While underlying causes were competition for jobs and housing, inflamed by prejudice, the trigger for race riots was often a crime ascribed (usually falsely) to the targeted community. The victims were not always African Americans. In New Orleans (1866), eleven Italian migrants were lynched and San Francisco’s Chinese neighbourhoods were burnt in 1877. Post-war demobilization helped to provoke the 1919 ‘Red Summer’, with black soldiers and neighbourhoods the primary targets. The Tulsa Riots (1921) were remarkable for the use of private planes to drop incendiary bombs on the prosperous ‘Negro Wall Street’ of Greenwood. The Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was an important civil rights organization, playng a major role in sit-ins, marches and freedom rides on segregated buses. The ‘Long Hot Summer’ (1967) and assassination of the activist and Baptist minister Martin Luther King (1968) precipitated black-led riots across the country, with infamously brutal suppression in Detroit and Chicago.
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