What was the background to the Silent Parade of 1917?
The Silent Parade reflected the heightened anger of black Americans following a recent outbreak of vicious race-related violence.
Between May and July 1917 brutal riots in East St. Louis, a city in Illinois, between 40 and 250 black people were killed by white mobs.
Authorities were blamed for failing to protect innocent lives, with a chilling contemporary report describing how police were “either indifferent or encouraged the barbarities”.
The bloody scenes in East St. Louis sparked fury among black people across a nation already simmering with racial tension as African Americans migrated from the south to predominantly white industrial centres.
Such violence was by no means uncommon – a lynching of a black farmer the previous year had attracted a gruesome crowd of 10,000 white Texans, according to the academic Chad Williams.