A future historian discovers the Insurrection of 1/6/21

The MOVE bombing stands out for me as the first time I knew there was something very wrong with what we now call the corporate media. I recall to this day that the TV reports covering the story that I watched on multiple (non-Philly) stations steadfastly refused to explain what MOVE was in any clear way. The cops had dropped a bomb on this house from a helicopter and destroyed a city block, but the “why” of the story was left out. The viewer was expected to accept that the police had done this for … legitimate but unstated reasons.

Years later, I understand that the media at the time were so terrified of saying outright that the Philadelphia police bombed a houseful of Black activists that they also had to refrain from reporting the otherwise juicy story that said activists were also a whackadoodle armed personality cult.


I’m trying to imagine what they were afraid would happen. They only had to look at the occupation of Wilmington, DE after MLK was assassinated to feel reassured, right? The successful insurrection in Wilmington, NC is another example of the group that consistently inflicts the most damage in this country. Unfortunately, in the history of this country we have yet to see the folks involved face consequences serious enough to keep them from trying it - again and again.


I think they just wanted to comfort themselves and their viewers with the myth that, in 1985, we were beyond all the extreme racial strife of the past. If the police in a major American city were dropping a bloody bomb on a house, killing small children inside and destroying an entire city block as collateral damage, it couldn’t possibly be because of racial activists who scared the authorities that much, norsiree. So the TV media at the time just erased that part of the story and hoped no-one would ask too many questions (e.g. “you keep talking about MOVE, but never say what the heck it is! Brokaw? Jennings? Rather? Anyone?”).

Bringing things back to the present day, this is why it’s so vital that we hold the corporate media to account right now and demand they describe the 6 January perpetrators with clear and precise language: not “protestors”, not “demonstrators”, not “rioters”, but “violent right-wing anti-democratic* insurrectionists”.

[* “right-wing populist” or “fascist” would be accurate, too.]


Tulsa was well into the early era of modern mass media. Particularly on the Newspaper end, with telegraphs already being well established and the ability to send photographs over them having been recently developed. Radio broadcasting was starting to get established as well, and the record business was well established

But the early 20s were basically the high period of the US twice a day newspaper business. By the 20’s William Randolph Hearst was already a household name, and owned the largest media conglomerate in the world. Wire services were well established with the AP already being decades old.

Something worth noting is that a lot of that technology had been developed to help in reporting the Civil War. Which is often considered to be the first American war to garner modern news coverage. With dispatches from battles published the very next day.

News could be propagated rapidly across the nation, and globally not much slower.

Tulsa seems to have been widely reported at the time. But how it was reported is definitely a thing. It was uniformly labeled a “race riot” and many papers seem to have focused on the handful of white deaths.

If memory serves Tulsa had already been a presence in national news, with the “Black Wall Street” moniker coming out of press coverage. Some times positive. Progressive Northern papers and Black papers in particular covered it heavily. Even reporting on prominent citizens in their society pages as far away as NYC.

But it was also the era of the 2nd Klan, so a decent chunk of the country would have viewed the destruction of a wealthy, successful Black community as a good thing. I always tended to think Tulsa got hammered so hard because it had attracted so much attention. Cause it wasn’t the only community to get wiped out this way.


I wouldn’t quite say that… both happened post telegraph. As you can see here, by the time of that revolt the telegraph was a decisive technology in the civil war.

By 1921, there was a well-developed not just mass media (newspapers), the beginnings of radio, but a well-developed Black press. Other race riots were international news… such as the 1906 ATL race riot…

But Black American always knew about Tulsa and other race riots, but it’s been kept out of history classes until recently by a white dominate history profession.

Ask the average white American about the MOVE bombing… I doubt they know about it. And, as the comic suggest, we’re seeing the cover up of 1/6 in real time.

Historical events needs someone to dig up the information and put the story of the past together, or it’s lost to the historical narrative. Since white men wrote our public history until very recently, these events that Black historians have preserved, had been ignored.


You could say that.


Sure. It’s bullshit. But they could say it.


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