The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 has received much attention, at a time when America comes to terms with its legacy of systemic racism and racial violence against Black people. That massive human tragedy - when a white mob entirely lynched hundreds of Black people and destroyed the thriving community of Greenwood - is still being felt today. The bodies buried in mass graves are still being unearthed today.

However, Black Wall Street is not the end of the story, but rather is the tip of the iceberg. Before, during and after Tulsa, lynchings and racial violence were taking place across the country.

One of the more egregious chapters of the Civil War was the Fort Pillow Massacre in Tennessee. On April 12, 1864, Confederate soldiers opened fire and murdered 300 Black Union soldiers who had already surrendered. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general responsible for the massacre, founded the Ku Klux Klan after the war. A bust honoring Forrest stood in the Tennessee Capitol from 1978 until 2021.

Over a century before the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a successful coup d’etat was staged on American soil. In 1898 in Wilmington, North Carolina, a white supremacist mob assassinated Black elected officials, and replaced the Reconstruction-era city government - a Black-white coalition government - with themselves. Sixty people were murdered, and the Daily Record, a Black-owned newspaper, was burned to the ground.

The Red Summer of 1919 was a season of white violence against Black folks. It was the middle of a pandemic - the deadly flu pandemic of 1918 - and the Great Migration of Black people from the South to the urban centers of the North. The First World War had ended. Black veterans had returned home ready to fight against racial injustice, were not having it, and defended its community from whites who viewed them as an economic threat. In 25 riots across the country, more than 250 Black people died in what historian John Hope Franklin called “the greatest period of interracial strife the nation has ever witnessed.” In Washington, DC, where white mobs brutally beat Black people after allegations that a white woman had been assaulted by a Black man, armed Black men defended against attacks from white soldiers. It was one of the few race riots where white casualties exceeded Black casualties. Violence in Chicago was sparked after a Black man was struck by a stone and drowned in Lake Michigan. Police took no action against the white offenders. White gangs wreaked havoc on the city’s Black communities.

And in the Rosewood massacre of 1923 - depicted in the film “Rosewood” - a white mob descended upon the small Black community in central Florida after a white women claimed a Black man sexually assaulted her. The town was burned down and residents lynched. In 1994, the Florida legislature gave $2.1 million settlement, and the governor issued an apology.

These are only a few examples of the massacres of Black lives at the hands of white supremacist terrorism. We must remember and deal with our past if we hope to avoid repeating it.

David A. Love, JD - Serves

BlackCommentator.com as Executive

Editor. He is a journalist, commentator,

human rights advocate, a Professor at

the Rutgers University School of

Communication and Information based in

Philadelphia, a contributor to Four

Hundred Souls: A Community History of

African America, 1619-2019, The

Washington Post, theGrio,

AtlantaBlackStar, The Progressive,

CNN.com, Morpheus, NewsWorks and

The Huffington Post. He also blogs at

davidalove.com. Contact Mr. Love and


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