‘Red Summer’: Lessons for today


Julianne Malveaux | 8/2/2019, 6 a.m.
On July 27, 1919, and for 13 days after, Chicago was engulfed in violence. White mobs wantonly attacked black people ...
Julianne Malveaux

Washington Post journal- ist Jefferson Morley recently wrote about the father and daughter Ben and Carrie Johnson, who shot and killed a police officer who invadedtheirhome.They were charged with murder and spent 18 months in jail. But charges were dropped against Ben, and when Carrie stood trial, she was found guilty of manslaughter. Her attorneys appealed, the appeal was granted and there was no new trial.

The Red Summer oc- curred because black men were coming home from World War I and were not inclined to tolerate white foolishness. It occurred because we had a president, Woodrow Wilson, who was a virulent racist, much like the current occupant of the House that Enslaved People Built. White people, brain- washed to believe in the fallacy of white supremacy, felt emboldened to attack black people for simple acts of self-determination.

Fast forward: Emboldened white people are still attacking black people, some violently. Eric Garner lost his life because he was selling “loosies,” single cigarettes, in Brooklyn and because an out of control madman masquerading as a police officer, Daniel Pantaleo, attacked him with an illegal chokehold. While U.S. Department of Justice attorneys recommended trying Mr. Pantaleo in federal court, U.S. Attorney General William Barr, the acknowledged sycophant of the racist Occupant, declined to move ahead.

Fast forward: “Roland Martin Unfiltered” has a segment, “Crazy A$$ White People,” that features the microaggressions that are a natural byproduct of viru- lent white supremacy. As a man attempted to propose to his fiancée at the Angry Orchard in New York, he was interrupted three times and accused of stealing. The Orchard has apologized — too little, too late — but it is yet another example of ignorance and stupidity.

A deranged white wom- an, Nancy Goodman, approached three black women dining at a Bonefish Grill and used the n-word on them because she thought they were too loud. The warped white woman said she’d use the slur again. Let’s not even get into the BBQ Beckys and other fools.

Bottom line: One hundred years ago, enabled and emboldened by a racist

president, white folks went buck wild on black people. Here we go again!

Red Summer has reverberations. But please remember that during Red Summer, black folks fought back. Let’s do it again — fighting with our vote, with our activism and, when necessary, with our retaliation.

The struggle continues.

The writer is an economist and author.