Sunday, February 20, 2022

The History I Did Not Learn (Black History Month Edition)


“Much of our identity is derived from our past, our cultural heritage – where we’ve come from…The white American ‘creation story,’ as it was framed in the melting pot analogy of the 1940s and ‘50s, is positive and exciting: a country forged in the ‘untamed wilderness’ out of nothing more than a healthy dose of curiosity and courage and a thirst for liberty, freedom, and – ironically – equality. The black American creation story, Asian American creation story, Latin American creation story, and Native American creation story are rooted in tragedy, kidnapping, enslavement, theft, coercion, rape, murder, genocide, inequality, exclusion, terrorism, and oppression in this country, all because of the color of their ancestors’ skin. There is no denying the powerful psychological influence of such a heritage, nor the difficulty involved with forging an identity out of such a painful past.”[10]

* * * * *

No, this isn't CRT.  It's just history. If we don't learn from it, we will repeat it. 

This is excerpted from a broader document to which I have added and will continue to add for years, so it's about the history of how POC in general have been treated in general, and the footnotes don't start at #1. Maybe I'll fix the footnotes next year.

I'm thinking I will post every year during Black History Month with any updates I have added throughout the year as I further my own education. Feel free to use this as a resource. You don't need my permission, and I don't need credit.

This is how the word is passed.



·      The Indian Wars began in 1609. They won’t end until 1924, by which time the Native American population will have dropped by 95%.[14]


·      Slavery starts in the New World as early as 1619, when a Dutch ship that had stolen 20 or so Africans from a Portuguese slave trading ship called São João Bautista, or Saint John the Baptist, landed.


·      In 1643, Virginia declared that black women (not black men, and not white or indigenous women) would be taxed. Immediately, it became more expensive for slave owners to own female slaves, so they were required to work harder – and better. Their ‘dues’ were often demanded sexually.[15]


·      In 1653, Wall Street was named after a literal wall built by slaves to protect the Dutch from Indian raids. They were being attacked because Dutch forces have massacred over a hundred Lenape men, women, and children under the orders of governor Willem Keift. Wall Street had one of the largest slave markets in the country in the 1700s.[16]


·      For every 100 people taken from Africa, only about 64 would survive the trip from the region's interior to the coast. Of those 64, around 48 would survive the weeks long journey across the Atlantic. Of those 48 who stepped off the ship in New York Harbor, only 28 to 30 would survive the first three to four years in the Colony. Historians refer to New York at this time as “a death factory for black people.”[17]


·      In 1656, the Dutch Reformed Church stopped baptizing black infants because baptism (it had been agreed) granted freedom. 


·      In 1662, the Virginia Assembly said that, when black slave women were raped by their masters, the child would be born automatically a slave. This incentivized rape, as the children were automatically property of the rapist.


·      In 1667, the Virginia Assembly allowed baptism of slaves to continue by simply ruling that baptism did not change one’s status, slave or free. Missionaries could make converts and not disrupt the slave trade. It’s small surprise that the missionaries’ message was not readily received.


·      Bacon’s Rebellion resulted in laws taking away the rights of black slaves to bear arms – of any kind. In 1680, Virginia passed the Law For Preventing Negro Insurrections, which made it illegal for slaves to even fight back if one was attacked or beaten. Free Indians and blacks were not allowed to “lift up a hand in opposition against any Christian.”[18]


·      The impact of the French Code Noir (Black Code) of 1685, enacted in Louisiana, lingers to this day.[19]


·      In 1688, the Quakers of Germantown (later Philadelphia) wrote what one historian called “one of the first documents to make a humanitarian argument against slavery.”[20] The Quakers would continue to be strong abolitionist voices, but they were overwhelmed by the multitude of voices around them. 


·      In 1694, Massachusetts offered the first bounties for the heads and scalps of American Indian children; in 1695 it specified £25 for women or children “under the age of fourteen years, that shall be killed.”  There were at least 69 government-issued scalp edicts in New England from 1675 to 1760 (and at least 50 issued elsewhere in the United States until 1885). In New England alone, records show government payments for 375 human scalps equaling government payments of millions of dollars in today’s money.[21]


·      Various colonial governments sought to limit property ownership among chattel[22] slaves. For example, a 1692 Virginia law provided that "all horses, cattle and hoggs marked of any negro or other slaves marke, or by any slave kept” would be given to the white poor. This is the beginning of the crushing of generational wealth.


·      Other Christian voices joined the Quakers as abolitionists. “The same Bible that racists misused to support slavery and segregation is the one abolitionists and civil rights activists rightly used to animate their resistance. Whenever there has been racial injustice, there have been Christians who fought against it in the name of Jesus Christ.”[23] They were too few, and too far between.


·      In 1700, Puritan Judge Samuel Sewell (famous for the Salem Witch Trials) was one of those voices, He wrote The Selling of Joseph, one of the first anti-slavery tracts. "Liberty is in real value next unto Life: None ought to part with it themselves, or deprive others of it, but upon the most mature Consideration… man-stealing [is] an atrocious crime which would introduce among the English settlers people who would remain forever restive and alien…   These Ethiopians, as black as they are; seeing they are the Sons and Daughters of the First Adam, the Brethren and Sisters of the Last Adam, and the Offspring of God; They ought to be treated with a Respect agreeable." And yet, like many who opposed slavery, he was not opposed to segregation. "There is such a disparity in their Conditions, Colour, Hair, that they can never embody with us, and grow up into orderly Families, to the Peopling of the Land."[24]


·      John Saffin wrote a response to Judge Sewell’s tract using the Bible to defend slavery. It ended like this: “The Negro’s Character: Cowardly and cruel are those blacks innate, Prone to revenge, imp of inveterate hate. He that exasperates them, soon espies Mischief and murder in their very eyes. Libidinous, deceitful, false and rude, Thy spume issue of ingratitude. The premises considered, all may tell, How near good Joseph they are parallel.“[25]


·      Between 1680 and 1700, Virginia’s slaves increased from 3,000 to 16,000. This prompted the 1705 Act Concerning Servants and Slaves, “American history’s most striking evidence that our nation’s greatest sins were achieved with clear forethought and determined maintenance.”[26] New York passed one the same year. It included codes like this: if a slave “shall happen to be killed in… correction, it shall not be counted a felony; but master, owner and every such person giving correction, shall be free and acquit of all punishment and accusation…as if such incident had never happened.” (section 34)[27] Virginia, by the way, was a state where the names of runaway slaves were posted on church doors.[28]


·      In 1712, a few dozen slaves staged a rebellion in New York. When a group of men approached, they killed 9 of them. They were hunted down. Approximately 23 other slaves were convicted of being involved. 20 were hanged; one was roasted, slow-turning, over a fire; another broken on a wheel; a third had every bone methodically broken by a crowbar until he died. These punishments were consistent with the slave code of 1708.[29]  


·      In 1739, in what is known as the Stono Rebellion, an uprising of slaves left 23 white South Carolinians dead. South Carolina passed the Negro Act of 1740, which restricted the right of slaves to assemble and educate themselves. 


·      In 1741, a grand jury in New York concluded black arsonists had set a series of fires to overthrow chattel slavery. 70 were sold to work in the Caribbean. 17 were hanged. 13 were burned at the stake. Compare this to the infamous Salem Witch Trials, in which 19 were executed, and none burned at the stake. [30]


·      While some Christians were involved in the abolitionist movement (as previously noted) the majority were not. Jonathan Edwards owned household slaves. In fact, he purchased two Black children in his life—a 14-year-old girl (when he was 27) and a 3-year-old boy (when he was 52). The boy was included in his will – by listing him with the animals he owned.[31]

·      George Whitefield bought a South Carolina plantation and became a slave owner before leading a push to get slavery legalized in Georgia in 1751.[32] As you might imagine, Christians and preachers owning slaves was a lot for slaves to process.[33]


·      In 1754, Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper published a religious essay by Quaker preacher John Woolman entitled “Some Considerations on the Keeping of the Negroes,” which advocated strongly for emancipation. Franklin, however, did not have a high view of those who “blackened half of America.” “Why increase the sons of Africa, by planting them in America, where we have so fair an opportunity, by excluding all blacks and tawneys, of increasing the lovely white and red?”[34]


·      In 1781, the U.S. Constitution was ratified. William Lloyd Garrison, founder of the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, citing Isaiah 28, called it a “covenant with death” because it didn’t ban slavery in America.[35]


·      The Baptist General Committee eventually issued statements in 1785 and 1790 opposing slavery. After some pushback from within the church, they decided it was a civil issue rather than a church one, and individual churches could do whatever they wanted. [36]


·      In 1786, George Washington -  who 12 years earlier had written to a friend concerning the British that “we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition that can be heaped upon us; till custom and use, will make us as tame, and abject slaves, as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway”[37] - complained about Quakers trying to “liberate his slaves.” Soon after, Quakers in Philadelphia and North Carolina began to lay the groundwork for what would become the Underground Railroad.[38]


·      17 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 owned a total of about 1,400 slaves. Of the first 12 U.S. presidents, eight would be slave owners.[39] Washington had hundreds of slaves; Jefferson over 600; Madison over 100; Monroe around 250. Washington would later describe his ownership of slaves as “the only unavoidable subject of regret.”  When Washington died, he freed the slaves he owned. He was the only Founding Father to do so.[40]




Note: You can find quotes from most of the Founders opposing slavery even while they owned slaves; many thought freeing them was a good idea, but they didn’t want to live around them; more than a few expressed regret toward the end of their lives about their complicity in enabling the institution of slavery. Any narrative that paints them entirely as ruthless slaveholders or entirely as committed abolitionists does not do justice to the historical record.



·      There were 700,000 slaves in this land in 1790 (92% of the black population); 3.9 million in 1860 (89% of the black population).[41] About 25% of Southern households owned slaves (as high as 49% in Mississippi).[42]


·      The 1790 Naturalization Act permitted only "free white persons" to become naturalized citizens, so only free white people could vote, serve on juries, hold office, and in many cases, own property.[43] 


·      The Second Amendment, passed in 1791, almost certainly was intended to secure the right of slave owning states to have a militia that, at that time, was used to hunt escaped slaves. James Madison appears to have rewritten the Second Amendment from its original form in response to Patrick Henry (who owned 70 or more slaves) demanding that the slave patrols in Virginia (‘militias’) be protected. See three resources in this footnote for more information.[44]


·      In 1792, at least 200 slaves began to help building the White House. All three of the original commissioners Washington appointed to oversee construction owned slaves. Some of the later commissioners even hired out their own enslaved people to help build the Capitol Building and the White House. As the White House website notes, “The use of enslaved labor to build one of the most revered symbols of American democracy, and the home of the President of the United States, represents the paradoxical relationship between the institution of slavery and the ideals of freedom and liberty enshrined in America’s founding documents.”[45]


·      “The Buttonwood Agreement, which started what became the New York Stock Exchange, was signed in 1792 under a buttonwood tree in front of 68 Wall Street, about a block away from the slave market at the intersection of Wall and Water streets. The agreement covered transactions and companies involved in the slave trade, including shipping, insurance and cotton.”[46]


·      In 1793, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, and Washington  signed it. The act made it a federal crime to assist escaped slaves. 


·      The invention of the cotton gin (1793) led to an explosion in the expansion of slavery in order to meet the cotton demand. Much of the cotton in the South went through Northern ports, from which it was sent to England. “As the cotton trade went, so went the American economy… many white northerners had a vested interest in preserving slavery.”[47]


·      In the late 1700s, priests visting from other countries were recording the brutal realities of slavery and the ubiquitous rape of enslaved women – by the church. One Frenchman recorded the priests “keeping harems of Negro women, from whom was born a mixed race.”[48]


·      Dating back to the 1800s, Native American children were put in boarding schools – of which a third were run by Christian missionaries - to “Kill the Indian and save the man,” as Capt. Richard H. Pratt's put it in an 1892 speech at George Mason University. They were isolated from their families and trained into low-paying vocations. More on this later.


·      In 1802, Leland Baptist in Massachusetts presented Thomas Jefferson with a 1200 pound block of cheese because of his famous “wall of separation between church and state” reply to the Danbury Baptist Association of Connecticut. This was Thomas Jefferson, who owned slaves and believed that “Indians should ‘be absorbed’ into the United States or face military obliteration.”[49]


·      “Standard civics class accounts of the Electoral College rarely mention the real demon dooming direct national election in 1787 and 1803: slavery. At the Philadelphia convention, the visionary Pennsylvanian James Wilson proposed direct national election of the president. But the savvy Virginian James Madison responded that such a system would prove unacceptable to the South: ‘The right of suffrage was much more diffusive [i.e., extensive] in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes.’ In other words, in a direct election system, the North would outnumber the South, whose many slaves (more than half a million in all) of course could not vote. But the Electoral College—a prototype of which Madison proposed in this same speech—instead let each southern state count its slaves, albeit with a two-fifths discount, in computing its share of the overall count. Virginia emerged as the big winner—the California of the Founding era—with 12 out of a total of 91 electoral votes allocated by the Philadelphia Constitution, more than a quarter of the 46 needed to win an election in the first round. After the 1800 census, Wilson’s free state of Pennsylvania had 10% more free persons than Virginia, but got 20% fewer electoral votes. Perversely, the more slaves Virginia (or any other slave state) bought or bred, the more electoral votes it would receive. Were a slave state to free any blacks who then moved North, the state could actually lose electoral votes. If the system’s pro-slavery tilt was not overwhelmingly obvious when the Constitution was ratified, it quickly became so. For 32 of the Constitution’s first 36 years, a white slaveholding Virginian occupied the presidency.”[50]


·      Inspired by the Haitian revolution of slaves, slaves in Louisiana started a short-lived rebellion in 1811, led by Charles Deslondes.  A group of several hundred slaves attacked plantations and killed the masters/owners. Within 48 hours, they were defeated by militia and federal troops. Many were decapitated, and their heads placed on fence posts. One naval officer wrote, “They were brung here for the sake of their heads, which decorate our levee, all the way up the coast. I am told they look like crows sitting on long poles.” The leader, Deslondes, had his hands chopped off before he was burned to death on top of a bale of straw.[51]


·      “Francis Scott Key wrote the poem in 1814 that would become the national anthem and proclaim our nation ‘the land of the free.’ Like Jefferson, Key not only profited from slaves, he harbored racist conceptions of American citizenship and human potential. Africans in America, he said, were ‘a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community’… Key used his office as the District Attorney for the City of Washington from 1833 to 1840 to defend slavery, attacking the abolitionist movement in several high-profile cases.

In response to U.S. v. Reuben Crandall, Key made national headlines by asking whether the property rights of slaveholders outweighed the free speech rights of those arguing for slavery’s abolishment. Key hoped to silence abolitionists, who, he charged, wished to ‘associate and amalgamate with the negro.’”[52]


·      The American Colonization Society (ACS), founded in 1816 by Presbyterian minister Robert Finley, sought to send freed slaves back to Africa as an alternative to emancipation. “Could they be sent to Africa, a three-fold benefit would arise,” the first reason being, We should be cleared of them…” The ACS founded Liberia for this reason.[53]


·      In 1817, the African Methodist Episcopal Church was founded in Charleston. In 1818, the city shut it down out of fear of black people congregating and potentially planning insurrection. 


·      Congress passes the Civilization Act of 1819 to assimilate Native Americans. This law provided U.S. government funds to subsidize Protestant missionary educators in order to convert Native Americans to Christianity.


·      David Walker (1796-1830), black abolitionist and son of a slave, wrote: ”But Christian Americans not only hinder their fellow creatures, the Africans, but thousands of them will absolutely beat a colored person nearly to death, if they catch him on his knees, supplicating the throne of grace… Yes, I have known small collections of colored people to have convened together for no other purpose than to worship God Almighty, in spirit and in truth, to the best of their knowledge; when tyrants, calling themselves patrols would burst in upon them and drag them out and commence beating them as they would rattle-snakes—many of whom, they would beat so unmercifully, that they would hardly be able to crawl for weeks and sometimes for months.”[54] It is important to note that this was not all Christians. But it was certainly some. 


·      In 1823, the Supreme Court ruled (Johnson vs. M’Intosh) that, under the Doctrine of Discovery, “when European, Christian nations discovered new lands, the discovering country automatically gained sovereign and property rights over the lands of non-Christians, non-European peoples, even though, obviously, the native peoples already owned, occupied and used these lands.” [55] When Georgians tried to take all the Cherokee land within the boundaries of their state, the Cherokees resisted; as a result, they were accused of attempting to establish a new and separate government. 


·      In the 1820s, Irish laborers working alongside black workers formed a bond to the point of the Irish advocating for abolition. This would not last. 


·       In 1829, Georgia prohibited teaching blacks to read. Those who broke the law were subject to fines and/or imprisonment. 


·      1830: Congress passes Indian Removal Act, legalizing removal of all Indians east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river.


·      In the 1830s, National Negro Conventions began in the North. These were instrumental in encouraging abolitionist’s responses to slavery, such as the Underground Railroad. 


·      1832, Alabama and Virginia passed laws prohibiting whites from teaching blacks to read or write, with punishments including floggings.


·      In 1833, Georgia passed laws prohibiting blacks from working in jobs involving reading or writing; those who taught blacks to do so were punished by fines and whippings.


·      Throughout the 1830s and '40s, white entertainer Thomas Dartmouth Rice (1808-1860) performed a black-face act supposedly modeled after a slave he overhead singing. He named the character Jim Crow.[56]


·      The slaves owned by the Strickland family in Georgia were listed as “black” when bought in the 1830s. By 1860, 1/5 of their slaves were listed as “mulatto.” That’s a lot of rape. This was, unfortunately, a snapshot of the lives of many slaves. [57]


·      In 1837, Michigan abolished slavery. 


·      In 1838, Michigan built its first state prison in Jackson. By 1843, prisoners were working for private contractors with no pay. This anticipates the “indentured servitude by incarceration” that will follow the Emancipation Proclamation.


·      The 1840 Census concluded that free blacks were 11 times more likely to be mentally ill than enslaved blacks (they used figures that were “specious” or “invented” and as such helped them reach a conclusion that was the exact opposite of the evidence).[58] The census was never formally corrected.


·      The Trail of Tears moved 60,000 Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 from their homes in what was known as the Indian removal. Thousands died before reaching their destinations or shortly after from disease.[59] This is only the most notorious of many similar events.[60]


·      In Prigg vs Pennsylvania (1842), the Supreme Court ruled that states could decline cooperation with the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. 


·      In 1846, the Episcopalian church ruled that no “colored congregation [will] be admitted into union with this Convention, so as to entitle them to representation… They are socially degraded, and are not regarded as proper associates for the class of person who attend our Convention.”


·      “J. Marion Sims, known as the ‘father of modern gynecology,’ contributed revolutionary tools and techniques to the medical field, like the modern-day speculum and the Sims position. His breakthroughs emerged from experiments on enslaved Black women without the use of anesthesia…  between 1846 and 1849, Sims operated on at least 10 enslaved women without anesthesia. One enslaved woman, Anarcha, endured at least 30 painful surgeries.”[61]


·      In 1847, Missouri passed a law forbidding any attempt to help slaves achieve literacy. Also in 1847, some of Martha Washington’s slaves quarried the red sandstone that went into building the Smithsonian.


·      One result of the California gold rush in 1848 was that, as 300,000 new people flooded California, the Native American population plummeted from 150,000 to 30,000 over 30 years. In places like Shasta City, Marysville and Honey Lake in 1851, you could have received $5 for each Indian head turned in. Struggling miners became bounty hunters, sometimes showing up with a dozen heads at a time. When there was no local bounty, freelancers would often get paid by the state.[62]


·      In 1850, California passed the Indian Indenture Act, under which people were allowed to enslave Indian adults and children. In the late 1800s, more than 4,000 Native American children were sold into slavery at prices ranging from $60 to $200.[63]


·      In the South around this time, an estimated 50% of enslaved infants were stillborn or died within the first year of life.[64]


·      Also in 1850, Congress passed an even more restrictive Fugitive Slave Act, which overturned the Prigg decision in 1842.


·      “Passed in 1850, the state’s disingenuously titled Act for the Government and Protection of Indians legalized a range of unfree-labor practices. Under the law, Anglo and Hispanic heads of household could seize Native children from their families and use them as unpaid servants until they reached adulthood—or died. A petitioner merely had to bring a child’s “friend” before the court, have the friend corroborate that the parents were unfit to raise the child, and then claim legal guardianship for themselves. Who qualified as a friend was left to the discretion of the court. Unsurprisingly, the law encouraged rampant kidnapping. Slave raiders descended on Native communities, murdered the adults, and auctioned their orphans to California colonists. Because California Indians were prohibited from testifying against white people in court, such attacks went unpunished. Roughly 20,000 California Indians were held in various states of bondage throughout the antebellum era. Thousands more could be found in the neighboring territories of Utah and New Mexico.”[65]


·      In 1852, Utah adopted a similar measure to California’s law on Indian child servitude, with an equally misleading name. The Act for the Relief of Indian Slaves and Prisoners allowed Utah’s white residents to purchase Indian children for “adoption” into their households for up to 20 years. The children worked to pay off the price of their purchase while receiving food, clothing, and religious instruction. An estimated 60 percent of Indigenous adoptees died by their early 20s.[66]


·      “About 40,000 Chinese immigrants arrived in the 1850s to mine for gold, and in the decade that followed, thousands more came to work on railroads. The Chinese and Japanese populations (few whites bothered to differentiate between the two) farmed, fished, mined, and worked as domestic labor throughout the century even while enduring brutal mistreatment and discrimination by Americans and European immigrants. ‘In many districts of the vast Pacific coast, so strong is the wild, free love of justice in the hearts of the people,’ wrote Mark Twain in a bitter 1870 article, ‘that whenever any secret and mysterious crime is committed, they say, “Let justice be done, though the heavens fall,” and go straightway and [hang] a Chinaman…’ ‘On average,’ writes Iris Chang in The Chinese in America: A Narrative History, ‘three laborers perished for every two miles of track laid. … Twenty thousand pounds of their bones [were] shipped [back] to China.’”[67] 


·      Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the second best-selling book of the 19th century (second to the Bible). An apocryphal story states that Abraham Lincoln, said, on meeting Stowe, "So this is the little lady who started [the Civil War].”


·      When the Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott (1857), a slave who sued for his freedom, Judge Roger Taney wrote that black people were of “an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race,” and “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”


·      An 1858 medical journal article by Savannah Medical College professor Juriah Harriss noted that “the ability to accurately determine the market value of Black bodies was one of the key professional competencies needed by southern doctors.”[68]


·      In 1859, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was founded by slaveholding members[69]of the Southern Baptist Convention.[70] “The founding fathers of this school were deeply involved in slavery and deeply complicit in the defense of slavery,” Albert Mohler said recently.[71] The SBC recently issued a thorough apology, though some lingering issues remain.[72]


·      By the mid-1800s, post-Second Great Awakening evangelicalism had established a significant focus on evangelism both near and far. This increasingly led to not only the preaching of the gospel, but also to political engagement for social justice and moral reform for Native Americans and slaves. A number of evangelical colleges rose up, including Oberlin College in Ohio (at which evangelist Charles Finney was a professor). Oberlin was unusually progressive in that it was both coed and multi-ethnic. Students there advocated strongly for the United States to keep its treaties with Native Americans; it was even a stopover for escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad.


·      In 1860, the value of the slaves was “roughly three times greater than the total amount invested in banks… equal to about seven times the total value of all currency in circulation in the country, three times the value of the entire livestock population, twelve times the value of the entire U.S. cotton crop and forty-eight times the total expenditure of the federal government that year.”[73]


·      Between 1831 and 1865, two of the predecessor banks for JP Morgan Chase – Citizens Bank and Canal Bank in Louisiana – accepted approximately 13,000 enslaved individuals as collateral on loans and took ownership of approximately 1,250 of them when the plantation owners defaulted on their loans.”[74]


·      “On huge plantations surrounding New Orleans, home of the largest slave market in the antebellum South, sugar production took off in the first half of the 19th century. By 1853, Louisiana was producing nearly 25% of all exportable sugar in the world.  Enslaved Black workers made that phenomenal growth possible. On the eve of the Civil War, Louisiana’s sugar industry was valued at US$200 million. More than half of that figure represented the valuation of the ownership of human beings.”[75]


·      “The Slave Trail of Tears is the great missing migration—a thousand-mile-long river of people, all of them black, reaching from Virginia to Louisiana. During the 50 years before the Civil War, about a million enslaved people moved from the Upper South—Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky—to the Deep South—Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. They were made to go, deported, you could say, having been sold. This forced resettlement was 20 times larger than Andrew Jackson’s “Indian removal” campaigns of the 1830s, which gave rise to the original Trail of Tears as it drove tribes of Native Americans out of Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama… Virginia was the source for the biggest deportation. Nearly 450,000 people were uprooted and sent south from the state between 1810 and 1860. ‘In 1857 alone, the sale of people in Richmond amounted to $4 million,’ McInnis said. ‘That would be more than $440 million today.’”[76]


·      1861 - 1865: Civil War. 620,000 -750,000 die (2% -2.5% of the population) over the issue of slavery. If this was a “states’ rights” war, it was about the right to own slaves.[77] In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln hoped that “this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom.”


·      On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln (R) issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed enslaved people in the Confederate states.[78] The 13th Amendment officially ended slavery in 1865. Frederick Douglass said at this time, “The Republican Party is the ship; all else is the sea.” The Cincinnati Enquirer opined, “Slavery is dead, but the negro is not, and there is the misfortune.”[79]


·      Newspaper business boomed as slaves placed ads, trying to reunite with all the family members who had been sold.[80]


·      In the South, the federal government never followed through on Sherman's Civil War plan to divide up plantations and give each freed slave "40 acres and a mule." The only compensation for slavery was $300 per slave ($5,000 in today’s money) - not to the slaves, but to slaveholders.


·      Laws kicked in right away in the South that led to indentured servitude through prison labor. In South Carolina, a law prohibited black people from holding any occupation other than farmer or servant unless they paid an annual tax of $10 to $100. Then when they couldn't find (or afford) work, they were arrested for vagrancy; when challenged, they had to show proof they had a job. It was hard to win a case in court, because the judges and police were often former Confederate soldiers. In South Carolina, the children of ‘vagrant’ parents could be forcibly ‘apprenticed’ until they were 21 (men) or 18 (women), and could be captured if they ran away. In Louisiana, it was illegal for a black man to preach to a black congregation with written permission from the police.


·      Abraham Lincoln hated slavery, but he was wary of whites and blacks living together. He wanted to send freed slaves to live in Liberia or Haiti. In 1862 he said to a black audience: “You and we are different races—we have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think. Your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us; while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side.[81]


·      The 1862 Homestead Act gave away 270 million acres.[82] It was available to any U.S. citizen who had never fought against the U.S. Government. Guess who couldn't legally be a citizen because they weren’t white and it was not yet 1868? (#The Fourteenth Amendment). The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 opened 46 million acres of federal land specifically for African Americans (at least at first). Many former slaves could not afford the fee, and Southern whites prevented many blacks from getting information. In addition, most of the land was forest and swamp. Fewer than 6,000 black families got land from a total of 1.6 million beneficiaries of these land grant programs.[83]


·      Congress also gave another 100 million acres of Indian land free to the railroads. 


·      The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, which caused outrage in its own time, has been called genocide. Colonel John Chivington led a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia in a massacre of 70–163  peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho, about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants. Chivington and his men took scalps and other body parts as trophies, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia.[122] In defense of his actions Chivington stated, “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! ... I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. ... Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.” [84]


·      As it became clear to the Irish that this solidarity with black workers denied them entrance into white society – and that a black population moving North might deny them the jobs they had - the relationship changed. Irish violence against blacks became so common in New York City that bricks were known as “Irish confetti.” In 1865, a mob of 1,000 Irish immigrants attacked the black community, including children in an orphanage. They caused so much destruction and elicited such fear that the black population decreased by 20%.[85]

·      In 1865, Sherman issued Field Order No. 15, in which lands in South Carolina and Georgia were set apart “for the settlement of negroes,” particularly those freed from slavery. 40,000 freed people settled on 400,000 acres. In 1865, Andrew Johnson reversed it. Only former slaves who paid for it were allowed to remain. As you might imagine, former slaves sere not flush with cash. It had “no tangible benefit for Black citizens after President Johnson’s revocation.”[86]


·      Go to the footnote to read about the Missouri Escapes from 1840-1865, in which 1,500 escaped slavery.[87]


·      Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to free slaves that their Texan masters had refused to free. #juneteenth “In October 1865, months after the June orders, white Texans in some regions ‘still claim and control [slaves] as property, and in two or three instances recently bought and sold them…To sustain slavery, some planters systematically murdered rebellious African-Americans to try to frighten the rest into submission.” A report by the Texas constitutional convention stated that white Texans killed almost 400 Black people between 1865 and 1868.[88]


·      The Civil Rights Act of 1866 became the nation’s first federal civil rights law. It was vetoed twice by Andrew Johnson. It was finally ratified in 1870 (after the 14th Amendment passed). In addition to granting citizenship “without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude,” it established that “All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall have the same right in every State and Territory to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, give evidence, and to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, penalties, taxes, licenses, and exactions of every kind, and to no other.” It was a noble effort. Practically, that kind of exercise of rights was going to take some time.


·      In 1866, President Johnson said, after meeting Frederick Douglass at the White House, “he’s just like any n*****, and he would sooner cut a white man’s throat than not.”[89]


·      "On May 1, 1866, in Memphis, Tennessee, white police officers began firing into a crowd of African American men, women, and children that had gathered on South Street, and afterward white mobs rampaged through Black neighborhoods with the intent to “kill every Negro and drive the last one from the city.” Over three days of violence, forty-six African Americans were killed (two whites were killed by friendly fire); ninety-one houses, four churches, and twelve schools were burned to the ground; at least five women were raped; and many Black people fled the city permanently."[90]


·      1868: The Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to black people. Federal troops moved through the South, registering 700,000 black voters. The government specifically interpreted the law so it didn’t apply to Native Americans, who would not win the right to citizenship until 1924. 


·      By 1868, the American Missionary Association (formed by the Congregational Church) had more than 500 teachers and missionaries working with the freed slaves. Among other things, they helped start two freedmen schools that became historically black colleges: Fisk University (1866) and Hampton Institute (1868).[91]


·      Also in 1868, in what is called the St. Landry Riot, a small group of armed African-Americans assembled to deal with the report of a black writer for a newspaper who had been severely beaten by white men because he had reported that armed white men harassed black families, shot at them outside of Opelousas ,the largest city in St. Landry Parish, and killed men, women and children with impunity – all to stop them from voting. This group was met by an armed group of white men, mounted on horses, outside Opelousas. 29 of the black men were taken to the local prison, and 27 of them were summarily executed. The bloodshed continued for two weeks, with African-American families killed in their homes, shot in public, and chased down by vigilante groups. C.E. Durand, the other editor of the St. Landry Progress, was murdered in the early days of the massacre and his body displayed outside the Opelousas drug store. By the end of the two weeks, estimates of the number killed were around 250 people, the vast majority of them African-American.[92]


·      Thousands of Chinese workers landed in Louisiana between 1866 and 1870, recruited from the Caribbean, China and California. Bound to multiyear contracts, they symbolized Louisiana planters’ racial hope for a new system of slavery. “We can drive the n****** out and import coolies that will work better, at less expense,” journalist Whitelaw Reid reported hearing all across the South in 1866, “and relieve us from this cursed n***** impudence.”[93]


·      The Fifteenth Amendment was passed by Congress and ratified during the Reconstruction Era (1870). African American men were not only granted voting rights but even held political office. An estimated 2,000 black men served at every level of government. It was an excellent change that generated hope, but only lasted a short time. The last of them left office in 1901. It would be 28 years before a black man regained office (in Chicago); not until the 1970s did Georgia and Texas elect black representatives. For North Carolina, it was 1992.[94]


·      Also in 1870, in Forsyth, Georgia, The Chicago Tribune reported that three black residents of Forsyth were “summarily hung one morning by the roadside, in front of the dwelling... Old Man Hutchins suspended to the limb of a tree by an old ox chain... and his two sons by green withes cut from the bushes.”[95]


·      After the 15th Amendment granted blacks the right to vote, 700,000 blacks registered to vote in the South. This was larger than the white (male voting) population. Enter supremacist groups like the KKK to start a terrorist race war. KKK members lynched so many black voters in North Carolina 1870 that Governor Holden declared an insurrection and suspended habeus corpus. After Klansmen killed Republican state senator Stephens and Wyatt Outlaw, a black town commissioner, Holden hired a Union colonel and 300 troops to stop the violence (The Kirk-Holden War). But because black voters were successfully suppressed, the Democrats won the state legislature when they should have lost by thousands of votes. They impeached Holden and removed him from office. Not a one of the 100 terrorist leaders in the Kirk-Holden War were charged with a crime. In 1868, white supremacists opened fire on thousands of blacks at a political rally, so intimidating them that they swayed the election by thousands of votes so a Democratic governor would win.  In 1869, 33 recently elected black legislators were removed from office when the state Supreme Court overturned the right of blacks to hold office. ¼ of them would be killed by white supremacists; a dozen anti-expulsion protestors were killed in the Camilla Massacre. In 1870, in Laurens, South Carolina, around a dozen white and black voters were killed by supremacists who “waited upon” them after they voted. So, Congress passed The Enforcement Act of 1870, and then a Second one, and then a Third one bluntly called the Ku Klux Klan Act, all in an attempt to stop white supremacist terrorism of black voters. It didn’t work. In 1871, the Klan slaughtered 30 people in Meridian, Mississippi. There’s more to come….[96]


·      In 1871, a white mob in Los Angeles attacks a Chinese community, killing 19 and destroying the community.[97]


·      “’At least 10% of black members of constitutional conventions in the South in 1867-68 became victims [of Klan violence], including seven who were murdered.’ White vigilantes lynched an estimated 400 black people across the South between 1868 and 1871. Thirty-eight black people were lynched in South Carolina between the elections of 1870 and the spring of 1871. About thirty African-Americans were killed in a single day in Meridian, Mississippi. A key motivation for these lynchings was the attempt to intimidate black people from voting.”[98]


·      No one is quite sure how many people a militia mob killed on Easter Sunday in 1873 in Colfax, Louisiana. There were at least 81 black men; 20 more bodies were pulled from the Red River, and at least another 18 secretly buried.[99]


·      In 1874, the White League killed a dozen black Freemen in the Couschatta Massacre in Louisiana. A month later, the Crescent City White League overthrew the state government to install a Democratic governor (federal troops swooped in and reversed it). [100]


·      1872–1874: U.S. government permitted white traders to slaughter buffalo in order to rid the Plains of Indians. By 1874, Plain Indians — Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Comanche — had lost control of their territory.[101]


·      The Civil Rights Act of 1875 affirmed the “equality of all men before the law” and prohibited racial discrimination in public places and facilities such as restaurants and public transportation.[102]


·      “The Compromise of 1877… secured the election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes by giving him the electoral votes of Democratic South Carolina and Louisiana in exchange for a promise to withdraw the remaining federal troops from those statehouses.”[103]


·      Reconstruction collapsed with the withdrawal of Federal troops in 1877; voting rights for black men in the former Confederate states were restricted or taken away by local laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, intimidation, and fraud.[104] The “grandfather clause” restricted voting rights to men who were allowed to vote, or whose male ancestors were allowed to vote, before 1867 – which was, or course, not black men.[105]


·      In 1878, California held a constitutional convention for the purpose of throwing the Chinese and Japanese out of the state; the following decades witnessed scores of race riots, in which Chinatowns and Japantowns were incinerated and Asians lynched.[106]


·      Carlisle Indian School (1879) and other boarding schools started with the aim to "civilize" and "Americanize" the Indian.[107]  Richard Pratt wanted to “Kill the Indian and save the man,” so that instead of “feeding our civilization to the Indians”, we were “feeding the Indians to our civilization.”[108] Survivors have described a culture of pervasive physical and sexual abuse. Medical attention was often scarce; in the early years, more died than graduated. Nearly 200 Native children are buried at the entrance of the Carlisle Barracks.


·      Frederick Douglass (1817-1895): “For between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked. To be the friend of the one, is of necessity to be the enemy of the other. I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels.”[109] Once again, this is not every Christian, but it’s enough that it leaves an impression. 


·      By 1880, 25% of convicts leased out for work in Mississippi were children, some as young as six. Within a few years, Alabama would basically stop recording reasons for arresting blacks, literally writing “not given” in the column for recording reasons for imprisonment. The mortality rate for blacks leased out for hard labor was 17%, which was 15% more than white convicts.[110]


·      When Congress debated excluding the Chinese from the United States in 1882, Rep. Horace F. Page of California argued that the United States could not allow the entry of “millions of cooly slaves and serfs.” [111]


·      The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases (1883).[112]


·      Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877), who coordinated the butchering of black and white Union soldiers at Fort Pillow, went on to become the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Many Klan members actively participated in their local churches; more than a few preached on Sunday.[113]  


·      From George Washington (1789) to Ulysses Grant (1877), more Presidents owned slaves than did not (12-6).


·      In 1880, South Carolina reopened its state university (which it had closed in 1876 instead of integrate) for whites only. It didn’t desegregate until 1963.[114]


·      The Dawes Act (1887) was passed, calling for most designated tribal land to be divided up into individual allotments, on which were encouraged to take up agriculture despite the fact that much of the land was unsuitable for farming and many could not afford the equipment, livestock, and other supplies necessary for a successful enterprise.[115] Those who accepted the parcels and agreed to live separately from the tribe were granted citizenship, effectively dismantling tribal governments and communally held land. Any “excess” land (2/3 of it) was confiscated by the federal government and sold on the open market.[116]


·      By the time the 1880s rolled around, “The legal system entrapped thousands of black men, often on trumped up charges and without any due process protections, and earned money for sheriffs and state treasuries by selling their labor. It was worse than slavery.”[117] Every southern state leased convicts; 90% of all leased convicts were black. Historian David Oshinsky says, “The South’s economic development can be traced by the blood if its prisoners.”[118]


·      General Ulysses S. Grant (late 1800s): “The settlers and emigrants must be protected, even if the extermination of every Indian tribe [is] necessary.” The following year, General Philip Sheridan reportedly proclaimed, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” 


·      After the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre (300 Lakotaa men, women and children killed), the U.S. Army awarded 18 medals of honor to soldiers who participated.[119]

·      Also in 1890, James Kimble Vardaman, US Senator from Missouri, said of the motivation for the 1890 Mississippi Constitutional Convention, “There is no use to equivocate or lie about the matter. Mississippi’s constitutional convention was held for no other purpose than to eliminate the n***** from politics; not the ignorant – but the n*****.”[120]


·      Author L. Frank Baum – you know him as the writer of the Wizard of Oz - wrote two editorials about Native Americans. After the killing of Sitting Bull, Baum wrote: " With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by the law of conquest, by a justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians… better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are." 


·      Following the Wounded Knee massacre, Baum wrote, "The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extermination of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.”


·      In the late 1800s, missionary activity surged. However, an embedded message of white superiority often undermined the message of the gospel: the conversion to the tenants of western culture and a response to the gospel was a package deal. Methodist Senator Albert Beveridge said, “Of all our races, God has marked the American people as his chosen nation to finally lead to the regeneration of the world. This is a divine mission.”


·      In 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution did not require the elimination of racial distinction bot only the equal treatment of races. And with that, “separate but equal” became the standard in law for decades. It “struck a fatal blow to…black aspirations for equality and assimilation into America’s vaunted melting pot.”[121]


·      By the early 1900s, nearly every southern state had functionally barred black citizens from voting, serving in public office, on juries and in the administration of the justice system.[122]


·      This popular book was published in 1900 by a minister.


·      "Alabama rewrote its constitution in 1901. John B. Knox, a Calhoun County lawyer and president of the constitutional convention, opened the proceedings with a statement of purpose: 'Why it is within the limits imposed by the Federal Constitution, to establish white supremacy in this state.'”


·      President Theodore Roosevelt  (early 1900s) said, "I don't go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are. And I shouldn't like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth."


·      At the first World Series in 1903, no black players were permitted. 


·      White primariesprimary elections in which only white voters were permitted to participate, were one way to disenfranchise black voters. This kind of primary was established by state legislatures in South Carolina (1896), Florida (1902), Mississippi and Alabama (also 1902), Texas (1905), Louisiana and Arkansas (1906),and Georgia (1900).[123]


·      The revival of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1900s was largely the effort of Thomas Dixon Jr., an ordained Baptist preacher who wrote an admiring book on of the KKK called The Clansman (1905). D.W. Griffith adapted this into the first blockbuster movie, The Birth of a Nation (1915).”[124] When the movie first played at Fox Theater in Atlanta, the streets filled with men dressed up in sheets and pointy white hoods. [125]


·      There were 4,084 racially motivated lynchings in twelve Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the 1950’s.[126] African-American leaders contended that white churches shared the blame for this. Walter White of the NAACP wrote, “Evangelical Christian denominations have done much towards creation of the particular fanaticism which finds an outlet in lynching.” This was surely not entirely fair, as many white evangelicals expressed concern. However, they typically lamented the lawlessness of the acts more than the racial hatred behind the response.


·      A Southern Baptist resolution in1906 shows this equivocation about lynching: “Lynching blunts the public conscience, undermines the foundations on which societies stands, and if unchecked will bring on anarchy. But our condemnation is due with equal emphasis and many cases with much greater emphasis against the horrible crimes which caused the lynchings.” Crimes, I might add, which did not need to be proven to a lynch mob.


·      Here’s a map of lynchings just from 1900-1930. Multiply that by a lot for the big picture.[127]


·      Booker T. Washington wrote in the Birmingham Age-Herald in 1904: “Within the last fortnight three members of my race have been burned at the stake; one of these was a woman… All three of these burnings took place in broad daylight, and two of the occurred on Sunday afternoon in sight of a Christian church.” Washington notes all three were accused of murder. Accused, not convicted, and almost certainly not guilty.[128]


·       Not long after 1906, when San Francisco was leveled by earthquake and fire, the Chinese were evicted and Chinatown looted. The federal government tried to prevent rebuilding, but the intercession of China’s empress ensured that it was restored.  Soon afterward, the federal government turned Angel Island in San Francisco Bay into basically a prison where 175,000 Asian immigrants were detained, sometimes for years, before being considered for admission to the United States.[129] 


·      In 1908, a mob of around 5,000 white people attacked the black community in Springfield, Illinois, destroying businesses, driving families away, and lynching two black men.[130]


·      Also In 1908, a pregnant woman named Mary Turner was killed in Lowndes County, Georgia for having openly grieved for her husband. When she threatened to swear out warrants against the men who had abducted and lynched him,” before a crowd that included women and children, Mary was stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground, gave a cry, and was stomped to death.”[131]


·      By 1910, the war against black voting had shown itself to be effective. 30,334 black voters had registered in Louisiana in 1896; by 1910, there were 730. In Alabama, numbers dropped from 180,000 to 3,000; in Virginia and North Carolina, black voters were statistically 0%.[132]


·      In 1911, a black woman in Okemah, Oklahoma was killed for no crime other than defending her fifteen-year-old son against a lynch mob. Newspapers reported that when Laura Nelson confronted the white man who had accused her boy of stealing, Nelson was dragged from her house and repeatedly raped before she and her son she tried to protect were hanged side-by-side from a bridge over the Canadian River.[133]


·      On September 10th, 1912, Forsyth County Sheriff arrested three black suspects on trumped-up charges for raping and murdering a white girl. One suspect was kidnapped from jail, beaten with crowbars, dragged through the streets with a rope around his neck, before being strung up on a and shot hundreds of times. A black preacher who protested barely escaped being burned alive. The other two were eventually convicted in a mockery of a trial filled with men who, before too long, would show up on the roles of a revived KKK. By the end of October of that year, night riders forced out almost all of the over 1,000 members of the African-American Community from the county following shootings, bombings, and burnings. The families that left either sold their stuff (including land) at a drastic discount, or simply left it there for the white residents to claim. It is now some of the most valuable real estate in suburban Atlanta. The loss of generational wealth is staggering. [134]


·      1914-1919 was the Great Migration, when 6 million blacks moved away from South to find “political asylum within their own country.” (The California Gold rush involved 100,000 people; the Dust Bowl displaced 300,000). This was spurred on by incidents some may have witnessed in Waco, Texas in 1916, where 18-year-old Jesse Washington was lowered by rope into flames to be burned alive while a crowd of 15,000 yelled, “Burn, burn, burn!”[135]


·      In 1917, mobs in East St. Louis forced black workers from factories and gave them the option of being shot or burned alive.[136]


·      The 1919 Elaine Massacre refers to the time when white soldiers collaborated with local vigilantes to kill at least 200 black men, women and children who dared to criticize their low wages.[137] The local newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, lied about a list of 21 white farmers the Progressive Farmers and Household Union had compiled in order to ask them about their farming practices, claiming it was a hit list.[138]


·      In Phillips County, Arkansas, where black sharecroppers were attempting to form unions, “emergency posses” killed at least 200 people.[139]


·      Ida Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, called out D.L. Moody for downplaying the issue of lynching: “American Christians are too busy saving the souls of white Christians from burning in Hell Fire to save the lives of black ones from present burning and fires kindled by white Christians.”


·       "Another public spectacle lynching took place in 1917 in Memphis, Tennessee, when a mob of twenty-five men seized Ell Persons from a train that was transporting him to stand trial for rape and murder. The mob had announced the lynching time and location in advance, and thousands of people attended, backing up traffic for miles. Food and gum vendors sold their wares to the many spectators as Mr. Persons was doused with gasoline and set on fire. A ten-year-old Black child was forced to sit next to the fire and watch him die. When members of the crowd complained that Mr. Persons would die too quickly if burned, the fire was extinguished, and attendees fought over Mr. Person’s clothes and remnants of the rope to keep as mementos. Two men cut off his ears for souvenirs, after which the head of Mr. Person’s corpse was removed and thrown into a crowd in Memphis’s Black commercial district. Later that year, just a few hours away in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Lation Scott was subjected to a brutal and prolonged lynching after being accused of “criminal assault.” Thousands gathered near a vacant lot across the street from the downtown courthouse and children sat atop their parents’ shoulders to get a better view as Mr. Scott’s clothes and skin were ripped off with knives. A mob tortured Lation Scott with a hot poker iron, gouging out his eyes, shoving the hot poker down his throat and pressing it all over his body before castrating him and burning him alive over a slow fire. Mr. Scott’s torturous killing lasted more than three hours."(From Lynching In America)



Starting now, there are still people alive today who experienced these things.


·      Several black church leaders who attended Moody Bible Institute boosted NAACP campaigns for federal laws against lynching. In 1921, the National Baptist voice publicized the NAACP's attempt to get pastors to take a Sunday to preach on the theme of racial justice (“Justice to the Negro: The test of Christianity in America”), calling America “the archsinner among nations” because of the racial injustice.


·      Woodrow Wilson, president from 1913-1921, had a notoriously racist tenure. He empowered cabinet members to segregate restaurants and bathrooms in government buildings. African-Americans were deemed ineligible for most government jobs. He wrote in his History Of The American People that “the great Ku Klux Klan” helped rid the South of “the intolerable burden of governments sustained by the votes of ignorant negroes.” In 1913, the director of the IRS’s Atlanta office said, “There are no government positions for Negroes in the South. A Negro’s place is in the cornfield.”[140]


·      1921 also brought the Tulsa Massacre, in which a highly prosperous black community known as Black Wall Street was attacked and pounded into rubble after a black boy accidentally jostled a white woman in an elevator.  Hundreds were killed; more than 1,400 homes, businesses, schools and churches were burned; nearly 10,000 people were left homeless. The destruction of ‘legacy wealth’ is almost incalculable. The newspaper headline the next day read, “Two White People Killed In Race Riot.” The Tulsa race massacre was barely mentioned in history books until the late 1990s.[141]


·      Two years before that was the “Red Summer,” a summer of violent race riots sparked by things like a black boy on a raft floating into the white people’s section of Lake Michigan in Chicago. 


·      That’s the tip of the iceberg. Here is a map[142] that shows the massacre of black people in America history. 


·      The 1920s ushered in standardized testing, developed by eugenicists to filter out non-white college students.[143]


·      “A Washington Post investigation of censuses and other historical records found that more than 1,700 congressmen who served between the 18th and 20th centuries enslaved Black people during their lives. The Post created a database that shows these congressmen represented nearly 40 states across the nation and were part of both major parties—with 606 Democrats and 481 Republicans. The Post also found that well into the 1900s, former enslavers continued to serve in Congress, including the first woman to ever serve in the Senate, Rebecca Latimer Felton, a suffragist and white supremacist who was appointed to fill a vacancy in 1922 at the age of 87.”[144]


·      In 1924, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act, thanks in part to the influence of the Anglo-Saxon Clubs of America. The act  prohibited interracial marriage and classifying as "black" a person who had even one drop of black blood (known as the “one drop rule”). 


·      In Mein Kampf (1925), Hitler praised America as the one state that has made progress toward a primarily racial conception of citizenship, by “excluding certain races from naturalization.”[145] The infamous Nuremberg Laws of the Nazi regime were heavily influenced by Jim Crow laws in the United States.[146]


·      In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local governments could not explicitly create racial zones like those in apartheid South Africa. But another Supreme Court case in 1926 upheld racial covenants on properties. “In Corrigan v. Buckley, the high court ruled that a racially restrictive covenant in a specific Washington, D.C., neighborhood was a legally binding document between private parties, meaning that if someone sold a house to Blacks, it voided the contract… That ruling paved the way for racially restrictive covenants around the country. In Chicago, for instance, the general counsel of the National Association of Real Estate Boards created a covenant template with a message to real estate agents and developers from Philadelphia to Spokane, Wash., to use it in communities.” From that followed a standardization and then intensification of the use of race-based Housing Covenants after 1926.[147]


·      The unofficial “last hired, first fired” policy pushed the black unemployment rate following the Great Depression to 50% - 70% in 1932 – a rate double and triple that of whites.



My grandma, who is 96, lived through some of the previous things (years of lynchings) and everything that follows. 


·      In the 1920s and 1930s, there was a huge push to build bigger and better public swimming pools to become “common melting pots” and build communities; the Works Progress Administration was dedicated to this. By WW2, there were thousands of pools, some of which could hold thousands of swimmers. Black people were not welcome. When lawsuits were filed in the 1950’s, quite a few pools just became private rather than public and admitted only white members. In 1959, Montgomery Public Parks went so far as to close rather than integrate. They filled their pool with cement, sold all the animals from a zoo, padlocked their community center, and closed every park.[148]

·      In 1927, Alabama stopped leasing convicts to outside businesses. They, along with other states, simply started their own in-house, for-profit ventures from the labor of prisoners.


·      During the summer of 1930, about 150 Atlanta businessmen, along with American Legionnaires and members of law enforcement founded the American Fascisti Association and Order of Black Shirts to “foster the principles of white supremacy” and keep jobs in the city white. They would march with signs that read, “N*****s, back to the cotton fields – city jobs are for white folks.”[149] While white America was flirting with an admiration of fascism[150] (More than 100 fascist organizations formed after 1933[151]), black America, inspired by the communists fighting the fascists oversees, resisted them by siding with communism.[152]


·      The KKK experienced a resurgence in the 1910s through the 1930s, with three to five million members in the North alone.[153] It’s estimated that 40,000 ministers were members of the Klan, and these people were sermonizing regularly, explicitly urging people to join the Klan.”[154]


·      In 1931, nine African American men falsely accused of rape by two white women in what became known as the “Scottsboro Affair.” Judged and sentenced by an all-white jury, their case resulted in a landmark victory for civil rights when the Supreme Court ruled that the defendants were denied due process because they did not have a lawyer and were denied a jury of their peers by the barring of blacks from serving on the jury.[155]


·       Sometimes, the white medical facilities did active damage. In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute, working with the United States Public Health Service, began a study on syphilis originally called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” During this study, they lied to 200 black men whom they told were being treated for syphilis, when in fact they were not, even though a treatment was available. In the1970s, a class action lawsuit paid out 10 million dollars to wives, widows and children.[156]


·      “Legislation turned for the better for tribes throughout the US with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) of 1934. Also known as the ‘Indian New Deal,’ the law reversed the privatization policy of the Dawes Act and restored tribal management of lands that had not yet been allotted to individuals. It aimed at restoring tribal sovereignty, particularly in the area of lands and resources.”[157]


·      The Social Security Act of 1935 provided a safety net for millions of workers. But it excluded two occupations: agricultural workers and domestic servants, who were predominately African American, Mexican, and Asian. Harry Truman took the first step to correcting that in 1950.


·      The 1935 Wagner Act (collective bargaining for unions), which helped millions of workers join the middle class, permitted unions to exclude non-whites. Many unions remained nearly all-white well into the 1970s. In 1972 every single one of the 3,000 members of Los Angeles Steam Fitters Local #250 was still white. For more on how this played out in cities like Boston, see the link in this footnote.[158]


·      “When they started building the wall behind Margaret Watson’s house in northwest Detroit, she knew the reason without having to ask. As a child in the late 1930s, Watson had... roller-skated down those newly paved lanes at speeds that would have been impossible on the dirt roads that ran in front of her house. She knew the new streets had to be for white families — not Black ones like hers — so she wasn’t particularly surprised when, in the spring of 1941, a 6-foot-high, 4-inch-thick, half-mile-long concrete fortification suddenly appeared in her backyard. The divider — called the “Birwood Wall,” the “Eight Mile Wall” or the “Wailing Wall”... would have far-reaching repercussions for the people, both Black and white, who lived in its shadow. On the west side, the white side, some children who moved into the houses that sprouted along the new streets in the 1940s — now in their 70s and 80s — say they never knew the wall was there, just as they didn’t know that the houses their parents bought back then had deed restrictions barring residents who weren’t white... In a six-month investigation, NBC News and BridgeDetroit discovered that one of Detroit’s most prominent families built the wall and developed the adjacent white neighborhood. The reporting also examined the ways this single act of segregation has influenced generations of Detroiters... The side of the wall these residents called home would later affect the sale price of their houses, the value of their next homes, and, eventually, the wealth they might inherit from their parents. Their experience in elementary school would determine the classes they took in high school, their decisions about college or the military, and the ease with which they achieved their goals. And throughout their lives, the friendships they made would frame their interactions with classmates and colleagues, with doctors and law enforcement, in social settings and in job interviews."  Read the story here.  


·      In 1934, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) introduced our modern mortgage lending system, which included redlining policies in over 200 American cities. Redlining was a way of helping the government decide which neighborhoods would get home loans and which would not.[159] The redlining overwhelmingly highlighted communities with black residents. 


·      In the 1930s, a remarkable and unexpected shift occurred: Black Protestants in general began moving solidly out of the Republican Party and into the Democratic Party. From 1932-1936 – just four years – the number of votes for the Republican presidential candidate dropped in half, from 56% to 28%. How did this happen?


The impact of Franklin Roosevelt’s (D) New Deal can hardly be overstated;[160] it alone accounts for the 56/28 drop. The Great Depression had devastated the black population economically. Roosevelt appointed a lot of African Americans to positions within his administration than his predecessors; he was the first president to appoint an African American as a federal judge; he tripled the number of African Americans working in the federal government; he appointed special advisors for the New Deal known as the Black Cabinet.[161]


·       Matilda McCrear, the last known survivor of the transatlantic slave trade, arrived from West Africa to Mobile, Alabama, in July 1860. McCrear died in 1940 at the age of 81 or 82.[162]


·      Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt issued Presidential Proclamations 2525, 2526 and 2527, which authorized the U.S. government to detain "potentially dangerous enemy aliens… The FDR administration furthermore, "on the basis of hemispheric security," offered to intern allegedly dangerous enemy aliens living in Latin American countries on unsubstantiated charges. More than 15 Latin American countries accepted the offer and deported a total of 6,600 individuals of Japanese, German and Italian descent to the U.S. for internment…A letter exchange between then-U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull and Roosevelt, dated Aug. 27, 1942, showed a discussion about exchanging American citizens in countries under Japanese occupation by sending "out Japanese in the same quantity," Hull wrote. At the end of the correspondence Hull offered his support to continue the hostage exchange agreement and efforts to "remove all the Japanese from these American republics countries for internment in the United States." [163]


·      1942: FDR signed Executive Order 9066, ordering the evacuation and mass incarceration of 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast, most of whom are U.S. citizens or documented immigrants. [164]


·      Pulitzer Prize - winning author Douglas Blackman, in his writing on convict leasing (Slavery By Another Name), writes, “Certainly, the great record of forced labor across the South demand that any consideration of the progress of civil rights remedy in the United States must acknowledge that slavery, real slavery, didn’t end until 1945.”[165]


·      Harry Truman (D) established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights in 1946 and integrated the armed forces in 1948 after the NAACP pressured him to act after a black veteran, Isaac Woodard, was pulled off a bus in February of 1946, arrested, and beaten so badly (while in uniform) that he lost his eyesight. He also fixed the racially discriminatory parts of the Social Security system. 


·      In 1947, only 2 of the more than 3,200 VA-guaranteed home loans (for veterans from WW2) in 13 Mississippi cities went to Black borrowers. “These impediments were not confined to the South,” notes historian Ira Katznelson. “In New York and the northern New Jersey suburbs, fewer than 100 of the 67,000 mortgages insured by the GI bill supported home purchases by non-whites.” Black veterans had trouble securing the GI Bill’s benefits. Some could not access benefits because they had not been given an honorable discharge—and a much larger number of Black veterans were discharged dishonorably than their white counterparts.  Veterans who did qualify could not find facilities that delivered on the bill’s promise. Black veterans in a vocational training program at a segregated high school in Indianapolis were unable to participate in activities related to plumbing, electricity and printing because adequate equipment was only available to white students. Simple intimidation kept others from enjoying GI Bill benefits. In 1947, for example, a crowd hurled rocks at Black veterans as they moved into a Chicago housing development. Thousands of Black veterans were attacked in the years following World War II and some were singled out and lynched.[166]


·      Between 1934 and 1962, the federal government backed $120 billion of home loans. Less than 2% went to blacks, who constituted 12% of the population. Of the 350,000 new homes built with federal support in northern California between 1946 and 1960, fewer than 100 went to African Americans. That is .0003% of loans for 5% of the population.[167]


·      When courts began overturning redlining and race-based zoning laws, the government began building highways right on the former boundary lines at the request of community members.[168] At times, highways were routed purposefully through minority communities.  The government took property by eminent domain, and black neighborhoods lost homes, businesses, churches and schools.[169]  Constructing interstate highways through majority-black neighborhoods eventually reduced the populations to the poorest proportion of people financially unable to leave their destroyed community.[170](#”urbandecay”)


My Mom was born in 1942.  Everything that follows has happened in her lifetime. 


·      Detroit, 1942. The federal government opened up the Sojourner Truth housing project built especially for poor black families. When the first tenants arrived, neighborhood whites burned a cross in the field near the housing complex; the next morning, a mob of 1,200 armed white men rally to keep out black residents.  When they finally moved into the complex, the residents had to be protected by 1,600 troops from the Michigan National Guard.[171]


·      Also In 1942, Talmadge, the governor of Georgia, gave a campaign speech in which he answered the question about school integration by reassuring his base, “Before God, friend, the n****** will never go to a school which is white while I am governor.”[172]


·      In 1947, Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball.


·      In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that racist Housing Covenants unenforceable (though not yet illegal). Here is an example of a typical Housing Covenant, this one covering 1,700 homes in Kansas City: "None of said land may be conveyed to, used, owned, or occupied by negroes as owners or tenants."[173] 


·      “The Fairgrounds Park pool in St. Louis, Missouri, was the largest in the country and probably the world, with a sandy beach, an elaborate diving board, and a reported capacity of 10,000 swimmers. When the new city administration changed the park’s policy in 1949 to allow Black swimmers, the first integrated swim ended in bloodshed. On June 21, two hundred white residents surrounded the pool with ‘bats, clubs, bricks and knives’ to menace the first thirty or so black swimmers…a white mob that grew to 5,000 attacked every black person in sight around the Fairground Park. After the Fairground Park Riot…the city returned to a segregation policy using public safety as a justification, but a successful NAACP lawsuit reopened the pool to all St. Louisans the following summer. On the first day of integrated swimming, only seven white swimmers attended, joining three brave black swimmers under the shouts of two hundred white protestors….the city closed its pool six years later.[174]


·      “In 1950, President Truman appointed Millard Caldwell, Jr., as the first head of the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA). The former Governor of Florida, Caldwell was a vocal segregationist who, along with many local civil defense authorities, fully intended to maintain segregation with “whites only” bomb-shelters,” much to the consternation of the NAACP.[175]


·      In the mid-1950s, pastors of Christians in Kirkwood, Georgia actively urged their members not to sell their homes to black people. “ ‘If everyone simply refuses to sell to colored,’ the pastors assured residents, ‘then everything will be fine.’” They pleaded with church members: “Please help us ‘Keep Kirkwood White’ and preserve our Churches and homes.”[176] I offer this example because it was not as unusual as we would like to think. 


·      The Negro Motorist Green Book was published from 1936 to 1966 (three years before I was born), to help black motorists travel without getting in trouble. John Lewis recalled how his family prepared for a trip in 1951:“There would be no restaurant for us to stop at until we were well out of the South, so we took our restaurant right in the car with us.... Stopping for gas and to use the bathroom took careful planning. Uncle Otis… knew which places along the way offered "colored" bathrooms and which were better just to pass on by. Our map was marked and our route was planned that way, by the distances between service stations where it would be safe for us to stop.”


·      Many hotels, motels, and boarding houses refuse to serve black customers; by the end of the 1960s, there were an estimated 10,000 “sundown towns”[177] across the United States, named because of signs that read, “N*****, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on You in This Town.”[178] I worked as a camp counselor in Hazard County, Kentucky in the summers of 1987-1989. There was a town nearby that was unofficially still a “sundown town.”[179]  


·      The Black Hospital movement took place from 1865- 1960s.[180] Black patients were usually not admitted to white hospitals or hired as staff, especially in the South, and for a long time could only get an education at a select few colleges in the North and Midwest. You can imagine the toll this took on the health of the black population.[181]


·      1952 was the first year since 1882 that there were no recorded lynchings in the United States. The photo you see is not unusual. 


·      In 1952, California made it legal for Asian immigrants to own land.


·      The University of Texas developed a strategy to keep out black students in the face of the legal demands for segregation. The trustees estimated they could cut the black student population from 300 out of 2,700 to 70 out of 2,700. Notes from the UT president’s speech to the Rotary Club in Houston include, “Do not anticipate any great numbers of N’s, but to avoid appearing to discriminate against unqualified have tied it in with a selective admissions policy for all students without ref. to racial origin, etc.” Many other universities used standardized testing without any known racist intent, but it functionally kept minorities out of the elite schools.[182]


·      “The Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia at Ferris State University in Michigan has documented the battle royals. They involved groups of young Black men and boys who were made to fight one another in a boxing ring, often blindfolded, for the pleasure of a white audience. They had to attack one another in a melee until one man was left standing; he'd win a prize of a few dollars…. The soul superstar James Brown, who grew up in extreme poverty in South Carolina in the 1930s and '40s, recalled his experience in "The Godfather of Soul: An Autobiography." The museum's website includes a passage: ‘Because of my reputation the other kids always pointed me out to the white men who came around to recruit scrappy black boys to be in the battle royals they put on at Bell Auditorium. In a battle royal they blindfold you, tie one hand behind your back, put a boxing glove on your free hand, and shove you into a ring with other kids in the same condition. You swing at anything that moves, and whoever's left standing at the end is the winner. It sounds brutal, but a battle royal is really comedy. I'd be out there stumbling around, swinging wild, and hearing the people laughing. I didn't know I was being exploited.’"[183]


·      Billy Graham initially allowed segregated seating in southern cities, but he ended the practice in 1953.[184] Graham was not a civil rights activist, but he did put his reputation on the line over segregation. He appeared with Martin Luther King Jr. at a New York City Revival in 1957, where King offered a prayer at the assembly. Mahalia Jackson performed there, beginning a tradition of African-American vocalist singing at Graham Crusades. Graham's moderate pro-civil rights stands earned him the ire of many fundamentalists; he even got him hate mail from the KKK.


·      In 1954, a regional meeting of clergymen in the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) featured a speaker discussing a “Christian view of Segregation.” At that conference, the pastor of First Baptist Church in West Dallas gave a sermon entitled “God the Original Segregationist.”[185]


·      Also in 1954, the Supreme Court (Tee-Hit-Ton Indians vs United States) basically reaffirmed the M’Intosh ruling that declared European conquerors had the right to the land they forcibly took from Native American inhabitants. “That discovery gave an exclusive right to extinguish the Indian title of occupancy, either by purchase or conquest.”


·      Also in 1954, Brown vs. Board of Education declared that segregation in education was inherently unequal, and black children had the constitutional right to equal protection of their education. Read the backstory of what happened in Hearne, Texas to push this to the Supreme Court at the link in the footnote.[186]


·      Soon after the Supreme Court's decision, white Americans formed the White Citizens' Councils (WCC) in opposition to the landmark ruling. The organization primarily opposed racial integration in public schools. The WWC had around 60,000 members across the Southern states.[187]


·      1955: (Aug.) Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till is kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men arrested for the murder are acquitted by an all-white jury and boast about the murder in a Look magazine interview.[188]


·      In 1955, Rev. George Lee was shot to death in Belzoni, Mississippi, after he helped 90+ American Africans register to vote. The sheriff claimed the lead pellets found in his shattered jaw were fillings from his teeth. The next day, the Jackson, Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger headline read, "Negro Leaders Dies in Odd Accident." Six months after Lee’s murder, a second Belzoni activist was shot in yet another unsolved shotgun ambush. Grocer Gus Courts survived, only to flee to Chicago. “My wife and I and thousands of us Mississippians have had to run away,’’ Courts testified in 1957 before a Senate committee in Washington. “We had to flee in the night. We are the American refugees from the terror in the South, all because we wanted to vote.’’[189]


·      By 1956, hospital integration was common in the North (83% of hospitals providing integrated services). In the South, only 6% of hospitals offered unrestricted services to black patients; 31% did not admit black patients under any conditions.[190]


·      “The original GI Bill ended in July 1956. By that time, nearly 8 million World War II veterans had received education or training, and 4.3 million home loans worth $33 billion had been handed out. But most Black veterans had been left behind. As employment, college attendance and wealth surged for whites, disparities with their Black counterparts not only continued, but widened. There was, writes Katznelson, ‘no greater instrument for widening an already huge racial gap in postwar America than the GI Bill.’”[191]


·      January 10-11, 1957: Sixty Black pastors and civil rights leaders from several southern states—including Martin Luther King, Jr.—meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation.[192]


·      “The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine Black students who enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957. Their attendance at the school was a test of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the Black students’ entry into the high school. Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school... Although several of the Black students had positive experiences on their first day of school, according to a September 25, 1957, report in The New York Times, they experienced routine harassment and even violence throughout the rest of the year. Melba Patillo, for instance, was kicked, beaten and had acid thrown in her face. At one point, white students burned an African American effigy in a vacant lot across from the school. Gloria Ray was pushed down a flight of stairs, and the Little Rock Nine were barred from participating in extracurricular activities. Minnijean Brown was expelled from Central High School in February 1958 for retaliating against the attacks. Harassment went beyond the students: Gloria Ray’s mother was fired from her job with the State of Arkansas when she refused to remove her daughter from the school. The 101st Airborne and the National Guard remained at Central High School for the duration of the year… In September 1958, one year after Central High was integrated, Governor Faubus closed all of Little Rock’s high schools for the entire year, pending a public vote, to prevent African American attendance. Little Rock citizens voted 19,470 to 7,561 against integration and the schools remained closed.”[193]


·      “Sit-ins” began in 1960, in which thousands of black customers would just sit in places that refused to serve blacks (it started in Woolworths). It was not the first sit-in, to be sure, but what happened in Greensboro triggered the movement. Throughout 1961, black and white activists, known as freedom riders, took bus trips through the American South to protest segregated bus terminals and attempted to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters. The Freedom Rides were marked by horrific violence from white protestors, but this drew international attention to their cause.


·      The United States passed civil rights bills in 1957, 1964 and 1965.  The 24th Amendment (1964) finally assured voting rights for black citizens.  This was thanks to Lyndon Johnson, first as Democrat Majority Leader then as President. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, by the way, finally made it illegal to practice racial gerrymandering - drawing districts that intentionally diluted the voting power of blacks and other minorities.


·      John F. Kennedy’s (D) administration is remembered for fighting segregation (though it was his VP, Johnson, who really had a heart for the Civil Rights movement. He used JFK’s death as a rallying point to pass major legislation).  


·      Strom Thurmond, who lost the presidential race to Truman, fought for decades as a Democrat to oppose civil right legislation. In 1964, Thurmond and other Southern Democrats, feeling racially betrayed by Democrats, jumped to the Republican Party.


·      Literacy tests for voters, which overwhelmingly targeted black voters, were declared unconstitutional. Check out the footnote link for what these looked like, with special attention to Louisiana’s.[194]


·      Nixon (R, 1969-1974) fine-tuned the “southern strategy,” which catered to the disaffected Southern Democrats, the anti-civil rights political activists, who had turned Republican.


·      “As late as the mid-1930s, African American Republican John R. Lynch, who had represented Mississippi in the House during and after Reconstruction, summed up the sentiments of older black voters and upper middle-class professionals: ‘The colored voters cannot help but feel that in voting the Democratic ticket in national elections they will be voting to give their indorsement [sic] and their approval to every wrong of which they are victims, every right of which they are deprived, and every injustice of which they suffer.’[195]” That had changed dramatically by the 1960s; review the previous points where politicians had a (D) or (R) after their name, and see this article for broader reasons.[196] During the 1960s, the 66% Democrat voting bloc moved to a full 90%. It has remained relatively close to there ever since.[197]


·      When the Supreme Court declared that schools needed to be integrated in the 1950s,[198]those bothered by this started segregation academies, which were founded between 1954[199] and 1976.[200] Wikipedia lists 200 of these schools.[201]  25 of them are clearly Christian. One even has evangelical in the name.


·      February 1, 1960: Four African American college students in Greensboro, North Carolina refuse to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served. The Greensboro Four—Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil—were inspired by the nonviolent protest of Gandhi. The Greensboro Sit-In, as it came to be called, sparks similar “sit-ins” throughout the city and in other states.[202]


·      1961: Throughout 1961, Black and white activists, known as freedom riders, took bus trips through the American South to protest segregated bus terminals and attempted to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters. The Freedom Rides were marked by horrific violence from white protestors, they drew international attention to their cause.[203]


·      Over fifty bombings from 1947-1965 in a slowly integrating white neighborhood earned Birmingham the moniker “Bombingham.”[204] From May 2 to May 10, 1963, police in Birmingham, Ala., aimed high-powered hoses and loosed dogs on black men, women and even children who were determined to actually do the school integration the Supreme Court had granted 9 hears earlier. In September of 1963, four young black girls were killed when KKK members detonated a bomb in Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.[205]


·      Read about the Treaty of Cambridge in 1963, in which ongoing disenfranchising racism was so bad (accompanied by increasingly violent protests) that the Kennedy Administration brokered a deal in which the local government would end school desegregation and desegregation of public facilities, establish a human rights commission, and create a provision for public housing. The town of Cambridge backed away from the deal, refusing to implement it, and doubled down by inviting George Wallace to speak at Cambridge in his 1964 run for President. [206]


·      “In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352 (78 Stat. 241). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing. The Act prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also strengthened the enforcement of voting rights and the desegregation of schools.”[207]


·      In 1965, Selma's 'Bloody Sunday' became a turning point in the Civil Rights Movement.[208] Selma, of which Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There are more negroes in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls.” George Wallace ordered state troopers “to use whatever measures are necessary to prevent a march” of approximately 600 voting rights advocates. Millions of ABC’s viewers saw their viewing of Judgment At Nuremberg interrupted with horrific footage of troopers beating protestors, and ““The juxtaposition struck like psychological lightning in American homes.”[209]


·      Among dozens of other voter protections, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally outlawed racial gerrymandering.[210] Oh, and black women got the right to vote - 45 years after white women got the right. 


·      The “urban renewal” that followed “urban decay” displaced millions of Americans. Black Americans (13 percent of the population in 1960) were at least 55 percent of the displaced. James Baldwin called it the “negro removal” for good reason. The Chancellor of the University of Chicago noted that urban renewal was “an effective screening tool” for “cutting down the number of Negroes”. His notes from a board of trustees meeting read simply: “Tear it down and begin over again. Negroes.”[211]


·      The largest political rally for human rights ever in the United States happened when an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 participants converged on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, to protest for jobs and freedom for African Americans. King delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.[212] 


·      The National Black Evangelical Association branched off from the National Evangelical Association in 1963, largely motivated by  frustration over white evangelicals refusing to get involved on civil rights issues.


·      In 1964 – the year in which three civil rights workers were killed in Mississippi - Bob Jones University gave segregationists Strom Thurmond and George Wallace -  who stood in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two Black students from registering - honorary doctorates. Bob Jones Jr. described Wallace as a man “who fought for truth and righteousness.”


·      In 1967, the Supreme Court overturned Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act.


·      The Fair Housing Act of 1968, signed by President Johnson (D) finally put an end to legally sanctioned redlining policies and Housing Covenants. That’s the year before I was born.[213] This was long overdue; just 2 percent of the $120 billion in FHA loans distributed between 1934 and 1962 were given to nonwhite families. [214]


·      “In the decades preceding the Fair Housing Act, government policies led many white Americans to believe that residents of color were a threat to local property values. For example, real estate professionals across the country who sought to maximize profits by leveraging this fear convinced white homeowners that Black families were moving in nearby and offered to buy their homes at a discount. These “blockbusters” would then sell the properties to Black families—who had limited access to FHA loans or GI Bill benefits—at marked-up prices and interest rates. Moreover, these homes were often purchased on contracts, rather than traditional mortgages, allowing real estate professionals to evict Black families if they missed even one payment and then repeat the process with other Black families. During this period, in Chicago alone, more than 8 in 10 Black homes were purchased on contract rather than a standard mortgage, resulting in cumulative losses of up to $4 billion.”[215]


·      “Between 1945 and 1968, federal laws terminated more than 100 tribal nations’ recognition and placed them under state jurisdiction, contributing to the loss of millions of additional acres of tribal land. During this period, lawmakers again encouraged Native Americans to relocate—this time from reservations to urban centers, resulting in economic hardships and housing instability.”[216]


·      In 1966, Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts became the first African-American elected to the Senate since Reconstruction.


·      The 1968 the Lyndon Johnson appointed Kerner Commission found that “bad policing practices, a flawed justice system, unscrupulous consumer credit practices, poor or inadequate housing, high unemployment, voter suppression, and other culturally embedded forms of racial discrimination all converged to propel violent upheaval on the streets of African-American neighborhoods in American cities.” [217] One excerpt from the report notes, “What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain, and white society condones it.”[218]


·      The 1968 Indian Civil Rights Act granted Indigenous People most of the Bill of Rights, including the right to free speech, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, and protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Up to this date discrimination against Indigenous People was both condoned and legal.[219]


·      Nixon’s 1968 campaign employed the Southern Strategy, drawing white Southerners to the Republican Party. Nixon’s political strategist said in a 1970 interview, “From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don’t need any more than that…but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That’s where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.”[220]


I was born in 1969. Everything that follows has been in my lifetime.


·      A segregation academy was established in Escambia County, Alabama in 1970. I lived there. I was 1 when it was founded. My mom tells me that segregationists harassed our family when we attended a black church for a while in the early 70s. 


·      “In 1970, John Perkins led more than 100 demonstrators in a march protesting segregated businesses in Mississippi. They chanted, ‘Do right, white man, do right.’ On the way home from the march, 20 college students were arrested and taken to the Rankin County jail. Fearing the students might be lynched, Perkins and two other boycott leaders rushed to bail them out. They found the sheriff’s deputies drinking corn whiskey. The deputies had forcibly shaved the heads of two protestors and were pouring the liquor over their raw scalps. When Edwards saw Perkins coming into the jail, he recognized him as the leader. He said, ‘This is the smart n—.’ Then he started beating him. He hit Perkins, possibly with a blackjack, a weapon made out of wood and lead wrapped in leather. Perkins went down and Edwards kicked him, brutally and repeatedly, stopping only to retuck in his shirt. When the beating was finished, the sheriff made the minister get up and mop his own blood off the floor.”[221]


·      In 1971, the Supreme Court affirmed that draining public pools to avoid integration was okay. Jackson, Mississippi had closed four of its public pools and sold the fifth to a YMCA (that only allowed white members). The Supreme Court, in Palmer v. Thompson, ruled that the city could have no public facilities rather offer an integrated one, because by robbing the entire public, they were spreading equal harm. “There was no evidence of state action affecting Negroes differently from white, “ wrote Hugo Black.[222]


·      Also in 1971, Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” a war that would go out of its way to focus on drugs used and sold in the black communities, despite equal use and greater selling in the white communities. Harper’s Magazine released an interview with John Erlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy chief. Erlichman explained:  “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt these communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” (emphasis mine)[223]


·      In 1974, National Association of Real Estate Board finally retracted the following guideline that had been in place since 1924: “The Realtor should never be instrumental in introducing into a neighborhood…members of any race or nationality, or any individuals whose presence will clearly be detrimental to property values in the neighborhood.”[224]


·      Kentucky ratified the 13th Amendment in 1976.


·      The city of Tampa recently released a document chronicling a “development policy from 1900 to the 1970s” in which was “found widespread evidence of racially restrictive deed covenants, segregationist public-housing development and highway construction that purposefully destroyed Black, Latino and low-income neighborhoods.”[225]


·      Ron Sider, who wrote a book called Rich Christians In An Age Of Hunger (1977), became a voice for the small but vocal white evangelical Left that emerged in the 60s. Left-leaning evangelicals insisted that sin was built into social structures, not just individual actions; believers needed to take seriously how institutional racism, unjust economic structures, and militaristic institutions – all of which are made up of sinful individuals in need of salvation – were also in need of transformation and redemption. 


·      The Indian schools as a movement lasted until 1978.[226]  It was the, with the passing of the Indian Child Welfare Act, that Native American parents gained the legal right to deny their children’s placement in these schools.[227] I first learned about the Indian schools from a student at NMC whose grandparents went to school at the one in Harbor Springs, which closed in 1983.[228] On Navajo reservations, most people over the age of 50 are boarding school survivors, many with symptoms of PTSD.[229]


·      The IRS’s guidelines about racial integration being tied to tax exempt status in 1978 sparked outrage among many Christians. Congress received tens of thousands of messages. “What galvanized the Christian community was not abortion, school prayer, or the Equal Rights Amendment. [It was] Jimmy Carter’s intervention against the Christian schools, trying to deny them tax-exempt status on the basis of… segregation..”[230]


·      In 1981, Lee Atwater, a Republican strategist, was recorded in an interview discussing how the infamous Southern Strategy would be implemented in politics in the 1980s and moving forward.  “”You start out in 1954 saying ‘N****, n*****, n*****.’ By 1968 you can’t say ‘n*****’ – that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a by product of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites…’We want to cut this.’ is much more abstract than even the business things, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N*****, n*****.’’[231] They ended up targeting welfare, inner cities, and the “underserving poor.”


·      The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 instituted mandatory minimum sentences for selling cocaine – but they were far, far harsher for crack (commonly found in black communities) than for powder (commonly found in white communities). That discrepancy would not be corrected until 2010. Meanwhile, after 1986, 90% of those admitted to prison for drug offenses were black or Latino, even though whites and black use drugs on a statistically even pace, and more whites deal drugs than do blacks.[232]


·      When civil rights protesters marched through Forsyth County, Georgia in 1987 – the year I graduated high school - they were met with Confederate flags, signs that said, “Forsyth stays white,” and crowds chanting. “Go home, n******.”. They were pelted with rocks and bottles and bricks, and some people held up nooses. [233]


·      In 1988, the U.S. government paid reparations to interned Japanese Americans who were citizens or residents of the United States as part of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. This did not include the thousands of Japanese who had been sent to the United States to be used in a prisoner exchange program. The U.S. government eventually paid $5,000 to each interned Latin Japanese American, one-fourth of the compensation Japanese Americans received, with no formal apology.[234]


·      From 1981 to 1997, the United States Department of Agriculture denied loans to tens of thousands black farmers that were provided to white farmers in similar circumstances. Two lawsuit resulted in settlement agreements totaling 2.31 billion dollars.[235]


·      Just after Emancipation, African Americans owned only 0.5 percent of the total worth of the United States. But by 1990, a full 125 years after the abolition of slavery, black Americans still possessed only a meager 1 percent of national wealth.[236]


·      “After Edward Brooke’s unsuccessful re-election bid in 1978, no African American served in the Senate until the election of Carol Moseley Braun in 1992. She became just the fourth African American ever to serve in the Senate.”[237]


·      Mississippi ratified the 13th Amendment in 1995.


·      As recently as 2005, the Supreme Court cited the Doctrine of Discovery in City of Sherrill, New York v. Oneida Indian Nation of New York. They noted first that the “fee title” of Indian lands had gone to the “sovereign (the United States); they noted “the impracticality of returning to Indian control land that generations earlier passed into numerous private hands”; and that various laws “precluded the Tribe from rekindling embers of sovereignty that long ago grew cold.”[238]


·      “At the turn of the century, banks disproportionately issued speculative loans to Black and Latinx homebuyers, even when they qualified for less risky options. These “subprime loans” had higher-than-average interest rates that could cost homeowners up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional interest payments. During the financial crisis, Black and Latinx households lost 48 percent and 44 percent of their wealth, respectively, due in part to these practices.[239] Homes in black neighborhoods continue to be undervalued to the tune of $156 billion in cumulative losses nationwide.[240]


·      “Since 2013, the National Congress of American Indians has requested all federal records for the hundreds of Native children who have disappeared or died while attending one of the hundreds of federally run or funded boarding schools. So far, there has been little response from federal officials, who say the requests are nearly impossible to fulfill.”[241]


·      “Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission has… documented the violent and traumatic legacies of Canadian residential schools and Indigenous child removal policies from the 1880s to 1996, which were modeled after U.S. boarding school policies. In 2015, the commission found that at least 6,000 Indigenous children died in Canadian residential schools. Canada had a total of 150 schools, less than half the 357 identified in the United States. It’s likely that the number of students who died in the United States is much higher.”[242]


·      Educational inequalities continue. Equally sized majority-nonwhite districts get $23 billion less in funding every year ($2,226 per student) than majority-white districts.[243] Why? Because schools are funded by property taxes, and the Supreme Court (Milliken v. Bradley) in 1974 ruled that a school district line can be drawn anywhere for almost any reason.[244] Many lines were drawn along the lines that started “urban decay” and defined “urban renewal.” This funding discrepancy has huge educational and economic implications.[245]


·      Health care inequalities continue. The black population has been hit the hardest of all ethnic demographics by COVID-19 due in part to the impact of racial discrimination that has a legacy to this day (housing, education, vocation, distrust of health care #tuskeegee[246]…).[247]  “Socioeconomic status (SES) is a powerful determinant of human health and disease, and social inequality is a ubiquitous stressor for human populations globally. Lower educational attainment and/or income predict increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, many cancers and infectious diseases, for example. Furthermore, lower SES is associated with physiological processes that contribute to the development of disease, including chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and cortisol dysregulation. In this study, researchers found evidence that poverty can become embedded across wide swaths of the genome. They discovered that lower socioeconomic status is associated with levels of DNA methylation (DNAm) -- a key epigenetic mark that has the potential to shape gene expression -- at more than 2,500 sites, across more than 1,500 genes. In other words, poverty leaves a mark on nearly 10 percent of the genes in the genome.”[248]


·      At the Republican National Convention in 2012, Clint Eastwood performed a 12-minute skit in which he criticized an empty chair representing President Obama. In a violent twist, instances of citizens "lynching" these symbolic empty chairs from trees began to pop up, often adding American flags and labels that referred to President Obama.[249]


·      In 2016, the United States incarcerated people at the rate of 693 per 100,000. Here’s the breakdown by race: 

1.    Blacks - 2,306 per 100,000

2.    American Indians - 895 per 100,000

3.    Hispanics - 831 per 100,000

4.    Whites - 450 per 100,000[250]


·      Michigan’s prison population has increased by 450% since 1973; blacks are massively overrepresented (14% of the population and 49% of prisoners); Latinos and Native Americans have rates equal to their population percentage; whites are massively underrepresented (77% of the population and 46% of prisoners). Most of this stems from things like “lifer laws” connected with drugs – a war that was clearly biased. Please read this link to better understand this.[251]  And this one.[252] And this one. [253] And this one.[254] Neighborhoods were gutted; families divided; voter polls purged. Meanwhile, the state of Michigan loosened legislation to allow for convict labor[255].


·      It sure looks like modern segregation academies are happening again through the use of charter schools (not all of them, obviously).[256]


·      In 2011, Countrywide Financial Corporation agreed to may $335 million to settle claims that it overcharged more than 200,000 black and Latinx borrowers, and steered 10,000 minority borrowers into risky subprime loans. Black customers were twice as likely to be steered into subprime loans as similarly qualified whites; in some markets it was 8x more likely.[257]


·      The discrimination experienced when “driving while black” is a very real phenomenon. Go to the Marshall Project for extensive information.[258]


·      As reported in Clint Smith's book How The Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With The History Of Slavery Across America, the State Board of Education in Texas and publisher McGraw-Hill Education came under fire in 2015 for providing students with a textbook that described how the transatlantic slave trade "brought millions of workers from Africa to the Southern United States to work on agricultural plantations."  In April of 2018, 8th graders in San Antonio were asked to complete a worksheet entitled” The Life of Slaves: A Balanced View,” which had two columns in which two students were meant to write the positive and negative elements of slavery. Another textbook that had been used at the school included a description of how slavery included “ kind and generous owners” and enslaved people who “ may not have been terribly unhappy.”


·      As of 2017, there were 42 different Klan groups in 22 states. More than half had formed since 2014.[259]


·      Hate crimes have risen against Asian-Americans since the coronavirus started. This is largely attributed to how the constant drumbeat of the “China Virus” has focused anger and frustration on the Chinese as a group. Google “hate crimes Asian.” Nearly half of Chinese residents have report incidents tied to their ethnic background since the pandemic began. This is in line with the history of discrimination against Asians in our history.[260]


·      In 2021, students at a local high school in Traverse City started a slave market online and bought and sold minority students while making terribly demeaning comments about them. I have friends in town who are now reconsidering sending their daughter there when she is old enough because they are concerned for her safety, as she would have been a target. A Texas high school made the news this year for the same reason. 


·      In 2020, someone in Traverse City stood up at the local school board meeting – streamed for the community to see – and felt quite comfortable using the n-word multiple times. In the screen, a black man sitting behind her is visibly undone by what she is saying. I know this man. 


·      Today, approximately 3 in 4 neighborhoods—74 percent—‘redlined’ in the 1930s remain low to moderate income, and more than 60 percent are predominantly nonwhite.[261] One thing that certainly didn't help is the rate of sub-prime loans for homeowners: a 2014 study showed that black homeowners – after controlling for a lot of other factors -  are 103% more likely to get a subprime loan. They are three times as likely as whites with similar credit scores to have higher rate mortgages.[262]


·      In 2020, the National Association of Realtors issued a formal apology for the racist practices in its history.[263] NAR Director of Fair Housing Bryan Greene noted, "You can see in our neighborhoods the imprints of redlining from 80 years ago. Many of these discriminatory practices denied the opportunities for families to pass on wealth. We see that white Americans own 10 times the wealth of African-Americans. So, these are serious issues, and they have broader impacts on society beyond housing. It means that we have health disparities, employment disparities, educational disparities. This is the legacy of the past… We have to address it."


·      “Of the almost 80,000 tickets that the Louisiana State Police handed out in Jefferson Parish over nearly six years (2014-2020), not a single one was issued to a person labeled as Hispanic. It showed a similar pattern in Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office: Of the more than 73,000 traffic tickets the office issued between 2015 and September 2020, deputies identified only six of the cited people as Hispanic. As of 2020, Hispanics made up 18% of the parish’s population of more than 440,000…In fact, of the 167 tickets issued by deputies to drivers with the last name Lopez over a nearly six-year span, not one of the motorists was labeled as Hispanic, according to records provided by the Jefferson Parish clerk of court. The same was true of the 252 tickets issued to people with the last name of Rodriguez, 234 named Martinez, 223 with the last name Hernandez and 189 with the surname Garcia. A Texas state law requires officers to record the race of every driver during traffic stops to combat racial profiling. But an investigation by TV station KXAN in Austin found that between 2010 and 2015, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety misidentified ‘more than 1.9 million drivers with traditionally Hispanic names’ as white. And just like in Jefferson Parish, the “most common last names of drivers stopped and recorded as white by troopers [were]: Smith, followed by Garcia, Martinez, Hernandez, Gonzalez and Rodriguez…’ This kind of misidentification is widespread — and not without harm. Across America, law enforcement agencies have been accused of targeting Hispanic drivers, failing to collect data on those traffic stops, and covering up potential officer misconduct and aggressive immigration enforcement by identifying people as white on tickets. ‘If everybody’s white, there can’t be any racial bias,’ Frank Baumgartner, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill, told WWNO/WRKF and ProPublica.”[264]


·      For more on race and law enforcement – and there’s a LOT – see this link from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.[265]


·      There have been only 27 ethnic minority state governors in the history of the United States. Only 4 were African-American.[266]


·      Right now, the Cherokee nation – a terribly oppressed people – is coming to grips with its own system of oppression through the use of slavery, and trying to figure out how to make it right. [267]



Resources with voices drawn from and geared toward the church in the United States:

·      Leave Loud – Jemar Tisby’s story. His podcast Pass The Mic has a lot more insight into similar stories.

·      Southside Rabbi:  Season 2, Episode 12, “Floyd, Chauvin, and the War on Empathy.”

·      The Holy Post: “Let’s Talk About Race In America” (Parts 1 and 2)



·      “The Bible and Race” by Tim Keller.

This is the first article in the series on justice and race by Keller that includes: “The Sin of Racism” A Biblical Critique of Secular Justice and Critical Theory and “Justice in the Bible”.

·      Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy Of The Doctrine Of Discovery, by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

·      Reading While Black by Esau McCaulley

·      African American Readings of Paul: Reception, Resistance, and Transformation  by Lisa M. Bowens

·      The Color of Compromise, by Jemar Tisby.

·      The Myth Of Equality, by Ken Wystma, lead pastor of the Village Church in Beaverton, Oregon

[1] Luke 19

[2] John 4

[3] “Able To Sympathize,” Gentle And Lowly, Dane Ortlund

[4] “The Heart Of Action,” Gentle And Lowly, Dane Ortlund

[5] Researcher Brooke Hempell, quoted in the introduction of The Myth Of Equality, by Ken Wytsma.

[6] Alister McGrath, an atheist who became a Christian, has noted that Christianity flourishes in nations that have had terrible atheist leadership…and atheism flourishes in nations where the church has a terrible track record. People don’t just leave a worldview because another one is nice. They leave because they think another one is better. 

[7] Jemar Tisby, in The Color Of Compromise

[8] 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

[9] “His Heart In Action,” Gentle And Lowly, Dane Ortlund

[10] The Myth Of Equality: Uncovering The Roots Of Injustice And Privilege

[11] The Bible is clear that there is a legacy of sin that gets passed down (Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7; Deuteronomy 5:9), and I think that impact is not only in how the descendants of the perpetrators are influenced but in how the descendants of victims are as well. And yet Ezekiel is clear that, when we are committed to righteousness, our history is not our destiny any more than our ancestors’ history is our destiny (Ezekiel 18:19-20)

[12] “Not seeing skin color is a form of not seeing reality.” Ken Wytsma, The Myth of Equality. 

[13] The early Church had its own divide: Jew and Gentile.  Paul reminded them that now through Christ, “You who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility” (2:13-14).

[14] By the close of the Indian Wars, fewer than 238,000 First Nation people remained from the original 5 -15 million living in North America when Columbus arrived in 1492.

[15] “Black Women’s Labor,” Brenda Stevenson, Four Hundred Souls

[17] How The Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With The History Of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith

[18] “Bacon’s Rebellion, Heather McGhee, Four Hundred Souls

[20] “The Germantown Petition Against Slavery,” Christopher Lebron, Four Hundred Souls

[21] New England once hunted and killed humans for money. We’re descendants of the survivors.” Dawn Neptune Adams, Maulian Dana and Adam Mazo.

[22] People becoming private property on the same level as livestock.

[23] Jamar Tisby, The Color of Compromise

[26] “The Virginia Slave Codes,” Kai Wright, Four Hundred Souls

[27] Ibid

[28] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee

[29] “The Revolt In New York,” Herb Boyd, Four Hundred Souls

[30] How The Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With The History Of Slavery Across America, by Clint Smith

[31] “Why John Perkins Didn’t Want More White Christians like Jonathan Edwards.”

[32] He also converted and inspired key African-American evangelical leaders, including Olaudah Equiano and Phillis Wheatley – thus highlighting the inconsistent tension.

[34] “Race And The Enlightenment,” Dorothy Roberts, Four Hundred Souls

[35] “Slave Religion And Manifest Destiny,” America’s Religious History, Thomas Kidd.

[36] Interestingly, a ground-swell of southern preachers in opposition to slavery found that they were simply dismissed or not paid by local congregations. In this sense, the broader colonial culture dictated the ethics of preachers, rather than the other way round.

[41] According to the US Census Bureau. Even by the most minimal calculations about how long slavery lasted, African-Americans have been free in this country for less time than they were enslaved.

[43] Still, remarkably, one in every seven urban African American families in the upper South managed to acquire land by the eve of the Civil War when local areas were more accommodating.

[44] “Debunking the Mythic Origin of the Second Amendment,” Jonathan Jacobs.

“How Slave Owners Dictated the Language of the 2nd Amendment,” Nicolaus Mills,

“Slave-Patrols And The Second Amendment: How Fears Of Abolition Empowered The Idea Of An Armed Militia,” Milwaukee Independent,

[47] “The Slavery Controversy and the Civil War,” America’s Religious History, Thomas Kidd

[48] “Higher Education,” Craig Steven Wilder, Four Hundred Souls.

[49] This may have been hyperbolic language, aka “Kill the Indian and save the man.”

[50] “The Troubling Reason The Electoral College Exists.” TIME magazine.

[51] “The Louisiana Rebellion,” Clint Smith, Four Hundred Souls

[53] Abraham Lincoln thought it was a good idea to send freed slaves to Liberia or Haiti. In 1862 he said to a black audience: “You and we are different races—we have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think. Your race suffers very greatly, many of them, by living among us; while ours suffer from your presence. In a word, we suffer on each side.

[54] African American Readings of Paul, Lisa M. Bowens

[55] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[57] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[58] “James McCune Smith, M.D.” by Harriet Washington, Four Hundred Souls

[59] Notably, the Supreme Court under John Marshall upheld the Cherokee’s case against the State of Georgia which had initiated the removal process. President Jackson said, “(Chief Justice) Marshall has made his decision, let him enforce it.” This is perhaps the most flagrant violation of the Constitution ever made by a president. Approximately ¼ of the removed Cherokee died on the Trail of Tears. Other tribes were also removed, but the Cherokee with their favorable Supreme Court ruling and unjust removal were particularly heart-breaking. 

[60] Here’s another one. The 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, which caused outrage in its own time, has been called genocide. Colonel John Chivington led a 700-man force of Colorado Territory militia in a massacre of 70–163 peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho, about two-thirds of whom were women, children, and infants. Chivington and his men took scalps and other body parts as trophies, including human fetuses and male and female genitalia.[122] In defense of his actions Chivington stated, “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! ... I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God's heaven to kill Indians. ... Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.” were worse ones.

[61] “Fact check: Father of modern gynecology performed experiments on enslaved Black women,”

[62] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[63] Ibid.

[64] “Black Maternal and Infant Health: Historical Legacies Of Slavery,”

[66] Ibid

[67] “The 1619 Project: An Autopsy,” CATO Institute,

[68] “Black Maternal And Infant Health: Historical Legacies Of Slavery,

[70] They broke away from northern Baptists in 1845 over the issue of slavery.

[72] “We lament and repudiate historic acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest, and we recognize that the racism which yet plagues our culture today is inextricably tied to the past.”

[74] From a statement released by JP Morgan Chase in 2005, as reported in How The Word Is Passed, by Clint Smith.

[75] “Making sugar, making ‘coolies’: Chinese laborers toiled alongside Black workers on 19th-centuryLouisiana plantations.”

[78]  It did not apply to the roughly 425,000 enslaved people living in Tennessee, Delaware, Kentucky, Missouri, and Maryland because they had not seceded or were occupied by Union soldiers. This was a tactical move – Lincoln did not want those states to join the Confederacy – but it must have been a blow to the enslaved.

[79] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[80] The Sum Of Us, Heather McGhee

[81] Lincoln said shortly before he died, “I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace, unless we can get rid of the negroes … I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country…”

[82] “In the Great Plains, they found success. A significant colony (as it was called) of about 150 people thrived at Blackdom, near Roswell, N.M., during the opening decades of the 20th century. Dearfield was home to more than 200 homesteaders.”

[83] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee. An estimated 46 million people are the propertied descendants of those land grant beneficiaries.

[85] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee

[89] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[90] From the website  Lynching In America

[91] “The Slavery Controversy And Civil War,” America’s Religious History, Thomas Kidd.

[92] “The Deadliest Massacre in Reconstruction-Era Louisiana Happened 150 Years Ago.”

[93] “Making sugar, making ‘coolies’: Chinese laborers toiled alongside Black workers on 19th-centuryLouisiana plantations.”

[94] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr. 

[95] Blood At The Root: A Racial Cleansing In America, Patrick Phillips

[96] “Reconstruction,” Michael Harriot, Four Hundred Souls

[98] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[99] “Reconstruction,” Michael Harriot, Four Hundred Souls

[100] Ibid.

[103] Stony The Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, And The Rise Of Jim Crow, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

[104] It’s worth noting that poll taxes alone also disenfranchised thousands of poor white voters. Voter turnout in poll tax states was 18% vs. a national average o 69%, according to Heather McGee in The Sum Of Us.

[106] “The 1619 Project: An Autopsy,” CATO Institute. 

[108] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[109] African American Readings Of Paul

[110] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth of Equality, Ken Wystma

[113] Frederick Douglass (1817-1895): “For between the Christianity of this land, and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference—so wide, that to receive the one as good, pure, and holy, is of necessity to reject the other as bad, corrupt, and wicked… I love the pure, peaceable, and impartial Christianity of Christ: I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.”

[114] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[118] “Stolen Labor, The Myth of Equality, Ken Wystma

[119] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[120] Stony The Road, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

[121] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth Of Equality, Ken Wytsma

[124] Jemar Tisby, The Color Of Compromise

[125] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[126] There were other lynchings that were not racially motivated.

[127] After the 1906 Race Riots, a confederate soldier and governor of Georgia named William Northern, a Southern Baptist leader, helped organize Christian anti-lynching activists, though he assured people that stopping lynching would not undermine white supremacy or lead to racial integration.

[128] “Booker T. Washington, Derrick Alridge, 

[129] “The 1619 Project: An Autopsy,” CATO Institute

[130] American On Fire, Elizabeth Hinton

[131] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[132] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth Of Equality

[133] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[134] Ibid.

[135] “The Great Migration,” Isabel Wilkerson, Four Hundred Souls

[136] America On Fire, Elizabeth Hinton

[138] From Jemar Tisby’s intro to the re-release of The Coming Race Wars, by William Pannell

[139] America On Fire, Elizabeth Hinton

[140] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[141] “In 1997 a Tulsa Race Riot Commission was formed by the state of Oklahoma to investigate the massacre and formally document the incident. Members of the commission gathered accounts of survivors who were still alive, documents from individuals who witnessed the massacre but had since died, and other historical evidence. Scholars used the accounts of witnesses and ground-piercing radar to locate a potential mass grave just outside Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery, suggesting the death toll may be much higher than the original records indicate. In its preliminary recommendations, the commission suggested that the state of Oklahoma pay $33 million in restitution, some of it to the 121 surviving victims who had been located. However, no legislative action was ever taken on the recommendation, and the commission had no power to force legislation. The commission’s final report was published on February 28, 2001. In April 2002 a private religious charity, the Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, paid a total of $28,000 to the survivors, a little more than $200 each, using funds raised from private donations.”

[142] From the Decolonial Atlas.

[147] “Racial covenants, a relic of the past, are still on the books across the country.”

[148] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee

[149] “The Great Depression,” Robin Kelley, Four Hundred Souls

[153] This is also when confederate monuments began to be built in earnest. 

[154] Jemar Tisby, The Color of Compromise

[158] “Union Construction’s Racial Equity and Inclusion Charade,” Stanford Social Innovation Review.

[161] “Last Hired, First Fired: How the Great Depression Affected African Americans.”

[163] “Family shines light on US prisoner exchange program that rounded up Japanese Latin Americans”

[165] As quoted in “Stolen Labor,” The Myth of Equality, by Ken Wystma

[166]  “How the GI Bill's Promise Was Denied to a Million Black WWII Veterans.”

In 1947, home loans from the GI Bill after WWII disenfranchised black war veterans. “In New York and the northern New Jersey suburbs, fewer than 100 of the 67,000 mortgages insured by the GI bill supported home purchases by non-whites.[167]  6% of soldiers were black; .02% got loans. 

[169] “The real estate business practice of "blockbusting" was a for-profit catalyst for white flight, and a means to control non-white migration. By subterfuge, real estate agents would facilitate black people buying a house in a white neighborhood, either by buying the house themselves, or via a white proxy buyer, and then re-selling it to the black family. The remaining white inhabitants (alarmed by real estate agents and the local news media),[78] fearing devalued residential property, would quickly sell, usually at a loss. The realtors profited from these en masse sales and the ability to resell to the incoming black families, through arbitrage and the sales commissions from both groups. By such tactics, the racial composition of a neighborhood population was often changed completely in a few years.”

[171] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[172] Ibid

[173] “Racial covenants, a relic of the past, are still on the books across the country.”

[174] The Sum Of Us, Heather McGhee

[175] “Jim Crow’s Civil Defense Plans,”

[176] The Color of Compromise 

[178] Wikipedia! Also, there are still at least 5 towns in the United States whose names come from the acronym ANNA – “Ain’t No N***** Allowed.” 

[179] Two quotes from an article noting responses from readers concerning sundown towns.

“This reminds me of a shocking event from my teens. In the late 60’s, my dad and I were waiting with our new housekeeper at a bus stop in Burbank, CA, when the police pulled up and told us our housekeeper had to be out of town before sunset-so disillusioning, horrifying, sad.” — @JBEnglish1

“The place was Golden Valley NC. I saw the sign in 1997. I could not find the picture, but I remember the sign, ‘The sun never set on a black man in Golden Valley’ - right on the side of the road. I couldn’t get it out of my mind for a long time, and still think about it.” — @No_Bod_There

[181] Sometimes, the white hospitals did active damage. In 1932, the Tuskegee Institute, working with the United States Piublic Health Service, began a study on syphilis originally called the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male.” During this study, they lied to 200 black men whom they told were being treated for syphilis, when in fact they were not, even though a treatment was available. In th e1970s, a class action lawsuit paid out 10 million dollars to wives, widows and children.

[182] “A Secret 1950s Strategy To Keep Out Black Students,” The Atlantic.

[183] “Decades before 'Squid Game,' real-life segregation-era 'battle royals' made Black men and boys fight in mass brawls.”

[184] Dwight Moody and Billy Sunday both allowed segregation at their meetings.

[185] As noted in The Color of Compromise. In the mid-1950s, pastors of Christians in Kirkwood, Georgia actively urged their members not to sell their homes to black people. “ ‘If everyone simply refuses to sell to colored,’ the pastors assured residents, ‘then everything will be fine…Please help us ‘Keep Kirkwood White’ and preserve our Churches and homes.” This happened more often than we would like to think.

[187] “The Assassination Of Civil Rights Leader Rev. George Lee Isn't Taught In Schools, So Here's Everything You Need To Know.”

[191]  “How the GI Bill's Promise Was Denied to a Million Black WWII Veterans.”

[197] As far back as 1932, Pittsburgh Courier editor Robert Vann had written, “My friends, go turn [R] Lincoln’s picture to the wall. The debt has been paid in full.”[197]

[198] “The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation.” (Wikipedia)

[199] When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

[200] When the court ruled similarly about private schools. 

[204] At the end of this, in May of 1963, police in Birmingham, Ala., aimed high-powered hoses and loosed dogs on black men, women and even children who were determined to actually do the school integration the Supreme Court had granted 9 years earlier.



[213] I haven’t even covered the so-called Urban Renewal movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and how it took homes and businesses from tens of thousands of poor black families.

[220] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth of Equality

[222] The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee

[223] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth Of Equality

[224] Ibid.

[225] “The racist history of Tampa's city planning and housing policy.”

[226] About one-third of the 357 known Indian boarding schools were managed by various Christian denominations.

[228] Eric Hemenway, director of archives and records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, said in a 2017 interview, “We hear devastating stories of kids who survived the school and they grow up to be our elders and, you know, they talk about the situations they went through and how that affected their ability to raise children and develop relationships with other people because of what happened to them at the boarding schools.”

[229] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[230] The Color of Compromise

[231] The Sum of Us, by Heather McGhee

[232] “Stolen Labor,” The Myth of Equality

[233] Blood At The Root, Patrick Phillips

[234] “Family shines light on US prisoner exchange program that rounded up Japanese Latin Americans.”

[235] 2017, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. settled for $55 million over allegations that independent brokers charged African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher rates than white borrowers from 2006 to 2009, violating of the Fair Housing Act.

[236] A lot of information came from an article at

[238] Unsettling Truths, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[241] “The U.S. stole generations of Indigenous children to open the West,” High Country News.

[245] This graph from the New York Times shows the implications of this well: economic hardship takes a toll for a lot of reasons, and economic ease opens a lot of doors. There can be complex reasons for these discrepancies, but general patterns emerge clearly along economic lines, lines which have been repeatedly re-drawn for centuries.

[246] For Native Americans, one source of that distrust is the 70,000 women sterilized against their will in the in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

[248] “Poverty Leaves A Mark On Our Genes,” Northwestern University,


[250] As quoted in Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing Dehumanizing Legacy Of The Doctrine Of Discovery, by Native American evangelical pastor Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[255] “One Black Boy: The Great Lakes And The Midwest.” Tiya Miles, Four Hundred Souls.

[257] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee

[262] The Sum Of Us, by Heather McGhee

[263] “NAR President Charlie Oppler Apologizes for Past Policies that Contributed to Racial Inequality,”

[264] “If Everybody’s White, There Can’t Be Any Racial Bias”: The Disappearance of Hispanic Drivers From Traffic Records,” ProPublica.

[267] “Cherokee Nation wants info on Black descendants linked to slavery.”


[268] “The Heart In Action,” Gentle And Lowly

[269] George Erasmus, quoted in Unsettling Truths, by Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah

[270] Read the excellent chapter “Does Justice Belong In Our Gospel Conversation?” in Ken Wystma’s book The Myth Of Equality

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