We Walk With The Ancestors
September 30 marks the anniversary of the Elaine Massacre in Elaine, Arkansas.
In 1919, over 100 black sharecroppers dared to organize themselves as the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America to demand better pay from white plantation owners. In response, white mobs went on a state sanctioned killing spree. It is estimated that 100-240 black Americans were massacred at their hands. No one went to jail.
This Massacre was one of many in a wave of racist lynchings and race riots in nearly 36 cities that rocked the nation in what came to be known as the Red Summer of 1919. Social and labor unrest arose when black WWI veterans returned home and were denied access to jobs and housing because of the color of their skin. No longer willing to tolerate the inhumane treatment, racism and terrorism that greeted them, they organized, resisted and demanded their civil rights by honored by the country they risked their lives for. Instead, they were met by murderous white mobs, like the one in Elaine.
These brave black American men and women fought, against all odds, for the protection of their families, communities and liberty. Their deaths and imprisonment highlight the foundation of white supremacy in our justice system as not one person from these lynching mobs went to jail. On September 30th, we mourn their lives and honor their resistance. Their courage reverberates through the generations and inspires our struggle today.