Summer 1919 & Summer 2020

A Red Hot Pairing

Written by the Dávila Kafe Team

Below is a read drafted to pair with your favorite Dávila Kafe roast or blend. If you're not sure which one to pair it with, we recommend our limited edition "Summer 8:46." Enjoy the read!

The summer of 1919, which would later be coined the “Red Summer” by James Weldon Johnson to reference the bloodshed in American communities has a lot to teach us about just how precedented the days we’re living in are despite some important distinctions. In 1919, communities across the United States were reeling from the twin pandemics of racial violence against Black Americans and the third wave of the Spanish flu, which infected 500 million people–about a third of the world’s population–in a total of four successive waves resulting in 50 million deaths around the globe, 675,000 of which were American.

During the Red Summer, racial tension and violence ripped through American cities. Between April and November of 1919, there were approximately 30 riots, 97 recorded lynchings, and a three day long massacre in Elaine, Arkansas during which over 200 black men, women, and children were killed after black sharecroppers tried to organize for better working conditions.

Some of the worst multi-day violence occurred in Chicago where a Black teenager drowned after being stoned for swimming in a segregated beach. During the same time, in Washington D.C., White sailors recently home from the WWI carried out a days-long drunken rampage, assaulting, and in some cases lynching Black people on the capital’s streets. The Ku Klux Klan, which was largely shut down by the government after the Civil War, experienced a resurgence in popularity and began carrying out dozens of lynchings across the south.