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maandag 4 oktober 2021

#WORLD #WORLDWIDE #FRANCE #USA #ANARCHISM #News #Journal #Update - (en) France, UCL AL #319 - Story, 1921: The Tulsa massacre, an American pogrom (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

 At the end of May 1921, a rumor of assault on a white woman sparked two days of

the largest racist massacre in American history. Shamefully shut down for nearly
a century, it was a 2001 commission of inquiry that finally shed light on a
murderous madness that killed nearly 300 people, razed an entire neighborhood,
dug mass graves, and ... exploded membership in a triumphant Ku Klux Klan. ----
United States, 1921. Oklahoma is not yet the synonym of the Great Depression, of
displaced populations immortalized by Steinbeck, or of lands sterilized by
exploitation and returned to the dust of the Dust Bowl . ---- But it is already a
land of racism. In 1830, the nascent United States deported 60,000 Amerindians
there from the eastern and southeastern territories.

As the "Conquest of the West" uproots Indian nations from their ancestral lands,
these Choctaws, Cherokee, Seminoles ... absolutely not native to Oklahoma are
joined by dozens of different tribes. jumble in a concentration camp universe
whose rules fluctuate according to successive federal policies[1]and the price of
oil, which abounds in the basement ...

Racist soil
Land of hatred: the influence of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has been traditional
there since the end of the Civil War (1865), and if its presence becomes official
in 1915, its involvement in racist violence, mafia and. .. anti-union explodes in
1920. Indeed, to the massive arrival of African-Americans, the organization of
the working class has been added since 1900, in parallel with the industrial
boom. Socialists, IWW and other groups considered radical often gained popular
favor before 1920 and worried the conservative majority. DW Griffith, the pioneer
of silent cinema, directed a film to the glory of the KKK: Birth of the Nation
(1915), where a vigilante Klansman makes a black rapist - inevitably - and a
northerner war profiteer make throat.

Land of fanaticism: in the midst of the Bible Belt (this great geographic arc of
Protestant, white bigotry and revengeful of southern defeat) Oklahoma saw its
largely rural and agricultural landscape gradually shift towards an urban
economy. A very large African-American population settled there in the aftermath
of the American Civil War, fleeing lynchings, the implementation of Jim Crow
laws[2], and seeking a place in this American society which never came to be.
considered as having to integrate its former slaves.

It achieved this in part by establishing a thriving community in Tulsa, the
state's second largest city with 100,000 inhabitants (a medium-sized city for the
time). Considered a safe haven amid a deadly country, Oklahoma has dozens of
these new cities based African-American at the turn of XX th century. And Tulsa
is prosperous to the point that the black enclave of the district of Greenwood,
will be nicknamed Black Wall Street, in reference to the New York street where
the US Stock Exchange is located.

Elevator to the Gallows
May 30, 1921. The sun is shining, heralding a beautiful summer. Dick Rowland, 19,
black, waxes the shoes of passers-by in a white neighborhood. The only "black"
toilets in the neighborhood are upstairs in this building where Dick walks in,
takes the elevator and greets his white operator, Sarah Page, 17. The doors
close. Moments later Miss Page screams. We rush to the doors that open, Dick
Rowland fears the beating, flees ... The police will arrest him the next morning.

At 5 am the 1 stJune, thousands of white invade Greenwood. Looting is everywhere,
we kill in a frenzy of blood, 35 blocks are destroyed, 1256 houses set on fire.
Everything goes there.
But the rumor has had time to swell. On May 31, the evening newspapers point the
finger - without investigation but on the front page - the trail of sexual
assault. It doesn't take much longer for the fiery white community to gather
outside the courthouse jail, demanding that Rowland be handed over to them.
Sheriff McCullough refuses and barricades the premises. The furious white crowd
then turns to the National Guard armory, which it tries to storm. Without
success. At nine o'clock in the evening, 25 armed African-Americans went to
court: they offered to help the Sheriff to help him guard the compound alongside
the police. Among them, many veterans of the world war.

McCullough sends them back to their homes. But moments later, the initial group
of restless whites saw their mass grow frighteningly. And nearly 1,500 white men,
many of them armed, surround the prison. Meanwhile, the African-American
community of Greenwood is worried, hears that there is talk of lynching young
Dick Rowland, and gets organized. They are now 75 men to walk with a determined
step towards the court ... The game is obviously uneven, and when the 1,500
lynchers turn to the small group of blacks who emerge at the corner of a street,
the first blows fire crackle. This is the signal for chaos.

Overwhelmed, the African Americans retreat towards Greenwood. White rioters beat,
burn, kill. In small groups, they scatter in the city, shoot an unarmed man in a
cinema, set fire to the first black businesses they find. Municipal agents invest
themselves with the power to appoint additional police officers, and launch
deputies against black neighborhoods, their bogus officialization having the
value of absolution for future crimes.

Greenwood is burning
We warm ourselves, we encourage each other in the murder, we allow ourselves to
be fanaticized by the rumor that it is about a massive black insurrection, that
it is converging on Tulsa from the small neighboring African-American
communities, that it claims some blood. To the traditional fantasy of rape of
white women is added that of the thirst for black revenge. All the old demons
summoned so well by DW Griffith five years earlier come to life: the hysteria
spreads to all the white population of the city.

At 5 am the 1 stJune 1 whistle sounded. Thousands of whites invade Greenwood.
Looting is everywhere, we kill in a frenzy of blood, 35 blocks[3]are destroyed,
1,256 houses set on fire. Churches, banks, shops, two newspaper offices, a
library, a school. Everything goes there. Firefighters trying to intervene are
threatened by rioters' guns.

Among them, police uniforms, breasts bearing the badge "Special police" or the
Sheriff's office, members of the town hall who affirm that the mayor wants "that
all the black houses burned ..." .

And then there is this incredible spectacle, reported by the victims as well as
by the executioners: planes fly over the city to bring more death and
destruction. A nearby aerodrome is indeed home to about ten planes. Their pilots
pass over Greenwood, shoot from the sky, and drop incendiary objects, Molotov
cocktails, or sticks of dynamite ... It's unclear. But if we know today that most
of the damage and murders are perpetrated on the ground, the air attack gives an
idea of the mixture of madness and relentlessness, of the desire to erase all
traces of the black population.

Planes fly over the city, their pilots shoot from the sky, and drop incendiary
objects, Molotov cocktails, or sticks of dynamite ...
At the time, 36 Afro-Americans were reported killed and 9 whites. The 2001
commission of inquiry factually establishes that at 18 hours, nearly 300 people
were massacred, 8,000 homeless people, displaced and ... kept in custody by the
National Guard.

Because it eventually intervened shortly before noon on 1 stJune at the request
of the governor. Martial law is declared and the city "secure": while the Guard
helps put out the still raging fires, they imprison 6,000 black residents on the
fairgrounds. To prevent any white aggression? Barely hours after the latest
violence, the police dropped all charges against Dick Rowlands, convinced that he
had stumbled on Sarah Page on entering the elevator rather than tried to rape her.

Riot or racist massacre? The day after the events
Nevertheless, the result of these 18 hours of pogrom, was the reverse of what one
could have imagined: while the black community tries to rebuild its businesses,
houses, schools, the town hall drafts, as of June 7, an ordinance bringing the
entire Greenwood neighborhood up to fire standards, which would make land
rehabilitation and construction costs prohibitive for the black population, who
has already lost everything. The threat of a trial derails the iniquitous
project. But it does not in any way reduce the hatred and determination of
racists. Contrary to what the ninety years of silence between the massacre and
the 2010 commission of inquiry might suggest, this is neither shame nor regret.
But discretion. And of strategy.

Because in fact, the events of Tulsa will only reinforce the feeling of
legitimacy of racism, whether it is of the State - with a notable strengthening
of segregation in Oklahoma - or of the Klan, with thousands of additional members
in the only year 1921, of which, obviously, eminent members of the city council,
business or the police. Civil society is organizing to counter the KKK and racial
hatred. Political, religious and even direct action organizations oppose the
klansmen and their supporters, often with arms in hand. But it is above all the
Great Depression of 1929 and the terrible drought of 1930 that will get the
better of the factious operations in Oklahoma. With nearly half of its population
out of work, bankrupt or in exodus to California, priorities shifted.

The commission, which in 2001 seized upon the memory of the events of 1921, made
it possible to measure the power of the American omerta, its structural and
cultural inability to think of the African-American on the same footing, in the
same landscape, in a shared society. The front page of the Tulsa Tribune which
had ignited the powder: disappeared from the newspaper's archives. The
researchers, from 1970 to 2001 also note the glaring absence of archives of the
police force. No mention in the school curricula either. This commission, named
Tulsa Race Riot Commission, is therefore the first to reveal the scale of the
massacre, the mass graves hidden in cellars for a hundred years, the planes ...
However, it will be criticized for using the term riot. (riot)[4]. It is a
massacre. Of a proven racial character and unparalleled fierceness. Not from a
riot that would allow shared wrongs to be considered. In 2018, it will take the
name of Tulsa racial massacre commission.

One hundred years so that memory can finally be said, one hundred years for Viola
Fletcher, 107 years old and survivor of the massacre, to express in May
2021[5]her memory of "having everything a little girl could wish for" in
"security " of the neighborhood" ... until she was invaded by images of "blacks
being shot, black bodies in the street. I can still hear the planes above my
head. I hear the cries" .

Cuervo (UCL Aix-Marseille)

To validate

[1]It was not until the outcome of a trial on July 9, 2020 that full sovereignty
over their reserves was given to the various nations of Oklahoma.

[2]Laws of 1877 establishing segregation in the southern states primarily, aimed
at preventing the constitutional rights of African Americans. Repealed in 1964

[3]block: a block of about 1.4 ha


[5]Theguardian.com, May 19, 2021

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