Photo Credit: Unseen Histories
Race Massacres That Devastated Other Black Communities Besides Tulsa
The brutal massacre of 1921 known as the Tulsa Massacre was just one of many race massacres in the United States.
On May 31, 2021, a 17-year-old white girl accused a Black teenager of assault in downtown Tulsa and that’s when white terrorism ensued, killing hundreds of Black Americans and destroying what was known as Black Wall Street.
Here are six other race massacres you should know:
American History pic.twitter.com/XE0g7qX7KP— COMMON (@common) May 31, 2021
1. Colfax, Louisiana In 1873
This attack happened after Black men got the right to vote during Reconstruction.
White people contested the result of the 1872 election, when Black men and a mostly Black state militia holed up around the parish courthouse to protect the local government.
On Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, they were surrounded by a white mob that set the courthouse on fire and shot anyone who emerged. An estimated 81 African Americans were killed.
2. Wilmington, North Carolina In 1898
This incident has been widely known as a successful coup d’etat.
White supremacists overthrew the results of a local election and, during the process, killed dozens of Black people and burned down much of Wilmington’s prosperous Black neighborhood.
Black families ran into the woods to hide, while others were forced to leave by train, never to return.
3. Washington D.C. In 1919
When news broke out that there was a reported “Negro fiend” attacking white women in the Washington, D.C. area, white posses starting hunting Black men on July 19, 1919. The violence lasted for nearly a week before it was extinguished by a long summer rain.
The Washington Post reports this is one of the few “race riots” in which more white people may have been killed by Blacks defending themselves — many were soldiers returning home from World War I — than Blacks murdered by white mobs.
4. Elaine, Arkansas In 1919
During this time, racist attacks and massacres were being reported across the country by the dozens.
One of the worst was in Elaine, Arkansas where more than 200 Black farmers and their families were slaughtered. The farmers had recently unionized and were planning to bypass the unfair sharecropping system.
5. Ocoee, Florida In 1920
White women voted for the first time in 1920, but for Black Americans, Jim Crow laws and disenfranchisement prevented them from doing the same.
In Ocoee, Florida, local Black men and women attempted to vote before white mobs responded by burning a Black church and killing at least six people.
Some survivors claimed bodies were dumped in a mass grave, as in Tulsa. Ocoee’s officials have not attempted to investigate the claim. City officials apologized and installed a memorial plaque in 2020. It was the worst instance of Election Day violence in American history.
6. Rosewood, Florida 1923
A Black community was burned to the ground two years later after a white woman named Fannie Taylor claimed she was assaulted by a Black man on January 1, 1923.
The first person killed was Sam Carter, a local blacksmith. He was tortured and his mutilated body was hung from a tree. An estimated 150 Black Americans were killed in Rosewood.
In 1997, the late, great filmmaker John Singleton famously made the film Rosewood, starring Ving Rhames, based on the massacre.