A lot of white people were shocked to learn about the bombing of Tulsa from HBO’s “Watchmen” while most black people are familiar with the bombing of Black Wall Street.
Even historians mention these events as isolated incidents.
Racial terrorism is actually normal in American history but I believe we talk about in the wrong way. These are not isolated incidents, nor are they rare.
This is the story of how a national campaign by whites terrorists overthrew the US government.
A few weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that there would be a coup if he was ousted from the presidency and media outlets portrayed him as crazy. It it is NOT crazy to think that a race war is possible.
It has happened FOUR TIMES in history.
The first race war was the genocide of native Americans. The Civil War was the second. But I want to talk about the third one because it was actually an overthrow of the US government.
When we talk about racial injustice in America, we usally start with slavery and then go to the Jim Crow era. But we often forget that there was a period after the Civil War where white racists actually overthrew the government. This is not hyperbole.
First, we must remember that blacks were a LARGE part of Southern states right after the World War Wyipipo (If they can call it “the War against Northern Aggression” then I can call it what I want).
Ala., Fla., Ga., & La. were more than 40% black. SC & MS were MAJORITY black.
Because racial terrorists hadn’t taken black people’s right to vote SEVENTEEN black people served in Congress between 1870 and 1898.
All of these were Republicans (We’ll get to what happened later).
In many states, including Mississippi, 90% of black eligible voters were registered to vote. Part of this was because Union troops were still in the South after the War for White Supremacy (Again, I call it what I want, you call it what you want).
And this “black wave” didn’t just happen in Congress. It started happening on the local and state level, too. To combat this, white people enacted poll taxes, literacy tests and…
Nah, I’m just bullshitting.
They just started killing black people.
Now history books often mention these incidents as “riots” or “racial violence,” but the FBI defines terrorism as acts “inspired by or associated with primarily US-based movements that espouse extremist ideologies of a political, religious, social, racial or environmental nature.”
In 1866 during the Louisiana Constitutional Convention, ex-Confederates, police officers and regular, store-brand white folks attacked black Republicans in New Orleans. They killed any women, kids & black person they could find.
238 people were killed, most of whom were black.
Historians estimate the Pulaski, Tennessee, KKK committed 1,300 murders during the run-up to the 1868 election.
The same year, in St. Bernard Parish, white Democrats dragged somewhere between 35 and 200 black people from their homes and killed them to prevent them from voting.
In Opelousas, Louisiana, members of the “Knights of the White Camelia” along with white Democrats killed 200-300 black people and slaughtered 27 prisoners in the fall of 1868.
It happened all over SC. Altogether, 1500 were killed to prevent them from voting.
One of the things you must remember is that in many of these state, the Union soldiers in charge of upholding the law were black.
Can you imagine how salty white confederates must have been to fight for white supremacy and then have negroes lording over them as a reminder?
Not to mention the fact that these black people were now controlling politics. Remember, in many of these states, black people were OUTVOTING these traiterous-ass white supremacists.
Some of them decided to overthrow the government.
In Laurens County SC, THOUSANDS of white KKK sympathizers attacked black freedman after the white people’s plan to stuff the ballot box failed. No one knows how many black people were killed in the resulting mass murder, but the Governor had to declare martial law in the county.
In NC, there was an actual 2-Year war. In the Kirk-Holden war (look it up, it’s CRAZY), the army had to come in and fight the KKK.
Racist white Democrats took up arms, ARRESTED the leader of the army (Kirk), impeached NC’s governor(Holden) and removed him from office.
Ark. had to form a militia to fight the KKK. They basically had to travel across the state fighting the Klan. But they didn’t just intimidate blacks from voting, they had another plan:
They just assassinated black candidates.
The Arkansas “Militia Wars” lasted almost 2 years.
Now, in all of these incidents, NO whites were ever charged, and white, racist Democrats managed to overthrow the will of the majority using violence and intimidation.
But none of those stories compare to what happened to the Original 33 in Georgia.
In 1868, a few years before Outkast had their first hit, the citizens of Georgia elected 30 black state representatives and 3 black senators to the state legislature.
24 were ministers.
Y’all know white folks weren’t having this:
First, they expelled 26 representatives.
Then they removed the 3 senators.
10 days later, they removed the final “mulatto” representatives from offices.
Then they started killing them. One-quarter of those black elected officials were jailed, beaten or shot.
Then, the Ga. Supreme Court ruled that the elected officials had no right to hold office because their veins held” African or blood.”
So the representatives decided to go on a protest march to attend a Republican convention.
Now this wasn’t just legislators, it was supporters too. You see, a lot of these men had been enslaved, so imagine how proud those black people must have been to see these brave men fighting for their rights.
Of course, the white people were incensed!
Knowing this, the black people brought their guns. Of course, during this time, this was perfectly normal… Kinda.
ONE reason these men were elected into office was that, after the Great “Can-I-Keep-My-Slave” War (I call it what I want, dammit!) there was an unspoken rule:
Even before Jim Crow was instituted, it was common law:
If you were black, and a white person told you to give them your gun, you were supposed to just GIVE IT TO THEM!
(Don’t ask me, bruh. I’m just reporting)
So, to combat this, one of those state senators reportedly had FOUR HUNDRED armed guards with him. I guess he figured that they couldn’t ask each one individually but we know the whites don’t play by the rules.
Remember, these people were walking 25 miles to a POLITICAL rally, when they encountered a white “citizens committee.”
Now, if you’re white, that might not sound scary, but trust me, black people know that ANY white person who refer to themselves as a “citizen” is up to no good.
So the citizens committee told the black people to hand over their guns, which the black crowd refused. The white Democrats were like: “aight, we tried,” and let them past.
The black people thought: “Damn, that was too easy. If I know white folks, they are up to something.”
Of course they were.
A little further down the road, in all-white town of Camilla, the sheriff had deputized damn near all of the white “citizens” and handed out guns.
When the black legislators and marchers came through, they massacred them.
But they didn’t just stop there. For WEEKS white Democrats roamed the Georgia countryside beating, murdering, lynching and killing any black person who even looked like they might vote.
Some of y’all know this, and some of y’all don’t but in the entire history of America, this was the ONLY non-wartime incident that the President of the United States suspended the constitutional right to Habeas Corpus (the right to be detained without being charged with a crime)
That’s right, the Third Enforcement Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1871 basically spells out how the American government had to go to war with the KKK.
But here is the most shocking thing:
The KKK won.
That’s right. A white supremacist army is the only army that ever defeated the US army.
In 1874 the FIVE THOUSAND members of the Democratic “White League” literally overthrew the Republican Louisiana Governor in the Battle of Liberty Place.
In Colfax, La., the same year, the White League killed 150 black people and assasinated Republican candidates.
The same thing happened that year in Coushactta, La.
So why do I say the KKK won?
Is it a bit extreme to say they “overthrew the government?”
Well, not only did these terrorists use violence to oust democratically elected candidates from office but they changed the course of history.
In the 1876 election, racist Democrats cheated so bad that the Electoral College was basically disbanded.
For instance, SC stuffed the ballot box xo bad that 101 percent of eligible voters were represented. In Fla and Georgia, they just created their own ballots. Some of the Southern states just REFUSED to give Republicans their electoral votes, regardless of the results.
Instead, Congress decided to let a 15-member group go into a back room and decide what to do (It’s a little more complicated than this, but not really. They LITERALLY let some white men decide who would be president because of this racial terrorism).
And Rutherford B Hayes was declared the winner 185 electoral votes to Tilden’s 184.
And to make up for a Republican president, Congress and Hayes agreed to do 5 things:
- Put a Democrat in the cabinet (Hayes did it.)
- Remove the troops from the South (Hayes did it)
- Build a transcontinental railroad through the south (It never happened)
- Help build the south from an agrarian economy to an industrial economy (Congress didn’t do it) But the fifth item is why I say the racist terrorists overthrew the government and beat won
The South wanted the Congress and the president to assure them that they would not interfere in how Southern states treated its black citizens.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Jim Crow.
Now, this kind of racial violence would go on for nearly a century without federal intervention, all because of “compromise” in 1876 when the racist Democrats overthrew the government.
Oh, I haven’t forgotten what I said earlier.
You see, in 1948, Harry Truman integrated the armed forces and those Southern racists Democrats hated that. They could see that integration was coming, so they decided to form their own party: The Dixiecrats.
By 1964, almost every Southern Democrat had switched to the Republican party. Their platform was the same as those racial terrorists from the 1860s: They believed they should be able to do whatever they wanted to black people.
Yes, the South seceded again.
100 years after terrorists started their quest to overthrow the government, no Democratic presidential candidate would ever win a majority of white voters in any Southern state again.
So when Republicans talk about how Democrats used to be racists, they are partially correct. But I don’t think of them as Democrats or Republicans, I just refer to them as “Racist Whites.”
Since the beginning of this country, they have never been on the side of Democracy.
And these incidents have nothing to do with hate. They are an orchestrated terrorist campaign to keep power. Whether its voter suppression or mass murder, they’ve done it before and they are still doing it.
And that, my friend, is called “white supremacy.”
By the way, I’m not some kind of history genius. I didn’t know most of this information until a few months ago when phone calls with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Greg Carr sent me down this rabbit hole. Now THEY are geniuses
Originally posted as a Twitter thread. Re-posted with permission.