Sandburg, Carl, The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919, Harcourt, Brace and Howe, Inc., New York, 1969, 1919; RENEWED 1947 BY CARL SANDBURG. Preface 1969 by Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

pp. ix - xvii, Ralph McGill, "Preface - 1969",

pp. xix - xxi, Walter Lippmann, "1919- Introductory Note"

pp. 3 - 82, "The Chicago Race Riots, July, 1919"


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THE demand for colored workers took a slump when the armistice was signed. And the slump went on till April. Then things began to look up. Now there has come a strong movement toward the conditions that held good while the war was on.

At the office of the Chicago Urban league, 3032 South Wabash avenue, where a branch of the United States Employment service is maintained, the office force was finding work for 1,700 to 1,800 men and women each month before the armistice was signed. This figure dropped to 500 in April. In the week ended June 14, Secretary T. Arnold Hill, colored man and graduate of New York university, reports 249 men and thirty-four women, a total of 283, placed. He comments:

"At this rate we should place 1,132 persons a month, as compared with 500 or 600 during the three months period previous."

The following is a specimen of the demand for colored workers on one day in June: Quartermaster's corps, U.S.A., twenty-five men at 45 cents an hour; National Malleable Casting Company, twenty men at 40 cents an hour; South-eastern Coal Company, forty

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men at piece rates; C., B. & Q. railroad company, ten men at 45 cents an hour; Camp Custer, two hundred men at 45 cents an hour; railroad workers for the state of Washington, fifty men at 45 cents an hour; Turbell Ice Cream company, four men at $19 a week.

A bulletin of the office for June 25 states:

"Unskilled work is plentiful. Jobs in foundries and steel mills, in building and construction work, in light factories and packing houses, keep up a steady demand for semi-skilled laborers."

During 1918 there was a total of 30,000 applications for jobs, and 10,000 persons were placed.

It is believed a record somewhat like this will be maintained again this year; that is, a steady influx of colored population, almost entirely from southern states, will keep on coming and will be absorbed by northern industry. The amount of this influx will not be as large as in the last year or two, but it is expected to be steady. It will have the same steady flow, according to men closely in touch with it, as the stream of immigration from Europe that kept coming to America's shores with such periodic certainty before the war.

Among large employing interests as well as in both white and colored labor circles the expectation is that the northern labor supply will be constantly replenished from the south. The reasons for this are found in conditions described by the immigration and inspection service of the department of labor in a report not as yet made public. From Dr. George Edwin Haynes, a

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colored man who took a master's degree at Yale and Ph.D. at Columbia, and who is a director of negro economics in the department of labor, comes an advance report on these conditions, as follows:

"Among alien residents in our country large numbers intend to return to their native land. The principal cause is a desire to learn what has befallen their families. Many aliens told investigators they had not heard from their families in four years; that they had sent money home, but had no means of knowing whether it was received or not. Another cause is a desire to as-certain and settle estates of relatives killed during the war.

"Unemployment is still severe in some sections and there is also a desire on the part of many foreigners to return to the land just freed from German or Austrian domination in the belief that opportunities will be better in the new democracies than in the United States.

"In many cities investigation shows that fully 50 per cent of the aliens intend to go back to Europe. A large number of these expect eventually to return to the United States, but many say they will not come back. The clergyman of one foreign church with 1,600 parishioners expects not more than 100 will remain in this county. In an Indiana city with a large Romanian population, from 40 to 50 per cent want to return to their homeland, Transylvania. Few Poles in the same city expect to return, but 150 of the 600 Serbians wish

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to go, and it was said that if unemployment became more serious, this number would be increased.

"An investigation by a steel plant showed that 66 per cent of its alien help were married and 64 per cent of them had dependants in the old country. In this plant 61 per cent of all the aliens declared their intention to return to Europe, and of this number 91 per cent said they were going to stay, while only 9 per cent were planning to return to America after their European visit.

"A prominent Hungarian of Chicago estimated that 30,000 unnaturalized Austro-Hungarians live in this city and that 50 per cent would go back to Europe. Out of a Polish population of 15,000, there were 6,000 expected to return. Among Lithuanians there is a strong feeling that if Lithuania becomes independent there will be a large movement back to that country. These figures gathered by the investigation and inspection service of the department of labor show conclusively that large numbers of aliens will leave never to return."

With America helping to rebuild Europe and feed its people, business expansion is a certainty, Dr. Haynes predicts, at the same time asking, "where is the labor coming from to take the place of the labor that is gone never to return?" Replying, he says: "It isn't coming from China. Somebody has suggested that we bring over 1,000,000 Chinese coolies. Unless we change the laws we passed in the last twenty years, we can't do that. It is not coming from Japan because the Pacific

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coast states are going to raise such a howl that we cannot change the laws. Furthermore it looks as though we are going to have restriction on immigration from the European countries. So we may get a few Hawaiians, Filipinos, West Indians, but they are colored people. The only great source from which we can develop a new power of labor that is as yet undeveloped, is from the great mass of 12,000,000 negro workers.

All we are waiting for is the open gate so we may enter into the industrial and agricultural opportunities on the same terms as other workers. That day has arrived. When orders come from France and Belgium and central Europe and South America and Africa to the American factories, it doesn't matter an iota what color the skin of the man whose hand or brain produces that product. The manufacturer is getting more and more to realize that when the pressure comes, as it came during the war, if he can get the labor he doesn't see any color mark on the bank check or the draft that he gets in payment for his goods. Most of this thing we call a race question is down at rock bottom a labor question.

When the colored man can come into the labor market and bargain for the sale of his services on the same terms as other workers, a great deal of what is termed to-day the 'race question' is going to be settled."

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