Monday, June 1, 2020

An Important History to Know

The idea of a “race riot” has deep roots in the historic violence against Black folks.  Before the mid-1960s, the term was used to describe the hundreds of instances of mob and often governmentally allowed violence against the Black community.  Thousands of Black people died in these attacks, and few people were ever prosecuted for those deaths.  They happened in the south, the north, the east and west of the nation.  They were common enough to have left an imprint among the vast Black diaspora.  Every current Black family still has stories of their progenitors being attacked during a race riot.  We know about them as a part of our history.  But these events weren’t just our history.  They are the history of the nation because they form a significant thread in the fabric of the nation’s race relations. When you ask, “How did we get here?” in response to what you’re seeing on the news, the history of race riots is one part of the answer.  

You should know about them, and here’s a place to start:

My guess is that you’ll find an event from communities you know in that list.  Additionally, I looked up some reliable sources for a few of these.  Here’s a random, geographically diverse sampling of what you can find.  It’s a gruesome history that you now have no reason not to know.

New York City Draft Riots

Memphis Massacre

New Orleans Robert Charles Riots

1904 and 1906
Springfield, Ohio Race Riots

Atlanta Race Riot

Red Summer

Black Wall Street Massacre

Detroit Race Riot

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