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Description

For African Americans, World War I highlighted the widening gap between U.S. rhetoric regarding "the war to make the world safe for democracy" and the reality of disenfranchised and exploited black farmers in the South or the poor and alienated residents of the Northern slums.
Despite the bravery and sacrifice of soldiers like the Harlem Hellfighters the belief of intellectuals like W E B DuBois that participating in the war would lead to equality at home was soon shown to be flawed. As African Americans realized that President Wilson’s notion of “democracy” did not extend to them, they evolved a collective will to fight back against mob violence rather than turn the other cheek.
The racism and violence experienced by black people led veterans in northern cities to create defence groups and even to place snipers on rooftops. After this there was no turning back to the days of sullen acceptance and violence that was never likely to lead to court action, let alone sentence for racists. 1919 saw a resurgence of the KKK and those like it but it also led to an undercurrent that may have led to the Black panther movement.

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