The 1920's
Red Summer - A Season of Fear

Red Summer - A Season of Fear
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.37

     challenging words:    anarchist, climax, faceless, take-over, travesty, socialist, radicals, liquor, deport, largely, unrest, bomber, burning, droves, agency, union
     content words:    On March, Mitchell Palmer, Attorney General, Edgar Hoover, Palmer Raids, New Jersey, Vladimir Lenin, Nicola Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, In New York

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Red Summer - A Season of Fear
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     The year was 1919. America seemed to be coming apart at the seams. People came in droves from across the seas to find a better life. Labor strikes had hit the nation. People struggled to deal with rising prices of goods. Women were marching in the streets. They demanded the right to vote. Certain groups insisted on a national ban on liquor. Chicago exploded with street battles between blacks and whites.
2     Worst of all, faceless, unknown forces were planting bombs in various places. A bomb was mailed to the mayor of Seattle. It was discovered and defused before it could blow up. Another was sent to a U.S. senator. This bomb exploded, severing the hands of one household servant and burning another. The next day, a postal worker discovered sixteen more letter bombs addressed to other people.
3     What else could these bomb plots be but a bid to take over the country? Who could be behind it all but the "Reds"? This much seemed obvious. Who the "Reds" were was less certain. Since no one knew for sure, the most likely suspects were blamed. Several groups in the U.S. spoke up for change. Their ideas were new and very different. The radical ideas of these groups made them seem threatening. Anarchists topped the list. Communists and labor activists were second. Immigrants were also suspected.
4     To most people, all the new ideas meant trouble. In the public eye, the factions blended together. They became the angry, dangerous face of unrest in America. On March 5, A. Mitchell Palmer became U.S. Attorney General. Soon afterward, the press received a list of people considered enemies of the U.S. The names of 62 people were published in newspapers. Many were new Americans or labor leaders.
5     Then, on June 2, a bomb went off in front of Palmer's home. The bomber, an Italian man, died in the explosion. It was discovered that 38 more bombs had been sent to other leaders. Palmer declared that the bombs were evidence of a "Red" plot. Its aim, he said, was the overthrow of the country.

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