EJI June 18th, 2015: White Man Shoots and Kills Nine Black Worshipers in Racist Attack at Charleston, South Carolina, Church

On the night of June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old white man named Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, South Carolina, and sat in on a Bible study session for about an hour before opening fire on the other participants, all of whom were black. Prior to the attack, Roof had expressed racist views on a personal website and to friends, allegedly stating that he hoped to incite a “race war.”

The nine victims killed in the shooting were Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, and Clementa C. Pinckney, the senior church pastor and a South Carolina state senator. Five people survived the shooting.

Source: A History of Racial Injustice – Equal Justice Initiative

Let me be up front, I don’t support the death penalty for anyone. No matter how vile someone is, it is not up to human authority to kill someone except in active defense of self or others (i.e. while someone is actively trying to kill others). Still, I find it troubling that Roof and many White mass shooters — who have demonstrated ability and willingness to kill — get captured alive, when many unarmed black men get killed by police. I’m not wishing Roof had been killed, but do wonder why it seems like police aren’t afraid of people who’ve killed but are afraid enough of black people to shoot them without being fired on.

This incident also shows that deep abiding hatred on the simple basis of skin color is still very much with us.

EJI June 11th, 1966: Dozens Participate in NAACP’s Birmingham March Against U.S. Steel Employment Discrimination

Despite the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination in employment based on race, sex, religion, and national origin, African Americans were continuously relegated to low-paying, unskilled jobs. Many industries refused to train or promote African Americans, only permitting white employees to compete for supervisory positions.

Source: A History of Racial Injustice – Equal Justice Initiative

Looking at most high level jobs in many industries, we continue to view a sea of white male faces – now sprinkled here and there with women and people of color. This is not a simple accident, but a product of decades of purposeful exclusion. I suspect we will need to put as much effort into creating diversity as our society used to employ in actively suppressing diversity to get real racial and gender diversity in business and politics.

EJI June 4th, 2011 United States Census Bureau: Over 1 in 4 Black and Latino Americans Living in Poverty

The United States Census Bureau calculates national poverty levels by using a threshold income value set according to family size and composition. In 2010, a family of five earning a combined annual income below $26,675 qualified as “impoverished.” On June 4, 2011, the United States Census Bureau released data collected in the 2010 census which showed 46.2 million Americans living in poverty – the largest number recorded since poverty estimates were first collected in 1959. The 2010 poverty rate of 15.1% was the highest recorded in America since 1993.

Source: A History of Racial Injustice – Equal Justice Initiative (EJI)

EJI doesn’t provide a clear enough citation for me to offer the “June 4, 2011” Census release, but similar information can be found in a CNN/Money article reporting on a September 2011 Census release – Poverty rate rises in America By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney September 13, 2011.


EJI May 28, 1830: Indian Removal Act Forces Indian Tribes to Migrate West

MAY 28th, 1830

Indian Removal Act Forces Indian Tribes to Migrate West

On May 28, 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, which authorized the President to grant land west of the Mississippi River in exchange for the lands of the American Indian tribes living primarily in the southeastern United States. President Jackson’s message to Congress stated a double goal of the Indian Removal Act: freeing more land in southern states like Alabama and Mississippi, while also separating the Indians from “immediate contact with settlements of whites” in the hopes that they will one day “cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community.”

Source: Equal Justice Initiative

You can find more background on the Indian Removal Act and read the full text of the law at the Library of Congress’s Indian Removal Act site.

The last sentence of the quote above irks me greatly and hope it does you as well. To this day, many Whites are entirely dismissive of any culture or religion not their own.

EJI MAY 21st, 1961: National Guard Disperses White Crowd Threatening Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama

MAY 21st, 1961

National Guard Disperses White Crowd Threatening Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama

On May 20, 1961, Freedom Riders arriving in Montgomery, Alabama, were attacked by a white mob and several suffered serious injury. On the evening of May 21, more than 1000 black residents and civil rights leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth attended a service at Montgomery’s First Baptist Church organized by Rev. Ralph Abernathy to support the Freedom Riders. A white mob surrounded the church and vandalized parked cars. From the church’s basement, Dr. King called United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and requested help. United States Marshals soon arrived to dispel the riot; the growing mob pelted them with bricks and bottles. The marshals responded with tear gas.

Source: Equal Justice Initiative

This incident could have been far bloodier if MLK didn’t have a friendly Attorney General on speed dial. Or if the federal government had declared it a state matter.


Equal Justice Initiative Calendar Update

In a previous post I committed to doing daily posts sharing the undertaught racial history of the US by sharing items from the Equal Justice Initiative’s History of Racial Injustice daily timeline.

I regret to say that my ambitions have exceeded my energy level for this project. Therefore, I’ll only be highlighting the calendar on Mondays, through the end of April 2019.