During the turn of the 20th century, social and economical conditions made seem as if blacks would never gain a decent foothold in American society. Race riots before the 1960s primarily took the form of white supremacists rebelling against blacks trying to survive the tumultuous conditions of the time. Minor violent clashes against blacks were commonplace; lynching was still a routine practice in the early 20th century. While most famous riots stemmed from alleged criminal activity, it certainly did not take much to spark all-out war between white and black communities. One of Chicago's most famous riots started in 1919 when an African American teenager was drowned for crossing the invisible threshold that separated the "white" beach from the "black" beach. What followed was seven days of shootings, arsons, and beatings that left 15 whites and 23 blacks dead and 537 injured. As a result of post-WWII housing projects and developments, whites gathered in the thousands to protest African American professionals seeking improved housing beyond the reaches of the ghetto. White race riots against African Americans even spilled over into the early 1960s, when Southern segregationalists rioted after a black student, James Meredith, was admitted at the University of Mississippi in 1962. By the year of 1964, blacks had seen generations of unrelenting hatred from whites, but the outset of the Civil Rights Movement encouraged blacks to take drastic steps in order to fight back.
1919 Omaha Race Riot. A crowd stands around the burning corpse of Will Brown, who was accused of assaulting a white woman
1921 Black Wall Street Riot. A dead black man is put on display for everyone to see