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Year of Upheaval: 1919 and its Legacies

Hosted by The Museum of the City of New York

The year 1919 witnessed some of the most violent and far-reaching developments in modern U.S. history. A massive wave of labor strikes mobilized a quarter of all American workers, but along with a wave of anarchist bombings, the strikes also generated an anti-leftist backlash that changed the trajectory of labor relations in the Roaring Twenties. At the same time, a string of bloody race riots involving black veterans, migrants, and homeowners in the North and South made racist violence a reality of urban life. And the infamous "Palmer Raids" (partly organized by a young J. Edgar Hoover) led to the deportation of hundreds of leftists, creating the basis for the FBI's decades-long obsession with the Left. Together, these traumatic events helped spell the end of the Progressive Era.

In this conversation, presented at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY), four historians reflect on that tumultuous year in NYC and beyond: Steve Jaffe, curator of MCNY's City of Workers, City of Struggle exhibition, sets the stage with images documenting how the transition from World War I to peacetime made New York a flashpoint for conflicts over labor, radicalism, and immigration; Shannon King of Worcester College talks about black-white relations in NYC leading up to 1919 and the impact of the “Red Summer”; Beverly Gage of Yale talks about Hoover and the origins of modern domestic surveillance; and Vivian Gornick talks about the effect of the crackdown on the Left in the years that followed. Moderated by historian Ted Widmer.

RSVP here (use the discount code 1919 for the Member rate of $10)