In 1915 the president, Woodrow Wilson, screened the movie Birth of a Nation at the White House – a film that depicts Black men as brutal people who desire white women. Meanwhile white supremacist groups were writing school curriculums and news media were painting Black men as animalistic beings who attacked white women. This set the scene for a week of racial violence targeting Black Americans in 1919, during which two American cities were left in chaos. In Chicago it started with a Black man drowning after white people throw stones at him at a beach for infringing on their space. It led to a confrontation between Black and white citizens, and escalated into white mobs going into Black communities to burn down homes and kill Black people. In Washington DC it started with a minor argument that turned into rape allegations against two Black men, which prompted white mobs to attack Black people in restaurants, trolleys and in their communities. Dozens of Black people were killed during these riots, and few were held accountable.
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