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As news comes of out Kenosha that police & white vigilantes worked together to attack Black Lives Matter protesters, understand that white supremacists have used this tactic to undermine Black freedom since slavery. (thread)
White elites used ads & laws like the Fugitive Slave Act to transform all white Americans into slave catchers. White locals monitored Black behavior & detained anyone they deemed "suspicious."
Practices like these also allowed white people to kidnap FREE Black Americans into slavery, most famously in the case of Solomon Northup (12 Yrs a Slave). Historians have shown this to be a more common danger than most realize.
During emancipation (1862-1865), the Army itself often served this function of monitoring Black movement & preventing Black freedom as a "plantation police."
After the 13th Amendment formally ended slavery, white police & vigilantes went into overdrive to prevent Black freedom. On July 30, 1866, they massacred supporters of Black suffrage in New Orleans.
That attack came just after a similar attack in Memphis on May 1, 1866 where white cops & vigilantes killed Black Army veterans & their families for having worn their uniforms in public.
White supremacist attacks like these brought an end to Reconstruction, the country's attempt to establish Black citizenship & equal rights. White elites carried out a genocide, as in the pictured Colfax Massacre, on Black office-holders & their families.
White officials & their vigilante allies made it painfully clear that Black Americans who dared to vote or complain were as good as dead.
When white elites wanted Black Americans to help expand the empire in 1898, they called bullshit:
"We want to put a stop to lynch law, the butchering of our people like hogs, burning our houses, shooting our wives and children and raping our daughters and mothers."
In fact, the famous Black communist intellectual C.L.R. James made almost exactly the same argument 40 years later against Black support for WWII. The system Black recruits had protested in 1898 remained fully intact. archive.org/details/WhyNeg…
In the intervening years, white cops & vigilantes had joined hands to spill Black blood across the country from Chicago to D.C. & everywhere in between during Red Summer. Their crime? Wearing the U.S. uniform in France during WWI.
John Lewis encountered this same alliance between white officials & vigilantes that left him bloodied & countless other Black revolutionaries like Medgar Evers & Dr. King martyred.
The cooperation between white cops & vigilantes continues to shape the lives of Black Americans by design. Under slavery, white elites paid out benefits to cops & vigilantes to do their dirty work. This same incentive remains fundamentally intact.
White cops, guards, lawyers, judges, lawmakers etc. get paid to administer the carceral state. But white communities also benefit from the theft of resources & opportunities from predominantly Black schools & communities.
We still see active collaboration between white cops & vigilantes like that at the Greensboro Massacre or in Portland or C-Ville or Kenosha bc of these literal investments in white power. activisthistory.com/2017/10/13/whi…
These investments in white power are inseparable from racial oppression & must be destroyed to facilitate Black liberation & equality. /end
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