News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: America's Untold Story 1

Thursday, March 08, 2007

America's Untold Story 1

You know about ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia; you saw it in Rwanda; you see it taking shape in Iraq. Now read about how some states cleansed entire areas of African Americans.

From the History News Network blog:

I punched the Enter key and in a matter of seconds the program had completed its work. I opened the new file I had created and began to scroll the list of counties where there had been a black population collapse. It was a moment of shock. Page after page of counties scrolled by. I had expected four or five counties but I now had dozens. This could not be. I had made a mistake. I went back and checked the numbers. They were accurate. I downloaded data for more states from the University of Virginia and reran the program. The list grew. I started adding states outside the South and the list grew even longer. What had happened?

I made a list of four or five counties that seemed to be the most suspicious and went to the Library of Congress. By cross checking my list with the New York Times Index for the decade when each collapse occurred, I found the dates when there had been stories written about some of the counties. I mounted a microfilm reel and turned the crank. As I fiddled with the focus in the dark of the library’s microfilm room, a headline appeared: “ALL NEGROES DRIVEN FROM INDIANA TOWN.”

The seven-paragraph story was to the point. “Negroes began leaving this mining town early this afternoon, following the warning issued by white residents to be out of town by 7 o’clock to night...”

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