Ad Spot

Editorial: Remember Greenwood? I didn’t 

I’ve heard and seen enough about the Tulsa race riot of 1921.

If I had heard of it before this year, it didn’t make a wrinkle on my feeble brain. With the goings on in this crazy world in recent years, I think my brain may be all wrinkled out.

How far have we come since 1921 as far as racial justice?

Not very far, really.

Not trying to be woke (according to Webster’s, “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues, especially issues of racial and social justice) here, or maybe I am, but we are still way too prejudiced. It seems we fear what is not like us, and there may be some historical references to back that feeling, as well. For as long as there has been man, it seems we want to fight with people who are different than we are. Different color. Different nationality. Different ideologies. Different religion. Different school. Different neighborhood. You name it; if it’s different than us, we don’t like it.

Why was there even a Black Wall Street in Greenwood in 1921? It had been over 50 years since African Americans had been declared free, so shouldn’t there have been less segregation, not more?

That’s not the way it worked.

In the years leading up to 1921 and beyond, black people became more educated. Black people began taking jobs that once only whites had held. Black people began standing up for their rights they thought had been granted to them in 1865.

At the same time, the KKK was making a resurgence. And statues of Robert E. Lee riding triumphantly atop his horse started popping up in front of courthouses all over. The reason? To intimidate black people. Why weren’t they erected just after the Civil War, when many statues and monuments honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their cause were erected?

The reason is simple. White men still controlled the government. Black men were becoming more and more successful. The white men (and women, the Daughters of the Confederacy were behind many of those statues), got scared, and did what they could to intimidate the black man into submission.

Unfortunately, in too many cases such as Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood, it worked. It seems the black men in Greenwood didn’t trust the white men in government. And those white men didn’t trust the black man, either. It all started over two teenagers in an elevator. The girl was white. The boy was black. She made accusations. He denied them, but was arrested. A white lynch mob was formed. A black mob formed to stop that lynching. The result was the annihilation of the black neighborhood.

It shouldn’t have mattered the color of the skin of either of those two teenagers.

The result is what we’ve been bombarded on television news with for the past couple of weeks. I agree that it’s a story worth remembering, but the amount of coverage it has received seems a bit overboard. And as news outlets do these days, these reporters spill forth with their opinions at every chance. Yes, racism is bad. We already know that.

Think about it. Enslaved people of color were set free in 1865. It was more than 100 years later that our governments officially recognized that fact.

Laws were changed, as they should have been. The laws were changed so that everyone would be treated fairly. What those laws didn’t do was change what’s in people’s hearts and minds. We’ll need a different kind of revival for that.

Changing laws again to favor one race over another, or one religion over another, is not what America is all about. We’ve already done that. We’re supposed to be free here, remember? We’re also supposed to respect that freedom.

What looks like an abomination to you may look like freedom to someone else.

To quote Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?’

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise Record.

Local News

Clemmons residents unified in opposition to multi-use event center proposed at Tanglewood Park

Local News

Blotter for the week of Aug. 5

Local News

McHenry to visit Forsyth County

Local News

Masks required at all county facilities beginning Aug. 2

Local News

COVID-19 vaccination to be offered at Bowman Gray Stadium and other community venues  

Local News

Community meeting on the proposed multi-use event center at Tanglewood Park

Local News

Novant Health postpones Wilmington, Winston-Salem festivals as COVID-19 cases rise, vaccination rates remain stagnant

Local News

Individuals should wear masks indoors due to spread of COVID-19 

Local News

WS/FCS approves mask requirement for first quarter of 2021-2022 school year

Local News

Single tickets for Winston-Salem Symphony 2021–22 season on sale Aug. 2

Local News

Salem Band to perform outdoor concert on Aug. 10

News

Winston-Salem Open announces 2021 playing field

Local News

‘Perfect Fit’: Bobby Ogburn’s family gets historic marker for Peter and Comfort Clemmons House along with a new owner

Local News

Couriering Clemmons — This week in 1984

Local News

Local students honored — July 29

Local News

Lewisville Branch Library events for August

News Main

Four students finish high school sports careers in All-Star games

Local News

Harmony Grove vacation Bible school

Local News

New Direction for Women Who Care About Community

Local News

Your Neighbor: Meet Dr. Jamie Lunsford

Local News

Clemmons seeks answers on event center at Tanglewood

Local News

Triad Minority & Women’s Business Expo: One event, three locations

Local News

Forsyth County to hold community meetings on Tanglewood Event Center project 

Local News

Blotter for the week of July 29