Tuesday, May 22, 2007



The tale of lynching, riots and other forms of racial oppresion were well established into the american culture by the 1919. The overwhelming majority of this intimidation was focused at black people and aimed at keeping them in a social condition that was a close to slavery as possible. Any reaction by individuals in defense of self, families, property or business would have been brutally and sometimes sadistically put down by white america and all of her arms of policy and social implementation.

So in 1919 during the year of the " Red Summer" ( A prase coined by James Weldon Johnson) in which racial riots occured all across the United states of America. Finally in Washington Dc Ex African American soldiers were able to defend themselves and thier neigborhoods from Ex White American Soldiers flooding into African and mixed nieghborhoods to attact black people. What makes this event so signifigant is the fact that during previous lynchings/riots any resistance on the part of blacks would have been looked on as criminal by the police and other goverment agencies.

This resistance even if in direct defense of property and family would have brought swift and sometimes inhuman retribution down on the AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY and afterwards thier would have been mass arrest and other sorts of harassment.During the Washington DC riot of 1919, the Army didnt get involved until black people started pulling white folks off of street cars and beating them in retaliation against the white mobs terrozing black peoples neiborhoods. African Americans also began to fire into street cars full of white passengers in response to similar behavior by white mobs which was allowed to happen by local police authorities.

This is also when the Newspapers which had help to incite the riot by scandolous reports of a "negro fiend attacking white women" (an often used tactic to justify mob violence on the part of whites directed at african americans) began to call for police officials to take measures to stop the rioting and violence. Only when black people began to defend themselves did the newspapers call for the army to be deployed to stop the rioting.

I remember watching a video of Malcolm X saying that during one of the southern riots in the 1960's the National Gaurd was not deployed until black people started busing white southerners upside the head. The 1919 Washingtong DC riot was only one of many that red summer in 1919 it was the first time that blacks had stood in orginize defence of themselves on such a large scale level. Below is a letter sent by a black women to The Naacp Crisis Newspaper after the riot praising black men for fighting the white mobs terrorizing black neighborhoods.

" A Southern Colored Woman, Letter to the Editor, The Crisis, Vol. 19 (November 1919), p. 339.

The Washington riot gave me the thrill that comes once in a life time. I . . . read between the lines of our morning paper that at last our men had stood like men, struck back, were no longer dumb driven cattle. When I could no longer read for my streaming tears, I stood up, alone in my room, held both hands high over my head and exclaimed aloud: "Oh, I thank God, thank God." . . . Only colored women of the South know the extreme in suffering and humiliation.

. . .

God Grant that our men everywhere refrain from strife, provoke no quarrel, but that they protect their women and homes at any cost. "

After reading this quote from a black female Washingtonian I felt similar to the way I felt after reading about the black men who volunteered to go fight in Ethiopia when Italy attacked the motherland. I was filled with great pride. Thier were and are black folk who's attitude is leave us (and I mean us) alone or you you gone have some ish to deal with.


dc_speaks said...

This is a powerful and emotional post, Mark.

Thank you for sharing it with all of us. You do the cause a great service with your blog as an inspirational forum.

I mean that.

mark said...

Thank you DC I had been saving this post for a while, it made me feel great to know that the brothas finally said enough and defended themselves especially knowing the heat that could on them.

JustMeWriting said...

hey dude...I'm sorry...I didn't even get to read this and the day is almost over, but it surely sounds like something I can't wait to check out tomorrow.

mark said...

Its alright JMW Im just glad you stopped by.

JustMeWriting said...

anytime...you're welcome