by Solomon Abrams

It’s no accident that:
We learned about Helen Keller instead of W.E.B. DuBois
We learned about the Watts and L.A. Riots, but not Tulsa or Wilmington.
We learned that George Washington’s dentures were made from wood, rather than the teeth from slaves.
We learned about black ghettos, but not about Black Wall Street.
We learned about the New Deal, but not “red lining.”
We learned about Tommie Smith’s fist in the air at the 1968 Olympics, but not that he was sent home the next day and stripped of his medals.
We learned about “black crime,” but white criminals were never lumped together and discussed in terms of their race.
We learned about “states rights” as the cause of the Civil War, but not that slavery was mentioned 80 times in the articles of secession.
Privilege is having history rewritten so that you don’t have to acknowledge uncomfortable facts.
Racism is perpetuated by people (and systems) who refuse to learn or acknowledge this reality.
You have a choice.

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Red Summer

Tonight, the President of the United States will hold a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Many believe the rally should not be held there because of the city’s history of violence against African Americans almost 100 years ago. Tulsa was only one of many cities wherein Black Americans were tortured, beaten, burned, or hanged during the so called “Red Summer.”

Red Summer occurred in 1919 and lasted from late winter through early autumn and took place in over three dozen cities in the United States. The NAACP and other activist groups organized peaceful protests that were soon overrun by white supremacists leading to the months’ long riots that burned Black-owned businesses, homes, and families.

I wonder what city might be exempt from the history of such events and therefore appropriate for political rallies.

I wonder how many of you readers learned about this time in American history during your years in school. I know that I did not. I don’t think it is by accident that we were not taught about this and other times of conflict between White and Black Americans.

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This photograph taken June 1, 1921, is part of a collection at the University of Tulsa.            (USA Today)
St. Louis Red Summer
Photo from Bing