Thursday, August 25, 2011

Today -100: August 25, 1911: Of lynchings, block-busting, and hoboes

A negro accused of attacking a white woman is burned to death by a mob in Purcell, Oklahoma. The twist: he was captured by three black guys and turned over to the mob.

There was a report a day or two ago about an apartment building in Harlem that displayed a red T in its “To Let” sign, a coded signal that only negroes would be rented to. At the same time, the building started evicting its white tenants. The NYT notes that “Race prejudice in this city is capitalized, and this is the way the colored folk reap the rewards of the prejudice.” The way race prejudice is “capitalized” is that the building’s owner is blackmailing neighboring landlords with the threat of letting blacks move into a previously white street. Either they buy his building from him for more than its market value, or they’ll wind up selling their own properties to negro speculators at a ¼ discount. The Times suggests fighting such tactics by voluntary agreements of property-holders in a neighborhood not to rent to blacks. Problem solved.

Hoboes plan a 2,000-bum march on Washington to demand free national employment bureaus. If they can get there, that is. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is refusing to provide transportation (free transportation in box cars, naturally).

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