An Interview with Cameron McWhirter

Cameron McWhirter is a Winnetka native and a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal.  In 2007, he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard University where he began work on his first book Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America.  Published in July, this well-researched history chronicles the explosion of race riots and lynchings that followed World War I and shook American cities from Charleston and Washington D.C. to Chicago and Omaha.  Both riveting and unsettling, Red Summer traces how this widespread violence gave rise to the NAACP and ultimately set the stage for the civil rights movement.  On October 16th Mr. McWhirter visited EPL to read from Red Summer, and as an encore, he recently spoke with us via email about the reaction to his book, the complex causes of 1919’s racial violence, why this important episode in American history has been is so widely forgotten, and what he hopes readers will take away from Red Summer.

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