‘Our history has been so consciously suppressed,’ says historian John Whittington Franklin on America’s relationship with Black history


I see two targets: One, that each youngster and instructor within the state is aware of about this historical past. And that’s no imply feat. When the Oklahoma Metropolis bombing occurred, for instance, the state mentioned it was the “worst bombing in Oklahoma historical past.” We needed to remind them about 1921 and say, “No, it’s not. Sorry.” The media in Oklahoma had by no means even heard of it. In order that’s the very first thing. But additionally it’s fascinating that, as with lynchings, we all know who the victims are however we don’t know who the perpetrators are; their identities have been suppressed to this present day. Who dropped the turpentine bombs? Who owned the airplanes in 1921? We all know of 1 Black pilot along with his personal airplane in Tulsa. Who owned the opposite planes? How is it that I, as a scholar of the 18th and nineteenth century, can discover out who did issues in, say, 1736 or 1835, but out of the blue it’s 1921 and we’ve got this clean spot? I don’t imagine it. When journalists — White journalists — who tried to analyze this in 1971 for the fiftieth anniversary, they obtained loss of life threats, they usually had been instructed this was not price stirring up. There may be ongoing suppression of the data of historical past, and that must be resolved.

Huynh Nguyen

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