Skip to main content

UMass Lowell Library Resources on Racism in the United States

Tulsa Massacre: Vox

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here

When white supremacists overthrew a government: Vox

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here

Books: Wilmington Riot

Democracy Betrayed

At the close of the nineteenth century, the Democratic Party in North Carolina engineered a white supremacy revolution. Frustrated by decades of African American self-assertion and threatened by an interracial coalition advocating democratic reforms, white conservatives used violence, demagoguery, and fraud to seize political power and disenfranchise black citizens. The most notorious episode of the campaign was the Wilmington "race riot" of 1898, which claimed the lives of many black residents and rolled back decades of progress for African Americans in the state. Published on the centennial of the Wilmington race riot, Democracy Betrayed draws together the best new scholarship on the events of 1898 and their aftermath. Contributors to this important book hope to draw public attention to the tragedy, to honor its victims, and to bring a clear and timely historical voice to the debate over its legacy. The contributors are David S. Cecelski, William H. Chafe, Laura F. Edwards, Raymond Gavins, Glenda E. Gilmore, John Haley, Michael Honey, Stephen Kantrowitz, H. Leon Prather Sr., Timothy B. Tyson, LeeAnn Whites, and Richard Yarborough.

When Whites Riot

In a bold work that cuts across racial, ethnic, cultural, and national boundaries, Sheila Smith McKoy reveals how race colors the idea of violence in the United States and in South Africa--two countries inevitably and inextricably linked by the central role of skin color in personal and national identity.     Although race riots are usually seen as black events in both the United States and South Africa, they have played a significant role in shaping the concept of whiteness and white power in both nations. This emerges clearly from Smith McKoy's examination of four riots that demonstrate the relationship between the two nations and the apartheid practices that have historically defined them: North Carolina's Wilmington Race Riot of 1898; the Soweto Uprising of 1976; the Los Angeles Rebellion in 1992; and the pre-election riot in Mmabatho, Bhoputhatswana in 1994. Pursuing these events through narratives, media reports, and film, Smith McKoy shows how white racial violence has been disguised by race riots in the political and power structures of both the United States and South Africa.     The first transnational study to probe the abiding inclination to "blacken" riots, When Whites Riot unravels the connection between racial violence--both the white and the "raced"--in the United States and South Africa, as well as the social dynamics that this connection sustains.

Race, Place, and Memory

A revealing work of public history that shows how communities remember their pasts in different ways to fit specific narratives, Race, Place, and Memory charts the ebb and flow of racial tension in Wilmington, North Carolina, from the 1730s to the present day.Margaret Mulrooney argues that while the port city has long celebrated its white colonial revolutionary origins, it has ignored the revolutionary acts of its African American citizens who also demanded freedom--first from slavery and later from Jim Crow discrimination. Lingering beneath the surface of daily life, she shows, are collective memories of violence and alienation that were exacerbated by the Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and racial conflicts that occurred in the city throughout the twentieth century. Critically evaluating the riot's centennial commemoration, which she helped organize, Mulrooney makes a case for public history projects that recognize the history-making authority of all community members and prompt us to reconsider the memories we inherit.

Books: Tulsa Massacre

Riot and Remembrance

A best-selling author investigates the causes of the twentieth century's deadliest race riot and how its legacy has scarred and shaped a community over the past eight decades. On a warm night in May 1921, thousands of whites, many deputized by the local police, swarmed through the Greenwood section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing scores of blacks, looting, and ultimately burning the neighborhood to the ground. In the aftermath, as many as 300 were dead, and 6,000 Greenwood residents were herded into detention camps. James Hirsch focuses on the de facto apartheid that brought about the Greenwood riot and informed its eighty-year legacy, offering an unprecedented examination of how a calamity spawns bigotry and courage and how it has propelled one community's belated search for justice. Tulsa's establishment and many victims strove to forget the events of 1921, destroying records pertaining to the riot and refusing even to talk about it. This cover-up was carried through the ensuing half-century with surprising success. Even so, the riot wounded Tulsa profoundly, as Hirsch demonstrates in a compelling combination of history, journalism, and character study. White Tulsa thrived, and the city became a stronghold of Klan activity as workingmen and high civic officials alike flocked to the Hooded Order. Meanwhile, Greenwood struggled as residents strove to rebuild their neighborhood despite official attempts to thwart them. As the decades passed, the economic and social divides between white and black worlds deepened. Through the 1960s and 1970s, urban renewal helped to finish what the riot had started, blighting Greenwood. Paradoxically, however, the events of 1921 saved Tulsa from the racial strife that befell so many other American cities in the 1960s, as Tulsans white and black would do almost anything to avoid a reprise of the riot. Hirsch brings the riot's legacy up to the present day, tracing how the memory of the massacre gradually revived as academics and ordinary citizens of all colors worked tirelessly to uncover evidence of its horrors. Hirsch also highlights Tulsa's emergence at the forefront of the burgeoning debate over reparations. RIOT AND REMEMBRANCE shows vividly, chillingly, how the culture of Jim Crow caused not only the grisly incidents of 1921 but also those of Rosewood, Selma, and Watts, as well as less widely known atrocities. It also addresses the cruel irony that underlies today's battles over affirmative action and reparations: that justice and reconciliation are often incompatible goals. Finally, Hirsch details how Tulsa may be overcoming its horrific legacy, as factions long sundered at last draw together.

The Burning

"A powerful book, a harrowing case study made all the more so by Madigan's skillful, clear-eyed telling of it." --Adam Nossiter, The New York Times Book Review On the morning of June 1, 1921, a white mob numbering in the thousands marched across the railroad tracks dividing black from white in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and obliterated a black community then celebrated as one of America's most prosperous. 34 square blocks of Tulsa's Greenwood community, known then as the Negro Wall Street of America, were reduced to smoldering rubble. And now, 80 years later, the death toll of what is known as the Tulsa Race Riot is more difficult to pinpoint. Conservative estimates put the number of dead at about 100 (75% of the victims are believed to have been black), but the actual number of casualties could be triple that. The Tulsa Race Riot Commission, formed two years ago to determine exactly what happened, has recommended that restitution to the historic Greenwood Community would be good public policy and do much to repair the emotional as well as physical scars of this most terrible incident in our shared past. With chilling details, humanity, and the narrative thrust of compelling fiction, The Burning will recreate the town of Greenwood at the height of its prosperity, explore the currents of hatred, racism, and mistrust between its black residents and neighboring Tulsa's white population, narrate events leading up to and including Greenwood's annihilation, and document the subsequent silence that surrounded the tragedy.

Reconstructing the Dreamland

The 1921 Tulsa Race Riot was the country's bloodiest civil disturbance of the century. Thirty city blocks were burned to the ground, perhaps 150 died, and the prosperous black community of Greenwood, Oklahoma, was turned to rubble.Brophy draws on his own extensive research into contemporary accounts and court documents to chronicle this devastating riot, showing how and why the rule of law quickly eroded. Brophy shines his lights on mob violence and racism run amok, both on the night of the riot and the following morning.Equally important, he shows how the city government and police not only permitted looting, shootings, and the burning of Greenwood, but actively participated in it by deputizing white citizens haphazardly, giving out guns and badges, or sending men to arm themselves. Likewise, the National Guardacted unconstitutionally, arresting every black resident they found, leaving property vulnerable to the white mob.Brophy's stark narrative concludes with a discussion of reparations for victims of the riot through lawsuits and legislative action. That case has implications for other reparations movements, including reparations for slavery."Recovers a largely forgotten history of black activism in one of the grimmest periods of race relations.... Linking history with advocacy, Brophy also offers a reasoned defense of reparations for the riot's victims."--Washington Post Book World