Walking through the library today and I noticed a book on the shelf.  The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas by E.R. Bills.

On the back cover, I noticed the date:  July 29th and realized that’s today.  Exactly 110 years ago.  I've read about the brutal murder of Black Americans by white mobs in Tulsa and Rosewood in the 1920s and Chicago’s Red Summer, the New York City Draft Riots during the Civil War and in Detroit during the Second World War. But I had never heard of Slocum. How many other massacres are not taught in school?  Many, as I’ve learned.

American history has a history of burying the truth along with the dead.

The Slocum Massacre started on July 29, 1910, around the town of Slocum in East Texas and the lynchings continued for the next three days.  

For those three terrible days and nights around Slocum (near Palestine, Texas), white mobs hunted and lynched Black men, women, and children for no other reason than fear of a Black uprising, which had only been a rumor. Hundreds of armed white men killed Black people because of a Fear of Blacks, not the actual threat of Blacks. In the lyrical words of Chuck D on Fear of a Black Planet, “Black to the bone my home is your home. So welcome to the Terrordome.”

These accounts are taken from E.R. Bills’ book:

“The 1910 Slocum Massacre in East Texas officially saw between eight and 22 Blacks killed, and evidence suggests African American casualties were 10 times these amounts.”

Often in the Press, the words massacre and race-riot are used interchangeably. This was not a race-riot, which gives the impression that whites and Blacks were rioting and fighting on equal terms. No, this was a massacre with anywhere from 80-220 innocent men, women, and children murdered!

“The white mobs followed Blacks into the surrounding forests and shot many victims in the back as they fled. Several bodies were discovered with bundles of clothing at their sides.”

This was not a riot, people were running for their very lives.

At the time, the local sheriff reported, “Men were going about killing negroes as fast as they could find them . . . without any real cause. I don’t know how many were in the mob, but I think there must have been 200 or 300. They hunted the negroes down like sheep.”

This was the era of Jim Crow and the Great White Hope. Jack Johnson, the first Black heavyweight champ, was beating up white men in a boxing ring in front of white audiences. And he did it while driving around with white women in a Model T Cadillac when most people couldn’t afford a car. Johnson’s victory in 1910 against Jim Jeffries certainly was a factor in the frequent outpouring of racial violence visited upon Blacks by white mobs. A white man had lost his place as champion in the ring, and every white man feared losing his place as champion in the world.   

The author summarizes with a shocking revelation. “For 30 years (from 1889-1918), 335 lynchings were reported in Texas.  In other words, Texas lynched one person a month for 30 years and most of the time, it was a Black person.” 

The terrifying incident in Slocum was not a race-riot. This was a massacre. This was racial cleansing. And America has a long successful history with this type of washing.

It’s called white-washing.