitionist, and a colonel in the Union Army. Such was his post-war leadership in the German community that it unveiled a statue of him in 1882, still standing in Benton Park.
A flood of Eastern Europeans mainly from Russia and Poland poured in after the Civil War. They, too, were brought over so that the job market at the bottom would be flooded with cheap labor. Just as a flood of illegal aliens were let into the country by both right wing Republican and liberal Democrats, the end result has been the near total elimination of blacks from the low-skill, low wage jobs.
Couple this with the export of many of our union jobs overseas or to anti-union former Confederate states and we have this floating population of never to be employed black youth with mainly crime and drug dealing as their main option for employment. This, in turn, has degraded the black population in many ways especially with the collapse of the married family with a stable male father figure.
This man was raked over the coals for daring to talk about the disintegration of black families: The Moynihan Report (1965) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed
In the decade that began with the school desegregation decision of the Supreme Court, and ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the demand of Negro Americans for full recognition of their civil rights was finally met.
The effort, no matter how savage and brutal, of some State and local governments to thwart the exercise of those rights is doomed. The nation will not put up with it — least of all the Negroes. The present moment will pass. In the meantime, a new period is beginning.
In this new period the expectations of the Negro Americans will go beyond civil rights. Being Americans, they will now expect that in the near future equal opportunities for them as a group will produce roughly equal results, as compared with other groups. This is not going to happen. Nor will it happen for generations to come unless a new and special effort is made.
There are two reasons. First, the racist virus in the American blood stream still afflicts us: Negroes will encounter serious personal prejudice for at least another generation. Second, three centuries of sometimes unimaginable mistreatment have taken their toll on the Negro people.
The harsh fact is that as a group, at the present time, in terms of ability to win out in the competitions of American life, they are not equal to most of those groups with which they will be competing. Individually, Negro Americans reach the highest peaks of achievement. But collectively, in the spectrum of American ethnic and religious and regional groups, where some get plenty and some get none, where some send eighty percent of their children to college and others pull them out of school at the 8th grade, Negroes are among the weakest.
The most difficult fact for white Americans to understand is that in these terms the circumstances of the Negro American community in recent years has probably been getting worse, not better.
Indices of dollars of income, standards of living, and years of education deceive. The gap between the Negro and most other groups in American society is widening.
The fundamental problem, in which this is most clearly the case, is that of family structure. The evidence — not final, but powerfully persuasive — is that the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle-class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated.
There are indications that the situation may have been arrested in the past few years, but the general post-war trend is unmistakable. So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself.
The riots today illustrate how little things have changed as the lower classes clash over a declining job/life situation. The Brown family, for example, is nearly entirely females, there is no angry father showing up at press conferences. Trayvon, for example, did have an angry father but he was only visiting his father after his mother kicked him out of the house and yes, he came from a broken home and it wasn’t as poor as Brown’s family but still showed the clear difficulties of raising black males in a world where they know nearly for certain, getting a job without a college degree is very difficult.
And for both blacks and whites, things have been steadily deteriorating in the last 50 years. Our industrial system and businesses increasingly rely on cheap illegal foreign labor or literally overseas labor. Rendering both black and white underclass people useless. Back in 1964, 36% of black children were living in ‘broken homes’. 25% of births were to single mothers. 50% of black children reached age 18 with a broken home by that age. Single home families were much more prevalent in cities than in the countryside. That is, black farmers and such were much more likely to have a stable family. II. Overview | Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends …
The collapse in marriage is across the board only worse for blacks. The Hispanics who are allowed to come in illegally also face collapsing marriages. Note how equal numbers of Hispanics were married in 1960 and now it is lower than white marriages. Marriage in America: The fraying knot | The Economist
40% of all children today are born out of wedlock. Thomas Sowell is a conservative black sociologist who was raked over the coals, like Moynihan, for pointing out the obvious when he did a study showing that the Great Society welfare expansion was the #1 cause of black family disintegration and rise in fatherless families. But this doesn’t explain how the family is continuing to disintegrate.
The chief cause of this continuing and accelerating for ALL races is the rise in debt carried by young people thanks to the onerous cost of ‘college’ in order to get a job, meaning they can’t start a family until much later than previous generations, and the destruction of our industrial base thanks to free trade and destruction of unions thanks to the GOP efforts starting with Reagan.
The alienation of all males from women and children is a disaster. And when men age, the lack of a companion is deadly because women are still the primary providers of domestic healthcare. If the riots today were to lead to real reforms, I would be very happy. I wish my own son wasn’t paying off college loans, too. It is quite depressing.