Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Red Summer

Red Summer

The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America

Cameron McWhirter

St. Martin's Griffin



Trade Paperback

A narrative history of America's deadliest episode of race riots and lynchings

After World War I, black Americans fervently hoped for a new epoch of peace, prosperity, and equality. Black soldiers believed their participation in the fight to make the world safe for democracy finally earned them rights they had been promised since the close of the Civil War.

Instead, an unprecedented wave of anti-black riots and lynchings swept the country for eight months. From April to November of 1919, the racial unrest rolled across the South into the North and the Midwest, even to the nation's capital. Millions of lives were disrupted, and hundreds of lives were lost. Blacks responded by fighting back with an intensity and determination never seen before.

Red Summer is the first narrative history written about this epic encounter. Focusing on the worst riots and lynchings—including those in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Charleston, Omaha and Knoxville—Cameron McWhirter chronicles the mayhem, while also exploring the first stirrings of a civil rights movement that would transform American society forty years later.



Carswell Grove

[T]here has been nobody suffered in this matter like I have. I did not do nothing at all to cause that riot.


April 13, 1919, was perfect for a celebration. As Joe Ruffin set...


In the Press

Read the Kirkus Review of RED SUMMER The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Masterly examination of the widespread outbreak of racially motivated mob violence in the summer of 1919. - Kirkus Reviews

In his study of the bloody summer of 1919, when lynching spread like influenza across the U.S., McWhirter, staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal, focuses most sharply on seven outbreaks of viol - Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Cameron McWhirter

Cameron McWhirter is a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He was awarded a Nieman Foundation Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard in 2007. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Cameron McWhirter

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Griffin

Latest on Facebook