Within the last five hundred years, there have been countless untold moments in black history when black people have endured outrageous brutality. From institutionalized racism to foreign oppressors to the torturous hand of slave owners, the list goes on, and it’s ugly. It will make your stomach sick just thinking about it. However, we also need to recognize realities by learning black history to better understand the events that shaped our present. If we want to make a better future, learning about the past is the best first step. Here are 25 Horrid Moments in Black History.
The Birmingham Campaign
In 1963, African American activists in Birmingham organized a massive campaign to protest segregation in Alabama, including lunch sit-ins, City Hall marches, and merchant boycotts. In response to the non-violent protests, police used high powered water hoses and dogs to attack men, women, and children.
Starting in 1937 by the U.S. Housing Act, federal agencies marked areas on the map in red that they thought weren’t fit for investment or safe for insurance companies. Called Redlining, many African Americans lived in those neighborhoods and banks would arbitrarily use it as a guise to deny them loans. In theory, the 1968 Civil Rights Act outlawed the practice, but its impact is still felt today.
Judge Edward Aaron
Judge Edward Aaron (Judge is his first name, not his title) was attacked by the Ku Klux Klan in 1957. They beat him with an iron, castrated him, and threw him in a river to die. He almost died of blood loss but was found by the police and recovered. Six of the men were convicted but George Wallace, then governor of Alabama, pardoned them.
Freedom Rider Attacks
In 1961, an interracial group protesting segregation started a bus tour from Washington D.C. to Lousiana. They called themselves Freedom Riders. They first encountered violence in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where white males beat black riders for using a bathroom that was “Whites Only.” Things only grew worse when they reached Alabama. They were met by a mob that beat them with baseball bats, iron rods, and chains. They also threw rocks at them and slashed the bus’s tires. When the bus drove outside of town to be repaired, white supremacists firebombed it.
On a march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, 600 civil rights marchers got to Edmund Pettus Bridge and were met by police with billy clubs. The lawmen attacked the marchers, beating them with the clubs, throwing tear gas, and forcing them back to Selma. The violent event was dubbed Bloody Sunday.