Friday, May 1, 2015

The Tulsa race riot

Incredible, isn't it? And no, I didn't learn about this in history class. How about you?

TPM has more about these incidents here:
In November 1898, white supremacist forces in Wilmington, North Carolina planned and executed the only coup d’etat in American history, overthrowing the city’s democratically elected Fusion Party officials and installing their own officials in their stead. Over the subsequent days, in a similarly and concurrently orchestrated series of events, rampaging mobs, featuring both white Wilmingtonians and members of militias from around the state, attacked and brutalized the city’s African American community, murdering many residents, forcing most of the others to abandon their homes and community, and burning much of it to the ground.

Members of that African American community tried to tell the rest of the nation what was happening, as exemplified by an anonymous woman who wrote a desperate plea to President McKinley requesting federal protection (her letter went unanswered). But it was instead the white supremacists whose version of the story became the nationally accepted one, a process that began immediately and culminated a few weeks later when Alfred Waddell, a former Confederate officer and one of the supremacist leaders, wrote “The Story of the Wilmington, N.C., Race Riots” for the popular publication Collier’s. Waddell’s story, accompanied by H. Ditzler’s cover illustration of marauding armed African Americans, led to the designation of the coup and massacre as a “race riot,” a description that has continued to this day.

The decades after Wilmington saw many more such massacres: Atlanta in 1906, Springfield (Illinois) in 1908, East St. Louis (also Illinois) in 1917, Chicago in 1919, Tulsa in 1921, and Detroit in 1943, among others. While there were certainly unique details in each case, the fundamental story remained the same: rampaging white mobs destroying business and homes and brutalizing citizens of the cities’ African American communities. In Tulsa, as in Wilmington, the mob mounted a machine gun on a vehicle and rolled it through the streets, firing at will. And in each case, in both the contemporary national media coverage and the subsequent historical accounts of the massacres, they were consistently (if not indeed solely) described as “race riots.”

I never heard a word about any of that when I went to school. Indeed, when it came to the Civil War, the Confederacy was romanticized.

They say the victors write the history books. Going by that, who really won the Civil War?


jeff725 said...

Need your feedback about this article:

Did the South really try to secede as we've been taught, or were they up to something more diabolical?

WCG said...

I'm skeptical, Jeff. The fact that wealthy slave-owners weren't exactly democrats (small 'd') isn't surprising. The myth of the South has always been different from the reality.

It's undoubtedly true that not everyone in the South was in favor of secession. It's also true that the big slave-owners, the wealthy oligarchs, had the political power and meant to keep it (not too different from today).

However, this guy implies that most of the states actually voted against secession, though he doesn't come right out and say that. Why not, if it's true?

And the idea that the South meant to 'usurp' America, rather than just secede from it, seems crazy to me. Once the war started, of course they attacked into the North. In war, you don't just 'engage in simple border security' and let the enemy decide where and when to attack. You take the war to them, if you can.

If they could have defeated America, then no doubt they would have tried to take advantage of that. How, I don't know, but I'm sure they would have annexed border states, if they could. Depending on the circumstances,... well, they would have taken every advantage, no doubt.

But thinking that this was their 'diabolical' plan all along? No way. That just seems ridiculous to me. Certainly, I'd need a lot better evidence than just one guy's completely unsupported claim.

The South attempted to secede because slave-owners needed not just to maintain slavery, but to expand it. In the more established states, where the soil had been depleted, their wealth depended more on selling slaves than on using them.

For a slave-selling economy, it was expand or die. But expanding into the North was never an option. They needed the frontier, so they could expand the South's slave-based, plantation-based economy and give them a ready market for their slaves.

The South didn't secede because they thought that President Lincoln would outlaw slavery. They seceded because they needed to keep expanding.

As I say, their economy relied more and more on selling slaves, not on just owning them. Yes, the reality was even more disgusting than what we're taught in school,... but I'm still skeptical about that article. (And you know, it's still 'States' Rights' if the oligarchs intended to control those states with an iron fist.)

PS. Jeff, are you getting the same kind of clickbait I am on that webpage? What kind of place is that, anyway? I count a whopping 13 links promising sexy women - not porn, apparently, but just clickbait.

Frankly, that makes me all the more skeptical of anything they publish there.

jeff725 said...


Yes, the clickbait on AddictingInfo has gotten out of hand in the last several months. Hell, I can't even log into it anymore to counter-attack all the conserva-trolls that come in. Whoever their webmaster is, he's very sloppy if not incompetent.