African-American Crime: Cause and Effect Essay

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African American Crime: Cause and Effect
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During the 1900's to the 1930's hundreds of thousands of Blacks moved from the South to the North, a period noted as the urban transformation. Many wanted to escape the atrocities of the South where they were haunted by slavery and hunted by angry ex-slaveholder's. Their expectations of the North were unreal and often too hopeful. They had hoped for jobs in the cities but were greeted by overcrowded slums and angry immigrants. Black people immediately fell victim to race riots. White people joined together in their hatred of blacks. They did not want to lose their jobs to "savages." Immigrants already had low paying jobs and black people would take even lower
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After emancipation not much had changed. The heartless exploitation of their cheap labor kept them in a near slave state with no guarantee for the safety of their families. Blacks, if they could, had moved out of the South in search of jobs. Newspapers urged blacks to flee from the South. The Chicago Defender urged that anywhere was better than the South. Blacks moved in large numbers to the North not expecting the harsh environment. Blacks were greeted with mob violence just as they had encountered in the South however this time they would fight back. "Blacks would no longer tolerate atrocities as they had so often in the South." (James W. Clark The Lineaments of Wrath 203) The riots could last for days as both parties were now fighting. Black people had been through so much and they wanted to stop being afraid. However the violent reactions they had were unleashed on everyone including each other. Even Fredrick Douglass noted that "Everybody in the South wants the privilege of whipping someone else" (Lineaments of Wrath 210) Whipping was a demonstration of punishment during slavery. Since there was no law control for black on black crime they took the liberty to punish each other and felt free to express anger and frustration on other blacks. Black people had a lot of built up and repressed anger after slavery and it came out in the form of violence in the North. Black on black homicide rates were over two times higher than whites. (Lineaments