Now, to call what happened to people of African Ancestry, violence does not even begin to convey how deep and pervasive the indescribable cruelty that was inflicted upon people of African Ancestry (P.A.A.)*
For example, whole communities were destroyed and the black inhabitants were killed or brutalized and properties confiscated:
Washington, D.C. 1919
“One of the first Black men killed during the Red Summer violence in Washington, D.C., was Randall Neal, a 22-year-old veteran who had just returned home from the war, according to the Equal Justice Initiative.
Neal’s killing sparked the “D.C. Race Riot of 1919,” which began on July 19. Black veterans organized and retaliated against the attack on Neal and others, as if in battle.
“In the negro district along U Street from Seventh to Fourteenth streets,” reported the Washington Post, “Negroes began early in the evening to take vengeance for assaults on their race in the downtown district the night before.”
“Race war galloped wildly through the streets of Washington last night, reaping a death toll of four and a list of wounded running into the hundreds,” the Washington Times reported on July 22. “Bands of whites and blacks hunted each other like clansmen throughout the night, the blood feud growing steadily. From nightfall to nearly dawn ambulances bore their steady stream of dead and wounded to hospitals.”
President Woodrow Wilson ordered federal troops into the city to quell the violence.
“I remember talking to an elder,” said C.R. Gibbs, an author, and historian of the African diaspora. “He spoke with pride about guns brought in from Baltimore. Black people took up rooftop positions. They were determined to pick off members of the white mobs, [who had] infiltrated Black neighborhoods.”
The official death toll was 15. The total damage to the property is unknown. The riot, Gibbs said, was fueled by “not just blind race hatred, but resentment of social gains the Black community made just after World War I. When we embraced the capitalist aesthetic, folks lynched us. When we showed we were prosperous, people burned down stores on the premise we violated social codes and legal codes.”
Two of the most famous white mob terrorist attacks on Black communities were Tulsa and Rosewood.
Tulsa, Oklahoma May 1921
On the above date, a white girl accused a Black teenager of assault in Downtown Tulsa. This sparked a wave of white terror attacks equal to, and by some accounts, surpassed anything equal to white barbarism in Tulsa.
Three hundred, and probably far more Black people were murdered. The communities that are thriving communities were destroyed. The Black community was called the Black Wall Street. When the rampaging blood-thirsty whites were finished death and destruction were everywhere.
Rosewood, Florida 1923
On January 1st, 1923, a white woman Fannie Taylor claimed she was assaulted by a Black man (Here we go again, and I repeat I am convinced that at least some of these white women were fantasizing.) The first person killed was Sam Carter, a respected blacksmith resident. He was tortured and mutilated. His body hung from a tree, left there to the delight of the gazing crowd of whites.
After Rosewood was destroyed a grand jury and special prosecutor decided there wasn’t enough evidence of white men killing innocent Blacks.
*I prefer People of African Ancestry when referring to people we call Black. I think it is a more appropriate way of defining people rather than by color. Let me emphasize, I have no problem with the color Black or being called Black. It is just an inadequate way of defining people.
The reality is people who are defined as Black, members of the Black race, are not all Black, there are various shades. And the people we define as yellow are not really yellow. In fact, we are reluctant to use the term yellow, because it also refers to behavior. And the people who define themselves as white are really not white but might be defined as colorless or paleface but because white connotes a lot of expressions of what is good and superior, people in power have defined themselves as white.
In my book, My Beloved Community published by Africa World Press, in a chapter on the history of racism of color prejudice I cite that “there were black people who had their own theory on the origin of the whites. Thin lips, straight hair and white skin they said originated from an Albino ape, who was the ancestor of the whites. There were Black Christians dipping into the Bible who had their origin of white skin too. All men they said were originally Black, but when God shouted at Cain in the Garden of Eden for having killed Abel he turned white from fright. Some Rabbis, on the other hand, said Cain turned black as a curse. Certain American Negroes also believed that white skin was caused by leprosy.”
The people we call white might more accurately be defined as Anglo-Saxons or Euro-Ethnics or Caucasians or Aryans whatever the racial background that connects them to a continent or country.
It is interesting that Vice President Kamala Harris is usually referred to as East Indian and Black. While part of the reference is to a continent her African Ancestry is defined as Black. Why? I believe there is still a misunderstanding of Africa. People in power controlling the imagery and information machinery still want people to believe especially P.A.A people that Africa was a backward continent, uncivilized, and made no contribution to civilization. Also, Africa is treated as though it did not exist. Thus, Kamala is proud of East Indian Ancestry but she’s Black, no continent, no country, just Black.
I don’t know if anyone has ever done the research on when, where, and why Americans and other countries started defining people with reference to pigmentation.
To be continued...