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IDA B. WELLS

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THE POLITICAL AWAKENING OF IDA B. WELLS

by Paul Lee

On the morning of February 13, 1893, a tiny, coffee-colored former school teacher appeared before the Boston Monday Lecture series at Tremont Temple. “It was…my first opportunity to address a white audience,” she later recalled in her autobiography. The series, organized by Joseph Cook, the famous preacher and social reformer, served as a platform for the presentation and discussion of the great social questions of the day. On this occasion, however, the young journalist-she was just a few months shy of her thirty first birthday-chose to speak of herself. Normally loathe to do so (her most intimated thoughts and feelings were usually confided to her diary), she had nevertheless begun to see the broader implications of the tragedies she had suffered and witnessed nearly a year before- the murder of friends which had gone unpunished; the disillusionment and terror which engulfed her community; the destruction of her newspaper when she dared to challenge the excuse given for such murders; and finally, her forced exile from her beloved home.

She had come to see these terrible events as symptoms of an escalating national epidemic that threatened much more than her person and the security of one community-it threatened the very freedom of a people only one generation removed from enslavement. Her talk, which she titled “Lynch Law in All Its Phases,” marked a critical stage in the campaign she would lead and which would thence-forth be inseparably linked with her name, Ida B. Wells.

 

In 1883, she sued the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad for damages after being forcibly ejected from a first-class coach that had been recently reserved for White ladies. (Their Black maids and nurses, however, were exempted from this rule.) The local courts decided in her favor, but in 1887 their verdict was reversed by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

 

Born a slave in Holly Springs. Mississippi on July 16, 1862, three years before the end of the Civil War, Ida Bell Wells was raised in the changed world of its wake in which, for the first time, equality was assumed as a fact. Her teachers at Shaw University (later Rust College), white Methodist missionaries, imbued their charges with the tenets of Christian egalitarianism by their teachings and their practice; and Northern carpetbaggers joined the freedmen in building the democratic institutions of the new Reconstruction government, But these exciting times came to an abrupt end for her in 1878 when both parents and a baby brother were consumed by a raging epidemic of yellow fever. Refusing to allow her family to split up, 16 year old Ida assumed responsibility for her five younger siblings by securing a job as a country school teacher. In search of greater security, she moved about 1880 to nearby Memphis, then fast emerging as a commercial hub and cultural center of the New South, taught in its segregated country and city schools, and gained entrance into the social life of its striving Black middle class.

 

In 1883, she sued the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad for damages after being forcibly ejected from a first-class coach that had been recently reserved for White ladies. (Their Black maids and nurses, however, were exempted from this rule.) The local courts decided in her favor, but in 1887 their verdict was reversed by the Tennessee Supreme Court. By this time, however, she had discovered what she later called her “first and it might be said, my only love”–journalism.

 

Writing under the pen name “Iola,” her earliest contributions-reports of local news, cultural reviews, and serious minded sermons on the virtues of piety, industry and economy-appeared in the local Black Baptist weeklies, and on occasion, the White dailies printed her letters to the editor. As her interests grew and her writing matured, her articles were picked up by many of the leading race “exchanges” throughout the nation, which numbered over two hundred in the 1880s. By 1889, she was acclaimed by her peers as the “Princess of the Press,” and in June of that year achieved a long sought after ambition by becoming part owner and editor of her own paper, The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight (later simply Free Speech)

 

But a virulent racist reaction was also on the rise during this period. In 1877, the promising reforms of the Reconstruction were betrayed by a political compromise between victor and vanquished which, by the 1880s and early 1890s, left African-Americans all but defenseless, especially but not exclusively, in the South. Legal and pseudo-legal barriers of discrimination were being erected and breaches in the developing new order were being increasingly fortified by the extra-legal sanctions of lynch law and mobocracy.

 

It was in this climate that an event occurred in 1892 that, as Ida B. Wells recounted in her autobiography story that she was invited to recite for the Boston Monday Lecture. The extracts that follow are reprinted from the text of her talk as printed in Our Day, edited by Joseph Cook, in May 1893. The editor has made several silent factual corrections.

“I am before the American people to-day through no inclination of my own, but because of a deep-seated conviction that the country at large does not know the extent to which lynch law prevails in parts of the conditions which force into exile those who speak the truth.

 

The race problem or Negro question, as it has been called, has been omni-present and all-pervading since long before the Afro-American was raised from the degradation of the slave to the dignity of the citizen. It is the Banquo’s ghost of politics, religion, and sociology. Times without number the race has been indicted for ignorance, immorality and general worthlessness–declared guilty and executed by its self-constituted judges. The operations of law do not dispose of Negroes fast enough, and lynching bees have become the favorite pastime of the South. As excuse for the same, a new cry, as false as it is foul, is raised in an effort to blast race character, a cry that has proclaimed to the world that virtue and innocence are violated by Afro-Americans who must be killed like wild beasts to protect womanhood and childhood.

 

Born and reared in the South, I had never expected to live elsewhere. Until this past year I was one among those who believed the condition of the masses gave large excuse for the humiliations and proscriptions under which we labored; that when wealth, education and character became more general among us–the cause being removed–the effect would cease, and justice be accorded to all alike. I shared the general belief that good newspapers entering regularly the homes of our people in every state could do more to bring about this result than any agency. And so, three years ago last June, I became editor and part owner of the Memphis Free Speech. As editor, I had occasion to criticize the city School Board’s employment of inefficient teachers and poor school-buildings for Afro-American children and at the close of that school-term one year ago, was not re-elected to a position I had held in the city schools for seven years. Accepting the decision of the Board of Education, I set out to make a race newspaper pay.

 

I became advertising agent, solicitor, as well as editor, and was continually on the go. Wherever I went among the people, I gave them my honest conviction that maintenance of character, money getting and education would finally solve our problem and that it depended on us to say how soon this would be brought about. This sentiment bore good fruit in Memphis. We had nice homes, representatives in almost every branch of business and profession, and refined society. There had been lynching and brutal outrages of all sorts in our own state and those adjoining us, but we had confidence and pride in our city and the majesty of its laws. So far in advance of other Southern cities was ours, we were content to endure the evils we had, to labor and to wait.

 

But there was a rude awakening. On the morning of March 9, the bodies of three of our best young men were found in an old field horribly shot to pieces. These young men had owned and operated the People’s Grocery, situated at what was known as the Curve–a suburb made up almost entirely of colored people–Thomas Moss, one of the oldest letter-carriers in the city, was president of the company, Calvin McDowell was manager and Will Stewart was a clerk. The young men were well known and popular and their business flourished, and that of Barrett, a White grocer who kept store there before the ‘People’s Grocery’ was established, went down. One day an officer came to the ‘People’s Grocery’ and inquired for a colored man who lived in the neighborhood. Barrett was with him and McDowell said he knew nothing, Barratt, not the officer, then accused McDowell of harboring the man, amd McDowell gave the lie. Barrett drew his pistol and struck McDowell with it; thereupon McDowell took Barrett’s pistol from him and gave him a good thrashing. Barrett then threatened (to use his own words) that he was going to clean out the whole store. Knowing how anxious he was to destroy their business, these young men accordingly armed several of their friends, not to assail, but to resist the threatened Saturday night attack.

 

When they saw Barrett enter the front door and a half dozen men at the rear door at 11 o’clock that night, they supposed the attack was on and immediately fired into the crowd, wounding three men. These men, dressed in citizen’s clothes, turned out to be deputies. When these men found they had fired upon officers of the law, they threw away their firearms and submitted to Barrette, confident they should establish their innocence of intent to fire upon officers of the law.

 

No communication was to be had with friends any of the three days these men were in jail; bail was refused and Thomas Moss was not allowed to eat the food his wife prepared for him. The judge is reported to have said, “Any one can see them after three days.” They were seen after three days, but they were no longer able to respond to the greeting of friends. On Tuesday the papers that had made much of the sufferings of the wounded deputies, and promised it would go hard with those who did the shooting, if they died, announced that the officers were all out of danger, and would recover. The friends of the prisoners breathed more easily. They felt that as the officers would not die, there was no danger that in the heat of passion the prisoners would meet violent death at the hands of the mob.

 

Besides, we had such confidence in the Law. But the law did not provide capital punishment for shooting which did not kill. So the mob did what the law could not be made to do, as a lesson to the Afro-American that he must not shoot a white man–no matter what the provocation. The same night the announcement was made that the officers would get well, the mob went to the jail between two and three o’clock in the morning dragged out these young men, hatless and shoeless, put them on the yard engine of the railroad that was in waiting just behind the jail, carried them a mile north of city limits and horribly shot them to death while the locomotive at a given signal let off steam and blew the whistle to deaden the sound of the firing.

 

“It was done by unknown men, “said the jury, yet the Appeal-Avalanche, which goes to press at 3 a.m., had a two–column account of the lynching. The papers also told how McDowell got hold of the guns of the mob, and as his grip could not be loosened, his hand was shattered with a pistol ball and all the lower part of his face was torn away.

 

“It was done by unknown parties,” said the jury, yet the papers told how Tom Moss begged for his life, for the sake of his wife, his little daughter and his unborn infant. They also told us that his last words were “If you will kill us, turn our faces to the West.”

 

I have no power to describe the feeling of horror that possessed every member of the race in Memphis when the truth dawned upon us that the protection of the law that we had so long enjoyed was no longer ours. The power of the state, county and city, the civil authorities and the strong arm of the military power were all on the side of the mob and of lawlessness. Few of our men possessed firearms, our only [military] company’s guns were confiscated, and the only White man who would sell a colored man a gun, was himself jailed, and his store closed. It was our first object lesson in the doctrine of white supremacy; and illustration of the South’s cardinal principle that no matter what the attainments, character or standing of an Afro-American, the laws of the South will not protect him against a White man.

 

There was only one thing we could do, and a great determination seized upon the people to follow the advice of the martyred Moss, and “Turn our faces to the West.” The Free Speech supported by our ministers and leading business men advised the people to leave a community whose laws did not protect them. Hundreds left on foot to walk four hundred miles between Memphis and Oklahoma. In two months, six thousand persons had left the city and every branch of business began to feel this silent resentment. There were a number of business failures and blocks of houses were for rent. The superintendent and treasurer of the street railway company called at the office of the Free Speech, to have us urge the colored people to ride again on the street cars.

 

There was only one thing we could do, and a great determination seized upon the people to follow the advice of the martyred Moss, and “turn our faces to the West.” The Free Speech supported by our ministers and leading business men advised the people to leave a community whose laws did not protect them. Hundreds left on foot to walk four hundred miles between Memphis and Oklahoma. In two months, six thousand persons had left the city and every branch of business began to feel this silent resentment. There were a number of business failures and blocks of houses were for rent. The superintendent and treasurer of the street railway company called at the office of the Free Speech, to have us urge the colored people to ride again on the street cars.

 

To restore the equilibrium and put a stop to the great financial loss, the next move was to get rid of the Free Speech–the disturbing element which kept the waters troubled; which would not let the people forget. In casting about for an excuse, the mob found it in the following editorial that appeared in the Memphis Free Speech–May 21, 1892:

 

Eight Negroes lynched since last issue of Free Speech–one at Little Rock, Ark., last Saturday morning where the citizens broke (?) into the penitentiary and got their man: three near Anniston, Ala., one in New Orleans–on the same old racket, the new alarm about raping white women;and three at Clarksville, Ga., for killing a white man. the same program of hanging, the shooting bullets into the lifeless bodies was carried out to the letter. Nobody in this section of the country believes the old thread-bare lie that Negro men rape white women. If Southern white men are not careful they will over-reach themselves and public sentiment will have a reaction and a conclusion will be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women.

 

Commenting on this, The Daily Commercial of Wednesday following said:

 

The fact that a black scoundrel is allowed to live and utter such loathsome and repulsive calumnies is a volume of evidence as to the wonderful patience of southern whites. But we have had enough of it. there are some things that the southern whites. But we have had enough of it. there are something s that the southern white man will not tolerate, and the obscene intimations of the fore going have brought the writer to the very outermost limit of public patience. We hope we have said enough.

 

The Evening Scimitar of the same day copied this leading editorial and added this comment:

 

Patience under such circumstances is not a virtue. If the Negroes themselves do not apply the remedy without delay it will be the duty of those whom he has attacked to tie the wretch who utters these calumnies to a stake at the intersection of Main and Madison Streets, Brand him in the fore head with a hot iron and perform upon him a surgical operation with a pair of tailor’s shears.

 

I had written that editorial with other matter for the week’s paper before leaving home the Friday previously for the General Conference of the A.M.E. Church in Philadelphia. Thursday, May 26, at 3 p.m., I landed in New York City and there learned from the papers that my business manager had been driven away and the paper suspended. Telegraphing for news, I received telegrams and letters in return informing me that the trains were being watched, that I was to be dumped into the river and beaten, if not killed; it had been learned that I wrote the editorial and I was to be hanged in front of the court-house and my face bled if I returned, and I was implored by friends to remain away. The creditors attacked the office in the meantime and the outfit was sold without more ado, thus destroying effectually that which it had taken years to build.

 

I have been censured for writing that editorial, but when I think of the five men who were lynched that week for assault on white women and that not a week passes but some poor soul is violently ushered into eternity on this trumped-up charge, knowing the many things I do, seeing that the whole race in the South was injured in the estimation of the world because of these false reports, I could no longer hold my peace, and I feel, yes, I am sure, that if it had to be done over again (provided no one else was the Loser save myself) I would do and say the very same again.

 

Following her exile from Memphis, Wells settled in New York City and was offered a regular column in The New York Age, the leading race paper, which was published and edited by her old friend, the brilliant T. Thomas Fortune, who was generally considered to be the “dean” of Black journalists.

 

Wells toured the British Isles, effectively internationalizing the question. She left behind her the London Anti-Lynching Committee to carry on the practical work.

 

On June 25, 1892, the Age devoted its entire front page to a meticulously documented expose of lynching by Wells, who signed the article simply “EXILED.” She frontally challenged the widespread justification for lynching, which was accepted by many blacks as well as Whites–namely, that the South was “defending the honor of its women” against the “brutal lust” of Black Fiends. Using statistics compiled by the conservative Chicago Daily Tribune, she pointed out the fact that “only one third of the 728 victims to mobs” who were lynched during the preceding nine years “have been charged with rape, to say nothing of those…who were innocent of the charge.” Moreover, lynch “law,” by its very nature, denied the accused of the presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial, thereby subverting the rule of law by surrendering its prerogatives to the will of the mob.

 

At first, her appeals were directed at the “Afro-American” appears (she preferred the term to “Negro”) because, as she pointed out in Southern Horrors, a revision of her Age article published as a pamphlet in late 1892, they were “the only ones that will print the truth” about lynching. But she soon became convinced that the aid of influential Northern whites would be needed as well. In her autobiography, she recalled, perhaps with a mixture of satisfaction and frustration, that following her Monday Lecture appearance, “The Boston Transcript and Advertiser gave the first notices and report of my story of any White northern papers.” This, too, was considered insufficient, and in 1893 and 1894, Wells toured the British Isles, effectively internationalizing the question. She left behind her the London Anti-lynching committee to carry on the practical work. In 1895, she married Ferdinand L. Barnett, a lawyer, and settled in Chicago.

 

At the close of the century and the beginning of the next, Wells channeled her considerable energy into a variety of movements and causes–the Black women’s club movement, Women’s Suffrage, the fight against segregated schools, settlement house work to aid Southern migrants, the election of African Americans to public office–an inexhaustive list. She participated in the founding of two national civil rights organizations–the revived National Afro-American council in 1898 and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1909–and actively supported two more militant groups–William Monroe Trotter’s National Equal Rights League and Marcus Garver’s Universal Negro Improvement Association. And, during all this, she was able to maintain what her friend Susan B. Anthony, the suffragist leader, called the “divided duty” of marriage and motherhood. 

 

Because of her militancy, outspokenness, and refusal to compromise on what she understood to be matters of principle, she was more often than not a ‘lonely warrior,’ as historian Thomas C. Holt has called her. Though she anticipated many, if not most political and social strategies that were employed in the first quarter of the 20 th century, and even later, she was given little or no credit by her contemporaries and spiritual successors. About 1928, she sought to redress this omission, and the “lack of authentic race history of Reconstruction times” written by African Americans, by writing her autobiography. It remained uncompleted when she died at the age of sixty-nine on March 25, 1931, but was finally published in 1970. Edited by her daughter, Alefreda Duster, it was fittingly titled Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells.

Suggested Readings

 

Duster, Alfreda M., ed. Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells.

 

Giddings, Paula. “Woman Warrior: Ida B. Wells, Crusader-Journalist.” Essence Feb. 1988: 75+.

 

Holt, Thomas C. “The Lonely Warrior: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the Struggle for Black Leadership.” In John Hope Franklin and August Meier, eds., Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century (Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1982), 39-61.

 

Sterling, Dorothy. Black Foremothers: Three Lives. Old Westbury, Ny: The Feminist Press, 1979.

 

Tucker, David M. “Miss Ida B. Wells and Memphis Lynching.” Phylon 32 (1971): 112-22.

 

Wells-Barnett, Ida B. On Lynching. New York: Arno Press and The New York Times, 1969. (Reprints three of her pamphlets: Southern Horrors [1892], A Red Record [1895], and Mob Rule In New Orleans [1900].)

 

Wells, Ida B. “lynch Law In All Its Phases.” Our Day: A Record and Review of Current Reform 11 (May 1893): 333-47.

 

Paul Lee is a professional researcher based in Highland Par, Michigan. He served as chief researchist for the film ” Ida B. Wells–A Passion for Justice,” produced by William Greaves and broadcast on the PBS series The American Experience, December 19, 1989. He is presently working on a collection, “Iola”: The Writings and Speeches of Ida B. Wells, 1884-1894

REGINALD F. LEWIS

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WALL STREET MEGA DEAL-MAKER

BY  Tracy Dixon

Mr. Reginald F. Lewis, 46, the latest mega-deal maker on Wall Street is perhaps the most influential Black businessman in America today. The takeover of the Beatrice International Companies food operations, the largest leveraged buyout ever of a non-American company, has catapulted him into the position of high-stakes Wall Street investor.

The TLC Group, a New York based investment company, controlled by Mr. Lewis, was organized in 1983, when he realized that he needed to make deals himself if he wanted to venture beyond his present position. This group was formed to acquire other companies. It has revenues of more than $1.9 billion and has outgrown the former leader among Black-owned business, the Johnson Publishing Company, whose sales were $184 million.

Mr. Lewis bought McCalls, a maker of patterns for sewing, for $1 million in equity and $28 million in debt. The John Crowther Group of Britain, a textile company, paid $63 million in cash and assumed $32 million in debt. The TLC Group put $1 million in equity and received $90 million on that investment in three years. The company retained 20 percent interest in McCalls and a seat on the board. Before the McCalls takeover, TLC Group ranked sixth in the Black Enterprise magazine rating of Black-owned companies. The Beatrice International takeover was accomplished by the TLC Group after McCalls was acquired. Mr. Lewis says that the meaning of TLC will remain a secret.

The TLC Group purchased Beatrice International Food units for $985 million. There are sixty-four operating companies in thirty-one countries in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America and most major world food markets, serving 1.7 billion consumers, with $2.5 billion sales and $147 million operating income. TLC Group sold one business and portions of two others for $426 million. The remaining units consist of thirty-seven operating companies with $1.9 million sales and $96 million operating income. Mr. Lewis himself is worth more than $100 million
Michael R. Milkin of the Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. banking firm accepted an offer to work with TLC on the Beatrice International takeover. Drexel holds thirty-five percent of the company, TLC Group retains fifty-five percent and management ten percent.

Other companies bidding on Beatrice International included Citicorp, Nestlé, Shearson Lehman Brothers and Wesray. The TLC Group finally won the companies when the bid was raised to $985 million.

The Beatrice International Food operations include household products, dairy products, confectioneries, soft drinks, fruit juice, snack foods, meats, beverages and other food products. The company is also engaged in the wholesale and retail distributions of food, groceries and household products.

In his early childhood Mr. Lewis lived with his grandparents for several years. This experience was a meaningful part of his life. He became involved in the world of work when he began delivering papers at the early age of nine. He remembers that his grandfather always encouraged him to “save some, don’t spend it all.” His grandfather was an inspiration to him and shared many of his experiences with his grandson, which helped shape his life. Mr. Lewis learned to accept responsibility at an early age. He recalled, “I would pay my own way to camp and buy my own clothes.”
During his teenage years, Mr. Lewis was captain of the basketball, baseball, and football teams. In high school he had considered becoming a professional player. He attended Virginia State University in 1961, and played quarterback for a year until he was injured. He was interested in economics and was considered a ‘serious student.’
At Harvard Law School Mr. Lewis became involved in securities law and wrote one of his papers on takeovers. This was the beginning of his interest in that direction. Following his graduation in 1968, he became affiliated with the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkin, Wharton and Garrison. After two years with that firm he established his own law firm, Lewis and Clarkson, in 1973. He worked with such companies as General Foods and Aetna to set up programs that would stimulate minority businesses under Small Business Corporations.

Mr. Lewis believes that to dwell on race is a mistake. “I don’t like to dwell on racism because I think it is unhealthy.” He attributes his success in life to the “support of my family and the belief they instilled in me that I could do whatever I wanted to do.” Personally, Mr. Lewis prefers a low profile. He is married and has two daughters. He is not affected by the awesome power and international fame that the Beatrice International takeover has brought him because he believes that these aspects can affect your ‘economic judgement’. 

 

INTERVIEW WITH Dr. ALVIN POUSSAINT

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THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF ESTEEM

Interview by William Singleton, Jr.

Singleton: How did you succeed? Who helped you? What hurt or
hindered you and what ways of thinking encourage you?

Dr. Poussaint: I think in my own success my family was very supportive. I grew up in East Harlem in New York in a large family of eight children. I was second from the youngest. A critical time for me was when I was nine I got sick with rheumatic fever and was hospitalized for three months. I lived in a convalescent home for three months, and when I came out I was not allowed to do any physical activity because rheumatic fever affects your heart. During that period I started to do a variety of things. I began to read a lot. I played musical instruments. I think a lot of the reading helped me academically, and I began to do very well in school because I read a lot. Most of the kids in my neighborhood did not read much. That was not part of the cultural scene at that time. I had a lot of support from my family members and others who encouraged me and even my friends. Some of them teased you about being a sissy because you were doing well in school, but others were supportive. They liked the idea that you were smart.

Probably when I was ten or eleven I got the idea that I wanted to be a doctor. I think it had something about being sick and staying in the hospital for so long. About age ten I began to pursue that, what I had to do to go on to medical school, and I just stayed with it, the attitude that I was going to try and if I did not make it was not going to be because I did not try to do it. And so I would put in the hours and the time with my work to try to make it happen.

Singleton: Did you have a positive way of dealing with the people who tried to hinder you?

Dr. Poussaint: My way of dealing with that was that it made no sense. It was obviously kind of malicious that they would call me a sissy or fag because I was studying. It bothered me on one hand, on the other had I was looking at a long range goal. If I stuck with what I was doing it had to be beneficial to me. I was not seduced or made to feel guilty by them calling me names, since all of them did not. I had some friends who would not stand for that and who encouraged me to be a “brain” as they used to put it back then.

Singleton: What were you like when you were a kid? What sort of movies did you go to?

Dr. Poussaint: I went to the normal kind of movies. Adventure movies, everything that was there, World War II movies, Tarzan movies and some of the Black movies. I remember seeing Cabin in the Sky one of the early Black movies like Captain Marvel, and all those little serials they used to run back then, and then we did a lot of playing in the street in New York from stick ball to marbles to touch football; to just kick the can and run, just all kinds of games. It was like a whole culture from season to season in the streets and that is how we occupied our time. Parents let you out and you would go play and come back home. A lot of the activities were mostly developed by the kids and they would pass them on to each new group as you moved up and got older.

Singleton: I read your history and I was amazed at the similarities that a lot of people experience or problems they have to go through. For instance, a potential landlord of UCLA did not want to rent to you because you were Black. Later you said to overcome things like this you must be vigilant, bold and aggressive. Will you give us some examples of this?

Dr. Poussaint: I think you have to keep persisting and fighting and not giving up. In the case of the landlord who did not rent to Blacks, I finally got a place somewhere near UCLA and I eventually moved to another building. That is, I was not going to accept “No” for an answer. I wrote complaints about these people even though they did nothing about it at that time. I also made sure that I stayed in touch with organizations that were fighting things like that from the NAACP to local organizations. I always thought that was an important part of doing whatever you wanted to do.

Singleton: There are questions on self esteem. I am interested in this area because I have seen a lot of people who refer to themselves negatively and I was very interested in what you had to say about this. Do you believe that the widely accepted theory that racial self hatred is an underlying cause of many Black social and psychological difficulties is grossly overstated, or why not.

Dr. Poussaint: I think that you just can not go with the self-hatred thesis itself. I think there are some elements of people feeling a sense of inferiority but it is also because they actually meet with discrimination and get negative signals from the environment that actually discourage them, that is, a reaction to what they might be feeling from the nation as a whole or their place in it. Black people have always been unwelcome, and that will affect your self esteem.

Singleton: And then the suppressed rage?

Dr. Poussaint: I think we have always controlled a lot of anger even in the worst of times. From a psychological standpoint when you have a lot of suppressed anger sometimes it makes you depressed and sometimes it makes you not like yourself as well, and that dealing with all of that can help. A lot of other elements of self esteem can help too and that is how children are raised, how much the family has been able to buffer the children from some of the institutionalized forms of racism. I am talking about what books you read to children and what fairy tales. Is it multi-cultural?
Do you have things about Black people or are you just giving them the traditional material, all of the kings and queens and princesses are White, so that a Black kid using traditional material by age four is going to think there is no such thing as Black kings, queens, or princesses, or so on, and that the world is controlled by Whites. This is even true of comic characters, Superman, Bat Man, and He Man of the Universe. All of these super powerful people are images that kids fantasize about are not Black so a Black kid is not going to see himself as someone who is in charge, as someone who is in control or someone with power, if you just go with the normal dose of what society gives you. I think that affects self esteem too. Now this can be counteracted by the things that the parents do in letting their children know about their work and loving them and respecting them, and also providing them with alternative kinds of materials so that they feel a part of not only this country but a part of the world.

Singleton: I was wondering if this should be a point that we should be building up self esteem and destroying the racist assault of the esteem of people.

Dr. Poussaint: Yes, I think you have to do both. I think that it is good for the mental health of Black people to fight back, to struggle back and not accept their condition. That in itself can build self esteem, the fact that you are not lying down passively and just taking it back

Garrett Augustus Morgan

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Garrett Morgan

Few people living today could imagine this modern world without such lifesaving devices as the gas mask or the streetlight, many people who fail to recognize the name of the great man who created them; Garrett A. Morgan.

Morgan was born in Paris, Kentucky in 1877. At the age of fourteen, the young Garrett left home to find work up north in the city of Cincinnati to the city of Cleveland, which would become his home. He soon opened up his own business; a sewing machine retail and repair shop. this was the inspiration behind his first invention; the gas inhaler.

The gas inhaler was a helmet with two tubes extending towards the ground which let fresh air in the face mask and allowed the person wearing it to roam in contaminated or smoky air for about fifteen to twenty minutes. He received a patent in 1912 and during 1913 and 1914 several fire departments tested the safety of the gas inhaler. However, Morgan had Morgan had great difficulty selling his creation. It wasn’t until an explosion in the Cleveland Waterworks , nearly 200 feet beneath Lake Erie, which trapped some construction men, did Morgan’s invention received attention. Morgan, joined by his brother and two additional volunteers, donned the gas inhaler and dramatically helped to rescue the trapped workers. He received a citation for his bravery and subsequently hundreds of orders for the gas inhaler poured in. Even though he was a hero, Garrett Morgan still faced discrimination and still had to settle for less profit than his white counterparts as well as less publicity. When people found out that Morgan was black, orders fell dramatically, and in order to sell his invention, he had to pass himself off as an Indian while a white man
demonstrated his work.

Garrett Morgan created several useful inventions including the stoplight, the straightening comb as well as a coloring stain for men which helped to eliminate gray hair. His gas mask was used by several combat troops during Worked War One and his stoplight was so advanced the policemen were not needed to guide traffic; his stoplight was the only one which utilized three signals instead of just the stop and go signals which had been used up to that time.

Although Garrett Morgan was a successful inventor, he was blighted by racial discrimination and never really enjoyed the full recognition and monetary compensation that he should have. When he sold his rights to his patients to General Electric he only received $40,000 dollars; that invention is a necessity in every major urban area in the country and the world. His compensation was paltry when compared to other well know white inventors who received several times more. In the later years of his life, Garrett Morgan developed glaucoma and was hindered. During his life he received several awards and citations and at the time of his death in 1963 was being honored by the city of Cleveland for his dedication to safety and life saying inventions.

Black History Magazine Halle Berry Interview

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BKH HALLE BERRY 1

“It’s time for…Black women to start taking a stand. And if we stop taking those kinds of roles they keep offering us, if nobody will do it, they won’t be able to just offer them to us….” , Halle Berry

 

 

 

 

 

Quest: Very good. I’m going to cut on this thing while we tape. Is that okay with you?
Halle Berry: Uh-huh.

Quest: I am really happy to see that you’ve got a lot of projects going on.
Halle Berry: Well, thank you. . .it’s rough right now.

Quest: Are you over your cold?
Halle Berry: I’m getting over it. I’ve had a lot of complications lately with my health, but I’m . . .Just not getting enough rest, doing too many things.

Quest: Me too. I have to get rid of this cough that I have. But other than that, it’s cool. By the way, you were working with a director, a classmate of mine, Reggie Hudlin.
Halle Berry: Oh, really?

Quest: Yeah, yeah. I remember when he shot “House Party” about two blocks from here.
Halle Berry: Really? Gizmo. We call him Gizmo.

Quest: Gizmo because of that beard, huh?
Halle Berry: Because he looks like a little Gizmo.

Quest: I’m telling you, I saw him at–were you at the Ceba’s?
Halle Berry: No.

Quest: I saw him there. That’s the last time I talked to him. Well, first of all, where are you from? For the readers, could you tell us where you’re from?

“the fact that Spike was saying that people get together from the Black and White race because of the parts of the anatomy or whatever, that may be true. I mean, I can’t speak for those people. But I know for a fact, my experience of this, there are Black and White people that can really just love each other –“
Halle Berry: Well, I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in a suburb called Bedford, but I live in Los Angeles right now.

Quest: Okay. So you’re not living in New York then, right?
Halle Berry: I”m there working on the movie Boomerang, but I live in Los Angeles.

Quest: How’s the movie coming?
Halle Berry: The movie’s going well. It’s going really well. Everybody’s a lot of fun. Eddie’s a lot of fun. . .very funny. Reggie’ s great. Morrissey’s great. You know, there’s Chris Rock, Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier. They’re three of the funniest new guys, you know, with new comedy from “In Living Color,” and they’ve got that freshness about them that’s a lot of fun.

Quest: That sounds good. What is the movie about, or can you tell us at this point?
Halle Berry: It’s a comedy, of course, and it’s about Eddie finding love in the nineties.

Quest: Finding love in the nineties.
Halle Berry: Right. Finding love and all the things you go through to do that.

Quest: How did Boomerang come about? You know, the first movie you did was-I forget the name of it now.
Halle Berry: Jungle Fever.

Quest: Jungle Fever, right. And how did that all come about?

 

“…I got a strong sense of my heritage and my culture and who I am from my mother, who is White. I mean, she knew the importance of making sure I wasn’t torn between am I Black or White or trying to be White when I’m really Black.”
Halle Berry: Jungle Fever? My agent just sent me in on an audition. Spike [Lee] was in Los Angeles for a week auditioning women for all the female roles in the movie, and I went in and auditioned. I originally read to play the part of his wife Vera, and he said, “No, I think you’re going to be the crack addict.” So I had to go in the bathroom and wash off all my makeup and come out and read the other part, and I did. And he offered me that part.

Quest: That’s really good. I mean, you did a very good job there.
Halle Berry: Thanks.

Quest: I remember reading that you said that you didn’t really agree with the message of that particular movie. What is your feeling about that?
Halle Berry: I am totally opposed to that view because I’m a product of an interracial marriage. So I’m a firm believer that there can be such a thing as interracial love and it’s real and it exists and that people can function in an interracial relationship and be very happy. So the fact that Spike was saying that people get together from the Black and White race because of the parts of the anatomy or whatever, that may be true. I mean, I can’t speak for those people. But I know for a fact, my experience of this, there are Black and White people that can really just love each other as people and be very happy.

Quest: So good is not a color, it’s an action.
Halle Berry: Yeah, it’s an action. Even though I didn’t agree, I respect Spike because that’s his opinion. If that’s his reality, then it’s worth listening to and it’s worth seeing and it’s worth making a movie about. And then one day maybe I’ll make a movie about the reverse and that will be my opinion and he should have to respect that too.

Quest: Talking about your movie now, I understand you’re writing one, right?
Halle Berry: Yes, I just finished one called Inside Out.

Quest: Inside Out. What’s that about?
Halle Berry: I don’t want to say too much because it’s not copy-written yet, but it’s a suspense thriller, and it’s a great role for a Black woman and for a White man, but it’s not a love relationship. They’re not in love. It’s just bringing together the two races in a film. So it’s not a Black film or a White film. It’s just a film about people. And it’s got a twister. There’s a murder involved, There’s some comedy. . .

Quest: I’ll tell you mine. I’ve just written a movie called Just Like That.
Halle Berry:
Oh, really.

Quest: Yeah. I’m telling you, one of these days hopefully I’ll send it to you and let you take a look at it.
Halle Berry: I hope you do.

Quest: Yeah, it’s got a good role for a woman, a Black woman.
Halle Berry: That’s the thing. Like, today I’m really not interested in doing anything that is not a positive role for a Black woman. I think I’ve paid my dues and I’ve played the exotic dancer. It’s time for, you know, Black women to start taking a stand. And if we stop taking those kinds of roles they keep offering us, if nobody will do it, they won’t be able to just offer them to us.

Quest: Okay. Let me ask you this, what about women filmmakers? What is the future of Black women filmmakers? You know, we see so much with Reggie, with Spike Lee, with John Singleton and some other directors there, Charles Lane;yet we don’t hear that much about Uzana Pasley and about Julie Dash and filmmakers like that. What do you see as the future for women filmmakers?
Halle Berry: I think they will be recognized when they can make a product like a Boyz In The Hood or a Do The Right Thing. They have to do something that’s noteworthy in that the bottom line is “Make money in the box office.” When they do that, then they will also be in the money with Spike Lee and John Singleton. Until that happens, it’s just-they’ve got to prove themselves, and we should have to. We should have to. Nobody should give Black women anything. We should have to go out there and prove ourselves, and I’m just hoping that we’re going to do that.

Quest: What would be a strong woman role? I mean, give me an example.
Halle Berry: I would love to play Angela Davis in her life story.

Quest: Oh, yeah? I just saw her last week over at Harvard.
Halle Berry: Really? I admire her so much, and I think that could be done now because she’s still alive. So it could bring a lot of reality to the screenplay, and I think it’s an important story that should be told.

Quest: Maybe that’s one you should write.
Halle Berry: Well, actually there are things written right now I actually have been looking at, I even may be doing that soon so that’s something on the back burner.

Quest: Oh, man, that will be exciting.
Halle Berry: Yeah.

Quest: Okay. Well, let me ask you this: Who was the first historical figure that you can remember influencing you personally?
Halle Berry: Historical figure? I think I’d have to say Harriet Tubman.

Quest: Why is that?
Halle Berry: That’s something that sticks out in my mind from when I was a child, part of my history classes that I remember the most about any Black person in history. She’s one of the people that I remember the most as being a strong Black woman.

Quest: Did you see the movie about her with Cicely Tyson?
Halle Berry: Yes.

Quest: That was a very good role there. I really liked that. Who was the first Black actress, you know, who was a role model for you that influenced you to go into film?

“I started to laugh, and I spit water all in his face and down his shirt. And after we got done, the whole place, like, went silent. You know, they didn’t know how Eddie was going to react. I just spit in his…”
Halle Berry: I’d probably have to say Cicely Tyson as well. I remember seeing her in Sounder, her along with Kevin Hooks. That made a big impression on me.

Quest: He directed your movie, didn’t he?
Halle Berry: Yeah, he did. It’s neat to be able to work with him because my sister and I used to-I used to be Kevin actually and she used to be Laura, the girl that played Kevin’s sister. We’d do their little scenes that they had together in the living room together, so I got to tell him all about it. So that was really fun, being able to work with Kevin.

Quest: When did you see Sounder?
Halle Berry: When I was little. But my sister and I–I was interested in acting then. I’d make her do the roles with me, and I used to try to make her be the role that Kevin played and she wouldn’t do it, so I’d be the man role and she’d be the girl role.

Quest: So how did you get started in acting? I know you were a Miss America, you were–
Halle Berry: Miss U.S.A.

Quest: Miss U.SA. I’m sorry. Did you know before then that you wanted to do acting or was that something that came along after that?
Halle Berry: No, I sort of knew before that. But I did the pageant mainly for the money to, you know, be able to leave Cleveland and have money behind me so I could move to Chicago where I wanted to go. I got to Chicago and I started to model for the money so I could pay for my acting classes.

Quest: How did you like Chicago?
Halle Berry: I loved Chicago.

Quest: What about your family? What do your father and mother do?
Halle Berry: My father left when I was four,

“It’s time for… Black women to start taking a stand. And if we stop taking those kinds of roles they keep offering us…”

so I really don’t deal with that part of my family. My mother is a registered nurse, and I have an older sister Heidi. She’s trying to become a police woman.

Quest: What was Cleveland like growing up for you?
Halle Berry: Cleveland was a great place to grow up. I grew up in a very mixed integrated neighborhood. I think I had a real balance in my life because I didn’t grow up in an all-White neighborhood. It was mixed. Seeing that my mother is White and my father was the one that was Black and he left, it made it harder. I think I had a real balance in my life because I didn’t grow up in an all-White neighborhood. It was mixed. It was probably leading towards more of a Black than a White neighborhood. So I got a real balance, and it was good. I had childhood problems, but everybody has problems.

Quest: Really, what? Like, someone would call you a name?
Halle Berry: Well, like “Zebra,” or something interracial. You know, people don’t understand. When my mother would show up at open house, she’d be White. They don’t understand, so–but it wasn’t that bad.

Quest: How did you develop self-esteem?
Halle Berry: My mother gave me a real sense of self and explained to me why they were doing that, that they didn’t understand and it didn’t make me any less Black or less like them. It was just my mother was White but I was Black, and they didn’t understand that.

Quest: Most people would just assume that you were Black.
Halle Berry: Yeah. I think that is because I got a strong sense of my heritage and my culture and who I am from my mother, who is White. I mean, she knew the importance of making sure I wasn’t torn between “Am I Black or White, or am I trying to be White when I’m really Black.”

Quest: Right.
Halle Berry: You know, she let me be me, and made me aware of Black history and who I was. Even my father’s side of the family, they chose not to be there. We didn’t choose for them not to be there. But she made sure that I had pictures and knew who they were and knew I had a name. So I was pretty connected to them even though I wasn’t in a way.

Quest: How do you deal with the pressures of success now? You have a very successful movie under your belt, and now you’re doing another one.
Halle Berry: Well, you know, I think actors think, “If I can just get a movie then I’ll be okay.” But it’s like once you do one thing, then there’s pressure to do the next thing and do it better than the thing before. So the pressure gets greater. The odds and the stakes get higher as the pressure gets greater. And now it’s pressure to do another project that does just as well and maybe a better project. You know, you have to keep trying to do better things. So there’s a lot of pressure.

Quest: So for instance, on the set with Boomerang, you had said something about being just a little bit nervous dealing with Eddie [Murphy], you know, for the audition, but it turned out really well.
Halle Berry: Oh, yeah. He’s…want to hear something really funny that happened? The other day we were…Eddie and I have a love scene and we never rehearsed it.

Quest: I’m jealous, by the way.
Halle Berry: Don’t be.

Quest: Okay, go ahead.
Halle Berry: We never rehearsed this love scene ever in rehearsal. I don’t know why, but we just didn’t. So I was lying on his chest and I asked the makeup artist before I had to kiss him to bring me a glass of water. So she brought the water over. I took a sip out of it, and before I swallowed it, I looked up at him and I was looking up at an angle.

Quest: Yeah, right.
Halle Berry: So I could look up his nose, and Eddie has gray hairs growing in his nose, and I started to laugh, and I spit water all in his face and down his shirt. After we got done, the whole place, went silent. You know, they didn’t know how Eddie was going to react. I just spit in his face. So he started busting out laughing and he got hysterical and then everybody laughed. But at first they didn’t know if he was going to-

Quest: Everyone’s going “Oh, no!”
Halle Berry: Or, “Is he going to walk off the set?” But I wasn’t expecting him to have gray hairs up his nose. You know, it was one of those things that I just couldn’t control.

Quest: Oh, man, that’s funny.
Halle Berry: That’s the highlight of 1991: “I spit in Eddie Murphy’s face. “

Quest: Well, hey, this interview is over as far as I’m concerned.
Halle Berry: Well, thank you.

Quest: Yeah. If I sent you a script, would you take a look at it?
Halle Berry: I’d love to. Please do.

Quest: Yeah, just tell me what you think of it.
Halle Berry: Okay. Great. We have to stick together. That what it’s all about. I’ll look forward to reading it .

Quest: I am really happy that Reggie, Spike and John [Singleton] are doing so well. What did Boyz In the Hood make? 55 million? Really great to see his success…
Halle Berry: He came to the set of “Boomerang” and we were all like just little kids. We were like , “Oh, my God! That’s John Singleton!” He was really cool and very easy to talk to. He took pictures with us.

Quest: Black History is interviewing him this week. Well, I’ll talk to you. You keep in touch with us, let us know what’s going on. Tell Gizmo I said hey.
Halle Berry: I will. You know what?

Quest: What?
Halle Berry: Next time you talk to him, you have to call him “Gizmo.”

Quest: I am. I’m going to call him. I’ll say, “Hey, what’s happening , Gizmo?”
Halle Berry: [Laughing] Okay. Happy holidays.


 

 

The Good Samaritan

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Titus Murphy saved Reginald Denny
from the worst riot in this century

 

titus Murphy

 

 

 

On June 16, 1992 Titus Murphy of Los Angeles, California granted an interview to Black History magazine. He was one of four people who helped save a White truck driver (Reginald Denny), from the riots in Los Angeles on April 29, 1992, when the truck driver was dragged from his truck and beaten.
Quest: A little background…

Titus Murphy:
I’m originally from Florida, a city called Panama City, a small town on the panhandles. Basically, I’m one of eight kids in a Southern family raised by my mother. My father was a disabled vet. Most of my schooling is in the engineering field. I’m 35.
Titus Murphy saves Reginald Denny
from the worst riot in this century

Quest:
About the day in question…
Titus Murphy:
Yes, it was that day of the riots. Everyone in town was waiting on the verdict of the Rodney King case. I have a small electronic business and I was out running my errands. I was waiting to see the verdict so I was rushing back to the shop, but I couldn’t get there in time. All I heard was the aftermath of the verdict, so I decided to go over to Terry Barnet’s house. She’s one of the women who helped me in the rescue. When I got to Terry’s house, the aftermath of the verdict was being aired on the television. As we were watching the aftermath, listening to the responses to the verdict, one of the local stations announced that there was something going on at an intersection near Terry’s house.

 

Quest:
Where is that, what intersection was that?

Titus Murphy:
The intersection was at Florence and Noley [streets]. This was April 29th. We decided that it was about ten to fifteen minutes away from the house, and we said “goodness, that’s awfully close.” So as we were watching this, they showed looters looting a liquor store in that section. From the interviews that we’d seen on television, from the viewpoint of the helicopter cameramen, it looked as though there were at least a thousand people in the area and they were doing a lot of looting. And at this time, many looters started to attack some of the motorists coming through the intersection. They were pulling them out of the cars and beating them. I was afraid-I thought, “This is crazy, it can’t be can’t be going on,” and “Oh boy, it’s finally happened, the cup has run over. This thing is getting ready to explode.”

I’m not really from California, but I have been told by numerous people that the riot was going to happen again just like the one in ’65, this time worse; I wasn’t here in ’65, I don’t know anything about that, but anyway, that thought went through my mind. And as I was thinking this, the rioters pulled an individual out of a white truck and they beat him pretty badly. A truck stopped in the middle of an intersection. A guy (who I later found out was Reginald Denny) pulled up behind this truck and slowed down and that’s when they grabbed him. They beat him pretty badly and I watched it happen on television. Terry and I both watched it and we thought God, we need somebody; somebody needs to get this guy out of there because they’re beating this guy really badly. They were beating him with crowbars, bricks, and any objects that they could get. We decided we were going to go down and check this out.

As we were leaving, I told her I would drive the car because I can drive a little better than she can. I decided we would not go to ground zero, maybe a block from that point, because ground zero just seemed like it was just too much. We noticed that there were about six or seven helicopters in the air, all different colors. We knew they had to be from different radio stations and television stations. I’d say within maybe a mile from this incident, people were coming out of their homes and looking in the area of the helicopters. I guess they were listening to the radio stations, television stations and whatever, so they knew what was going on. When we got a block west of this intersection, I happened to notice that Mr. Denny’s truck was still there. After watching this guy get beaten on television, then taking about fifteen minutes to debate if I wanted to go, and then having to drive for fifteen minutes, for a total of approximately twenty to thirty minutes, this guy was still at this intersection. I could not believe it, so I pulled up next to the truck. There was a young lady aboard the truck who I later found out was named Lee Juan. I pulled up next to her and asked her if she was OK. She said she was “alive.”

At that point, I pulled my vehicle in front of the truck to try to make way for it. The truck was in idle-it wasn’t really driving, it was just idling. There were individuals in the street, individuals in the corner and cars running diagonally, crossways and all directions. It was total chaos. I think there were also at least a thousand people at this intersection. I told Terry that I was going to go back and check on his [Richard Denny’s] condition. I went back to the truck on the passenger’s side and leaned over Ms. Yuan. I noticed that this gentleman was beaten badly and his face was totally swollen. There was blood running out of his eyes, which had swollen to the point that they were even with the tip of his nose. His body was bruised beyond recognition. He was so swollen, he looked like he was a huge guy. I later found out that he’s a small gentleman, but anyway, I got off of the running board to go back and tell Terry that I was going to drive back. When I went back to the car, I noticed that another gentleman ran out of the crowd. I didn’t know who this gentleman was. Terry and I thought that this guy was going to finish him off.

 

But when the gentleman [Bobby Green] jumped in the driver’s seat, I realized he was going to drive. Lee Yuan climbed inside to comfort Mr. Denny. Bobby Green was in the driver’s seat. I was on the outside and Terry, I guess, read the situation and continued to make way through the traffic by running interference for the truck. The truck was fully loaded with gravel, so we couldn’t get it going fast enough. When we did get it going, we ran every red light and broke all the laws so we could get [Reginald Denny] to the hospital. When we pulled the truck into the hospital, I jumped out first because I noticed that there were paramedics in the hospital parking lot with another patient. I ran over and told the paramedics we had a beating victim who was in bad shape and he said to hold on a moment because he was working. I said, “No, this gentleman is in really bad shape.” He came over to the truck and sent one of his assistants to get a gurney. Mr. Denny went into convulsions at that instant, so he told another assistant that this was an emergency, to get anything now. They brought a board and got him out and took him inside. The paramedics told us if we had been thirty seconds later, he would have died en route because he already had been choking on his own blood.

Quest:
When you got to the intersection, were the men who beat Mr. Denny there or had they already left?
Titus Murphy:
When I got there, Mr. Denny had dragged himself back into the truck and somehow idled that truck for thirty minutes to one block west of the intersection where I arrived. Ms. Lee Yuan was guiding him because she couldn’t drive the truck, but he could not drive or see. All he could do was idle the truck. But there were kids in the area.

Quest:
You saw this happening on T.V., but when you got there, no one was there to help yet?

Titus Murphy:
When we got there, the cops were not in the area. As a matter of fact, the cops were leaving. They didn’t want any part of that area. When I got there, Lee Yuan was the only individual who was there. She was on the running board on the outside of the truck and there was a lot of chaos. I just got busy. As soon as I saw the truck, I knew what I had to do.

Quest:
What was going through your mind? Did you feel you were in danger?

Titus Murphy:
No, I never thought that I was in danger. I just put that aside. I just said to myself, “This man’s life is more important than mine right now. He is in a lot worse shape than I am.” So I made up my mind that this man needed to be taken to the hospital.

Quest:
What has happened since then? Has he recovered fully yet? Have they found the men who attacked him?

Titus Murphy:
I did an interview at the City Hall of Los Angeles. I was told that Mr. Darryl Gates, the Chief of Police here in Los Angeles, had arrested four individuals. I haven’t really followed up on the case that much because I’ve been pretty tied up with the media.

 

Quest:
Titus, What are your feelings about the riots and Darryl Gates? I know many people find him to be a very bad leader who has really not done his job to protect and serve all the people. What is your impression of him and the systemic problems that caused the riots?

Titus Murphy:
As far as the riot, I believe it activated at the time it did because the people in the city (Asians, Hispanics and Blacks) have been depressed for years and years. Also, there are some things that have happened during the last few years in Los Angeles. For example, the case of Latasha Harlins. A Korean woman shot her in the back at point blank. They showed this on television. And normally in a case where a person gets shot in the back like that, the gunman automatically has to do jail time, but they let this woman walk from this. And there are a number of cases where police officers shot individuals several times and reloaded their guns. These officers were also able to walk away.
There’s been a lot of pressure built up in the Los Angeles area towards the police department. People decided that they were going to do something about it. This is my impression. I was just as angry as the looters but I chose not to go that route. I just chose to think positive even during bad times.

Quest:
What has happened since then? You’ve been on a couple of talk shows, I know. I met you at the Rainbow Conference. It seems that you’ve become a celebrity and I want to know all the good things that have happened as a result of your heroic act.
Titus Murphy:
Yes, I have done a few talk shows and a few interviews.

Quest:
Can you give me some examples?
Titus Murphy:
We did Inside Edition. We’ve received tremendous amounts of awards, including one from the trucking industry and one from the Teamsters. We’ve been recognized by the City of Los Angeles and the District Attorney’s Office, City Hall, and also the State of California at the state assembly in Sacramento, CA. The Rainbow Coalition is the first Black organization to recognize us.

Quest:
Is that right.

Titus Murphy:
Yes, it is. I made mention of that when we had a summit here in Los Angeles. And some woman from BET told me she would get on it and make sure that the Black side of the U.S. takes notice of something positive. They should have been the first to recognize it.

Quest:
Well, you definitely are going to have that recognition with Black History Magazine. We’re going to make sure your heroic act is down in history.
Titus Murphy:
OK.

Quest:
You mentioned talk shows. Have you done Black Entertainment Television (BET)?

Titus Murphy:
No, we haven’t done BET yet. We’ve done Inside Edition, Home Show, and Lee Yuan has done Good Morning America. We’ve done a few of them. But BET would be one positive note, if we could get an interview. As you know, a lot of Blacks watch BET.

Quest:
It would be unusual if they did not do an interview. I believe that they will probably do something with you, though.

Titus Murphy:
A local radio station in Los Angeles had a negative response to the Reginald Denny incident. They said he was making fingers and saying things to the guys and that’s the reason they pulled him out of the truck. I don’t think that was what really went on that day. From what I saw on television, I guess everybody else at that intersection must have done that also to get beaten up like that.

Quest:
The impression was that if he had been driving through that area and minding his own business he would not have been beaten up.

Titus Murphy:
Yeah, that’s what they were saying. That was not the case. The person didn’t do anything wrong.
Mina Connors:
I just wanted to ask you about your future and what you’re planning to do.

Titus Murphy:
As far as my future, I don’t know basically. I’ve been in the aerospace industry for the last thirteen years and the industry is dying because of the defense department’s budget cutbacks, but I personally would like to take this positive note and continue with it.

Quest:
OK. That concludes our interview. I would like to give you an award sometime next year, as well as recognizing other good Samaritans of all colors. I think we need to realize that stopping violence is very important if we are to grow and build things. I’m really proud of you. Because we all need to see that there are real people who exist to help people.

THE HISTORY OF RIOTS

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In The 20th Century: A United State’s Problem

Nightline Looks At This Century’s Worst Riots

Nightline aired a segment dealing with the Los Angeles riots following the first verdict in the Rodney King police brutality case. We thought it would be of great interest to our readers, who may have missed this broadcast, to print a transcript of this segment. This report is living history in its truest sense, showing how nations react at a time of strife. This report on cultural history shows that no matter how strong the lessons of History are, we are condemned to forever repeat mistakes unless we as a people act to change it.

Nightline : The Los Angeles. Riots and a View of History

Ted Koppel: For President Bush, a close-up view of a riot’s aftermath, and plenty of unsolicited advice.

Los Angeles Riot Area Resident: If we’re going to rebuild this devastation, it’s going to have to be billions of dollars, billions of dollars, and the only place where that’s going to come from is Washington, and it didn’t come 28 years ago, and I doubt if it will come now.
Koppel: Tonight, lessons from past racial unrest, and how the L.A. riots played in Pretoria, Beijing, and other foreign capitals.

Among the costs of the Los Angeles riots that no one has, as yet, calculated, is the loss in U.S. prestige. There is, after all, scarcely a corner of the world so remote that it does not receive instantaneous satellite transmissions from the United States. And particularly in these countries that resent America’s strength and its claims to global leadership, there is a certain glee, what the Germans call “schaden-freude,” taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune.

 

Washington does, after all, take pride in holding other governments to the high moral, legal, and human rights standards that the United States claims as its own. It was probably to be expected, then, that other governments which have bridled under U.S. criticism would relish turning things around.

What other countries are saying about what happened in Los Angeles is not necessarily fair; it’s going to make a lot of you angry, but if you’re wondering how others see us these days, here are several brief updates from ABC News correspondents stationed around the world.

JERUSALEM

Dean Reynolds, ABC News: (voice-over) The Israelis have been fighting the Palestinian uprising for more than four years, and are now watching with interest how their often-critical American friends handle disturbances of their own. The riots in Los Angeles received extensive coverage here, just at a time when the Israeli army was fending off charges that it was following a shoot-to-kill policy against protesters.

Josef Goell, Columnist, “Jerusalem Post”: Perhaps an Israeli would be justified telling his well-intentioned American friend, you know, “Come off it, ha-ha, we’ve both got problems.”

Renolds: In Iraq, the government, which has repeatedly been condemned by the United Nations, quickly called for a Security Council debate on the Los Angeles disturbances.
Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi said the verdict in the Rodney King trial proves that the two Libyans accused in the Lockerbie bombing would never get a fair trial from an American jury.
And Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Khameini, said the Los Angeles uprising, as he put it, shows that the United States has no business pointing its finger at others.
Ayatollah Khameini: (through interpreter) The leader refuted Washington’s claim to be the forerunner of human life in the world, as millions of Americans have been deprived of their basic civil rights in the U.S. society.

Renolds: There is a lot of smirking now in the Middle East, as the nation which people here call “the world’s policeman” has to deal with trouble in its own front yard.

BEIJING

Todd Carrel: ABC News: This is Todd Carrel. China has reported the rioting in Los Angeles to make a case to its people that there are violations of human rights in the United States, and asked what right America has to act as “the world’s human rights policeman”. One newspaper said the riots showed the hypocrisy of democracy, and the morbid state of American society. The reports created a chilling sense of an American city under siege.

Beijing President: I know [Los Angeles] is controlled by the army, so it is really dangerous, of course.
Carrel: Television news ran factual reports stressing the victimization of Blacks, them took more potshots at racism in America. The Chinese want to deflect criticism of their own extensive violations of human rights, perhaps believing that images of National Guard troops moving into Los Angeles neighborhoods are somehow equivalent to the Chinese army’s massacre of peaceful protesters in Beijing, or that the brutality of the Rodney King beating might somehow offset China’s systematic beatings and persecution of Tibetans who have agitated for independence. One difference is that this footage was never shown on Chinese television.

JOHANNESBURG

Don Kladstrup, ABC News: (voice-over) This is Don Kladstrup in South Africa, where racial violence and tensions between the police and community are not the exception, but the norm. People are used to riots, used to running battles with police, used to death. But when they saw it happen in Los Angeles, they were shocked.

1st SOUTH AFRICAN: I’ve seen that racism is still there in America.

2nd SOUTH AFRICAN: You know, I didn’t think something like that could happen over there, I thought it was only something that, you know, we saw here in South Africa, not over there.

Don Kladstrup, (voice-over) Commentators played the story straight, as did most newspapers, though one asked, “How many times has the United States, that paragon of virtue, read us the riot act on civil rights and treatment of Blacks? It should clean up its own back yard before it tries to clean up ours.”

Aggrey Klaaste, Editor, “Soweto”: It’s a terrible letdown, really, for people who have held up America as a land of freedom and the land of democracy, you know, to see this kind of thing.

Don Kladstrup: (voice-over) For some, however, it is cold comfort. “Now we know,” said one person, “that this kind of violence doesn’t only happen in South Africa.”

 

BERLIN

Jerry King, ABC News: (voice-over) This is Jerry King in Berlin. German TV had planned to lead with domestic news, a major national strike. The riots changed that. Los Angeles overshadowed everything when the rioters hit the streets.

Lothar Loewe, Newspaper Columnist: People looked at it incredibly, to see Los Angeles, an American city, like a war zone.

Jerry King: (voice-over) According to one newspaper, this was “Hatred in America. It looked like Kuwait on fire, it disturbed Germans.”

Berlin President: We saw America as a state of freedom, and this is a real revolution, you know.

Jerry King: (voice-over) His conclusion? Los Angeles is not very far away, and it certainly was not very far from the minds of these young Germans taking part in the traditional May Day
march here.

MOSCOW

David Ensor, ABC News: (voice-over) This is David Ensor in Moscow. Russians have seen the same pictures Americans saw, of what Russian television calls “the calamity in the United States.”

But the sharpest comments are in the print media, several newspapers using the riots as grist for America-bashing, cold-war style. The newspaper Izvestia wrote, “In America, they still lynch Negroes.” Said Sovietskaye Rossia, “The American melting pot is just propaganda, a myth.”

Alexander Merkushev
Russian Information Agency:
They want to stress the ills of the capitalist society, especially in the United States, which many democratic newspapers portray now as an example we

all have to follow.

David Ensor, (voice-over) Halfway around the world from Los Angeles, in the ex-Soviet republic of Tajikistan, anti-government demonstrators were warned by the regime, “Stop your protest or we will use Los Angeles measures against you.”
For those opposed to reforms here, the news from America provides a political opportunity, a chance to argue that democracy American-style is no model for Russia. I’m David Ensor for Nightline, in Moscow.

Kopple: When we come back, we’ll take a look at the lessons of racial unrest from the past, but first, when we return, we accompany President Bush as he ventures into urban America for a survey of the damage in Los Angeles.
(Commercial break)
(“Times Mirror” poll 5 /3 /92. Who would do the best to improve conditions for poor people? Clinton 41%; Perot 22%; Bush 15%)

 

Kopple: It was a day of discovery for George Bush. The President, who has been criticized for being out of touch with urban America, got a firsthand look at the destruction in Los Angeles. Still, as Jackie Judd reports, interaction with the victims was limited.

Jackie Judd, ABC News: (voice-over) President Bush saw up close, but not very personal, the devastation of south central Los Angeles. City leaders were his guide through the day. Some business people shared stories about the loss of their livelihoods, and apparently the President had a sympathetic ear.

1st Los Angeles Riot Area Resident: He said he’s going to-he definitely put it on his agenda to come back again.

Jackie Judd : And if he forgets, you’re supposed to send him a note?

1st Los Angeles Riot Area Resident: I’m supposed to send him a note if he forgets, and hope he gets the note.

Jackie Judd :(voice-over) But the people who live in these neighborhoods didn’t get near the President. They stood on the sidelines with more than a little skepticism.

2nd Los Angeles Riot Area Resident: And then first come words, then comes the action.

3rd Los Angeles Riot Area Resident: It took for our community to get destroyed for him to come down here.

Jackie Judd : (voice-over) The White House insists the trip here was not a political visit for the President. Still, appearances like this one with local police have become regular features of the Bush campaign. It didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated by the police commander.

Michael Bostic, Police Commander: The press has taken a pretty good heyday on beating us up for the last few days, so it’s kind of nice to hear somebody in charge say something nice about all the hard work that a lot a of good police officers have done.

Jackie Judd : (voice-over) Later, at a church, Mr. Bush seemed moved by the destruction he had earlier seen.
Pres. George Bush : And we are our brother’s keeper, not to keep him back, not to keep him down, but to keep him well, and to keep him safe, and to give him a shot at the American dream.

Jackie Judd: (voice-over) Outside the church, a moment of unbridled emotion, unseen and unheard by the President.

Rodney White, Carpenter: Him and Reagan are the ones that caused this. Then they come-they’re gonna come down here and see and tell you guys how he’s gonna make it better. He’s gonna make it better, and what he’s gonna do, he’s gonna do what he’s been doing for the last four years, nothing but making it worse.

 

Jackie Judd: (voice-over) Hispanic leaders, including City Councilman Mike Hernandez, say that a great untold story about the ’92 riots is how much their community suffered. There are estimates that 40 percent of the property and businesses destroyed were Hispanic-owned.

Mike Hernandez, Los Angeles City Councilman: You had a mini-mall across the street, that’s been destroyed all around. You have this corner destroyed. So you have three intersections destroyed, and in between the blocks, we have destruction. So it’s going to take major rebuilding.

Jackie Judd: (voice-over) A mile from here, and a world away, in the elegant Bonaventure Hotel, Hispanic business leaders gathered to meet Mr. Bush.

David Lizarraga, The East L.A. Community Union: I will tell him that here stands before you a product of the Great Society. I was educated as a result of it, and there’s good things that happened through the War on Poverty, things that – some of which continue to be implemented even during his watch.
Jackie Judd: (voice-over) A few pictures were allowed before the group went behind closed doors. At the end, Lizarraga was pleased. No promises, he said, but some honesty.
Mr. Lizarraga: I was really heartened by the fact that we had a President who said, “You know what? I don’t have the answers. I need help.”

Jackie Judd: (voice-over) There was a time when this neighborhood was prosperous, a fashionable address. Renaldo Rodriguez, an auto mechanic and 20-year resident, has seen it go downhill, and he would have liked to have told the President about it.

Roddriguez: Poverty is the number one factor, and certainly people around here, you know, seem not to care anymore what the American dream is all about. For one thing, for sure, I guess there is no more American dream anymore.
Jackie Judd: (voice-over) That sort of despair followed Mr. Bush almost everywhere today, with only occasional expressions of hope. It was the Rodney King verdict that unleashed all of this. The verdict is still out on the success of the President’s efforts here.

Diane Watson, State Senator: You know, he made us feel good, but I haven’t heard a specific, I don’t hear a plan, I don’t hear the time-line, I don’t hear the blueprint, and until we have that, it’s nice to feel good and we certainly all need that.

Jackie Judd: (voice-over) This is Jackie Judd for Nightline, in Los Angeles.

Koppel: When we come back, a look at this century in urban America and the lessons taught – and forgotten – in the history of racial violence.
(ABC News / “Washington Post” poll, 4 /30/92. “Washington only pays attention to black problems after blacks resort to violence.” BLACKS: 1981, Yes, 64%; 1989, Yes, 66%; 4/30/92, Yes, 79%. WHITES: 1981, Yes, 28%; 1989, Yes, 30%; 4/30/92, Yes, 39%)

 

Koppel: Urban America has learned the hard way that racial rage does not take place in a vacuum, nor does it lie dormant after its first eruption. If there is a sense of unease after the explosion in south central Los Angeles, blame it on history. (voice-over) “The scenes by now are all too familiar, the violence, the anger, the bloodshed, and the senseless destruction of property. What has also become only too familiar is the analysis, linking, as this report does, the mob spirit and its murderous manifestations to the bitter race feelings that had grown up between the Whites and the Blacks.”
If that sounds just a little off-key, a tiny bit dated, you’re right. The quote comes from an analysis written in 1918, by a group of experts commissioned by Congress to study the riots of 1917 in East St. Louis, and to draft a report. At least 47 people died in the riots of 1917. Almost all of them were Black.
Hallister Kennedy witnessed what happened when he was a boy.

Hallister Kennedy: The next day, when all the Black men went to work, a riot started, and I was nine years old at the time, and the news came that they were beating up the Blacks downtown.

Koppel: (voice-over) The commission appointed by Congress filed its report, blaming “bitter race feelings”.
A year later, in 1919, there was another attack by White mobs on Blacks in Chicago. This time, 38 people were killed, and this time it was the governor of Illinois who ordered the formation of a commission to study the problem. In this instance, Blacks were actually included in the commission, and the report made some progressive recommendations, urging changes in the way that Blacks are treated, but Chicago officials ignored the items on changing the social agenda, and focused only on beefing up the police force.
Harlem, 1935. What turned out later to have [been] a false rumor swept through the Black New York neighborhood. The rumor involved a charge of police brutality. There was an outbreak of violence in which businesses were targeted and at least two people were killed. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia appointed a commission. That commission issued a report which was quite profound and sensitive to Black concerns. It urged addressing discrimination in employment, welfare, and health care. The report was never released to the public. Its recommendations were ignored.

Detriot, 1943. Whites attacked a Black neighborhood. Thirty-one people were killed, almost all of them Black. The governor of Michigan appointed a commission. Once again, the report identifies social problems and makes appropriate recommendations, which were ignored. What was identified publicly was the problem of law and order.

Then came the ’60s, the worst decade of the century in terms of racial disorder. Watts in 1965. For six scorching days in August, there is rioting and killing and looting in the predominantly black Los Angeles neighborhood. The spark that set it all off? The arrest of a Black man accused of drunk driving. California Governor Pat Brown appoints a commission. It focuses on the need for more law enforcement, but there are also recommendations for new housing and health care facilities, which are actually built in Watts.

But the embers of social unrest, of Black discontent, are still smoldering in ghettos across the country. Sparks jump from city to city, igniting violence in 1966 and 1967, from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, and some 50 cities in between. In what seems like a masochistic rage, Blacks set fire to their own neighborhoods, and over the two summers, some 80 people die.

By the time Martin Luther King is assassinated in 1968, the racial atmosphere is already ripe with tension. Violence breaks out in 125 cities. Forty-six people are killed. Property damage is enormous. And throughout, there are more commissions, more reports.

 

By far the most significant, perhaps the most thoughtful, report ever drafted on civil disorder in this country was what came to be known as the Kerner Commission report, named after the former governor of Illinois who headed the investigative body. One of the first witnesses to testify before the Kerner Commission was the distinguished Black scholar, Kenneth B. Clark.

“I read that report of the 1919 riot in Chicago,” said Dr. Clark, “and it is as if I were reading the report of the investigating committee on the Harlem riot of ’35, the investigating committee on the Detroit riot of ’43, the report of the McCone Commission on the Watts riot. I must again, in candor, say to you members of the commission it is a kind of Alice in Wonderland, with the same moving picture re-shown, over and over again, the same analysis, the same recommendation, and the same inaction.”
Anthony Platt, The Politics of Riot Commissions: If you look back over the history of riot commissions that have studied situations in different cities, you find that they are predominantly White, they are predominantly men, they are predominantly people who come from the business community or from political office, or they come from elites that are already in power. They are not representative of the larger community. They rarely represent the populations that damage.
Roger Wilkins, George Mason University: We’ll have a lot of flurry, we’ll have a lot of papers written, we’ll have a lot of commissions. In the end, because we’re stuck with our ideology and because we are afraid to look at the enormity of our problems, the problems will just get more enormous.
James Corman :
Member 1966 Kerner Commission: One of the brightest, most articulate and angriest witnesses we had started out by saying “Twenty-five years from now, another witness will be testifying before another commission on the same problems,” and she was right.
Koppel: As yet, no commission has been named to study the causes of the riots in south central Los Angeles last week, but that’s probably just a matter of time. I’ll be back in a moment.
Koppel: That’s our report for tonight. I’m Ted Koppel in Washington. For all of us here at ABC News, good night. u
Copyright 1992 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. ABC NEWS, 47 West 66th St., New York, NY 10023, Transcripts: Journal Graphics, Inc., 1535 Grant St., Denver, CO 80203, contact: Laura Wessner (212)887-4995. Transcript #2859, May 7,1992, Nightline with Ted Koppel. This transcript has been edited for print clarity.

 

X Slave

0

Fear of Insurrection
From: Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl

Born a slave in 1813, Harriet A. Jacobs became a fugitive in the 1830s. In 1861 she published the account of her ordeal as a slave under the pseudonym Linda Brent. Lydia Maria Child, a well-known Abolitionist-feminist writer and friend, encouraged Ms. Jacobs to write and donated her services as editor. She had two children who were fathered by a slave master and future congressman who had promised to set both of the children free; he later reneged. For seven years she lived as a fugitive and spoke out for abolition; her brother who also escaped, followed suit. In 1957 she wrote to Amy Post:” I have…Striven faithfully to give a true and just account of my own life in Slavery…to come to you just as I am a poor Slave Mother-not to tell you what I have heard but what I have seen and what I have suffered.”

On August 21, 1831, in Southhampton County VA Nat Turner led the most famous slave revolution in American history. Sixty Whites and one-hundred Blacks died. He was captured on October 30th and executed Novemeber 11, 1831. His mother was a native African and his father unknown.
Not far from this time, Nat Turner’s insurrection broke out; and the news threw our town into great commotion. Strange that they should be alarmed, when their slaves were so ” contented and happy!” But so it was.

 

It was always the custom to have a muster every year. On that occasion every White man shouldered his musket. The citizens and the so-called country gentlemen wore military uniforms. The poor Whites took their places in the ranks in everyday dress, some without shoes, some without hats. This grand occasion had already passed; and when the slaves were told there was to be another muster, they were surprised and rejoiced. Poor creatures! They thought it was going to be a holiday. I was informed of the true state of affairs, and imparted it to the few I could trust. Most gladly would I have proclaimed it to every slave; but I dared not. All could not be relied on. Mighty is the power of the torturing lash.

By sunrise, people were pouring in from every quarter within twenty miles of the town. I knew the houses were to be searched; and I expected it would be done by country bullies and the poor Whites. I knew nothing annoyed them so much as to see colored people living in comfort and respectability; so I made arrangements for them with especial care. I arranged everything in my grandmother’s house as neatly as possible. I put white quilts on the beds, and decorated some of the rooms with flowers. When all was arranged, I sat down at the window to watch. Far as my eye could reach, it rested on a motley crowd of soldiers. Drums and fifes were discoursing martial music. The men were divided into companies of sixteen, each headed by a captain. Orders were given, and the wild scouts rushed in every direction, wherever a colored face was to be found.

It was a grand opportunity for the low Whites, who had no Negroes of their own to scourge. They exulted in such a chance to exercise a little brief authority, and show their subserviency to the slaveholders; not reflecting that the power which trampled on the colored people also kept themselves in poverty, ignorance, and moral degradation.

Those who never witnessed such scenes can hardly believe what I know was inflicted at this time on innocent men, women, and children, against whom there was not the slightest ground for suspicion. Colored people and slaves who lived in remote parts of the town suffered in an especial manner. In some cases the searchers scattered powder and shot among their clothes, and then sent other parties to find them, and bring them forward as proof that they were plotting insurrection. Every where men, women, and children were whipped till the blood stood in puddles at their feet. Some received five hundred lashes; others were tied hands and feet, and tortured with a bucking paddle, which blisters the skin terribly.

 

The dwellings of the colored people, unless they happened to be protected by some influential White person, who was nigh at hand, were robbed of clothing and everything else the marauders thought worth carrying away. All day long these unfeeling wretches went round, like a troop of demons, terrifying and tormenting the helpless. At night, they formed themselves into patrol bands, and went wherever they chose among the colored people, acting out their brutal will.

Many women hid themselves in woods and swamps, to be out of their way. If any of the husbands or fathers told of these outrages, they were tied up to the public whipping post, and cruelly scourged for telling lies at the gate. The captain turned back, and pronounced a malediction on the house. He said it ought to be burned to the ground, and each of the inmates received thirty-nine lashes. We came out of this affair very fortunately; not losing any thing except some wearing apparel.

Towards evening the turbulence increased. The soldiers, stimulated by drink, committed still greater cruelties. Shrieks and shouts continually rent the air. Not daring to go to the door, I peeped under the window curtain. I saw a mob dragging along a number of colored people, each White man, with his musket upraised, threatening instant death if they did not stop their shrieks. Among the prisoners was a respectable old colored minister. They had found a few parcels of shot in his house, which his wife had for years used to balance her scales. For this they were going to shoot him on Court House Green. What a spectacle was that for a civilized country! A rabble, staggering under intoxication, assuming to be the administrators of justice!

The better class of the community exerted their influence to save the innocent, persecuted people; and in several instances they succeeded, by keeping them shut up in jail till the excitement abated. At last the White citizens found that their own property was not safe from the lawless rabble they had summoned to protect them. They rallied the drunken swarm, drove them back into the country, and set a guard over the town.

The next day, the town patrols were commissioned to search colored people that lived out of the city; and the most shocking outrages were committed with perfect impunity. Every day for a fortnight, if I looked out, I saw horsemen with some poor panting Negro tied to their saddles, and compelled by the lash to keep up with their speed, till they arrived at the jail yard. Those who had been whipped too unmercifully to walk were washed with brine, tossed into a cart, and carried to jail. One Black man, who had not fortitude to endure scourging, promised to get information about the conspiracy. But it turned out that he knew nothing at all. He had not even heard the name of Nat Turner. The poor fellow had, however, made up a story, which augmented his own sufferings and those of the colored people.

The day patrol continued for some week, and at sundown a night guard was substituted. Nothing at all was proved against the colored people, bond or free. The wrath of the slaveholders was somewhat appeased by the capture of Nat Turner. The imprisoned were released. The slaves were sent to their masters, and the free were permitted to return to their ravaged homes. Visiting was strictly forbidden on the plantations. The slaves begged the privilege of again meeting at their little church in the woods, with their burying ground around it. It was built by the colored people, and they had no higher happiness than to meet there and sing hymns together, and pour out their hearts in spontaneous prayer. Their request was denied, and the church was demolished. They were permitted to attend the White churches a certain portion of the galleries being appropriated to their use. There, when every body else had partaken of the communion, and the benediction had been pronounced, the minister said, “Come down, now, my colored friends.” They obeyed the summons, and partook of the bread and wine, in commemoration of the meek and lowly Jesus, who said, “God is your Father, and all ye are brethren. After the alarm caused by Nat Turner’s insurrection had subsided, the slaveholders came to the conclusion that it would be well to give the slaves enough of religious instruction to keep them from murdering their masters. The Episcopal clergyman offered to hold a separate service on Sundays for their benefit. His colored members were very few…