It's the 99th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre that destroyed "Black Wall Street"

Originally published at:


I was one of those people that hadn’t even heard about this until seeing Watchman. I had to look it up after seeing the program to see if it was just a fictional part of the show or not, because it was too outlandish to be believable. I was stunned at what I found, and had to add it to the list of historical events that my US based education whitewashed out of the history textbooks.


Not many Canadians know about that time we invaded Russia (and our conscript troops mutinied on the way).


Should be taught in schools as an example of our racist history. Wonder why it is not? (big, big fucking /s)


Related to the link, I learned more about race relations and world philosophies from a single contemporary literature class I had in high school than I did any other class I had in the 80s. That one class unboxed my worldview and changed the way I looked at things for the rest of my life. 1 class, 1 teacher, and a selection of books made me start questioning everything and to seek understanding.


One teacher can make a world of difference.


After the civil war a few wealthy pro-integration whites helped form a majority black parish in central Louisiana and named it Grant Parish (after Ulysses S. Grant). There was serious unrest. There were weeks of armed standoff in which the elected officials and ~150 black residents were pinned down in the courthouse in Colfax by white supremacist terrorists. On Easter morning 1873 the occupants came out and surrendered. They were all murdered.

Anyone who thinks this is ancient history or doesn’t understand why this country makes me so angry, I’ll point out that this is the fucking official state historical marker of the massacre:


Holy fucking shit.


Carpetbaggers should have stayed and whipped the segregationists. Then maybe the South would be a first-world-level area.


Just a quick note to say, you are not alone, I had a similar experience, not Watchman but a few years earlier. (I was impressed and disquieted by that Black Watchman storyline.)

I gather than some measure of public awareness has been emerging in the past ten, fifteen. Still not widely known, but getting some traction.

I don’t know the dynamics of it being hushed up, but hushed up it was. (I would be interested in reading a book about how the aftermath, and how the Forgetting happened.)

Disappearing the event from the school curriculum must have been easy enough.

But I assume that recalcitrant victims, their lawyers, journalists, teachers must have suffered all kinds of threats, pressures, silences, and accommodations with consciences, for America to forget Black Tulsa for nearly a century.



This, from Erica Buddington, history educator, is what Ed Yong over at The Atlantic calls “a necessary, devastating thread” and surely ain’t even the half of it, I realize:

ETA: I now see that one’s view of Ed Yong’s perspicacity can be left as an exercise for the reader


Two years later in Mississippi:


At least that sign is honest about the event and not sporting a “haha, fuck those carpetbagging desegregationists that got murdered” attitude like the one from Louisiana.


But it’s not. And it’s not the history that we get taught from the K to 12, sometimes into college too.

It sucks that a college education has become glorified job training in most cases…



There is a trend I have been noticing for some time now, where use of the word “slave” is no longer preferred among historians. So the sign for The Clinton Riot still leaves much to be desired.

Enslaved vs. Slave: Today, most historians speak of “enslaved people” instead of “slaves.” This language separates a person’s identity from his/her circumstance.

Enslaver vs. Owner/Master: The usage of “owner” or “master” empowers the enslaver and dehumanizes the enslaved person reducing him/her to a commodity rather than a person who has had slavery imposed upon him or her.

Using the terms enslaved and enslaver, are subtle but powerful ways of affirming that slavery was forced upon that person, rather than an inherent condition.

ETA: upon rereading that sign, I note that “vigilante mobs from nearby towns” were responsible for murdering even more in the following days of riot and it does occur to me that there’s the same problem today in towns where peaceful protesters seeking justice for George Floyd’s murder are having their protest subverted by, uh, “out-of-towners” and worse:




Passive language is a dead giveaway that you are being lied to. Colfax riot - three white men and 150 negroes (not black men, another slight) WERE SLAIN. It just happened - they were slain. We know a bunch of proto-nazi’s did it, but it’s a lot easier to just say that it happened and move along.

Clinton riot - FIRING ERUPTED, again, it just happened. Apparently nobody did it. Because it would be uncomfortable to say “Those in power shot them” or more accurately, “Our ancestors killed them because they wanted the same rights as everyone else”.


There is good news. This is the empty pedestal where a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest used to be. It’s in Memphis directly across the street from the courthouse, and has been replaced by that sign that talks about this being the epicenter of the slave trade in that city. Interestingly enough, he did it illegally - no defense that “he was just doing what everyone else was doing…” It’s a small park in the corner of a municipal parking lot.

The old sign is off to the side, I suppose it remains in order that the “history” can be preserved. Pretty weak history lesson there…

“What’s all the fuss? All we’re saying is that his business enterprises made him wealthy, what is the problem with you people?” (s)



Agreed. A thousand times, this.

It’s… “traditional.”

It’s completely fucked up.

One current example:


I grew up in Tulsa. With a racist dad. Now, he never preached it, he never said shit about it unless I asked a question like :Why does the sign say: “We reserve the right not to…” And dad told me, quite correctly, that it meant: “We don’t serve [POC]”. He thought this right and proper, but he did not teach this. I somehow grew up progressive liberal. The Tulsa that I lived in (the 1960’s) was both segregated and not. Blacks might live the next block over, but our block was pure white. Dad pulled up the stakes when blacks moved into our block. We just abandoned the house we were buying. Sad. It was a true community I can remember organizing dance parties in my garage. I wasn’t taught to be racist but unfortunately it was bred in my bones. I’ve spent my life dealing with it. I went to a desegregated high school, Not due to bussing. It just was that way. Then we moved to Dallas and I went to W.T. White. And it was. We ‘imported’ our people of color. Of course, it was heavily Jewish. But, thankfully, this was never a problem. We just never ran into them in Tulsa. North Dallas…well…