“Red Summer” was a time in America’s history when the blood of more than 250 Black people flowed across at least 35 cities in 1919, as White mobs threatened, intimidated, beat, lynched, burned and shot Black men, women and children.
“Six Slain in Race Riot at Church”; “Several Killed in Race Riot at Charleston, S.C.”; “Mob Uses Rope, Fire and Bullets to Lynch Negro”; “Service Men Beat Negroes in Race Riot at Capital”; “Drive Negroes out of Town”; “Negro Lynched; Burned in Front of Woman’s Home”; “Mob Storms Jail and Gets Blacks”; “Race Battle in Harlem Spreads Terror”; “Third Negro in 12 Hours.” These were just some of the headlines published in American newspapers throughout 1919.
Fast forward to 2022 and Black blood still paints the soil of America. In recent years, it has become a social media trend to list everything Black people can’t do in peace, which includes: walking, jogging, driving, shopping, sleeping, playing in a park, working, eating at a restaurant, visiting friends and praying.
Since the FBI began tracking and reporting hate crime in 1991, Blacks have been the most frequent victims, reported Time magazine in a May 2022 article titled, “Anti-Black Violence Has Long Been the Most Common American Hate Crime—And We Still Don’t Know the Full Extent.”
In 2020, there were more anti-Black hate crimes in the U.S. than in any year since 2008.
Black Americans made up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2020 yet nearly 35 percent of all hate crime victims and the same disparity has persisted for years, the article pointed out. The majority of hate crimes targeting Black people in 2020 involved assault (30 percent) or intimidation (43 percent), and 73 percent of offenders were White, according to the FBI data, reported The Equal Justice Initiative.
More than a century after Red Summer 1919, recent news headlines read: “2 Florida men accused of attacking Black teen, damaging car as they drove by”; “A Washington man makes calls across the country threatening racial violence”; “‘Don’t be angry:’ North Texas dad’s reaction after Dillard’s employee hurls racial slur at son goes viral”;
“Black Artist Attacked in White Supremacist March in Boston”; “White Parents Rallied to Chase a Black Educator Out of Town. Then, They Followed Her to the Next One;” and “Lawsuit Alleges Texas Elementary School’s Only Two Black Students Were ‘Choked, Punched and Tripped’ While Staff ‘Turned a Blind Eye.’”
A poison doctrine of White Supremacy
Hundreds of Black people were beaten and killed during “Red Summer,” because Whites felt “threatened.” World War I had just ended, and Black men were returning home and demanding rights. Black people also started migrating North to escape the southern hell created by Jim Crow laws. As Blacks sought out rights and opportunities, Whites became angry.
Some historians extend the range of “Red Summer to six years,” from the East St. Louis, Illinois riots of 1917, when dozens, possibly hundreds, of Blacks were killed, to the Rosewood Massacre of 1923, when Whites destroyed the Black town of Rosewood, Florida, killing Blacks in the process.
While Whites were burning Black towns and Black bodies, the Black soldiers who returned home from war stood up in defense, killing Whites in return.
“Black slaves went to their death, fighting the enemy of the White slavemaster, to help America to maintain her independence against foreign dominance. The Black slave was not given anything in exchange for his sacrifice,” writes the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, eternal leader of the Nation of Islam, in his book, “The Fall of America.”
William Tuttle, author of “Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919,” estimates at least 1,122 Americans were killed in racial violence across those six years.
Nation of Islam Southwest Regional Student Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad described what took place in 1919 as an ongoing problem that preceded 1919. He quoted the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s book, “A Torchlight for America.”
Minister Farrakhan writes: “It appears that there is a genocidal plan against Black people. The desire of many of those in power is the maintenance of White supremacy. Whites and their institutions have created inferior-minded Black people with a slave mentality. There are those who do not wish to see us as equals in the society. So generation after generation of Black people have been corrupted with a slave mentality, and generation after generation of White people have been poisoned with the doctrine of White supremacy.”
Red Summer 2022?
On June 14, Jermaine Jones, a Black teen, could not drive in peace or visit a friend without being targeted and attacked by two White men.
“I was going to visit my friend that lives in the neighborhood, and one of the residents, one of his neighbors, actually, they didn’t like the way I was driving. So instead of just calling the police or taking my license plate number, they took it upon themselves to do something about it,” the 16-year-old told The Final Call.
“One of the men hit my car with a cone, and then that same man attacked my friend with that same cone. And the other man threw a rock through my back window.”
As Jermaine and his family deal with the aftermath of the attack, a Black father in Dallas, Texas, found himself confronting a Dillard’s employee.
Cellphone video shows the shattered rear passenger window of the white Mercedes-Benz that the teen was driving. The cone was thrown by Howard Hughes, said attorney Kevin Edwards, one of the family’s lawyers, to The Final Call.
In the video, the other man, Donald Corsi, takes a picture of the license plate, as he yells: “Right here! Tell ‘em what you were doing! Burning out, racing through my f****** neighborhood!”
“I was in shock. I was scared,” Jermaine expressed. “I didn’t really believe it was happening. I never thought something like that would happen to me.”
The incident occurred in Sanford, Florida’s Lake Forest neighborhood, which is a gated community. Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed 10 years ago in another one of the city’s gated communities.
Mr. Hughes, 61, and Mr. Corsi, 52, were arraigned on criminal charges on Aug. 16. Mr. Hughes was charged with a third-degree felony of criminal mischief and battery for fighting Jermaine’s friend, who was in the car with Jermaine at the time, said Atty. Edwards. Mr. Corsi, who threw the boulder into the car, was charged with a second-degree felony and a third-degree felony of criminal mischief, the attorney added.
“I think that’s going to be the first step towards obtaining some justice,” he said.
As part of the second step, the family and attorneys have filed a civil complaint against the two men, which could result in monetary compensation.
The employee called Muhammad Karim and his 10-year-old son the n-word.
“My 10-year-old son heard you call me a f****** n*****. I want you to know, it’s unacceptable. You shouldn’t do that. You’re too old,” said Mr. Karim in a video that went viral in late July. “You don’t know the impact of what you’ve done to my son. But maybe you were unaware,” he added.
The employee, who said he had been working at Dillard’s for over 20 years, has since been fired.
“The Prophet Muhammad says ‘don’t be angry. Don’t be angry. Don’t be angry,’” Mr. Karim said in an interview with CBS News. “I’ll be honest with you. I was angry. I was livid.”
Twitter user @Thekeithbrown1 tweeted, “NorthPark Mall is supposed to be the high-class mall in the Dallas area … but like most things, has had a history of racism. Homer is just a reminder that the past ain’t so distant. And it is amazing the amount of patience and forgiveness people expect Black folks to have.”
In early August, a Black family was denied access to a water park in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. In a viral video, the owner told them she didn’t feel “comfortable.” The family planned a birthday party at the park for their 17 year old. The family has been receiving threats of violence since the party’s cancellation, according to an Aug. 12 article by The Kansas City Star.
Jermaine Jones’ mother, Niko Jones, said these incidents keep happening to Black children because there has not been any real justice.
“They feel entitled. They feel like they won’t get punished,” she told The Final Call. “And I just think they feel like they can do these things to our Black children. They don’t view our Black children as children for some reason. They view them as adults, and they just don’t see them in the same light as they see their White children.”
In Jermaine’s case, she noted he remained calm, called the police and took out his phone to record.
When it comes to what Black people can do in this time, he again referenced “A Torchlight for America.” In the book, Minister Farrakhan writes that Black leadership has to stop begging the government and must instead, “champion the strategy of turning within to do for self.” That includes teaching “our people to use our talent, time and money, and pool our resources educationally and financially, to address our troubles.”
“I think those are the things that Black kids can do to save themselves. That’s a talk that we’ve always had with him, and I’m just glad that he remembered the talk that we gave him,” she said.
Jermaine’s father, Columbus “CJ” Jones, said he’s still in shock. “I shouldn’t have to tell him that, how to live, how to go about doing this. And we’re tired of that,” he expressed. “We shouldn’t have to keep telling him. Thank God that we taught him and he did the right thing, but when is it going to stop?”
The killing of 10 Black people at Tops, the Buffalo, New York, supermarket that was racially targeted in May, wasn’t enough for Joey David George. In late July, the 37-year-old White man from Washington state was arrested and charged after allegedly calling the supermarket and threatening to kill Black people.
Mr. George said he would “make the news if he shot and killed all of the Black people, including all of the women, children and babies,” according to a federal criminal complaint.
The complaint goes into Mr. George’s history of racial abuse. In May, he made a call to a restaurant in San Bruno, California, and threatened to shoot Black and Hispanic customers if the restaurant did not close in 20 minutes. He told an officer that he called the restaurant “because he wanted to attack Black people and strike fear into the Bay Area’s Black community,” the complaint says.
“As Caucasians begin to feel threatened and their security is compromised, the mask of civility comes off—and then you see murder coming out of their hearts and their eyes,” the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said in Part 27 of his 2013, 58-week lecture series, “The Time and What Must be Done.”
Mr. George’s alleged pattern of racial threats goes as far back as September 2021, where he, again, used racial slurs and threatened to shoot and kill Black customers.
Mask of civility is peeling away
Student Minister Haleem Muhammad quoted the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in describing integration as a “hypocritical trick.”
“What’s happening is that White people in their insecurity are now coming full blown with what already was and continues to be in their heart for us,” he stated.
In an end of the year interview with The Final Call in 2016, Minister Farrakhan talked about the “White lash” Black people are experiencing.
“Most of us have not understood the nature of the people in whose hands we have been for the last 460 years. We have fallen in love with our open enemy because we have hope that one day, they will receive us as an equal or treat us as an equal,” he said. “And the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to us that is not going to happen. Any kind of unity with our former slave masters and their children has to be on their terms and not on ours. Otherwise, their power and their arms and their will, will be against our rise as it always has been.”
The Minister explained that White people are now lashing out because to many, “making America Great Again” means “Make America White Again.”
“‘Bring back White Power, bring back this idea that no one is better than we and we are better than all.’ So, this wind will blow on Black people from every direction to force us to come to the realization that we cannot get along in peace with this people after giving them 400 years of our sweat and blood and receiving in return some of the worst treatment ever accorded to a human being,” Minister Farrakhan said.
“This is going to come to a head, and the Will of God will be carried out, which is that the Black and the Brown and the Red, we must go free in a land of our own; not under White supremacy but ruled under our own wisdom, knowledge, understanding and the guidance of God.”