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African American Studies Essay

The three topics I have picked for this reaction paper are “Hurricane Katrina, The Bombing Of Black Wall Street And Gangs”. I’ve picked these topics because I believe that to this day everything is still about being in control, racism and a touch of slavery which leads to gangs. Hurricane Karina: was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States. Most notable in media coverage were the catastrophic effects on the city of New Orleans, La. , and coastal Mississippi. Criticism of the federal, state and local governments’ reaction to the storm was widespread.

The bombing of Black Wall Street: community was the sight of a happy, affluent Black community but was too much for angry, jealous Whites in Tulsa, Okla. , in 1921, a false rumor was enough to spark a mass riot that left hundreds of African Americans dead, and a swath of black homes and business burned to the ground. The saddest fact associated with this historic atrocity is that the U. S government and local media were complicit in the death and destruction. Gangs: the word “gang” comes from “gonge” a term meaning a journey, but later referring to a “gonge” of sailors in the fifteenth century.

Gangs originally began in the 1800’s which meant kids of the street. But US had other predecessors than unsupervised street urchins. There were four kinds of gangs which were predecessors of the street gangs of today 1. Secret Societies, 2. Gangs of outlaws and in the Wild West, 3. Racist like the Ku Klux Klan, and 4. “Voting Gangs” tied mainly to the Democratic Party in large cities. Many gangs if armed men were racially mortivated. Racial tensions in the cities like New York were constant, and racist conflict was almost everywhere more violent than nativism.. On May 31. 921 a nineteen year old Black male accidentally stumbled on a bumpy elevator and bumped into a seventeen year old White elevator operator who screamed.

The frightened young man was seen running from the elevator by a group of Whites and by the afternoon the “Tulsa Tribune” reported that the girl had been raped. Despite the girl’s denial of any wrong doing, the young man was arrested and a large mob of 2000 White men came to the jail to lynch the prisoner. With a defenseless Black community before them, the white mob advanced to the greenwood district where they first looted and then burned down all Black business, homes, and churches.

Any black resisters were shot and thrown in fires. That’s how it became “The Bombing of Black Wall Street”. It all comes to what’s going on now with, if you are in a gang you can’t go in one neighborhood if you are not affiliated with that neighborhood gang, just like back in then when blacks wasn’t allowed in white people areas or if blacks were allowed, they were segregated. After the Tulsa riot, White inhabitants tried to buy the Black property and force the Black people out of town.

No Tulsa bank or leading institution would make loans in the riot-marred Greenwood district, and the city refused all outside assistance. However, racial pride and self determination would not permit the Greenwood owners to sell. Since African Americans could neither live among Whites as equals nor patronize White business in Tulsa, Blacks had to develop a completely separate business and community, which soon became prosperous and legendary. Black dollars invested in black community also produced self-pride, self –sufficiency, and self-determination.


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