Tuesday Night Owls: A century ago, officials failed to protect Black Americans. Still failing now

Tuesday Night Owls: A century ago, officials failed to protect Black Americans. Still failing now

Night Owls, a themed open thread, appears at Daily Kos seven days a week

Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler professor of African American Studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial DivideAt The Guardian, she writes—In 1919, the state failed to protect black Americans. A century later, it’s still failing:

In 1919, as soldiers returned from the first world war, many white Americans saw African American men in military uniforms for the first time. That sight, and the challenge it posed to the political, social and economic order, was deeply threatening to them. Groups of armed white men hunted down and slaughtered hundreds of black Americans across the country. The wave of lynchings and race riots came to be known as the Red Summer.

The black community did its best to fight back, without protection from the state. In some cases, police actively participated in the lynchings. The US attorney general, A Mitchell Palmer, claimed that leftwing radicals were behind the uprisings – a false charge and one that further endangered African American lives. Palmer worked for President Woodrow Wilson, an ardent segregationist who screened Birth of a Nation in the White House and praised the Ku Klux Klan even as it deployed terrorism to keep blacks away from the voting booth. Wilson had been silent while whites slaughtered African Americans in East St Louis in 1917, and he did little to nothing in 1919 when they again attacked and killed black people, this time on an even more horrific and grisly scale.

Carol Anderson

When African Americans fought back, when they protested, when they made clear they would not quietly accept the destruction of their lives, Palmer mobilized the power of the federal government to brand black unrest as the work of the enemy of the state – communists. It was his version of peace without justice. To do this he ignored the destructive and violent white supremacy that his president had helped unleash. He remained unconcerned about the bold, brazen killing of black people. And he had no qualms about a criminal justice system in which being black meant the presumption of guilt. 

More than 100 years later, in the wake of the brutal, merciless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – not to mention an incident in which a white woman attempted to put a black birdwatcher in the crosshairs of the NYPD – our current attorney general, Bill Barr, does not appear to see injustice. Instead, he sounds much like his ancient predecessor, A Mitchell Palmer.  

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BLAST FROM THE PAST

At Daily Kos on this date in 2012—Planned Parenthood slams Mitt Romney in major ad buy:

For only the third time ever, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed a presidential candidate, Barack Obama. It previously has endorsed Obama and Bill Clinton. It is backing its support with a 30-second spot declaring Republican Mitt Romney’s positions to be “out of touch” with women’s needs and “harmful” to their health. The organization will spend $1.4 million to show the ad in the battleground states of Virginia, Iowa and Florida, as well as the District of Columbia.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Monday was no easier than the weekend. Trump gasses clergy out of St. John’s to stage his wooden photo op. And tries to sneak Putin in the G7 back door. More purges at DoJ, in hopes of creating “Obamagate.” And WTF is that supposed to be, anyway?

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