Race relations in the United States had reached a crossroads during the summer of 1920. Fear from the Red Scare combined with social anxieties from race riots, lynchings, and violence created a need for the next President of the United States to address the issue. These factors set William Estabrook Chancellor, James Weldon Johnson, and Warren G. Harding on a collision course with each other. Each had a different perspective on race relations. Chancellor and Johnson were polar opposites of each other, with Harding being the critical player in managing race relations in the post World War I era from the Executive Office. The purpose of this study is to examine how different events and fears impacted Harding’s decision-making concerning race. This study focuses on a three-year period from 1920 to 1923. Through the use of the Harding Presidential Papers, newspaper articles, books, and interviews, this thesis explains how Harding managed race relations and the impact his polices had on the relationship between blacks and whites in the United States.


King, Shannon




African American Studies | Political History | United States History


Civil Rights, Imperialism, Red Scare, William Estabrook Chancellor, James Weldon Johnson, Warren G. Harding, League of Nations

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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