Monday, October 24, 2016

Never Forget

The Progressive Era existed in Denver during the early 20th century. There was the Efficiency Movement that occurred in 1902 when the city and Denver County were made in coexistence. Robert W. Speer was elected Denver mayor in 1904. He started many projects that added new landmarks, updated existing facilities, and improved the city’s landscape including the City Auditorium, the Civic Center, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. City leaders came into Washington, D.C. They assured the politicians there that Denver was no longer a frontier town, so they secured the first major party convention in a western state, which was the 1908 Democratic National Convention. Denver back then also pioneered the juvenile court movement under Judge Ben Lindsey. He gained national fame for his efforts. With his efforts, an act was passed to create a juvenile court in Denver. This was a new development in America as it relates to children and the court system. Emily Griffith in 1914 opened the Opportunity School. She was a Denver school teacher. The Opportunity School had language and vocational instruction. It also had both day classes and night classes, so nontraditional learners should have the opportunity for self-improvement. During this time, Denver’s park system was expanded. Land in the mountains was acquired for a future mountain park system. Cattle pens began to develop around the existing railroad depots as farmers began shipping their livestock to the existing meat packing industry in Kansas City and Chicago. Local ranchers wanted to concentrate on raising cattle rather than the logistics of shipping them east and in 1906 the first National Western Stock Show was held which quickly became the preeminent livestock show in the region. These events helped raise the national profile of Denver and live up to its nickname, the "Queen City of the Plains."

Labor unions were also active in Denver. There were construction and printing crafts affiliated with the AFL or the American Federation of Labor. There were railroad brotherhoods there as well. After being welcomed at the 1908 Democratic National Convention, the AFL unions, who formed the Denver Trades and Labor Assembly, generally supported Democratic candidates. In early 1913, members of the Industrial Workers of the World (or the Wobblies) conducted a free speech fight in Denver. The deal was that city authorities refused to allow IWW organizers to speak to people on street corners. Union members challenged this policy. They aimed to even fill the jails to put pressure on city leaders. This Wobbly tactics, which they had employed successfully for half a decade throughout the North and West, clogged the courts so they couldn't handle anything but free speech cases. Taxpayers complained that they were being forced to feed "whole armies of jailed Wobblies." In her autobiography, Emma Goldman wrote of twenty-seven IWW members, arrested during the Denver free speech fight, who were "tortured in the sweat-box for refusing to work on the rock-pile. On their release they marched through the streets with banners and songs..." The union eventually won the right to speak to workers, and within a year had formed two Denver "branches." On the brink of World War I, Denver mirrored the rest of the nation in wanting to stay neutral. But once America entered the war in 1917, Denver contributed what it could to the war effort. Clothing and supplies were donated, children enrolled in agricultural and garden clubs to free up young men for the war, and mining and agricultural interests were expanded to support the troops and the nation. As prices for goods rose with the demand from the war effort farmers began planting crops in greater numbers and mining companies opened new mines for molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten. During WWI, anti-German sentiment was very high in Denver, because the United States was fighting Germans in Europe.

Before the war Germans had been a very prosperous immigrant group, who often congregated in their own ethnic clubs. They had enough political clout to have a law passed in 1877 that required German and gymnastics be taught in public schools, and until 1889 all of Colorado's laws were printed in English, Spanish, and German. The Germans built churches and owned interests in mining and agriculture, but many in the temperance movement primarily associated them with the production and consumption of alcohol. Believing all evil began with the drink, prohibitionists cracked down on what they considered "un-American" activity. In 1916, alcohol was banned in the state. Many saloon owners and brewers lost their jobs and with the outbreak of World War I, many others were fired and ostracized. German stopped being taught in schools and many Germans abandoned their heritage to avoid conflicts. Many individuals within the prohibition movement associated the crime and morally corrupt behavior of the cities of America with their large immigrant populations. That xenophobic, racist rhetoric is similar to the views of Donald Trump.  In a backlash to the new emerging realities of the American demographic, many prohibitionists subscribed to the doctrine of “nativism” in which they endorsed the notion that America was made great as a result of its white Anglo-Saxon ancestry. In other words, these bigots wanted to promote the myth of white racial supremacy. The original people of America weren't Anglo-Saxons, but Native Americans. Not to mention that many of the Anglo-Saxons intermarried with the Picts, the Celts, etc. in the UK. This hate rhetoric from the nativists fostered xenophobic sentiments towards urban immigrant communities who typically argued in favor of abolishing prohibition. These sentiments led many in Denver to join the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) both because it opposed foreign immigration and because it defended prohibition. The Klan is an evil, racist terrorist organization that has murdered and raped black people. Roman Catholic immigrants, particularly of Irish or Italian descent, were often the target of KKK discrimination. These communities gradually became Americanized, and the KKK quickly lost influence especially during KKK member Clarence Morley's term as governor from 1925-1927. As Prohibition lingered on many citizens saw the negative effects: toxic bootleg liquor, corruption, bribery, and binge drinking. Colorado voters suspended the state’s Prohibition laws on July 1, 1933. While white racism and discrimination against a new wave of Mexican and African-American immigrants persisted, the KKK decreased its overt visibility in Colorado politics.

It is always important to never forget. We should never forget about the Maafa and the international slave trade in which evil people murdered millions of innocent black men, black women, and black children. These evils were created by Western capitalist extremists and racists. Capitalism was definitely used in the Maafa. We should never forget about the New York City massacre Riot (July 13–16, 1863). The exact death toll during the New York Draft Riots is unknown. At least 120 people were killed. In all, eleven black men were lynched over five days. The riots forced hundreds of blacks to flee the city of NYC. Violence by longshoremen against black men was especially fierce in the docks area. The New Orleans riot, which occurred on July 30, 1866, was a violent conflict in which whites attacked blacks parading outside the Mechanics Institute in New Orleans. There were a total of 150 black casualties including 44 killed. The Memphis, Tennessee riots of 1866 were the violent events that occurred from May 1 to 3, 1866. 646 blacks and 2 whites were killed, 75 blacks injured, over 100 black persons robbed, and 5 black women were raped. 91 homes, 4 churches and 8 schools burned in the black community of New Orleans. Many blacks fled the city permanently. On, September 28, 1868, there was the Opelousas massacre. This was when bands of armed whites scoured the countryside and killed black people in what was described as a “Negro hunt”. It is estimated that 200 blacks were killed in the fields and swamps surrounding Opelousas, Louisiana. Meridian, Mississippi  had its race riot of 1871. In the ensuing mob violence, whites killed as many as 30 blacks over the next few days. Colfax massacre occurred on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana. Estimates of the number of dead have varied, ranging from 62 to 150. Yet, the number of black victims was difficult to determine because bodies had been thrown into the river or removed for burial. The Vicksburg massacre happened on December 7, 1874. This was when armed white men disrupted a black Republican meeting. During the next several days, armed white mobs swept through black areas, killing other men at home or out in the fields. Estimates that 300 blacks were killed in the city and the surrounding area of Claiborne County. August 1874: Coushatta massacre was the result of an attack by the White League, a paramilitary organization 20 freedmen were killed. On September 4, 1875, in the city of Clinton, Mississippi, it experienced a traumatic event. Violence began at a Republican political rally attended primarily by freedmen and their families. After several days of racial violence, as many as fifty people were killed, most of whom were African American men. November 22, 1887 was the date of the start of the Thibodaux, Lousiana massacre. It was a violent labor dispute and racial attack by whites against black sugar-cane workers which led to the mass killing of an estimated 50 African Americans. November 10, 1898  was when the Wilmington, North Carolina massacre continued for several days. There was a mob of nearly 2,000 white men and they attacked the only black newspaper in the state, and persons and property in black neighborhoods. They killed an estimated 15 to more than 60 victims, and destroying homes and businesses built up since the Civil War. On October 1906, there was the  Little Rock, Arkansas incident. It started after a white police officer in Argenta (North Little Rock) killed a black musician, and another black person was killed. Racial tensions rose with exchange of gunfire, resulting in half a block of  commercial buildings on East Washington Avenue burned down, two African-American residences went up in flames, and scores of black families temporarily left the city as armed men roamed the streets. Buildings were burned down.

The Atlanta race riot of 1906 was a mass civil disturbance in Atlanta, Georgia which began the evening of September 22 and lasted until September 24, 1906. The death toll of the conflict is to this day unknown and disputed, but "officially" at least 25 African Americans were killed. The East St. Louis, riots of May and July 1917 were when some 3,000 white men marched into downtown and began attacking African Americans. Death toll estimated between 40 and 200 deaths six thousand blacks were left homeless after their neighborhood was burned to the ground. The Chicago race riot was a major racial conflict that began on July 27, 1919 and ended on August 3. During the riot, 23 African Americans were killed and over five hundred were injured two-thirds of them African Americans. Approximately 1,000 residents, mostly African Americans, were left homeless because of the fires. The combination of prolonged arson, looting, and murder was the worst race rioting in the history of Illinois. The Elaine, Arkansas massacre, took place on September 30-October 1, 1919 in the vicinity of Elaine in rural Phillips County, Arkansas. Over a three-day period, an estimated 100-240 blacks, with some estimates of  more than 800 blacks killed, it was the deadliest racial conflict in United States history. Tulsa, Oklahoma massacre was a large-scale, racially motivated conflict on May 31 and June 1, 1921, in which a group of whites attacked the black community of Greenwood, the wealthiest black community in the United States was burned to the ground, police arrested and detained more than 6,000 black Greenwood residents at three local facilities. An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire, resulting in over $26 million in damages. The official count of the dead vary from 150-300 cause there was a rush to bury the bodies and that no records were made of many burials. Rosewood massacre was a violent, racially motivated massacre of blacks and destruction of a black town that took place during the first week of January 1923 in rural Levy County, Florida.  As many as 150 African Americans  people were killed and the town of Rosewood was abandoned and destroyed. On May 1927, in Little Rock, Arkansas, there was the lynching of John Carter, a suspect in a murder, was followed by rioting by 5,000 whites in the city, who destroyed a black business area. The Detroit race riot broke out in June 1943, and lasted for three days before 6,000 Federal troops were called in to restore peace. A total of 34 people were killed, 25 of them black and most at the hands of police or guardsmen; 433 were wounded, 75 percent of them black; and property valued at $2 million was destroyed, Most of the property damage was in the black area of Paradise Valley, the poorest neighborhood of the city. Therefore, we will not get over a single thing. Jewish people rightfully never forget the Holocaust and the pogroms. We won't forget the Maafa either.

By Timothy 

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