The Tulsa Tribune published a story on May 31, 1921 that led to the destruction of the Greenwood District, in North Tulsa. Ultimately, whites in that city killed over 300 Blacks, left 10,000 homeless and burned hundreds of Black owned businesses to the ground. On May 31, 2020, history seemed to repeat. As protests around the country advanced, reliable reports indicated that white infiltrators were initiating looting and may even targeting Black owned businesses for vandalism. Black people must stay focused.
The Daily Beast has done good reporting on this subject. In Minnesota, Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said online intelligence pointed towards involvement by white supremacists and “organized cells of terror.” Peaceful protesters filmed a group of white men violently breaking into businesses in Oakland. Black activists in Detroit reported attempts to “purposely infiltrate” peaceful protests. Videos circulated on the internet, appearing to show white protesters in Denver being asked to stop defacing public property. Black organizers in Minneapolis were putting out fires started by white protesters and asking other white protestors to conduct themselves consistent with the spirit of the movement. In Chicago, several sources on the ground told We Buy Black that white rioters on the South Side of the city were suspected of targeting Black owned businesses for vandalism.
This many Black people, from all over the country, can’t all be crazy. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr blamed Antifa (short for anti-fascists) and “far left extremists” for much of the trouble. Overall, US law enforcement officials around the country believe that extremist groups from the left and right were involved in the riots over the weekend. What is clear to many Black people is whites are infiltrating protests and initiating violence and looting. Those observations from the ground are consistent with intelligence reports cited by government officials, also. What happened over the weekend, however, isn’t new. Dr. King’s marches were infiltrated and indeed, the Nation of Islam was overrun by its share of informants and troublemakers. What happened this weekend is simply the newest iteration of an old story, ironically staged on the 99th anniversary or the Greenwood Massacre.
99 years ago, whites invaded a prosperous Black community for the purpose of terror. Over the weekend, white anarchists and far right extremists, many wearing all-black and other disguises, invaded peaceful marches and even Black communities. Once again, the aim was terror and given the occasion of the protests– the murder of Black people at the hands of the state– it is unconscionable. Still, the goal for Black people is self determination and that will not come from retaliation physically but building power internally.