Sunday, July 03, 2022

Toni Morrison's "Jazz", the 1917 East St. Louis riots, and the Silent Parade in New York City

In Toni Morrison's "Jazz" (1992), Alice Manfred holds her niece Dorcas's hand and watches the march commemorating the Black victims of the riots in East St. Louis, Illinois, from 1-3 July 1917: "Alice thought the lowdown music (and in Illinois it was worse than here) had something to do with the silent Black women and men marching down Fifth Avenue to advertise their anger over two hundred dead in East St. Louis, two of whom were her sister and brother-in-iaw, killed in the riots." This Silent Parade of eight to fifteen thousand people, organized by the Harlem chapter of the NAACP, took place in New York City on 28 July 1917. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 3 July 2022)

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