Intolerance in the USA in the
1920’s
During the 1920’s in the USA there was an intolerance crisis. Racist
groups or discriminating acts developed towards three specific groups:
•Black People
•Indians (Native Americans)
•Immigrants
Black People
During the 1920 intolerance towards black people reached a high point and lots of racist communities or
associations such as the KKK (Ku Klux Klan) started to appear. These organizations’ main aims were:
•
To kill as many black people as they could so that there would be less.
•
To frighten black people so that they left America.
•
To ruin black peoples life.
The most popular of these organizations was the KKK. The KKK was a neo-nazi organization against black
people that had estate structure and registered membership and by the end of the 20’s had over 5 million
members. The members of the KKK wore white costumes that looked like ghosts. They covered their face
and body so that they wouldn't be recognized.
During these years of absolute racism black people were totally discriminated against and their basic
rights were denied. For example, black people weren't able to stay in places where white people were, it
was forbidden to them to have a decent education or medical service, also black people were forced to
live in swamps or in the woods because they were not safe in the cities. That was not the end the
“WHITES” had a special name for black people, they called them “negroes”, “niggers” and “nigga”.
Nowadays these words are forbidden by the law but back them it was very common to hear them.
There were some places in the US where discrimination was not illegal but black people were safe there
and were able to find jobs, for example, Washington but there were some states where black people dying
was not news anymore and in these places the groups like the KKK murdered black people almost as a
sport and they were never arrested, Georgia was one of those states and also Alabama, there an
estimated amount that over 100,000 black civilians were murdered in these states just in the first 2 years.
This is the KKK’s symbol
KKK member doing the Nazi salute, wearing his
costume with the typical burning cross behind.
Native Americans
During the 1920’s there was a wave of discrimination towards Native Americans because
the government wanted to adapt them to the new American society and also wanted their
territory. This was noticeable in the statistics because the amount of Native Americans
decreased from 1.500.000 to 250.000 in the 1920’s. The surviving Natives were sent to
reservations or refugee camps.
In the Census of 1920 the government realized that most N.A. lived in extreme poverty,
had the worse health and the lowest salaries. They were extremely discriminated against by
the government because they gave permission to mining companies to take huge extensions
of land and their kids were sent to special boarding schools. These schools’ objectives were
to crush and destroy the native Americans beliefs, traditions and languages, basically,
destroy their culture.
During the 1920’s one of the most significant successes if not the only one the Native
Americans were granted the US citizenship, although, this didn’t end at all the discrimination
as they were given the name “The Vanishing Americans”.
One of the tribes that fought the most against discrimination and one of the most
popular was and still is the “Cherokee”.
Here we can see a map with the different Indian Tribes.
A typical Native American cacique or
chief.
Immigrants
In the 1920s America was mostly formed by immigrants or descendant of immigrants
(this is why USA was called the “melting pot”) and this was because after the war
lots of people wanted to flee from poverty. People from Italy, Germany, G. Britain
and France who had lost their belongings in the war and wanted to make some
money travelled to USA. Not every immigrant wanted to stay in the USA forever,
they wanted to make some money and return to their country.
During the 20s there was a strong feeling called the Red Scare that was the fear of the
government and citizens towards immigrants from the newly formed Communist
Russia and their Bolshevik and Radical ideas. During the 20s some people went on
strike when they “confirmed” this fear of Communist interference.
In 1924 the government stepped up in the whole immigration topic and introduced a
system that ensured the largest proportion of immigrants and limited the
ammount of immigration from Europe. This system succeeded and by 1929 the
immigration had decreased from over a 1.000.000 per year to 150.000.
Immigrants sleeping on a boat
waiting to arrive to America.
Italian immigrants arriving on a
boat.
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Intolerance in the USA in the 1920’s