Black History Fun Fact Friday – A Brief History of Race Riots in America

New Orleans Riot, 1886 – On July 30, 1886, white men attacked blacks parading outside the Mechanics Institute in New Orleans, where a reconvened Louisiana Constitutional Convention was being held. Republicans in Louisiana had called for the convention as they were angered by the legislature’s enactment of the Black Codes.

Wilmington North Carolina, 1898 – The most popular accusation in history was that Black men raped white women. So much so that most of the lynchings that took place was because of it. And when D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film “Birth of a Nation”, portrayed black men as savages seeking to rape white women contrasted against the positive portrayal of the Klan, it produced a second wave of the organization that began in Atlanta, Georgia, and quickly spread to a peak membership of millions by the 1920s. So, when a prominent black newspaper editor named Alex Manly wrote an editorial suggesting that relations between White women and Black men were consensual, 500 white men burned Manly’s office and fourteen African Americans were killed in the riot.

East St. Louis, 1917 – On July 1, 1917, a Black man was rumored to have killed a white man. A riot thus followed with whites shooting, beating and lynching African Americans. The violence continued for a week and the deaths range from 40 – 200. As a result, some 6,000 Blacks fled St. Louis.

Red Summer, 1919 – As you can ascertain, this year was referred to as Red Summer because of the mass blood spill of race riots this year. Twenty-six cities experienced riots including, but not limited to: Longview TX, Washington, DC, Knoxville, TN, Omaha NE, and Chicago. As I speak of often, the racial tension did not just occur in the South and in 1919 particularly, racial tensions were especially high in the North. Chicago experienced the most violence when on July 27, 1919, seventeen-year-old Eugene Williams was swimming with his friends in Lake Michigan and entered a “Whites Only” area. White men threw rocks at Williams and hitting him in the head, he drowned. After police refused to arrest the murderer, fights between White and Black gangs became the spark that started a race riot that lasted through August 3rd. It escalated so that the state militia had to be called in.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1921 – Of course, the renowned Tulsa Race Riot. A young white woman accused Dick Rowland of grabbing her arm in an elevator. After arresting Rowland, accounts of the assault were exaggerated and a mob gathered outside the courthouse. A mob of Black men went to the courthouse, armed, to protect Rowland and after gunfire exchanged, as they say, it “all hell broke loose.” The Greenwood neighborhood of North Tulsa, the wealthiest Black community in the country, was systematically burned to the ground. Thousands of homes were destroyed, bombs fell from the sky, and The Oklahoma National Guard was called in. Lost forever was over 600 successful businesses.

Rosewood, 1923 – A neighborhood of predominantly Black entrepreneurs, trouble started in Rosewood when a white woman from a nearby town called Sumner said (once again) that she had been raped and also beaten by a Black man. White men from several nearby towns lynched a random black man in Rosewood in response, causing an outcry among blacks who rallied together. A full on riot was the end result with mobs of whites hunting for black people, lynching them and burning Rosewood homes and structures.

The incident was the subject of the 1997 film, “Rosewood”, directed by John Singleton staring Ving Rhames and in 2004, the state designated the site of Rosewood as a Florida Heritage Landmark.

Harlem Race Riot, 1943 – On August 1st and 2nd, a race riot broke out in Harlem, New York when officer James Collins, shot and wounded Robert Bandy, a Black soldier. It was one of six riots that year related to black and white tensions during World War II.

Detroit, 1943 – Considered one of the worst race riots of the WWII era, The Detroit Riot of 1943 started with a fist fight. (Racial tensions were already high due to confrontations between white and blacks when the Sojourner Truth Housing Projects opened (1942) in a white neighborhood and whites tried to stop blacks from moving in.) A White man and a Black man got into a fight at the Belle Isle Amusement Park in the Detroit River. This turned into a fight between a group of whites and blacks and spilled over into the streets. The violence ended when 6,000 federal troops were ordered in the city. Twenty-Five Blacks and nine whites are reported killed with seventeen Blacks killed by the police.

By now I hope that you are starting to see a trend. A race riot ensues and following is usually some kind of military intervention. (…pay attention.)

The Groveland Four, 1949 – On July 16, 1949, a white couple was traveling and their car stopped on a rural road in Groveland, Florida. The next day, 17-year-old Norma Padgett accused four Black men of raping her. Sheriffs arrested Charles Greenlee, Sam Shepherd, and Walter Irvin. The fourth man, Ernest Thomas, fled the county and was hunted down and killed by a mob of over 1,000 armed Sheriffs. When word spread about the arrest of “The Groveland Four”, an angry crowd of white Klansmen surrounded the jail and the men were hidden and transported to Raiford State Prison. The mob was not pleased. They went on to attack the black section of Groveland, a small town in South Lake County where two of the accused men’s families lived. Black residents were urged to leave town and The National Guard was called in. Meanwhile, the accused men were severely beaten, two sentenced to death (Shepherd, Irvin) and one (Greenlee) to life in prison because of his age.

Watts, 1965 – August has had its share of historical events for sure. From Emmet Till (8/28/55) to the Watts Riots. The Watts Riots began August 11th through August 17th after a white patrolman arrested 21-year-old Marquette Frye, a black motorist. A fight broke out involving Frye, his brother, mother, and the police. Both his mother and brother were arrested and the number of people gathered increased. Almost 4,000 National Guardsmen were deployed, in addition to about 1,600 police officers. Martial law was declared and a curfew implemented. More than 30,000 people participated in the riots, fighting with police, looting white-owned homes and businesses, and attacking white residents. The riots left 34 dead, more than 1,000 injured, and about 4,000 arrested.

Newark, 1967 – On July 12th, a Black cab driver, John Smith, was arrested for illegally passing a police car. He was taken to a police station that happened to also be across the street from the projects. These residents reported that the police beat this man and dragged him from the cab into the station. Word got to Civil Rights Leaders who organized a protest but the protest turned violent. Rioting followed for the next several nights, and the National Guard was deployed. Still, even with the Nations Guard present, the rioting continued.

MLK Riots, 1968 – For those of you under thirty, you may not fully understand the extent to the outcry in the Black community over the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It was huge. Riots broke out in 125 cities following the April 4, 1968, assassination. The worst riots occurred in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Chicago. I remember my Aunt telling us stories about it. I am originally from Chicago and my Aunt (born and raised in Chicago as well) was saying that they had to wear paper bags over their heads going home from school the day the world found out King was dead. Black people were beyond outraged. It was simply dangerous to be on the street. On April 5, looting, arson, and attacks on police increased, and as many as 20,000 people participated in the riots. The National Guard and Marines were dispatched. The riots reached within two blocks of the White House. Twelve people were killed, and more than 1,200 buildings were destroyed.

Crown Heights Race Riots, 1991 – August, this month makes history again. On Aug. 21, 1991, in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn New York, a car driven by Yosef Lifsh hit another car and then crashed into two black children, both age 7. Residents of Crown Heights gathered and began attacking Lifsh and other Hasidic Jews. A city ambulance crew and the Hasidic-run Hatzolah ambulance service arrived on the scene. The Hatzolah service brought injured Jews to the hospital, and the black children were transported by the city crew. Gavin Cato, one of the black children, died. Black residents felt the Jews were given preferential medical treatment and began throwing rocks and bottles at police and at the homes and businesses of Hasidic Jews. The riots raged for three days. More than 150 officers about 40 civilians were injured in the rioting.

Rodney King Riots, 1992 – On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was pulled over for driving recklessly and someone videotaped the encounter with the police from his apartment balcony. The video shows the officers severely beating Rodney King. On April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted three of the officers and predominantly Black areas of Los Angeles erupted in violence, and six days of riots led to 50 deaths, thousands of arrests and an estimated one billion dollars in property damage.

Ferguson, Missouri, 2014 – On Aug. 9th, officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old teenager in Ferguson, Mo. Details of the shooting have been under dispute since the incident. Police said that Brown was shot during an altercation with Wilson. However, a friend who was with Brown at the time said that Wilson shot Brown when he refused to move from the middle of the street and that Brown’s hands were over his head at the moment of the shooting. The following night, protesters filled the streets near the shooting. Police officers arrived on the scene with riot gear, including rifles and shields. The protest turned violent and images from cell phones went viral on social media, including several accounts of looting.

Baltimore, MD, 2015 – After the funeral of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old African American who died of a severe spinal cord injury suffered while in police custody, angry residents took to the streets of northwest Baltimore to protest another death of a black man at the hands of police. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, called in the National Guard, and set a curfew as rocks were thrown, cinder blocks and buildings and cars set on fire.

***

I’ll stop here as there is no time for the countless historical accounts of race wars and riots in this (U.S.) country. What is happening is very much American and there is nothing new about it. In fact, it has been going on nearly 400 years. What is happening is what has been happening for a long time and the fact that people are outraged is just proof that we have not been paying attention, and have thus bought into the hype that “those days” were over. (There’s been Lynchings as late as 2010, such as 26 year old Frederick Jermaine Carter, a Black man found hanging in a Mississippi tree in a white suburb on Friday, December 3, 2010.) What has been done, is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Don’t marvel, just pay attention.

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Revolution

Revolution comes from the German word Umwalzung and means a complete change. It is a complete change or replacement of a system. The destruction of the old for the new. What the so-called Black man and woman have been doing is seeking to be included in a system that already exists. We have been fighting to be accepted into a current system even though said system has excluded us for nearly 400 years. This is not revolution. This is not a separate system. This is the same system. Until we are comfortable having our own we will never truly revolutionize. There is nothing wrong with being a separate people and building a nation and until we understand this without the fear of being labeled discriminatory, we will never truly revolutionize. All other people have done it but as soon as the Black man says he wants to run his own businesses, as soon as he says he wants to live among his own people, as soon as he says he wants to build Black schools that teach Black children about Black history now he’s acting funny. He’s a supremacist, a racist, a separatist, extremist, and every other “-ists” in the dictionary. He’s radical and he’s militant because he wants his own same as others have their own.

Only in America is so much emphasis placed on color and other countries to which she has infected follow her traditions. Only the dishonest will fail to admit that the social, political, and economic atmosphere of this country (U.S.) encourages racism. Doesn’t matter where a man is, if he is rich or poor, skinny or fat, smart or ignorant, black, white, Chinese, or Asian, whether he is a plain man or an artist, if he reads books or not, if he is intelligent or simple, whatever he is he must be able to think for himself. As long as the so-called Black man and woman has been in America he has not been encouraged to think for himself or to seek anything of his own without America’s permission. He has not been capable of fully revolutionizing. He has been emancipated but his freedom only meant a transfer of ownership. He has gone from the property of the plantation to the property of the state. Then he was amended into society. He’s an add-on. He was added to the Constitution since before then he was America’s slave and unworthy of sitting down at her table to eat. So these people she referred to as Black had to be included into the system and still he was a slave and what to the slave is the Fourth of July?

He is taught to fight for a country that has never fought for him. To honor heroes who were never heroes to him. Twelve U.S. presidents were slave owners and four of the first five presidents were products of a Virginia society in which slavery was a part of everyday life. So while Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe were all considered patriots who valued liberty, they were also all slave owners. Yet this people given the name Blacks are encouraged to regard her heroes as his own. This is not revolution. This is not a new system. This is begging to be part of a system that has long since rejected him. But before a people can revolutionize anything that people must first have a revolution of self. A shifting of perspective and complete change in thinking and if a man cannot change the way he thinks then he cannot change anything. Everything begins in the mind and so the revolution is in our thoughts. The revolution begins in the mind of the revolutionary first. If you cannot change yourself then you cannot change me.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.” – Marcus Garvey (he said it before Bob Marley’s Redemption Song)

There Are Reasons and There Are Excuses…But Actually Excuses

YOU need to read this! This is so true and so on point.

Dream Big, Dream Often

When you really think about it, most of the “reasons” we use to explain why we didn’t do something or why we didn’t succeed, are actually excuses.

The most common excuses I receive in comments and emails are: not enough time and not enough money.  But didn’t Einstein, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, etc. all have 24 hours in a day?  And haven’t there been millionaires start with no money to their name?

In my opinion a reason sounds like this…”I couldn’t pick up the spoon that fell on the floor because I have no hands.”  An excuse sounds like this…”I couldn’t pick up the spoon because I worked all day and my back is sore.”  The more I operate this blog the more I believe that the vast majority of us use excuses and not reasons.  I’m not judging, nor am I trying to give anyone a hard…

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GET OUT

This is probably the most powerful movie out right now, specifically for the African American and I highly recommend it. This is not conspiracy theory, political, militant, or a religious type deal here and its even a step deeper than racism itself. This is real. I won’t go into it now because I want to give you a chance to go and see it. I’ll just say this: the movie is symbolic of the traumatic experience that black people have been subjected to in America since we got here. Your mind has been put into subjection since the moment you stepped foot into this land and the exposure of such high-level witchcraft is present in this movie. You have been under a spell since stepping foot on these shores. Or from the movie’s perspective, since you’ve stepped foot into that house.

Carter G. Woodson said that once you control a man’s mind you do not have to worry about his actions. You don’t have to tell him to go to the backdoor. Control his mind enough and he will carve one out for his special benefit. Why? Because his education makes it necessary.

The silent auction itself was very powerful. What is a silent auction and what is it symbolic of? Where do modern auctions of today descend from? Oh, so you think there just happens to be people bidding on paintings and furniture and that just came from, what? And what is silence? Silence is representative of a secret, something being done without someone else knowledge. Something hidden. What are they trying to tell you is still going on? Why did Martin Luther King Jr., say that he ran into people who had never seen money? Farming, but have never seen money? This thing is real. Watch the movie.

If you have not already read The Willie Lynch Letter, I recommend that too. Read that and then watch this movie and we’ll talk about it later.

I won’t say anymore, I’ll wait. Go see it. It’s worth the money.

“Black people are viewed as pawns in an international game of control and manipulation, and our worldwide misuse is an accepted by-product of business as usual.”

– Haki R. Madhubuti
The Psychological Racial Personality, Bobby E. Wright

White Privilege in America #MayChallengeDay18

It just is what it is. White Privilege exist and is alive and well in our society. It means basically that a person feels like they are entitled to things because of who they are and where they come from. Even more, not only are they entitled, but society itself entitles them. In America, white privilege is not something that is exclusive to Jim Crow or something that existed a long time ago. White Privilege exists right here today in our society. Just look at Ethan Couch, better known as The Afluenza Teen. The young man who murdered four people and got away with it on the premise that he suffers from a condition called “Affluenza” or someone who has an alleged lack of motivation and isolation due to being affluent or wealthy. When they labeled Ethan with this supposed “psychological” condition, they were basically saying that he suffers from white privilege. That is, he was born white and wealthy. This is just one such story in which white people can get away with what other people cannot. And I really hate saying “white people” since I don’t really believe in identifying any group of people by colors. There are not white people and black people. There are nations of people. So anyway, for the sake of understanding, white privilege is real and its time for us to stop denying it exists. Just to use politics as an example, had Ben Carson said half of what Donald Trump said he would have been metaphorically lynched. Destroyed. Over with. Stick a fork in him, he’s done. Everybody can see the obvious racism of this “Trump Card” but what many have not said is why he’s winning. Trump in short, plays on the people’s emotions (and not just white racists, many black people are agreeing with him too). He’s simply appealing to the heart of what many Americans have felt for years but have not voiced in public. Donald Trump is not a politician, he’s a business man. So yes, he’s a racist. Yes, he’s a clown. Yes, he’s this and he’s that but the reality is what? Many Americans are supporting him and many will vote for him. Now, what does this say about America? Because this is not about voting or about Trump. What it says is that contrary to popular belief White Privilege still exists, and more so, many Europeans do wish to make America great again. Do we understand what this term means? Making America great again is a term used by racists who wish for things to go back to the way it was in the days of Jim Crow, you know, when niggas knew their place. “Make America Great Again” is for those who wish for America to go back to the way it used to be. Blonde hair, blue eyes, white privilege. America’s sweetheart.

Sugar Coated and Springtime

They get tired of hearing it
Ain’t nobody got to say it
But I know they get tired
Tired of these distractions
in brown colored skin
waking up from valley’s with
muscles and tendons all conscious like
Uncovering the blood on the American Flag
Tired,
tethered,
and intoxicated with
his-story
unraveling the color of bigotry on beautiful glass
smeared fingerprints
and falling stars like
why they keep sitting in?
between our comfort and a hard place
America
this be some kinda hard place
for brown colored skin in the spring time
Strange fruit popping up again on trees
‘cept
Nina ain’t here to sing us a song
After nearly 400 years
lullabies just don’t work no more
Tired of these guns accidentally going off
landing
somewhere in my purse
somewhere in my womb
somewhere in my future between lip stick and foundation
I got to warn my sons
about accidental guns
generational homicide got me on my knees
praying the badge ain’t got his name on it
In the words of Camonghne Felix:
“If we’re going to attend history, we might as well be accurate about it”
will I be left
with the fragmented pieces of my husband’s shoes

between our front porch and the living room floor
will my kiss linger long enough to bring him home tonight
or will I suffer a widow’s fate of mistaken identity
After all
These brown, tan, bronze, and mahogany colored skins
all do look the same
don’t they?
I’m afraid for your guns
they don’t seem to know the difference between friend and foe
or maybe they do
funny how bullets be mistaken themselves for judges
that ain’t got names on it
they say a gun
ain’t got a name on it
why they sugar coating it?
Cuz peoples get tired of hearing about all this black
All this oppression
All these curses
All this power like
why we won’t pour sugar on top these bodies?
Get ‘em up out the street
don’t want our bullets to get stirred up you know
getting up out of beds
loading themselves into chambers
and taking walks at night
in the afternoon
and especially in the morning
when it’s springtime

Its Not Just Because Your Black

You were pulled over because your taillight is out, your license is suspended, and you were speeding.

The reason you’re in the condition that you’re in is not because of the white man and its not just because your black. We are in these conditions as a people largely because of our own  lack of accountability for our actions.

A nine year old boy is murdered on the south side of Chicago because of his father’s dealings. Where are the marches at Jesse Jackson? Where is the protest Al Sharpton? Where’s the movement against black people killing black people?

John Singleton said that he will never put another movie out like Rosewood again because black people don’t support it. Rosewood for those who don’t already know is a movie based on a true story, a dramatization of the 1923 horrific lynch mob attack on an African American community.

The Tragedy of Rosewood

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In an article written in The Baltimore Sun, Stephen Hunter lists some reasons why the movie Rosewood did not excel calling it “a fundamentally immature, undisciplined work.” He goes on to say “Singleton probably over-romanticizes Rosewood.” Another major criticism was the cowboy theme, something we also see in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained but if you understand history you would know that blacks were the first cow-boys. The term comes from the plantation where black boys were in charge of tending to the cattle. They were quite literally “cow boys”. So not only do I disagree with Hunter, but critics are missing a key element that contributed to why the movie did not do well.

The conversation always comes back to the Rosewood-Booty Call debate. Rosewood came out a week before Booty-Call and almost destroyed Singleton’s career. Booty-Call on the other hand did extremely well, putting leverage to Jamie Foxx’s career.

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The truth is that the black community must start taking responsibility for its actions. You are not pulled over just because your black, sometimes its because your illegal. If you know the system is biased, why would you behave recklessly? Even the bible says to give unto Caesar what is Caesars. So if I know its against the law to speed why would I risk getting caught? Likewise, a lack of black identity in film is not just because Hollywood does not want to see conscious movies about black people, but black people don’t even wanna see conscious movies about black people! As strangers in a foreign land we have been taught to hate ourselves and we tend to operate accordingly. If I hate myself I’m going to hate everything about myself. Yes, some of you hate yourselves but you can’t even take responsibility for that simple truth. Your afraid of your own people and you think dark skin a big nose, thick lips and kinky hair is the ugliest thing in the world.

Part of Rosewood’s failure is the fact that many blacks would much rather watch Tyler Perry’s, Medea Goes to Jail. You go to bed wearing a wig and you wake up with a wig. You go to bed with make-up on and you wake up with it on both literally and figuratively speaking. You put on elaborate personas because you hate who you are.

Cypher Matrix Quote

When you hate yourself but you don’t know that you hate yourself, this is a dangerous position to be in because a lack of love turns you into a monster. The stories of Jason and Michael Myers are not horror stories about supernatural beings. They were stories of children who were teased and abused and have consequently learned to hate themselves and it turned them into monsters. Michael Jackson is a real life example of childhood abuse turned horrific. This man was talented and has made great music but he also turned himself into a monster because he hated himself. He hated himself so much that he changed his physical appearance. That’s because when you hate your inside you hate everything outside and millions of dollars ain’t gonna solve it. Money can’t solve hatred only love can. The only way you can conquer self-hate is love, starting with self-love but to love yourself you have to first know yourself and knowing yourself begins with admitting your faults. Take some responsibility for the part you play in how you are treated. It doesn’t exempt anyone for their wrong but it helps you to move forward in yours.

When you know yourself only then can you love yourself and only then can you be yourself.

“This week marks the anniversary of the Rosewood massacre. Hundreds of black people were murdered and lynched and run off their own land and homes. We must never forget the domestic terrorism survived by our people. In 1997 I released a movie on the incident. It wasn’t one of my more successful pictures box office wise but I think it one of the best I’ve done. The same weekend it was released Booty Call came out. I think more black folks were comfortable watching Booty Call that weekend than Rosewood… Which is a shame…. I feel the more we embrace our history the better we can defend against being oppressed in our present. Just my thoughts this morning.”

– John Singleton