Reposted for the third time, for the benefit of our Traitor in Chief.
By June 1st, 1921, the violence had abated. Bodies smoldered in the streets beside the smoking ruins of an affluent black community, and many of those who survived the atrocity were imprisoned, where they remained. It was the first bombing by aircraft on US soil, committed by Americans against Americans. It would not be the last.
"I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top," wrote Buck Colbert Franklin (1879-1960)..."Lurid flames roared and belched and licked their forked tongues into the air. Smoke ascended the sky in thick, black volumes and amid it all, the planes — now a dozen or more in number — still hummed and darted here and there with the agility of natural birds of the air."
"The side-walks were literally covered with burning turpentine balls. I knew all too well where they came from, and I knew all too well why every burning building first caught from the top," he continues. "I paused and waited for an opportune time to escape. 'Where oh where is our splendid fire department with its half dozen stations?' I asked myself. 'Is the city in conspiracy with the mob?'"
The proximate cause for the violence was the arrest of a black man accused of attacking a white elevator operator, but the real cause wasn't the crime, nor even racism per se, but the underlying ugliness of a tribal instinct which leads us, still, to view others and their success as a threat to us, and worse, a mockery of our failures. Any difference will do; skin color, country of origin, religion, politics, class - the post-Civil War history of the United States is one of reactionary retrenchment of poor Southern whites.
In truth, the South couldn't really be said to be post-Civil War. Slavery continued under a new name, "peonage", in which sovereign citizens of this country were jailed on the slightest pretense, and sentenced to hard labor. Such labor was of course overwhelmingly black. But even the antebellum slavery, replete with plantation, continued well into the 20th century. In that same year of 1921, some 11 murdered blacks were discovered, several of which killed by a black "cracker" working for a white man, John Williams. They were later convicted of the murders at what came to be known as the "Murder Farm". Williams wasn't the only postwar slaver, but trade in slaves continued until long after the war along routes from Alabama to Georgia.
This is the legacy of racism: outright warfare, generations condemned to poverty and denied educations, some still to this day segregated by race. And what are the racial breakdown of crime statistics but segregation by race?
We now find ourselves dealing not only with segregation, but an epidemic of violence by and toward blacks. If we consider the lesson of history, denying blacks their rightful property and place in society is hardly proof against poverty: today the majority of the poor in the South remain white, and poverty overwhelmingly lives in the South.
What can we learn from our dismal past?