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HST 102 paper2 - Evan Price HST 102 paper 2 Detroits Most...

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Evan Price 4/12/11 HST 102 paper 2 Detroit’s Most Tragic Event Imagine that you lived in a community where your fellow residences are predominantly of the same race as you. Imagine that you lived in this community your whole life and then in the span of about eighteen months, there is a drastic increase in people that are not of the same race as you. This might be hard to imagine if you grew up in a community where there is an evenly mix of ethnicities. However, in the early to mid twentieth century, most neighborhoods were not racially mixed. Prior to the 1940s, there was a high white and African American population in Detroit, Michigan. However, both races were very segregated so there were very limited racial issues in the city. It was not until post-Pearl Harbor when racial problems erupted in Detroit. The United States officially entered World War II in 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. In the eighteen months following this event, the population in Detroit increased by three hundred and fifty thousand. Fifty thousand of these people were African Americans. The drastic increase of African American presence in Detroit in the early 1940s led to the Detroit Race Riot of 1943. It was in the midst of World War II when the motives and attitudes of Americans were very contradicting due to high racial tension that was the result of booming industries and low unemployment following the great depression. Many Historians believe that World War II was a major factor in pulling the United States out of the Great Depression. World War II led to a booming economy in the United States. The United States military was in high demand of weapons and war supplies in which led to industrialization. Detroit, Michigan was and still is home to many industries that were in high demand of employment in the early 1940s. As a result,
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three hundred and fifty thousand people moved up from the southern United States and other parts of the country to Detroit looking for employment. Fifty thousand of these people were African Americans. By June of 1943, the number of African Americans in Detroit was at an overwhelming two hundred and ten thousand. As said in the setting of History “From the Bottom Up” The Detroit Race Riot of 1943 by John Hollitz, “In 1943, more than 200 riots and racial conflicts had erupted across the country” (Hollitz 193). Hollitz describes the riots in Los Angeles, Mobile, Alabama, Beaumont, Texas, and New York City as events that have left a few people dead, several arrested, hundreds injured, and millions of dollars in damages. Hollitz then goes on to explain that “Before 1943, however, many observers had predicted that the greatest racial strife would be in Detroit.
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