Michael McDowell: Tulsa racial pogrom resonates 100 years later

US Republicans still busy suppressing African American voters

A gathering of the Ku Klux Klan in rural Georgia in the US in the 1930s. Photograph: Charles Phelps Cushing/Getty Images

A gathering of the Ku Klux Klan in rural Georgia in the US in the 1930s. Photograph: Charles Phelps Cushing/Getty Images

While we remember events of 100 years ago which led to an independent Irish state, and while we are preparing to commemorate the disastrous civil war which followed, it is worthwhile to remember events which took place 100 years ago this week in Oklahoma in the United States. What is now known as the Tulsa massacre makes very hard reading even today. America in the aftermath of the first World War (a war decided in the ultimate by American intervention) was a nation convulsed by the darkest of struggles for racial supremacy.

People like me who remember the civil-rights movements of the late 1950s and early 1960s recall footage of Klansmen burning crosses in the deep south. The outcome of the struggle for civil rights led by Martin Luther King and ultimately by President Lyndon Johnson, seemed to be a vindication of good over evil. But what is not generally understood these days is the massive rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan which took place in the US in the aftermath of the first World War, documented by historian Thomas Pegram among others.

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.