"Greenwood, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was the type of community that African Americans are still, today, attempting to reclaim and rebuild. It was modern, majestic, sophisticated and unapologetically Black."
Linda Christenson writes the following:
"The term “race riot” does not adequately describe the events of May 31—June 1, 1921 in Greenwood... In fact, the term itself implies that both blacks and whites might be equally to blame for the lawlessness and violence. The historical record documents a sustained and murderous assault on black lives and property. This assault was met by a brave but unsuccessful armed defense of their community by some black World War I veterans and others.
During the night and day of the riot, deputized whites killed more than 300 African Americans. They looted and burned to the ground 40 square blocks of 1,265 African American homes, including hospitals, schools, and churches, and destroyed 150 businesses. White deputies and members of the National Guard arrested and detained 6,000 black Tulsans who were released only upon being vouched for by a white employer or other white citizen. Nine thousand African Americans were left homeless and lived in tents well into the winter of 1921.
At least 350 lynchings occurred in the state of California between 1850 and 1935. The majority were perpetrated against Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans; more Latinos were lynched in California than were persons of any other race or ethnicity.
Jews soon discovered, and Tutsis later found, that one of the shocking things about a genocide is how little the outside world seems to care. While most people did not find out till 1945, top people in Germany, Britain, the US and the Catholic Church, people like President Roosevelt and Pope Pius XII, knew – and did surprisingly little.
Hitler was not surprised: ever the student of history, he had the Armenian and Native American genocides before him as models.
Community Village's insight:
Hitler killed himself. But the U.S. continues atrocities.
Vietnam’s government says that 400,000 people were killed or maimed from the after effects of the Agent Orange drops, and 500,000 children were born with birth defects.
Highlights from Professor Carrie Nordlund's article.
MEASURING ASIANS, THEN EXCLUDING THEM
The U.S. Census Bureau, while appearing to play an information-gathering role, has proved to be a powerful political tool.
Much can be gleaned from context. It appears that Congress was under increasing pressure from California elected officials who wanted to enumerate Chinese because of basic xenophobic fears.
The combination of xenophobia, fears of labor competition and the hard numerical evidence supplied by the census that the Chinese population was growing fast (from 56,179 in 1870 to 105,465 in 1880, an 87% increase over 10 years) pushed Congress to pass the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This Act was the most restrictive immigration bill the country had witnessed in its short history.
Senator Cameron (R-WI) stated in 1882: “the Anglo-Saxon race will possess the Pacific slope or the [other] race will possess it.”
“Some other race” (SOR) appeared on the census for the first time in 1910 .
The SOR category measured numerically small Asian groups: Koreans, Samoans, Malays and Polynesians.
Seven years after these Asian groups were enumerated the Immigration Act of 1917 prohibited people from the “Asiatic barred zone” to immigrate to the U.S.
U.S. borders were reopened to Asia in 1952.
Past census categories often reflected racial fears rather than an apolitical quest for information
Stokely Carmichael, later known as Kwame Ture, was a Trinidadian born black activist, civil rights leader, and the fourth Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and a notable activist during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. He was preceded as Chairman of SNCC by John Lewis and followed H. Rap Brown as leader of the group. Ture later became an Honorary Minister of the Black Panther Party. The noted scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Carmichael as one of his 100 Greatest African Americans.
Carmichael was a well-educated man attending the elite, selective Bronx High School of Science in New York and graduated from Howard University with a degree in philosophy. His professors included Sterling Brown, Nathan Hare, and Toni Morrison, a writer who later won the Nobel Prize. While at Howard, Carmichael joined the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), the Howard campus affiliate of the SNCC, where he was introduced to Bayard Rustin who became an influential adviser to SNCC. Inspired by the sit-ins in the South, Carmichael became more active in the Civil Rights Movement. He once remarked that he was arrested many times for his activism that he lost count; sometimes estimating at least 29 or 32.
In 1964 Carmichael, then one of the leaders of the SNCC and became Chairman of SNCC in 1966, taking over from John Lewis, who later became a US Congressman. A few weeks after Carmichael took office James Meredith was shot and wounded by a shotgun during his solitary “March Against Fear”. Carmichael became involved joined Dr. Marin Luther King, Floyd McKissick, Cleveland Sellers and others to continue Meredith’s march.
He was arrested during the march where upon his release; he gave his first “Black Power” speech, using the phrase to urge black pride and socio-economic independence. He is largely credited as the person who coined the phrase “Black Power”. He said during that speech “It is a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community. It is a call for black people to define their own goals, to lead their own organizations.”
While Black Power was not a new concept, Carmichael’s speech brought it into the spotlight and it became a rallying cry for young African Americans across the country. According to Carmichael: “Black Power meant black people coming together to form a political force and either electing representatives or forcing their representatives to speak their needs rather than relying on established parties”.
Ely Samuel Parker (1828 – August 31, 1895), (born Hasanoanda, later known as Donehogawa) was a Seneca attorney, engineer, and tribal diplomat. He was commissioned a lieutenant colonel during the American Civil War, when he served as adjutant to General Ulysses S. Grant. He wrote the final draft of the Confederate surrender terms at Appomattox. Later in his career, Parker rose to the rank of Brevet Brigadier General, one of only two Native Americans to earn a general’s rank during the war. President Grant appointed him as Commissioner of Indian Affairs, the first Native American to hold that post. He served as Chief of the six Iroquois Nations, consisting of the Tuscaroras, Cayugas, Senecas, Mohawks, Oneidas, and Onondagas.
Parker was born in 1828 as the sixth of seven children to William and Elizabeth Parker, of prominent Seneca families, at Indian Falls, New York (then part of the Tonawanda Reservation). He was named Ha-sa-no-an-da and later baptized Ely Samuel Parker. His father was a miller and a Baptist minister. Ely had a classical education at a missionary school, was fully bilingual, and went on to college.
Between 1776 and 1887, the United States seized (stole) over 1.5 billion acres from America's indigenous people by treaty and executive order. The Invasion of America shows how by mapping every treaty and executive order during that period. It concludes with a map of present-day federal Indian reservations.
When Hernando de Soto carved his way through the Southeast in the 1540s, there were some eight million Native Americans living in North America. By 1900, the population had fallen by more than 95%. For every twenty American Indians alive in 1500, there was only a single survivor four hundred years later.
In 1900, with the native population at its nadir, the United States was engaged in an ambitious effort to dissolve the remaining Indian tribes and incorporate their members into the general population. Across the country, Indians were forced into boarding schools, where they were instructed to abandon their native cultures and languages and to learn a menial trade that they could practice off the reservation.
Reformers boasted of their accomplishments with photos showing the generational changes they imagined were occurring.
But the story is far more complicated than reformers let on. Native peoples did not abandon their cultures and disappear into the general population. In communities large and small, Indians banded together to preserve their traditions and pass them on to future generations.
Today, more than three million Americans claim native ancestry. The federal government recognizes the existence of 564 tribes, and many Indian cultures are flourishing.
IndianNation.org is dedicated to collecting and sharing the stories of the 237,000 Indians who appear in the 1900 census. By surviving, by maintaining their distinct identities in the face of concerted efforts to dissolve their culture, those Indians made the present possible.
Community Village's insight:
The people in these old photos always look like they are being coerced.
"The Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) was a US law that shut off all immigration from China to the US except for scholars, merchants, diplomats and professionals. It is where the American idea of “illegal aliens” comes from, the beginning of the country’s racist immigration policies.
At first immigration from China was limited, then Japan and Korea (1907), then the Asiatic Barred Zone (1917) and then southern and eastern Europe (1924). On top of that, Chinese and Mexicans were being driven out by violence and deportation.
That is why the US was so lily-white in the 1950s. Some think of that as the “natural” state of the country, but it was the creation of a set of racist policies that began with the Chinese Exclusion Act, policies that were not overturned till 1965."
Community Village's insight:
There was a China town in San Jose, CA (south of San Francisco) that burned down – twice! It is no longer there. However, there is a small Japan Town now in San Jose and a ‘Little Saigon’.
"Maya Angelou, an iconic voice of our generation famed for her bold autobiographical work as well as her poetry, passed on May 28, 2014. Important still were her significant contributions in speaking up for civil rights through her political activism as well as through her work that shed light on the pressing issues of her time."
"In the essay “The Souls of White Folk” (1920), written two years after the end of the First World War, W.E.B. Du Bois saw as probable a second world war and the fight to end white rule in Africa and Asia (of which the Vietnam War was part):"
It was only a 1-square-mile area on the north side of Tulsa, but for blacks in the 1900s, Greenwood was everything the South was not. Filled with black lawyers, doctors and business owners, flush with prosperity, here was an area where African-Americans finally had a chance to make something of themselves, escaping the harsh racism of a nation that deprived them of even the most basic dignities.
A dollar would circulate 19 times before leaving Greenwood, a byproduct of the segregation laws, which kept blacks from shopping anywhere else but also united the community financially. There was affluence and education in Greenwood not seen anywhere else in the country for African-Americans, and each day more people were coming to carve out a piece of the dream for themselves, adding to the prosperity of the neighborhood.
“Race and People” is chapter 11 of “Mein Kampf” (1924), the book where Adolf Hitler lays out his political philosophy, 18 years before the Holocaust. In this chapter he talks about how history is best understood in terms of race:
Click through to read more. The comments have some good insights as well.
Community Village's insight:
The frightening thing is that I hear xenophobic nationalists in the U.S. all the time.
This is a MUST SEE internationally award winning film that depicts and explores facts of history that are not whole known or taught in any educational system. It is an eye-open look at the concept that makes the case for why reparations should be open for discussion and the necessity for it to be addressed. -John Wills
Stand Watie (December 12, 1806 – September 9, 1871; also known as Standhope Uwatie, Degataga (Cherokee: ᏕᎦᏔᎦ), meaning “stand firm”, and Isaac S. Watie) was a leader of the Cherokee Nation and a brigadier general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He commanded the Confederate Indian cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, made up mostly of Cherokee, Muskogee and Seminole, and was the final Confederate general in the field to surrender at war’s end.
Watie was born in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (now Calhoun, Georgia) on December 12, 1806, the son of Uwatie (Cherokee for “the ancient one”), a full-blood Cherokee, and Susanna Reese, daughter of a white father and Cherokee mother.
Watie became involved in the dispute over Georgia’s repressive anti-Indian laws. After gold was discovered on Cherokee lands in northern Georgia, thousands of white settlers encroached on Indian lands. There was continuing conflict, and Congress passed the 1830 Indian Removal Act, to relocate all Indians from the Southeast, to lands west of the Mississippi River. In 1832 Georgia confiscated [stole] most of the Cherokee land, despite federal laws to protect Native Americans from state actions. The state sent militia to destroy [vandalize and terrorize] the offices and press of the Cherokee Phoenix, which had published articles against Indian Removal.
Believing that removal was inevitable, the Watie brothers favored securing Cherokee rights by treaty before relocating to Indian Territory. Watie and his older brother Elias Boudinot were among the Treaty Party leaders who signed the 1835 Treaty of New Echota. The majority of the Cherokee opposed removal, and the Tribal Council and Chief John Ross, of the National Party, refused to ratify the treaty.
In 1835, Watie, his family, and many other Cherokee emigrated to Indian Territory (eastern present-day Oklahoma). They joined some Cherokee who had relocated as early as the 1820s and were known as the “Old Settlers”.
After removal, members of the Cherokee government carried out sentence against Treaty Party men for execution; their giving up tribal lands was a “blood” or capital offense under Cherokee law. Stand Watie, his brother Elias Boudinot, their uncle Major Ridge and cousin John Ridge, along with several other Treaty Party men, were all sentenced to death on 22 June 1839; only Stand Watie survived.
In 1842 Watie encountered James Foreman, whom he recognized as one of his uncle’s executioners, and murdered him.
Watie, a slave holder, developed a successful plantation on Spavinaw Creek in the Indian Territory.
Fearful of the Federal Government and the threat to create a State (Oklahoma) out of most of, what was then, the semi-sovereign “Indian Territory”, a majority of the Cherokee Nation initially voted to support the Confederacy in the American Civil War for pragmatic reasons, though less than a tenth of the Cherokee owned slaves. Watie organized a regiment of cavalry. In October 1861, he was commissioned as colonel in the 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles.
Although he fought Federal troops, he also led his men in fighting between factions of the Cherokee and in attacks on Cherokeecivilians and farms, as well as against the Creek, Seminole and others in Indian Territory who chose to support the Union.
Since most Cherokee were now Union supporters, during the war, General Watie’s family and other Confederate Cherokee took refuge in Rusk and Smith counties of east Texas. The Cherokee and allied warriors became a potent Confederate fighting force that kept Union troops out of southern Indian Territory and large parts of north Texas throughout the war, but spent most of their time attacking other Cherokee.
On June 23, 1865, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives for his command, the First Indian Brigade of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi. He was the last Confederate general in the field to surrender.
After the war, Watie was a member of the Cherokee Delegation to the Southern Treaty Commission which renegotiated treaties with the United States.
During the American Civil War and soon after, Watie served as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1862–1866). By then, the majority of the tribe supported the Confederacy. A minority supported the Union and refused to ratify his election. The former chief John Ross, a Union supporter, was captured in 1862 by Union forces.
John Ross, Cherokee Chief, had signed an alliance with the Confederacy in 1861, but repudiated it two years later. He reflected the shifting support within the Cherokee Nation, although by then a majority favored the Confederacy. After he was captured by Union forces and ended up in Washington, D.C., Tom Pegg took over as principal chief of the pro-Union Cherokee. Following Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in January 1863, Pegg called a special session of the Cherokee National Council. On February 18, 1863, it passed a resolution to emancipate all slaves within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. Most of the “freed” slaves were held by masters who were part of the pro-Confederate Cherokee, so they did not gain immediate freedom.
Stand Watie was elected principal chief of the pro-Confederate Cherokee, who increasingly outnumbered pro-Union elements. Ross’ supporters, by then in the minority, refused to recognize his election. Open warfare broke out between the “Union Cherokee” and the “Confederate Cherokee” within Indian Territory. After the Civil War ended, both factions sent delegations to Washington, DC. Watie pushed for recognition of a separate “Southern Cherokee Nation”, but never achieved that.
Watie led the Southern Cherokee delegation to Washington after the war to sue for peace, hoping to have tribal divisions recognized. The US government negotiated only with the leaders who had sided with the Union, and named John Ross as principal chief in 1866.
The US government refused to recognize the divisions among the Cherokee. As part of the new treaty, it required the Cherokee free their slaves. The Southern Cherokee wanted the government to pay to relocate the Cherokee Freedmen from their lands. The Northern Cherokee suggested adopting them into the tribe, but wanted the federal government to give the Freedman an exclusive piece of associated territory. The federal government required that the Cherokee Freedmen would receive full rights for citizenship, land, and annuities as the Cherokee. It assigned them land in the Canadian addition. In the treaty of 1866, the government declared John Ross as the rightful Principal Chief.
Chinese Americans in Mississippi under Jim Crow (1877-1967) were classified as “colored”. In the 1920s, when it started to affect the education of their children, they fought back. By the 1950s they were almost “white”.
Americans tend to think that only the South or only slave traders and slave owners benefited from slavery.
But it was not that simple. Slaves and land were the main forms of wealth in the US before 1860. Therefore slaves figured in insurance policies and bank loans. Therefore universities turned to slave owners and slave traders to raise money. Industry in the North and in Britain made money processing slave-grown tobacco, cotton and sugar from the South and the Caribbean. Railway companies used slave labour. The most profitable activity on Wall Street was – the slave trade.
Note: Some of the analysis in this post came from the book “The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White” (1971, 1988) by James W. Loewen.
Chinese labourers were imported into the American South after the Civil War to replace emancipated black slaves. The plan failed. Chinese importation halted after the Chinese Exclusion Act (1882) and by the late 1880s, all had left the plantations.
Some Chinese left the South, mainly moving to the growing Chinatowns in the North. The Chinese-American population plummeted by 60% in the 1880s and 1890s, but New York City’s Chinatown actually grew from 200 in 1880 to over 7,000 by 1900 and continued growing afterwards.
Of those who stayed in the South, some migrated to larger cities, such as New Orleans and found work there. Some ran businesses (e.g., laundries) across the South. And some became grocers to black sharecroppers, a new niche of the post-Reconstruction South.
Joe Gow Nue Grocery Store in Greenville, Mississippi, 1930s
Sharecroppers bought food and daily necessities from plantation commissaries. The prices were inflated to keep them in debt. By 1880 in Mississippi a few Chinese opened makeshift grocery stores with very basic items, charging less than the plantation commissary. The commissaries began to disappear.
By the early 1900s over 95% of Chinese men in the Mississippi Delta were grocers.
"Coolies (fl. 1830-1917) were Asian labourers, especially those brought as indentured workers to the Americas and elsewhere after black slaves were freed.
After 1853 in California, Chinese were not allowed to give testimony in court for or against a white man, which allowed whites to get away with crimes against them. In the South, however, Chinese workers were able to take employers to court and even win.
US employers used coolies to keep wages low and keep white and black workers in line. That backfired in the long run: Chinese workers were not as docile as stereotyped while white workers, who had the vote, were able to shut off Chinese immigration by 1882."
Undoubtedly the underlying motive for this effort to bring in Chinese laborers was to punish the negro for having abandoned the control of his old master, and to regulate the conditions of employment and the scale of wages to be paid him."
Community Village's insight:
U.S. business leaders always want the lowest cost labor.
When U.S. unions demanded a living wage with reasonable benefits, instead of complying, businesses moved their manufacturing out of the U.S.
Money and manufacturing easily cross borders. However, (im)migration laws make it difficult for people to cross borders.