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6 Instances When Whites Took to Rioting, Leading to Death, Despair, Destruction



Atlanta Race Riot, 1906

The Atlanta race riot took place Sept. 22-24, 1906. The Georgia city had become a hub for the regional economy. The growth of the Black population reflected this economic opportunity, growing from 9,000 in 1880 to 35,000 by 1900. This growth pitted Blacks and whites against each other, competing for scarce jobs.

As the Black elite class began to grow, whites attempted to thwart their progress, blaming Blacks for increased violence against white women and rising crime rates. The riot began Sept. 22 when Atlanta newspapers reported four alleged assaults on local white women. A mob formed on Decatur Street, home to many Black businesses, and initiated an attack on hundreds of Blacks. The state militia controlled the mob after Blacks were driven off the streets by the violence.

Police reported an estimated 25 to 40 African-Americans and two whites died. Blacks and their businesses were driven to the eastern part of the city. The Ku Klux Klan made its return to Atlanta shortly after the riot with a membership of more than 15,000 in the city.

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