American Flag and Rifle

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The Orlando tragedy shed light on how hate and terrorism can destroy innocent lives within a matter of seconds. The gunman who opened fire at Pulse nightclub should’ve never had the opportunity to get his hands on a weapon. It reveals a deeper issue of violence that has hindered America for decades.

While the death of 50 people (including the gunman) ranks as the deadliest act of domestic terrorism this century, it was not the deadliest act of violence in American history.

In 1921, a White mob called for the lynching of Dick Rowland, a Black man accused of assaulting a White woman in the Black Wall Street section of Tulsa, Oklahoma. A riot ensued, Black businesses were burned, and airplanes were used to firebomb Black Wall Street from the air. When the smoke finally cleared, 3,000 Blacks had been killed within a matter of 12 hours.

In 1919, Black sharecroppers were upset because their land was being illegally seized by White men. A group of White planters feared that Black sharecroppers would mobilize to attack. It was an untruth that led to the mass lynching of 237 Blacks.

In the summer of 1917, Whites feared that Blacks would take over the job market in East St. Louis. After several small attacks against Blacks, a rumor circulated that a Black man had murdered a White man. The rumor led to a race riot and the mass killing of over 150 Blacks.

In 1923, a rumor spread about Black man sexually assaulting a White woman in Rosewood, Florida. A White mob began searching for the Black man. Violence ensued and the Black community was burned to the ground.

America has a brutal history of violence and the recent attack in Orlando reminds us of this tradition. While we pay homage to the victims who lost their lives in this brutal attack, we must also remember how domestic terrorism was perpetuated on Black communities across the country.

A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

  • Johnny Cromwell

    2 more to add the Memphis riots of 1866 where 46 blacks killed, 75 injured, 100 robbed, 5 black women raped, 91 black homes burned, 8 black churches burned, 9 black schools burned. That happened in May of 1866. The New Orleans riots of 1866 followed in June of 1866…just as deadly.

  • Sh00pZ

    “ranks as the deadliest act of terrorism this century”

    Somebody needs to change that to “homegrown terrorism” or “gun-related terrorism” or something because September 11, 2001 had 60 times the victims.

    • Whiteguy

      The author clearly messed that one up.

  • Carrine


  • 7734real

    Before spreading “LIES OF THE DEADLIEST MASS SHOOTING IN U.S. HISTORY”, REMEMBER: Southern South Dakota , WOUNDED KNEE Massacre – 1890 with at least 150 Indians had been killed and 50 wounded. In comparison, army casualties were 25 killed and 39 wounded: The East ST Louis Massacre – 1917 with 200 – 700 deaths; Arkansas Massacre – 1919 with 854 deaths; Tulsa Massacre – 1921 with 300 -3000 deaths; Rosewood Massacre – 1923 with 150 deaths;

  • Jason

    Thank you for mentioning Tulsa. Tulsa is mentioned as a “race riot”. It wasn’t. It was a massacre of INNOCENT Black people based on jealousy and envy, and White Supremacists don’t want people to know anything about it. This is why Black people have to educate themselves and their children OUTSIDE of traditional institutions.

    • Whiteguy

      Educate yourself on black on black crime in all the democrat cities.

      • Tobias Monroe

        @disqus_whTbhH8jsb:disqus We’re educated on your ignorance as a racist

        • Whiteguy

          But not on black on black crime.

        • Whiteguy

          Oh the R word. So bold you are….not

      • Jason

        Deflect deflect. Anyway, you suspected White Supremacists always cry “Black on Black” crime, but what about your White on White serial and spree killers? There are many reasons for crime in the Black community, but dishonesty/deception keeps your ilk from mentioning those reasons.

        BTW – Whites commit more crime, but Blacks are prosecuted in greater numbers. I guess that is the power of Whiteness.

        • Whiteguy

          “BTW – Whites commit more crime, but Blacks are prosecuted in greater numbers”

          OH ok. Everybody in prison is innocent railroaded by the man.

          Talk about deflection…

          • Jason

            Not everyone, but a lot are. Do you need me to get started on this list:

            Ethan Couch – Affluenza Teen
            Brock Turner – Stanford Rapist
            George Zimmerman – Murderer of unarmed teen
            NUMEROUS Race Soldiers posing as cops – killing unarmed Blacks

            Many people who probably look like you beat the rap for crimes they should be locked away for everyday. Outside of O.J. – how many Black people have gotten off in court?

          • Whiteguy

            All you are doing is stretching.

            Ethan Couch….back in jail.
            Brock Turner…will do jail time and no white wants him to get out.
            Zimmerman had a trial and was acquitted. Even the feds could not find anything wrong.

            Your list fails to prove anything.

            I think the key is whites do not support other white criminals. We are not marching in the street over white trash. Blacks though will support criminal behavior.

          • Jason

            You guys support dirtbags all the time, and you can raise the money overnight. All the other suspected White supremacists are supported when you don’t speak out against their actions.

          • Whiteguy

            Same when blacks in the hood do not report info to the cops when thugs shoot children

          • Whiteguy

            How are those Baltimore trials going for ya? hahahahahaha

  • Whiteguy

    According to the wiki page 300 blacks were killed in the Rowland attack.???? Mot 3000.

  • Tithing Enforcer Dre

    That’s bad, Black Wall Street was a good thing. But you didn’t mention the 324,000 black people killed…..

    …on the streets by other black gang members, since 1980. All the other figures just pale in comaparison to nigga-on-nigga crime. So where’s the #BlackLivesMatter rioting over that fact? LOL