Black Wall Street

1.png

Black Wall Street was considered one of the most wealthy African American communities in the US, founded in 1906, in Greenwood, (Tulsa) Oklahoma. 

 

A wealthy land-owner, O.W. Gurley moved to Tulsa and purchased 40 acres of land that he sold only to black settlers, his vision was to create a community sustained by black businesses and to inspire black entrepreneurs. He left Arkansas, believing black people would be set up for failure in the Jim Crow South. The land he purchased would be named Greenwood. 

 

By 1921 the community was hugely successful and flourished with roughly 10,00 residents who supported black owned businesses such as banks, restaurants, luxury shops, etc along with offices for lawyers and doctors. Tulsa was still racially segregated, meaning the community thrived. The community was so self-sustaining, it's been calculated that for every dollar spent in Greenwood, it was circulated at least 36 times in the same district. 

 

The area soon gained notoriety and the attention of jealous neighbouring white communities who resented the upscale lifestyle of African Americans in Greenwood. There was an uprising in the KKK, where lynchings became common practice across Tulsa and other major cities across the United States. 

 

With Racial tensions at their peak in 1921 an incident would ignite the Tulsa Race Massacre, when a 19 year old black shoe shiner (Dick Rowland) was accused of raping a 17 year old white woman. A group of 25 black men (ex-war veterans) arrived at Dick's courthouse to protect him from a mob of white men, leading to the Tulsa Race Massacre and the downfall of Black Wall Street.

The Uk compensation act

unnamed.png

The UK Government agreed to pay £20 million in 1837 (the equivalent of £20 billion in today's value) as compensation to slave owners under the UK Slave Compensation act of 1837.

 

The UK borrowed such a high level of money to compensate Slave owners that they only paid this off as recently as 2015. A sad irony is that many descendents of slaves living in the UK helped fund this payout through tax payments.  

 

Another sad truth is that not one penny went to any individual slave, rather the government paid 46,000 slave owners for the loss of their 'property' instead. Taxpayers would still be in the dark that loans were still being repaid as late as 2015 if someone from the Treasury Department hadn’t revealed this as a #FridayFact on their Twitter channel.

The UK prides itself of abolishing slavery many years before the US. However the UK has also done well to hide it's past. The British were pivotal in constructing the Atlantic Slave trade. Britain and Portugal accounted for 70% of all Africans that were transported to the Americas, with the UK being the most dominant between 1640 and 1807. 

3.1 million African people were transported to American and Caribbean British colonies, with only 2.7 million surviving the inhumane conditions on the ships. 

The Indian Partition

1.png

In August 1947, the British finally left India after 300 years. In the midst of strong political tension, Muhamed Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League's leader, began to campaign for a separate Musltim state, whilst Nehru (of the INC) called for a unified India. The subcontinent was partitioned into two independent nations, India (Hindu-majority) and Pakistan (Muslim-majority).

 

In July 1947, roughly one month before the British left India, they requested lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe to create the borders that would divide India and Pakistan. He had never visited the Indian subcontinent previously.

 

One of the biggest human migrations in history began, displacing millions of Muslims and Hindus who lived on the wrong side of the divide, with violent flashpoints taking place along the border. Communities who had co-existed for millenia attacked each other in large scale sectarian violence committing genocide which had never been seen before. Arson, forced conversions, mass abductions and sexual violence took place. Some 75,00 women were raped and many were disfigured or dismembered.  By 1948, as the great migration drew to a close, more than fifteen million people had been uprooted, and between one and two million were dead.

 

Today, relationships are still fraught between both countries. Kashmir remains a trigger point with both countries laying claim to this region, with multiple wars being fought. After over 70 years since the partition, well over one billion people are still well affected.

King Leopold II

1.png

King Leopold II presented himself as a Christian Missionary and Philanthropist to seize control of the Congo, in Africa. He managed to persuade local chiefs (almost all of them illiterate, to sign favourable treaties giving him power. He also doctored these treaties to further exercise control. 

He persuaded the United States and major Western powers to recognize a large territory of land (the size of the Congo) as his personal property under the guise of his philanthropy. He called this land, État Indépendant du Congo, the Congo Free State. It was the world's only private colony, labeling himself it's owner.

He made a fortune exploiting the land. He was originally focused on extracting ivory (a symbol of great wealth) before capitalizing on the automobile boom and it's need for rubber. 

He amassed his 19,00- strong army to force local women and children hostage, forcing men to sow rubber trees (which was a lengthy process) and to find wild rubber within his vast territory. As demand went up, so did the quota of rubber needed by the locals, which was a losing battle. He was known for chopping limbs of people who couldn't make the quota, forcing hundreds of thousands to be mutilated. This practice served as a warning to locals.  

He used forced labour to pillage the land. Many female hostages starved to death, and male rubber gatherers were worked to death. Hundreds of Thousands of local Congolese fled their villages to avoid being forced labourers. Tens of thousands of others were shot down in failed rebellions against the regime.

He was famed for cruel practices, for each bullet shot from the rebellion, a Congolese soldier of the Force Publique had to present to his white officer the severed hand of a rebel killed. Baskets of severed hands thus resulted from expeditions against rebels. If a soldier fired at someone and missed, or used a bullet to shoot game, he then sometimes cut off the hand of a living victim to be able to show it to his officer.

His practices were taken on by the French, German and Portuguese in their respective annexed African territories.  

Christopher Colombus

1.png

Columbus didn't discover America. People had been living there for millennia and the norse had settled in Newfoundland 500 years before. 

 

Columbus's mission was to find gold and slaves in the Caribbean. He travelled to the Caribbean with 17 ships and 1,200 men, going from island to island and taking the natives as captives. In 1495, Columbus and his men rounded up 1,500 Arawak men, women, and children to be sold in Spain. Columbus later wrote: "Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold."

 

He sold girls as young as nine into sexual slavery.

 

Roughly 40,00 natives commited mass suicide due to Columbus's harsh treatment. Arawaks fed cassava poison to their infants. In two years half of the 250,000 natives in Haiti were dead, through torture, murder, suicide and mutilation. By 1550, only 500 native Arawaks remained and by 1650, they were wiped out from the Island.