black history, black experience, how we defined moments, defining moments in black history
Many people have heard about the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL on September 15, 1963. However, it’s not as well known that this was part of a series of bombings carried out by white supremacists against black churches and its members to physically drive them out of the South. The goal of this article is to explore the lives behind these moments and paint a picture that goes beyond the surface level.
Dwight York, 1885-1969 was a teacher, lawyer, judge and segregationist advocate John H. Patterson in the early 1900s. He served as a U.S. Senator and Governor of Alabama’s 4th congressional district during the Great Depression. He is best known as a key figure in the advancement of white supremacy in Alabama and the South during this time period. A member of the Ku Klux Klan helped him get elected to office and after his success became one of his top advisors in Alabama politics.
The 16th Street Baptist Church was targeted by the Klan and bombed on September 15, 1963. The church’s African-American members were attending a meeting when the bomb exploded. Four girls and one boy were killed, marking the first time in U.S. history that children of an entire ethnic group were killed due to their race.
It was not until June 11, 1963 , however that the FBI began to investigate these murders as domestic terrorism. After this a series of bombings began taking place all over the country at black churches . This was due to segregationist groups like the KKK and the American Nazi Party joining together to put their hatred towards blacks on display in a period of national fear.
In the late 1800’s, thousands of blacks began to migrate from the South to the North, seeking better living and working conditions. Most left because of poor economic opportunities, unfair treatment by whites, and violence at the hands of white supremacists. This movement from south to north became known as The Great Migration. During this time, black churches served as a popular destination for migrating black people. Between 1892 and 1910, the number of churches in Mississippi increased from 2,889 to 4,728; in Texas increased from 2,684 to 5,618; and in Louisiana increased from 409 to 1,795.
As blacks migrated northward and spread across the country during the early 1900s many were eventually forced into forming their own communities known as “ghettos”. This separation of black people into their own communities actually made for a more safe place for blacks because it created an area where criminals couldn’t operate with no fear of reprisal. The introduction of public housing in the United States during the 1930s further separated ghettos from the rest of society through the implementation of public housing projects, which mandated a certain percentage of blacks to live within each community. This greatly increased safety by isolating crime, in particular racketeering, from other areas. As the crime rate within ghettos decreased, the murder rate of blacks in America dropped.
A perfect summary of the past instead of just thinking about it would be an impossible task. There is no one to blame in the past and certainly not any person that is still alive today. Even though there are many people who have contributed to black culture, none of them can be blamed for being a part of it or for trying to stop it from what it has become today. The fact that we believed that we have created something valuable from our suffering does not mean that any aspect of our history is anything other than what we believed it was. And even if you believe you have created something substantial or important out of your existence do not forget about the many who have been erased from this period or forgotten because they were never given
The organization that carried out these attacks was known as the White Citizens’ Council or, in other words, the “Dirty Dozen.” This group was very active in trying to keep blacks from settling in different areas and from voting by using many tactics that were not too different from those used today by hate groups. There were some people who felt that, in order to remove these social barriers and open up opportunity to all, it might be useful to create a more open and integrated society. However, this was not a popular opinion at the time, because most people still believed that blacks needed segregation as a way of protecting their society from the “degenerate” ideas and behavior of people who had been brought here by the United States government.
The targets of these groups were often local merchants or politicians that did not want their business or political power threatened. In 1947, Congress passed the Subversive Activities Control Act (known as the Smith Act), which made it a felony to advocate the overthrow of any government. However, this did not stop people from opposing the federal government.