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Racial Relations in the 1920s


Zach Deshazo

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Racial Relations in the 1920s

Racial Relations in the 1920s Throughout the Jazz Age, the fight on segregation and equality for all races had not yet been fought. Whites were still under the impression that they were the superior race. It was what the Whites had been taught from their ancestors; it wasn't a belief, it was a fact. The Great Gatsby addressing racial relations Tom Buchanan, friend and colleague of Nick Carroway, the narrator, believes that "It's up to us, who are the dominant race, to watch out or these other races will have control of things" (Fitzgerald 17). Whites and Blacks were still not considered equal. Whites continued to call them racial slurs without giving it a second thought. The morals of the Civil War Era were still apparent in the 1920s with Whites still not considering other races, especially African Americans, a part of society. In the late 1920s, tolerance for other races started to develop with Blacks and Whites appearing in entertainment together. The 1920s were a time of movement for many blacks. Many of them moved North in search for a new beginning and a new start on life after what they have suffered in the Civil and pre-Civil War era. Unfortunately, the 1920s were also a time for many whites to join the Ku Klux Klan, its highest point in history. Blacks weren't the only minority group discriminated against in the time leading up to the 1920s, homosexuals as well as women were not given equal rights and opportunities opposed to their counterparts. During the 1920s, a multitude of lynchings took place. It wasn't uncommon in the South. There were also many riots regarding race; for example, The Tulsa Riot, which took place soon after World War I, involved adult white males burning and destroying black neighborhoods. The 1920s was a time of many immigrants migrating to America, especially New York, where The Great Gatsby takes place. Because there were so many immigrants, America's morale toward them was low because they took so many jobs. Many Japanese/Chinese immigrants went to the West Coast; they were also discriminated against because of overpopulation. In this time period, many Americans weren't adjusted to other races coming into their country. Jim Crow laws were still being issued in the South for the majority of African Americans, and poll taxes and literary tests were still given to them. The majority of towns and cities across the US segregated blacks and whites, for example having blacks and whites use different restrooms and blacks not being able to live in predominantly white neighborhoods. African Americans lived in constant fear of being attacked, prejudiced against, and killed, making it difficult for them to live their daily lives. World War I changed the American public's opinion about foreigners; most were frightened by them while the other portion discriminated against them. With Gatsby taking place in the 1920s, hatred for other races was apparent and could be seen in the dialogue of , for example Tom Buchanan making a remark about how whites were the dominant race. Sources Wadelington, Flora. "Segregation in the 1920s." Ncpedia. (2004): n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2012.
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