Black People : African American Massacres, Race Riots, Revolts and Lynchings in America

Al D

We become that which we repeatedly do..
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JESSE WASHINGTON (1897-1916)​

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Al D

We become that which we repeatedly do..
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PRESIDENTIAL RECONSTRUCTION​

The federal government’s lackluster commitment to Black civil rights and security following the Civil War was a disappointing failure that undermined the promise of freedom. Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau in March 1865 with a mandate to provide formerly enslaved people with basic necessities and to oversee their condition and treatment in the former Confederate states. But Congress appropriated no budget for the bureau, leaving it to be staffed and funded by President Andrew Johnson’s War Department.11
President Johnson, a Unionist former slaveholder from Tennessee, served as vice president during the Civil War and assumed the presidency after Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865. Though he initially promised to punish Southern “traitors,” Johnson issued 7000 pardons to secessionists by 1866. He also rescinded orders granting Black farmers tracts of land confiscated from Confederates.12 This greatly impeded formerly enslaved people’s ability to build their own farms because whites routinely refused to provide them credit, effectively barring Black people from purchasing land without government assistance.

Instead of facilitating Black land ownership, Johnson advocated a new practice that soon replaced slavery as a primary source of Southern agricultural labor: sharecropping.Under this system, Black laborers worked white-owned land in exchange for a share of the crop at harvest minus costs for food and lodging, often in the same slave quarters they had previously inhabited. Because Johnson’s administration required that landowners pay off their debts to banks first, sharecroppers frequently received no pay and had no recourse.

President Johnson also opposed Black voting rights. During Reconstruction, whites of diverse political affiliations declared voting a “privilege” rather than a universal right, and even some whites who had opposed slavery were wary of measures that would lead to Black voting in the North.14 Johnson believed Black people were inherently servile and unintelligent; he feared they would vote as instructed by their former masters, reestablishing the power of the planter class and relegating poor white farmers to virtual slavery.15 Johnson made little effort to disguise his racist views.In his 1867 annual message to Congress, President Johnson declared that Black Americans had “less capacity for government than any other race of people,” that they would “relapse into barbarism” if left to their own devices, and that giving them the vote would result in “a tyranny such as this continent has never yet witnessed.16”Not surprisingly, under President Johnson, federal Reconstruction efforts to support and enforce Black Americans’ citizenship rights and social and economic freedom went largely unsupported and unrealized.

Meanwhile, the Johnson administration allowed Southern whites to reestablish white supremacy and dominate Black people with impunity. Two incidents in 1866 foretold terrifying days to come for African Americans. On May 1, 1866, in Memphis, Tennessee, white police officers began firing into a crowd of African American men, women, and children that had gathered on South Street, and afterward white mobs rampaged through Black neighborhoods with the intent to “kill every Negro and drive the last one from the city.”Over three days of violence, forty-six African Americans were killed (two whites were killed by friendly fire); ninety-one houses, four churches, and twelve schools were burned to the ground; at least five women were raped; and many Black people fled the city permanently.

Less than three months later, in New Orleans, a group of African Americans—many of whom had been free before the Civil War—attempted to convene a state constitutional convention to extend voting rights to Black men and repeal racially discriminatory laws known as “Black Codes.”
When the delegates convened at the Mechanics’ Institute on July 30, 1866, groups of Black supporters and white opponents clashed in the streets. The white mob began firing on Black marchers, indiscriminately killing convention supporters and unaffiliated Black bystanders. Rather than maintain order, white police officers attacked Black residents with guns, axes, and clubs, arresting many and killing several. By the time federal troops arrived to suppress the white insurgency, as many as forty-eight Black people were dead and two hundred had been wounded.
 

Al D

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MARY TURNER (1899-1918)​


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Al D

We become that which we repeatedly do..
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THE OMAHA COURTHOUSE LYNCHING OF 1919​


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Al D

We become that which we repeatedly do..
PREMIUM MEMBER
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THE DULUTH LYNCHINGS (1920)​

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