The More Things Change…


Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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11 Responses

  1. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I think they were calling them “race riots” in the 1920s, when it was generally more a matter of groups of whites burning black neighborhoods to the ground.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The proper term for this is a pogrom.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      Dude, that’s one of the reasons gun control was instituted back in the day. Can’t let those damn negros have guns. Then they could actually defend themselves when us white folks decided to lynch them.Report

      • Avatar Road Scholar says:


        I don’t know whether it goes back that far (it may very well, I just hadn’t seen it before) but the more recently vintaged set of laws were a conservative initiative in response to leftist radicals of the late sixties and early seventies. Groups like the Weather Underground, the Move, and the Symbionese Liberation Army. The Black Panthers in particular quite explicitly elected to arm themselves in self defense against white-on-black police brutality.

        Given the aphorism that history doesn’t repeat but it does rhyme, I sometimes ponder this history in light of more recent events.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        Are there any books on this? Because I’m reading a lot of newspapers from the 20s and 30s and I’ve found no articles on gun control. A lot on prohibition though.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Man, there are all sorts of contexts where we can say “some negroes got up a free fight with a number of whites”, yeah? Like in advance of the CRA, for example. Or after the Rodney King incident. Or all this current cop-on-black death-violence. Just a bunch of negroes gettin up a free fight!Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy says:

    It gets worse:

    “The origin of the trouble seems to have been as follows: In an ale house on Spruce-street, a party of men were drinking in the early part of the evening, when some colored men came in and called for drinks. The white men raised objection against the negroes being allowed to drink at the same bar with them, and a fight followed.

    The colored men were driven to their homes in the immediate neighborhood, where they were followed by the men from the bar-room. The blacks shut themselves in their houses and barricaded the doors. The white men following them up, attacked them in their intrenched position, and in some cases broke open the doors, maltreating the negroes inside. The negroes now took to the roofs of the houses, and, armed with shot guns and stones, fired upon the crowd below.

    The police were soon on the ground, but were utterly unable to quell the riot. The Mayor of Camden was sent for, and, reaching the scene late in the evening, be gathered together all the police he could muster, and got a number of citizens to act as special aids.

    The fire bells were rung — the firemen of Camden hurried to the spot, and the Mayor, after sending away a sufficient number of them to take home their apparatus, detailed the others to act as special policemen. Search was made for the rioters; the houses of the blacks were explored, and several of the persons who had fired the shots were captured.”Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Excellent follow-up! So now we know the full story: some negroes got uppity.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        Heh… I’m from NJ, though admittedly the other end of the state, but have been to Camden a couple of times so the topic interested me.

        What I liked about the article was that it seemed to be trying really hard to take an objective stance, yet still essentially listed an increasingly violent sequence of actions taken by the white folks, noted the violent response by the Black folks (after their non-violent attempts at deescalation failed), then called the whole thing a riot. Like, even not being explicitly racist back then was really really racist.Report

  4. Avatar Notme says:

    You guys missed the part of the news story that said that the whites were waving the confederate flag.Report