8 thriving and budding black communities destroyed by white neighbors

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Atlanta Race Riot (1906)

As the Civil War ended, African Americans in Atlanta began to enter politics, start businesses, and gain notoriety as a social class. Growing tensions between black salaried workers and the white elite began to grow, and resentments escalated further when blacks were granted more civil rights, including the right to vote.

Tensions exploded in the 1906 gubernatorial election in which Mr. Hoke Smith and Clark Howell competed for the Democratic nomination. Both candidates were looking for ways to deprive African-American voters of the right to vote because they each believed that the black vote could tip the election to the other candidate.

Hoke Smith was a former editor of the Atlanta Journal and Clark Howell was the editor of the Atlanta Constitution. Both candidates used their influence to incite white voters and help spread fear that whites might not be able to maintain the current social order.

The Atlanta Georgian and the Atlanta News have started publishing articles about white women being assaulted and raped by black men. These claims were repeatedly reported and were largely untrue.

On September 22, 1906, the Atlanta newspapers reported four alleged assaults on white women in the area. Soon some 10,000 white men and boys began to round up, beat and stab blacks. It is estimated that there have been between 25 and 40 African American deaths; it was confirmed that there were only two white deaths.

Black Wall Street reduced to ashes

Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma “Black Wall Street” (May 31 – June 1, 1921)

During the oil boom of the 1910s, the area of ​​northeastern Oklahoma around Tulsa flourished, including the neighborhood of Greenwood, known as “Black Wall Street.” The area was home to several prominent black lawyers, realtors, doctors and businessmen, many of whom were multimillionaires.

Greenwood had a variety of thriving businesses such as grocery stores, clothing stores, hair salons, banks, hotels, cafes, cinemas, two newspapers and many contemporary homes. The residents of Greenwood enjoyed many luxuries their white neighbors lacked, including indoor plumbing and a remarkable school system. The dollar has circulated 36 to 100 times, sometimes taking a year for the currency to leave the community.

The neighborhood was destroyed in a riot that broke out after a group of men from Greenwood attempted to protect a black youth from a lynching mob. On the night of May 31, 1921, a mob called for the lynching of Dick Rowland, a black man who shined shoes, after reports spread that the day before he had assaulted Sarah Page, a white woman, in the elevator in which she operated. a downtown building.

In the early morning hours of June 1, 1921, Black Tulsa was looted, bombarded with firebombs and set on fire by white rioters. The governor declared martial law and National Guard troops arrived in Tulsa. Guards helped firefighters put out the fires, removed kidnapped African Americans from the hands of white vigilantes, and jailed all black Tulsans, not yet confined, in a prison camp at Convention Hall and Fairgrounds, some for eight days.

As a result of the violence, 35 city blocks were in charred ruins, more than 800 people were treated for injuries and around 300 deaths occurred.


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