Read Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement by Harper Barnes Online


The dramatic and first popular account of one of the deadliest racial confrontations in the 20th century—in East St. Louis in the summer of 1917—which paved the way for the civil rights movement.In the 1910s, half a million African Americans moved from the impoverished rural South to booming industrial cities of the North in search of jobs and freedom from Jim Crow laws. BThe dramatic and first popular account of one of the deadliest racial confrontations in the 20th century—in East St. Louis in the summer of 1917—which paved the way for the civil rights movement.In the 1910s, half a million African Americans moved from the impoverished rural South to booming industrial cities of the North in search of jobs and freedom from Jim Crow laws. But Northern whites responded with rage, attacking blacks in the streets and laying waste to black neighborhoods in a horrific series of deadly race riots that broke out in dozens of cities across the nation, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Tulsa, Houston, and Washington, D.C. In East St. Louis, Illinois, corrupt city officials and industrialists had openly courted Southern blacks, luring them North to replace striking white laborers. This tinderbox erupted on July 2, 1917 into what would become one of the bloodiest American riots of the World War era. Its impact was enormous. "There has never been a time when the riot was not alive in the oral tradition," remarks Professor Eugene Redmond. Indeed, prominent blacks like W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Josephine Baker were forever influenced by it.Celebrated St. Louis journalist Harper Barnes has written the first full account of this dramatic turning point in American history, decisively placing it in the continuum of racial tensions flowing from Reconstruction and as a catalyst of civil rights action in the decades to come. Drawing from accounts and sources never before utilized, Harper Barnes has crafted a compelling and definitive story that enshrines the riot as an historical rallying cry for all who deplore racial violence....

Title : Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780802715753
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Never Been a Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked the Civil Rights Movement Reviews

  • KathyPetersen
    2019-05-16 12:54

    I live in a city that is burdened with a past, and a present, of racial prejudice if not all-out hatred. Across the river from me is East St. Louis, the site of the race riot Harper Barnes describes in specific detail with numerous stories of the people involved. He begins with a capsule but thorough history of racial conflicts in the United States, including that inhuman practice called lynching, and eloquently discussses the East St. Louis milieu before settling on the days of the 1917 riot in the town that still bears the scars of that period. Saying "I really liked this book" is somewhat akin to I really enjoyed, say, a particularly realistic production of Medea. But it's true. Never Been a Time is researched and written very well, and it's a story many local African Americans have grown up with for nearly a century. It's a story that we white folks should take as our own, not to flay ourselves for our guilt in whatever degree, but to understand that we were part of it and to consider how to see that such events cease -- even though since 1917 all too many events bear an unhealthy resemblance.

  • John
    2019-05-05 12:52

    Harper Barnes revisits one of the most tragic events in American history, the East St. Louis Race Riot of 1917. The first part of the book reviews many of the earlier race riots and the Jim Crow era of American history and then recounts the events of May and July of 1917 in East St. Louis. I found the book disturbing because it is difficult for me to understand the deep seated racial violence perpetrated upon innocent people simply because of their color. What happened in East St. Louis is no different than what Hitler and his cronies did to the Jewish culture. I am not sure I would go so far as to imply that the event made the civil rights movement.

  • Helena Prophete
    2019-05-22 05:37

    Book Journeys. I had never heard of the 1917 race riot in East St. Louis until a customer suggested it for our library book discussion. This book has helped me understand that the Civil Rights movement didn't just occur in the 1960's. I highly recommend it as a must read.

  • Jay Babcock
    2019-05-03 12:29

    Easily the best nonfiction book I read this year. Great research, including interviews with witnesses who were children at the time of the riot, as well as content from congressional hearings from 1917 that somehow no other writer sought out. The historical context is a bracing correction to the sanitized American history of my public high school education, and a sobering mirror image to contemporary politics and social issues. Most of all, the quality of the narrative, weaving together multiple eyewitness accounts, conveys the scale, rhythm, and sheer horror of the events of those days, to provide a captivating story that I can't help sharing with every reader I talk to. Should be required reading. My only complaint is with the subtitle: numerous similar riots, as well as a legion of other appalling historical conditions (generously recounted in Mr. Barnes's history), surely all contributed to the Civil Rights movement.

  • Antona
    2019-05-05 08:52

    I read this in advance of the 100th Anniversary of this travesty against humanity. It was written with a journalists voice for investigating what happened and with the storyteller's pen to imaging the sights, sounds, and sorrows of the tragic event sparked by the same racial, economic, and propagandized fear America is confronting now with the election of the 45th President.

  • Mona B-j
    2019-05-15 07:30

    Great historical read about my hometown...East St. Louis, Illinois

  • Frank
    2019-05-11 10:46

    Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian is famous for its gory descriptions of massacres. Disturbing as I found that book, however, I found Harper Barnes's account of the East St. Louis riot even more so. Maybe because it happened right across the river, in a town that I've heard about all my life but never been to because the interstate skirts it by design, and because its reputation forbids sightseeing. Barnes narrates the riot, which he notes is more properly described as a massacre, in the central chapters of this book. Working from the transcripts of Congressional hearings, he tells the story through an array of eyewitnesses. I found these chapters nauseating; they weighed on my spirit with a kind of diffuse pain. I doubt I'll ever forget the stories of blacks being pulled from streetcars and killed, or of the young boy whose beaten body was thrown back into a burning building by a mob of whites.On either side of this central horrifying narrative, Barnes provides concise historical context. As prologue to the riot, the "Redemption" in the South as whites reinstated brutal inequality, the Great Migration to the North of blacks in search of work and better treatment, and their exploitation as strikebreakers against unions they weren't allowed to join. As a consequence of the riot, the galvanization of the NAACP and other civil rights groups, and the radicalization of W. E. B. Du Bois in response to the wave of violence epitomized by the East St. Louis riot.It's a fine book, hard to read in many ways, but important for all Americans, and especially for St. Louisans.

  • Kristi Isaacs
    2019-05-13 09:36

    The purpose of Harper Barnes writing the book Never Been A Time is to give the historical events of the 1917 riots. The book tells about black people-moving north looking for work. They moved to many cities in the North including, Cincinnati, Boston, New York and smaller cities and towns, including East St. Louis where the July 2, 1917 riot occurred. This was the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. With the moves to the North this meant that the black people were competing for the jobs of the whites. The white people rioted against the blacks. Black’s were blamed for all the cities problems and troubles in East St. Louis. During the summer of 1917 there were many attacks and mobs in the streets against the blacks. This led to an all out riot on July 2,1917. This book was written in third person point of view. The theme of the book was how destructive and devastating racial riots can be and the leading to the Civil Rights Movement. The book was written in a description style of writing. Never Been a Time was not my favorite. It didn’t hold my attention or have any suspense to it to keep me wanting to see what was going to happen. There were some interesting facts about the history of the 1917 riots. I am grateful that our country has moved past the rioting times such as these.

  • Sheila
    2019-05-04 05:28

    I was the third generation of my family born in East St. Louis, Illinois, so this book held special meaning and history for me. I've tried to read a few other books dealing with the especially significant and horrific 1917 race riot in Illinois, but this one is the best - it locates the riot in history and geography and socio political relations, such as the bosses' recruitment of African-Americans to the City in order to increase the labor pool and reduce wages and their use of African-Americans as scabs, in order to divide the labor movement. Fabulous account of an interesting historical time in general and horrific riot.

  • Jaki Hill
    2019-05-17 12:52

    The book "Never Been a Time" was a very good book to read. It gave me a history of what happened in East Saint Louis in the early 1900's with all of the racism and violence. It told the horrible accounts of the people who lived in East Saint Louis and the troubles they had to go throught. The only downside I have to this book is that it gave to much details for me to read, and made me lose intrest fast. Overall the book was a great read!

  • John
    2019-05-24 04:45

    An important book for St. Louis Metro East residents who would like to understand the social history that shapes our region. Like most historical dramas, there are villains and heroes; unfortunately, in this tale, the villains far outnumber the heroes. Careful: it’s a difficult and disturbing read.

  • Jason S
    2019-05-08 11:48

    Interesting book about the 1917 East St. Louis race riots. The claim in the title to be what "sparked the civil rights movement" is quite a bit exaggerated, and the book does not talk about this very much at all

  • Michael Hicks
    2019-05-19 12:26

    Learn some TRUTH!!!

  • Rachel
    2019-05-17 09:54

    An excellent chronicle of the building racial tension in East St. Louis and the resulting riot and aftermath. This is also a great book for anyone interested in St. Louis history.