There are those that would have you forget that this country was founded on civil unrest and violence. There are those that would have you believe that the events leading to this country’s Revolutionary War were inane and non-violent in nature when in fact the opposite is true. Digs and all kinds of shade have been thrown at the protesters in Baltimore, Ferguson, NYC, Oakland, and elsewhere aided and abetted by the media. Invoking the imagery of the “thug” to describe ALL protesters and to diminish the serious problems that are the underlying causes of so much civil unrest in this country right now.
SONS OF LIBERTY
Early in the summer of 1765 in Boston, a number of shopkeepers and artisans who called themselves The Loyal Nine, started preparing for taking action against the Stamp Act. These weren’t the leading men of Boston, but instead workers and tradesmen. The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1765 and resulted in taxes being levied on any piece of paper that was used by the American Colonists. Newspapers, Shipping Papers, contracts, any legal documents, licenses and even playing cards were subject to this tax. The money was earmarked for troops that were stationed in the Appalachian Mountains. The colonists were upset by the idea that up till that point taxes were used to promote commerce and in this instance they were being used to raise monies for purposes that the colonists had no say so about and the precedent of taxes being created outside of the colonies for various reasons was seen as a road they did not wish to go down.
This group which is by some fondly remembered as the “original patriots” engaged in various acts of civil disobedience and violence.
In August of 1765 they hung an effigy of Andrew Oliver – Commissioner of Stamps with a boot sticking out of it with a devil. A symbolic reference to the Earl of Bute. When the local sheriffs were ordered to remove this display they declined to do so as crowds had gathered and later that evening would commence to throwing stones at Oliver’s house while the occupants were still in there. Eventually they would set fire to and ransack the house through the rest of the night. Included in that evenings activities were beheading the effigy and setting that on fire also.
In an ongoing show of Civil defiance of the Stamp Act – newspapers even after the law went into effect refused to obtain the “stamp” and pay the tax associated with it.
Somehow with all the events and actions of the Sons of Liberty being well documented – it has somehow been overlooked in the rush to brand the current protesters as unruly mobs of thugs. The actual history of the founding of this country actually would encompass behavior that would fall into that same category.
CINCINNATI RIOTS OF 1829
Between 1820 and 1829 the African American population in Cincinnati grew from 700 to over 2,000 causing great concern and fear for the white, middle-class residents who they felt were
creating a hazard in their city :
“The rapid increase of our black population, is of itself a great evil, night walkers, lewd persons, and those who lounge around without any visible means of support,”
These residents actually petitioned local officials to remove the black citizens citing their poor living conditions were a “fire hazard”. In the midst of this in 1826 a group of white men formed the OCS – Ohio Chapter of the American Colonization Society whose sole purpose was to spread misleading and defamatory propaganda claiming that blacks were a threat to society.
These lovely citizens also took it upon themselves to petition the local government to enforce a “Black Code“. Enacted originally in 1807 – this “code” required black residents to pay a $500 bond which would serve as proof of their “respectability”.
In June of 1826 – notices were sent out to black residents that they had 30 days to secure the bond or be forced to leave the city. Black residents already seeing the writing on the wall were already preparing to leave the city to re-establish their community elsewhere. While their original plans looked to secure property in rural Ohio to found their own city things didn’t work out that way. in 1829 two representatives from the black community were sent to Canada to survey land for relocation and starting a new settlement. While they were away the local paper issued an ultimatum for the black residents to vacate the city immediately. A request for an extension of time was met with growing hostility of the local white residents against the black citizens. From August 15th to August 22nd of that year mobs of whites attacked black homes and businesses. The police offered no protection from these mobs and the mayor refused to call an end to the violence.
ELIJAH P. LOVEJOY
A minister and resident of St. Louis MO, Elijah Parish Lovejoy was a very vocal abolitionist who used his pulpit as well as his newspaper to express his views against slavery and on abolition. His printing press was destroyed no less than three times by angry mobs who disagreed with his views on slavery and his abolitionist stance. After the third time he moved to Illinois to continue his work there and set up his paper The Alton Observer to continue to express his abolitionist views. In 1837 his warehouse was attacked by a mob wielding guns – gun fire broke out and Mr. Lovejoy was killed in a hail of bullets.
White on White crime – who knew?
MEMPHIS UPRISING 1866
The evening of April 30th 1866 found four police officers walking down Causey Street encountering several blacks who they proceeded to force off the sidewalk. During this encounter one of the blacks fell and one of the officers stumbled over him. This led to the officers drawing their weapons and proceeding to pistol whip the blacks there. The confrontation resulted in a stalemate and both parties withdrew. The next day another confrontation took place when several blacks were arrested on South street for being “boisterous and noisy”. This confrontation between some black soldiers and police resulted in one officer being shot in the finger and another officer being shot and later dying from his wounds. The police withdrew initially but would soon return with reinforcements. They then proceeded to fire on a completely unrelated crowd of blacks – shooting men women and children.
The city recorder – John C. Creighton, arrived at the corner of Vance and Causey Streets and told the white mob which had assembled there that they should arm themselves and kill every Negro and drive them out of the city. That night Blacks were hunted down and assaulted, robbed and or shot by police, firemen, and any white citizen who chose to join in. Blacks houses were searched under false pretenses, and then set on fire. All met with little or no resistance by blacks.
On May 2nd a posse comprised of police and citizens would again commence to indiscriminate attacks on blacks in South Memphis. Men women and children were shot down without mercy and no quarter given. Blacks were trapped in their homes that were set on fire by these mobs. Some were forced and or thrown into buildings and homes that had been set on fire. As the attacks usually occurred at night, many were shot in their beds. This mayhem continued till May 4th and probably stopped as most blacks by then had taken off to hide in the country.
The mayor of Memphis at the time: The Hon. John Park – was excused for his lack of intervention and not actively trying to stop the riots by friends who claimed “he was too intoxicated at the time to realize what was going on”.
None of those who participated in these acts of incredible violence and mayhem have ever been charged even though their identities were well known.
SO WHO ARE THE REAL THUGS?
Again sound familiar? Why this term is being thrown around so cavalierly? Do people not know the history?
There are way too many examples of this throughout this countries history. Wrapped into the selective amnesia of a certain segment of this country is the convenient forgetfulness of the violence that they perpetrated upon anyone who got in the way of their Manifest Destiny. They would brand people as thugs and forget the Boston Tea Party – where material goods namely Tea were thrown overboard in a show of deviance against The Stamp Act and included the likes of
There are those that would have you conveniently forget. The mainstream media has led the charge in branding those who protest against the inhumane treatment and conditions they are forced to live in as looters, thugs, miscreants and of no account and unimportant.
BALTIMORE AND BEYOND
There are many who want to say well that happened back then and it has no bearing on anything taking place right now.
Then you have Ferguson, and Baltimore, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Darrien Hunt, Rekia Boyd, Miriam Carey, Michael Brown, Victor White III, Walter Scott, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Kathryn Johnston, Eleanor Bumpurs, John Crawford III, Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones, Johnathan Ferrell, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., Andy Lopez
And to all the countless others who’s names we don’t know-their families and supporters…
So who tell me again, who are the REAL thugs…??
Stay Woke People….know your history…
Here is a good place to start:
Originally posted at The Good Black Woman