In this prologue, Harry Haywood talks about an eventful date in his life: July 28, 1919. On that day, he literally stepped into a battle that was to last the rest of his life. Exactly three months after mustering out of the U.S. army fighting in World War I, he found himself in the midst of one of the bloodiest race riots in U.S. history. For Haywood, it was certainly a most dramatic return to the realities of American democracy. He had a job as a waiter on the Michigan Central Railroad at the time. In July, he was working the Wolverine, the crack Michigan Central train between Chicago and New York. On July 27, the Wolverine left on a regular run to St. Thomas, Canada. Passing through Detroit, they heard news that a race riot had broken out in Chicago. The following day, Southside Chicago, the Black ghetto, was like a besieged city.
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