Sunday, October 23, 2011

Today -100: October 23, 1911: Of race wars, and the greatest nation

A race war is threatened (some would say has already begun) in Coweta, Oklahoma. In a fight, a black man killed the white city attorney and wounded two other white men. He was then lynched – twice. That is, a mob hanged him, but he was cut down before he strangled by white people concerned that it would start a race war. As the deputy sheriff tried to take him to jail, he was shot fifty or so times by people who presumably didn’t share that concern. As this story went to press, blacks were arriving from the surrounding country, threatening to burn the town down. The sheriff is arming the white citizens of Muskogee (20 miles away) to help out and the National Guard is being sent in.

The US government’s chief chemist, Dr. Harvey Wiley, addressing the convention of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association, says “If a country treats its women right, eats more sugar and consumes more soap per head than any other country, then it is the greatest nation.”

If you’re wondering, by that standard the United States was evidently the greatest nation in 1911. And in 2011 I’m guessing we still have at least the sugar thing nailed.

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