58. 1921: The Tulsa Race Riots
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods was predominantly black. Over Memorial Day weekend in 1921, a young black man was arrested after being accused of raping a white woman. The black community feared that he would be lynched and went to the police station to protect him. It led to a confrontation between blacks and whites, and shots were fired. Thousands of whites ran through black neighborhoods killing people, and burning and looting stores and homes. Apparently, some of the police joined in the white mob, and burning balls of turpentine were dropped from the sky from private planes. The Oklahoma Department of Vital Statistics claimed 36 deaths, though historians and the Red Cross say there were as many as 300. The riots were never discussed academically until 1946, in a master’s thesis. In 1996, the riot was investigated to produce a historical account.
57. 1942: Japanese Internment Camps
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were incarcerated in internment camps. Those who were as little as 1/16 Japanese and even infants who were orphaned, that had ‘one drop of Japanese blood were sent to the camps. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the incarcerations, and nearly 130,000 Japanese Americans were relocated, forcible, in the Spring of 1942. It wasn’t until 1998 that Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act; it offered $1.2 billion in reparations to the Japanese American community – $20,000 per detainee.