Race riots erupted across the nation from late spring through the early fall of 1919. In dozens of incidents of racial violence, African Americans were beaten, terrorized, and murdered. The NAACP appealed to President Wilson to investigate the attacks, but federal and local governments did little to address the violence.
President Wilson delivered his “Fourteen Points” speech, outlining a plan for peace after World War I. The Fourteen Points program called for the reduction of arms, self-determination of nations, and a league of nations.
Democratic Party nominee Woodrow Wilson won the presidential election, beating out three other candidates: Republican incumbent William Howard Taft, Progressive Party nominee Theodore Roosevelt, and Socialist Party nominee Eugene V. Debs.
Under Woodrow Wilson, the federal government became increasingly segregated. Wilson dismissed fifteen black federal supervisors and replaced them with whites, declined to appoint black ambassadors to Santa Domingo and Haiti, and allowed African Americans to be fired from federal positions across the country.
President Woodrow Wilson attended a White House screening of D. W. Griffith’s new film, The Birth of a Nation. The film, based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon, celebrated the Ku Klux Klan and presented racist portrayals of African Americans. Wilson reportedly called the film “terribly true.” Fervor created by the film contributed to race riots and violence against African Americans throughout the nation, as well as the revival of the Ku Klux Klan.