Black History Month 2024

'tennessee' - 4 results

Ku Klux Klan Formed



Pulaski, Tennessee - The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was formed. Six (6) ex-Confederate officers, Frank McCord, Richard Reed, John Lester, John Kennedy, J. Calvin Jones and James Crowe, were its first members.

The KKK was the most violent and racist terrorist group, in United States history (outside of the local police). Its purpose was to harass, attack, and murder Black Americans.

The KKK only allowed white male members. The women's version was the Women of the Ku Klux Klan (WKKK). It has always helped the KKK, in its many forms, until today.

The violence of the KKK led the United States government to pass the Enforcement Acts. These three (3) Acts passed in 1870 and 1871, made the actions of the KKK illegal.

The Enforcement Acts led to a gradual decline in KKK activity.

'The Birth of A Nation' (1915) led to a rebirth of the KKK in 1915. President Woodrow Wilson saw the film at the White House. He called it history written in lightning. This effect led to the era of the second KKK.

This second era of the KKK lasted until World War 2. This was its largest and most powerful period. There were tens of thousands of members all over the country. In the 21st Century, the KKK is very limited, but still aided by the WKKK.


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Memphis Massacre



Memphis, Tennessee - It was one of the worst race riots in Memphis history (began Tuesday and ended Thursday). Whites killed Black Americans for 3 days.

The massacre began after white police shot at Black Army veterans, from the Union Army. There were prior complaints of police brutality. Yet, none had been resolved.

After the shooting incident, white mobs raced into areas where Black Americans lived, in Memphis. Thus began a days long rampage of whites who murdered, burned, and raped in the Black American community.

More than 46 Black Americans were murdered. Two (2) whites died. No whites died because of Black Americans. Whites injured 75 Black Americans, robbed over 100, and raped five (5) women.

Whites destroyed 91 homes, four (4) churches and eight (8) schools. White mobs destroyed every Black American church and school in Memphis. By Thursday, May 3rd, Federal troops had restored order.

By 1870, the Black American population of Memphis had fallen by 25%, compared to 1865. No one was charged or held accountable. No Black American was compensated for their loss.

The Federal government refused prosecution. They claimed it was a state matter. The State of Tennessee and local officials refused to investigate or charge anyone for the mayhem.


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Scottsboro Boys Arrested



Southern Tennessee - Nine (9) Black American youths rode a freight train with several white males and two white women. Near the Lookout Mountain tunnel, a fight erupted between the white and Black American youths.

The whites got kicked off the train. They went to a sheriff, from the nearby town, Paint Rock, Alabama.

The white youths claimed the Black youths assaulted them on the train. The sheriff raised a posse. He ordered the posse to search for and 'capture every Negro on the train.'

All Black American passengers from the train were arrested. All were charged with assault, by the posse.

The Scottsboro boys were put on trial. It was an all-white jury, white judge, and white prosecutor. 8 of the youths were convicted. They were sentenced to death.

As a result of appeals to the United States Supreme Court, none were executed. The Court ruled that race could not be used to exclude a juror.


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Martin Luther King, Jr. Killed



Memphis, Tennessee - Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. King was shot at the Lorraine Hotel, on a Thursday, at 6:01 p.m. A 30-06 rifle was used. Only one shot was fired and it hit King in the throat.

The prior year, King condemned the Vietnam War. President Lyndon Johnson turned his back on King, as a result. The war continued, non-stop. Anti-war demonstrations began to increase, the rest of 1967.

On January 30, 1968, a major attack began against the United States in Vietnam. It was the 'Tet Offensive.' The United States military and President Johnson saw that the enemy had no plan to quit.

On March 28, 1968, the Tet offensive ended. The same day, King arrived in Memphis. King led a march, for Black American sanitation workers. The workers had been on strike since February, 1968.

The marchers walked down Beale street. In the back, store windows were broken. As the marchers turned onto Main street, riot police waited. The police attacked. Riot clubs and tear gas were used. King was led away, safely. Hundreds were arrested. A Black American teenager was killed by police.

On Sunday, March 31, 1968, President Johnson went on television, and spoke for 40 minutes. He began with peace talks for the war. At the end, Johnson said he would not run for re-election.

Four days later, King was killed, in Memphis.

Joseph Louw, a 28 year-old South African, took the photograph just before the murder. Some suspect Louw was there working with the FBI and CIA as surveillance of the Black Rights (civil rights) leader.


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