All Hell Broke Loose

American Race Riots from the Progressive Era through World War II

by Ann V. Collins


Over 50 white-on-black race riots erupted in the United States between 1898 and 1945; at least 25 race riots occurred in 1919 alone. And while it would be convenient to believe that the race riots that happened in the first half of the 20th century in America were confined to a single geographic region, in actuality, they occurred throughout the country.

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Cover image for All Hell Broke Loose

May 2012


Pages 193
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics American History/Race and Ethnicity

The United States has a troubling history of violence regarding race. This book explores the emotionally charged conditions and factors that incited the eruption of race riots in America between the Progressive Era and World War II.

While racially motivated riot violence certainly existed in the United States both before and after the Progressive Era through World War II, a thorough account of race riots during this particular time span has never been published. All Hell Broke Loose fills a long-neglected gap in the literature by addressing a dark and embarrassing time in our country's history—one that warrants continued study in light of how race relations continue to play an enormous role in the social fabric of our nation.

Author Ann V. Collins identifies and evaluates the existing conditions and contributing factors that sparked the race riots during the period spanning the Progressive Era to World War II throughout America. Through the lens of specific riots, Collins provides an overarching analysis of how cultural factors and economic change intersected with political influences to shape human actions—on both individual and group levels.


  • A comprehensive chronology of race riots between the Progressive Era and World War II
  • A bibliography of race riot research materials
  • An index highlighting important concepts, people, and events


  • Provides an overarching analysis of the violence that plagued the United States during a crucial period of race relations through in-depth case studies
  • Offers a comprehensive explanation for why race riots occurred where they did in the United States
  • Fills a long-neglected gap in the racial violence literature
Author Info

Ann V. Collins, PhD, is assistant professor of political science at McKendree University, Lebanon, IL. Collins has written numerous encyclopedia articles on American race riots.



"The short book serves as a scholarly addition to the literature, but its more important contribution is as a reference-works source. In this capacity, the exhaustive bibliography provides an excellent compendium of the scholarship on the topic. . . . This is a very useful reference source for libraries at all levels and is recommended in that capacity."Choice


"All Hell Broke Loose, by Ann V. Collins, fills a major void in our understanding of white-on-black violence in American history. In focusing on significant race riots that erupted between the Wilmington race riot of 1898 and the end of the Second World War, she has identified the "structural factors, cultural framing, and precipitating events," which caused blood to run in the streets of so many towns and cities across the country. Intelligently conceived and meticulously researched, this book is valuable not only for the scholar of race relations, but also for the general reader concerned about America's future."—William M. Tuttle, Jr. author of Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (second edition, 1996).

"In this long-needed volume, Ann Collins has done a first-rate job of dissecting the devastating, yet often ignored, race riots which plagued the United States during the first half of the Twentieth century. Part carefully constructed narrative, part skillful analysis, All Hell Broke Loose has much to offer students, scholars, and policy-makers alike."
—Scott Ellsworth, Author of Death in a Promised Land

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