tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 4, 2022 8:00am-9:01am PDT
jackson makes history monday, becoming the first black female justice to ever hear a supreme court case. as public support of the conservative court has fallen to a record low, justices are major cases this term on affirmative action, voting rights, and online speech. we will speak with elie mystal. then we look at the french colony of burkina faso, which has just seen its second military coup this year. and we go back more than a century to look at the elaine massacre of 1919 when white mobs
in arkansas killed over 200 black residents in one of the worst racial massacres in u.s. history. >> they killed so many black people tt the blood ran through the streets like water. >> my grandmother stood on the railroad tracks. dead bodies lying all around the field. amy: we will speak to the historian paul ortiz and julia wright, the daughter of richard wright who was from elaine, arkansas. his uncle was lynched in 1916. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy is formally ruling out direct peace talks with vladimir
putin after the kremlin declared it had annexed four ukrainian territory seized by russia's military. earlier today, zelenskyy signed a decree stating talks with who never ukraine's fate would be "impossible" adding "we are ready for dialogue with russia but was another president russia." this comes as ukraine's military continues to climb benefield victories. in the east, they have advanced for the russian held luhansk region after its troops recaptured the city of lyman saturday. meanwhile, ukrainian forces reportedly took territories among the river in the south on monday. in afghanistan, the death toll in last week's attack on an educational center in kabul has risen to 53, with more than 110 people injured. most of the victims were young women and girls. on friday, suicide bomber struck inside the building as hundreds of students studied for a university entrance exam. it was the latest attack on the minority hazara community, which has repeatedly been targeted by the isis-k militant group.
over the weekend, afghan women took to the streets of kabul and other cities to protest the killings. in response, taliban soldiers fired warning shots over the protesters' heads, smashed some of their cell phones, beat them, cursed at them, and forced them to disperse. this is asya asghari, the older sister of um al-banin, one of the students killed in friday's bomb attack. >> we are really worried. it is hard for us. all of the schools are closed to girls. an unfortunate incident happened. several were muered who are allike members of our family and serve to protect us in the educational center. it is very painful but we will continue with the lessons and we will never give up or stop. amy: iran's supreme leader has made his first public comments about the death of mahsa amini,
the 22-year-old iranian-kurdish woman who died after she was detained by iran's so-called morality police for allegedly wearing her head scarf improperly. speaking to military cadets at a graduation ceremony in tehran, ayatollah ali khamenei on monday labeled nationwide protests that have broken out over amini's killing as riots. he blamed the united states and israel for organizing them. >> i say this clearly, these riots and insecurity's were designed by america and the usurping and fake zionist regime, they have sat down and planned this. they have planned this. and those who take their salaries,'s some traders iranians abroad have helped them. amy: on monday, president biden said he was gravely concerned about the intensifying violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, while promising to impose further costs on iran. on monday, canada announced new sanctions against senior iranian officials, while germany and other european countries submitted more than a dozen proposals for new e.u. sanctions
on iran. mass protests in haiti are continuing for a seventh week to demand the resignation of the u.s.-backed prime minister ariel henry and to condemn rising fuel prices. >> we are in the streets to say we cannot breathe because of the high cost-of-living. we are here to say we want our dollars. we are in the streets to say we do not accept the increasing price of fuel because fuel is a significant product. the price of all products will triple or increase fivefold as long as prime ministerhenri does not give up power, we will continue to fight. the ongoing protests in haiti have shut down many parts of the country. meanwhile, haitian authorities have announced eight people have died from cholera, the first cholera deaths in haiti in three years. a cholera outbreak a decade ago killed over 10,000 people in haiti. in somalia, at least 20 people were killed monday in a pair of car bomb attacks claimed by al-shabaab fighters. the militant group claimed its
attacks in the central city of beledweyne killed somali government officials and soldiers. the violence came after the u.s. military said it killed the leader of al-shabaab in an air strike on saturday. u.s. africa command says its initial assessment showed abdullahi nadir was killed, while no civilians were injured in the strike 230 miles southwest of the capital mogadishu. this comes after the pentagon claimed in an annual report published last week that u.s. forces killed only 12 noncombatants in 2021. the war monitoring group airwars accused the pentagon of vastly under-counting civilian deaths, noting it documented up to 25 civilians killed by the u.s. last year in syria alone. in the occupied west bank, israeli soldiers shot and killed two palestinia and injur a third monday as they drove their car near a checkpoint in the outside the city of ramallah. israel's military accused the young men of plotting to carry out a car-ramming attack.
the family of e men dispute israel's account, saying the soldiers opened fire on their vehicle and killed them in cold blood. this comes as the eu-israel association council is holding its first meeting in a decade today. ahead of the talks, amnesty international said in a statement -- "israel is committing the crime of apartheid against palestinians. this is a crime against humanity requiring the eu to hold israel's leaders to account, and to ensure it in no way supports their apartheid system. any cooperation must focus on dismantling israel's cruel system of oppression and domination." meanwhile, palestinian leaders are condemning a proposal by britain's new prime minister liz truss to move the united kingdom's embassy from tel aviv to jerusalem. so far, the u.s. is virtually alone among nations in recognizing jerusalem as israel's capital after then-president trump relocated the u.s. embassy there in 2018. palestinian prime minister mohammad shtayyeh spoke from
ramallah on monday. >> any change in the status quo in jerusalem would undermine the two state solution and will be considered a tacit recognition at the city's annexation to israel, which will encourage the occupying state and the settlers radical groups to continue their aggression toward our people going toward the islamic and christian holy sites of jerusalem. amy: japan's government has condemned north korea's military after it test-fired a ballistic miile over the island of hokkaido, triggering an emergency alert for 5 million residents. the missile reportedly flew for nearly 3000 miles before crashing into the pacific far to the east of japan, which would make it north korea's longest test flight of a missile to date. this comes after japan and south korea joined trilateral, u.s.-led naval war games last week in waters off the korean peninsula. president biden visited puerto rico on monday, where he pledged u.s. disaster relief, two weeks after hurricane fiona collapsed
the island's electrical grid with high winds, storm surge, and heavy flooding. speaking from the port of ponce on puerto rico's southern coast, biden pledged to send every single dollar promised to puerto rico bthe federal government. pres. biden: we know the climate crisis and more extreme weather are going to continue to hit this island and hit the united states overall. as we rebuild, we have to ensure we build it to last, particularly focused on the power grid. amy: biden pledged $60 million in additional funding to shore up puerto rico's levees, fortify flood walls, and create a new flood warning system. his pledge came as fema administrator deanne criswell said the cost of repairing puerto rico's electrical grid would require billions of dollars. tomorrow, biden will tour parts of florida devastated by hurricane ian. the storm's death toll has topped 100, with search and rescue crews on warning they're likely to uncover more bodies in hard-hit parts of florida's gulf
coast in the coming days. the university of idaho has warned its employees not to discuss contraception with students or to provide reproductive health counseling at the risk of being fired and charged with a felony. since the supreme court's ruling in june that overturned federal abortion rights under roe v. wade, idaho has seen nearly all abortions outlawed under a so-called trigger-law passed in 2019. last week the university's general counsel wrote in an email to facty and staff that officials will also enforce a law dating back to 1867, when idaho was a territory, making it a crime to advertise abortion services and birth control. civil liberties groups have condemned the guidance as a violation of free speech on campus. adam steinbaugh is an attorney with the foundation for individual rights and expression. >> the first amendment protects the rights of university faculty and public universities and colleges to discuss matters in
class thatre relevant to the class. the first amendment protects that and if you are telling them that if they are seen to promote abortion in their class, they could wind up in handcuffs? that is a first amendment problem. a mako and in -- amy: and in sports news, a yearlong independent investigation has documented systemic abuse of players at all levels of women's soccer, including the national women's soccer league. the lead investigator was former sally yates who briefly served as the acting u.s. attorney general. in a statement, yates said -- "our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct, verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct, had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches and victims." yates went on to say -- "abuse in the nwsl is rooted in a deeper culture in women's soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players." the independent investigation comes a year after two coaches
in the national women's soccer league were fired over abuse allegations. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the r and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the u.s. supreme court opened its new term monday with a historic first as justice ketanji brown jackson became the first black female justice to ever hear a supreme court case. president biden nominated jackson after stephen breyer announced his retirement. on friday, justice ketanji brown jackson spoke at the library of congress ahead of her first day on the court. >> as i reflect on my own recent experiences being appointed as the first black woman to serve on the supreme court, it is that, more than anything, that i have witnessed. people from all walks of life approached me with what i can
only describe as a profound sense of pride. and what feels to me like renewed ownership. i can see it in their eyes. i can hear it in their voices. they stare at me as if to say, look at what we've done. [applause] they say, this is what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it. they may not use those words, but i get the message. they are calling on the ancestors, harkening back to history, and claiming their stake at last. they are saying to me in essence, you go, girl.
[laughter] [applause] they are saying, invisible no more. we see you and we are with you. amy: justice ketanji brown jackson speaking friday. she joins the supreme court at a time when conservatives hold a 6 to 3 majority and public support of the court is at an all-time low. a recent gallup poll shows just 25% of the country has "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in the supreme court. in its last term, the conservative court overturned roe v. wade and expanded gun rights in the united states. the court will be hearing major cases this term on affirmative action, voting rights, and online speech, and more. to talk more about what's ahead for the court and the
significance of the latest justice on the court, elie mystal, the nation's justice correspondent. author of the best-selling book "allow me to retort: a black guy's guide to the constitution." his recent article "the supreme , court returns on monday, stronger and more terrible than ever." welcome back to democracy now! let's start with this historic first. let's start with justice ketanji brown jackson. talk about the significance of this newest justice and what she faces on this docket. >> good morning. thank you for having me. ketanji brown jackson is great. her first day was yesterday. she already was in the asking pertinent and probative questions. trying to get comfortable in her new job. i think she's going to be a great justice. i think she's going to have a great career ahead of her
writing to sense. because she is clearly in the minority on that court and the things that are coming down the pike are terrifying and horrible and all she will be able to do is to her questioning and oral arguments and through her writing, all she will be able to do is highlight the extremism of the conservative majority voting bloc on the supreme court. amy: let's talk about affirmative action and voting rights. the oral arguments will be heard tomorrow. talk about these two cases and how they could change this country. >> the voting rights, that case is today. it is at 11:00. the first kind of case out of the docket here is a case that involves a gerrymandered district in alabama. they had two majority districts
-- majority minority districts, now only one. what will likely come down is yet another attack on sec. 2 of the voting rights act. when the constitution was written by white males, five of the current justices on the supreme court were not allowed to vote. these laws have gone through a constitutional amendment, we've had a war try to establish some idea universal coverage. at that idea of universal suffrage did not become a reality for a large minority of americans until the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. it is that act that chief justice john roberts has been an enemy of for his entire career. one of the first things we will see of this term is yet another
roberts-led attack on the idea of universal coverage. later this month we will hear our cases on affirmative action. republicans and clarence thomas have been trying to kill affirmative action for as long as i have been alive. this term, this october they will do it. they were here cases in october that will allow them to do it and they will finally end affirmative action. i think any hope they would find some way to keep the idea of affirmative action alive, when they overtook -- went out the window when they overturned roe v. wade. will we have a court that is going to overturn 50 years of precedents and reduce women to the status -- it is not hard to overturn another 50 years of precedents and make college omission safe for mediocre white male subjects, which is what
they're going to do. amy:, become the supreme court heard o oral arguments in the ce of sackett vs. epa. the case challenges the clean water act and the federal government's ability to protect and preserve wetlands. during oral arguments justice , ketanji brown jackson question a lawyer for the family which sued the epa. let's listen. >> why is it your conception of this does not relate in any way to congress' primary objective? do you dispute the primary objective stated in the statute 1251 is that congress cared about making sure the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation's waters was protected? >> justice jackson, we don't dispute that. however, no statute pursues its
objective at all costs. that limitations in the statute are as much part of the purpose as its affirmative authorization. >> so why didn't congress say this immediately? if they were trying to achieve something different than what the regulations had said about adjacency, if they were balancing their concerns about protecting the integrity of the navigable waters with the property interests in the states rights to control it, why didn't they say immediately adjacent in terms of the wetlands coverage? amy: that t is justice ketanji brown jackson as she spoke in the oral arguments of the first case that she is considering in the supreme court come as a supreme court justice. elie mystal, put it into lay tes, what this case is. >> i left the question you played because a lot of your viewers understand or affirm
what originalism is, the idea that when in doubt, when there is ambiguity we should go back to the original intentions of the white male exclusively founding fathers and think about what they might have wanted back in the 18th century, right? ketanji brown jackson' question, she does at the other way. what is the alternative to originalism? what justice jackson asked. she is looking at what congress wanted. we should interpret laws, interpret ambiguity and laws, not based on what some long dead white people wanted, we should interpret laws based on what the law was intended to do by t people around, many of whom are still alive. the clean water act, she is thinking, what does congress what the clean water act to do not what did madison perhaps want the clean water acto do back at a time when he did not
understand you could not drink less? just the framing of the question, the framing of her question in and of itself is a response and a resistance to the conservative majority on the court. unfortunately, it is a resistance to the conservative majority on the court and t decision in this case when it comes down will probably once again harken back to long dead white man instead of our modern issues with climate chge. ain, the court already show its hand on that last term when it eviscerated the clean air act and congress's ability to regulate under it. amy: before we go, if you think give us a preview of the cases involving native american families and lgbtq rights? >> these are critical cases coming up later in this term. for native american families, it is a direct challenge to the indian child welfare act that has been drummed up by
conservatives who want to adopt native children. the indian child welfare act says it is the tribe is to determine what happens to the children if their birth parents cannot care for them. this makes sense if you understand trouble nations and sovereign entities. but if you think like a republic it you understand that as exploitable resources, then you get to where we have white parents who want to adopt native children over the objection of their tribes, arguing being prevented from adopting the state of children is racism against white people -- which is ridiculous answer. the final case you talke about also critically important is -- amy: lgbtq writes.
clubs with a woman in colorado who runs a graphic design store who wants to post on her website for weddings that she will not graphically design weddings of same-sex marriage evite pages or whatever she does. that is a violation of colorado's into discrimination law. but this woman is climbing she has a right to be bigoted and her public service, again, given the previous supreme court attacks on the rights of non-hetero white man, i think that case is also likely to come down 6-3 in favor of the bigotry this woman proposes. amy: elie mystal, we will come back to you as we look at the supreme court term. the nation's justice correspondent and author of the best-selling book "allow me to retort: a black guy's guide to the constitution." we will link to your article "the supreme court returns on monday, stronger and more terrible than ever." next up, we look at the former french colony of burkina faso,
amy: "les vautours" by abdoulaye cissé. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. for the second time this year, a military coup has occurred in the african nation of burkina faso. a group of army officers led by captain ibrahim traoré seized power on friday, ousting another military officer, lieutenant colonel paul-henri damiba, who had led the country since a coup in january. on saturday, protesters attacked the french embassy where some had believed the ousted president was hiding. some supporters of friday's coup flew russian flags in the streets while calling for moscow to help burkina faso confront an ongoing jihadist insurgency that began in 2015.
we are joined now by two guests. corinne dufka is the sahel director for human rights watch. and aziz fall is the coordinator for the international campaign justice for sankara, which has campaigned for years to uncover the truth behind the 1987 assassination of thomas sankara who led burkino faso from 1983 to 1987. we welcome you both to democracy now! let's first get to montréal where we are joined by aziz fall . you can talk about what is happening in burkina faso right now, why have there been two coups in the last year? >> truly, this is the advertising of blaise compaoré. a response to the internal struggle within the army. this is actually a positive thing. president paul-henri damiba committed any bad political maneuvers and divide the
justices to which has condemned president blaise compaoré, the main killers of sankara. amy: i'm going to ask you to step back because as you make all of these references, i think will be most coupled to give us a history in nutshell of burkina faso so we can understand who thomas sankara were. >> until 1980's, -- when blaise compaoré and sankara took power, change of the mode of production. amazing achievement. he was killed --
blaise compaoré ran the country for three decades. mining mainly gold and the beginning of the geopolitical warfare in the region after what happened in tripoli, libya. from there spreading -- started jihadist cells which are blossoming amy: amy:. and the significance?,, you spent any years looking for justice and accountability in the assassination of sankara. if you can talk about him and his significce, not only in burkina faso, but in africa? >> i think he symbolize for most african youth the hope of a
sovereign africa. this is why -- so important. created a landmark history. he is an icon. this is like a swe revenge the youth are using his image to gain more sovereignty. this issue is also important, you know, the whole region is not stabilized. you have 2 billion people who have been displaced in the region. the trail opens a kind of wound in the country by actually undermining the role of france. this is where the whole geopolitical landscape is changing. not just -- the new generation of leaders who learn from him are trying to do the same. ibrahim traore and what was try to rectify what paul-henri
damiba did by -- under the guise of reconciliation, bring over president blaise compaoré despite his condemnation in burkina faso. the lower officers ranks -- but also the political maneuvers of the ivory coast and france create this coup d'état. and the situation as we witness it is interesting in away because they want to speed the process toward democratic transition with civilians taking power before 2020 four. this probably is reducing the pressure in the embargo of the african union and the regional organization in burkina faso today. amy: corinne dufka, you are the sahel director for human rights watch. if you can talk about the role -- well, talk about these last
two coups and then the role of the united states and military training, their connection to those involved with these coups. apparently, the former president who come to power in a coup paul-henri damiba left on sunday. >> burkina faso since at least 2015 is experiencing a compl and devastating crisis which is both security because of the presence and increasing presence in -- of armed linked to al qaeda. the humanitarian catastrophe and then of course the political crisis which has been intensified by the these two coups in the last year. estimated to be 40% of their territory to these groups who are slaughtering people, raping women, and undermining their
ability to farm. on the other hand, the security forces have engaged in illegal counterterrorism strategy -- a lethal counterterrorism strategy and executed hundreds of terrorism suspects. people are beside themselves, including the security forces. in january, pledging to address -- rapidly deteriorating security situation on account of the armed diplomat and he was unable to do that through the expense that i think this is the primary reason for the coup d'état. now, yes, paul-henri damiba i believe was trained by the u.s. if i'm not mistaken but was similarly trained by numerous other actors. burkina faso is a very proud country and have largely try to address counterterrorism threat on their own.
in many ways, they have resisted the presidents on their territory of other countries. the united states was engaged in training the military, the french, and others as well. i see this primarily as a burkina problem. the fastest growing area for armed diplomats to activity pretty much in the world. situated between mali which has been battling these armed linked to the islamic sta in al qaeda. it is a complex situation. situated within -- there is a call for the people of burkina bay come as my colleague mentioned, speaking just now, 10% of the population, 2 milon out of 20 million people are just laced on account of security -- are displaced on account of this insecurity. amy: talk about why they would be holding russian flags and calling for assistance from moscow. >> we're in a bit of a
geopolitical realignment with respect to military aid where the russian back group has over the last year gone into mali. there are hundreds of them in the country and it coincided with a serious deterioration of relationship with the french. the french did make some mistakes with respect to managing military engagement in mali. mali is engaged -- has engaged these russian trainers. i myself documented a massacre by the joint forces with the mali -- russian back trainers of 300 people in march of this your. i think people are beside themselves because of this growing and lethal threat that
has taken root in the country. i think they're looking to russia as france backed out of mali. i'm not convinced the burkina are going to welcome the russians in. we will see. but i think it is a reflection of their growing fear. remember, there are hundreds of burkina based secretive forces who have lost lives as well. amy: what is human rights: four in burkina faso? >> we don't take a position on mercenaries or coups. we look at the human rights dynamics. we call on the two leaders to restore rights and democracy but also for those engaged in counterterrorism operations to ensure the response is grounded in human rights because if they don't do that, it only pushes more and more people into the hands of the armed islamists who
are adept and very clever at exporting all kinds of fissus -- economic, ethnic, political, and so on to garner new recruits. amy: aziz fall, if you could address the attack on the french embassy, if you can talk about the history of france in burkina faso? >> well, i think truly this is not -- the united states and france -- despite what my colleague is saying. will have to look at the geopolitical problems that are in that region. people are outraged the role of france but also the role of the united states. and away, people want to change the landscape. i think president macron sankey
would declassify the documents -- saying he would declassify the documents and changes strategy, were not very convincing. same situation that with people trying to imitate what is happening -- if some of your viewers can watch -- this was 12 years ago and explaining how the spreading of the geopolitical -- many organizations like amnesty international have to look at the big picture, the role of china, the role of india, the position of the imperialist forces on the ground. the people of mali and burkina
faso and the rest. having said that -- we have to have an introspection and look at it in order to have a new momentum that gives the burkina people -- these are very proud people who are with very little means to counter the geopolitical tide beyond the scope of their capacity. amy: finally, professor paul, earlier this year the intercept reported u.s. trade officers have attempted at least nine coups and succeeded in at lst eight across five west african countries since 2008, including burkina faso three times, guinea, mali three times, mauritania, and the gambia. if you can say what you think the u.s. should be doing or not doing in africa?
and finally, how did thomas sankara die? >> thomas sankara died in an international plot that started with smuggling in libya. blaise compaoré and fred's word the mastermind of that coup. i think it was revealein the trial how the whole thing happened and we are witnessing and hoping -- commemorative date october 15, go to new york and washington come asking for declassify documents showing the involvemenof those people who were in the plot. having said that, it is true united states can change its policy, defend itself from the monroe doctrine. the world does not belong to the
united states. i think we have to respect african sovereignty. we have to listen to the african position. once we have that, if we have a different position on how the former 20th-century cannot repeat itself in the 21st century, that i think the united states will change its policy. no one is denying the united states. they have, geopolitical power. but people in africa look for a multipolar system. they look for more balance on impunity cases. they look for international order. in that regard, the people of america, i if they have learned what is happening on the ground, will defend themselves from the pentagon's policies. i think it is important for the new 21 century to look at this achievement and to respect also
african sovereignty. amy: aziz fall, thank you for being with us, coordinator for the international campaign justice for sankara. and corinne dufka is the sah director for human rights watch. i hear you're leaving human rights watch. all the best in your next endeavor. coming up, we go back more than a century in the united states to look at the elaine massacre of 1919 when white mobs in arkansas killed over 200 african-americans in one of the worst racial massacres in u.s. history. stay with us. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. this past weekend marked the 103rd anniversary of one of the worst racial massacres in united states history. it took place in elaine, arkansas. before the massacre, elaine was home to richard wright, who became one of the most famous black writers in the united states, known for his acclaimed novel "native son" and his
memoir "black boy," in which he describes how his uncle silas hoskins was lynched in 1916 near elaine by white people who wanted his business. richard wright was nine years old when he and his family were forced to flee. he wrote -- "there was only silence, quiet weeping, whispers and fears. uncle hoskins had simply been plucked from our midst and we, figuratively, had fallen on our faces to avoid looking into that white-hot face of terror that we knew loomed somewhere above us. this was as close as white terror had ever come to me and my mind reeled. why had we not fought back, i asked my mother, and the fear that was in her made her slap me into silence." does the words of richard wright . he was describing a true story. three years later on september 30, 1919, two white men were killed when guards stopped them from breaking into a meeting of black sharecroppers from the
area who wanted to demand fair payments for their crops with the progressive farmers and household union of america. mobs of white people responded in elaine, arkansas with three days of anti-black violence, backed by hundreds of u.s. soldiers. historians estimate hundreds of black people were killed, and much of their land was stolen. the anti-lynching journalist ida b. wells investigated the 1919 elaine massacre, and wrote -- "negros were in a fair way to become independent and it was not to the interest of white landowners to let them do so." this is elaine, arkansas, resident charlie mcclain. >> a couple of years before the massacre, the price of cotton i think was seven cents a pound at one point, it was $.14 a pound. another year or 2 -- it shot up almost a dollar a pound.
when things started moving, from a sharecroppers perspective, the way they were treating it in terms of yield your crop and you come back and you owe them. you've done all this work. they did it for decades. that is the way that it was. finally, they got wise to it and said, ok, if you are not going to pay us for what we are worth, what we feel this is worth, we are going to get a lawyer and sue you and start taking our cotton everywhere else. by the time september 30 happened and they were in that church, it was already a done deal. it was already a powder keg. the excuse -- the excuse they needed to quell what they call a
black rebellion was an excuse for them to go and massacre people. amy: that is charlie mcclain. earlier this year, children of the descendants of the 1919 black massacre in elaine, arkansas, gathered memorial soil from where richard wright's uncle silas hoskins was thought to have been lynched near elaine and brought it in august to the national memorial for peace and justice, the national lynching memorial, in montgomery, alabama, where founder bryan stevenson personally received the jar of memorial il. >> he said, silas hoskins of elaine, arkansas, 1916. this is a significant one because silas hoskins was the uncle of richard wright, the very famous author, who wrote amazing books.
richard wright talked about what happened to his uncle and that is how we know his stories. and because you have these two jars, we will be able to put them in our exhibit and i'm really grateful for that. so if you will turn that over, i will take it and we will put this in our museum. in the next time you come, you'll see the words -- thank you, thank you. amy: for more, we are joined by julia wright, the daughter of the literary giant richard wright. and by paul ortiz, professor of history and director of the samuel proctor oral history program at the university of florida. they were both part of symposium this weekend hosted by the elaine legacy center and the richard wright civil rights center on the 103rd anniversary of the elaine massacre. we welcome you both to democracy now! julia wright, let's begin with you. the significance of what took place? you have referred to your uncle
hoskins, your great uncle hoskins, richard wright's uncle, as the black canary in the coal mine. he was killed three years before the massacre. take it from there. >> thank you for having me again, amy yes, this has been so moving. this has been ten two years. i wasn't sensitive to silas hoskins for a long time. it took athereading of "black boy" after george floyd was murdered for me to read it through the lens of silas hoskins' lynching. two lynchings a separated by
so many ars an yet s similar. reading "black boy" through that lens was chilling. and i realized then how heavily silas hoskins wade ony father throughout his life - the unchecking -- lynching of silas hoskins, burning thread that can be drawn through pctically all his works from uncle tom's children where silas is lynched in fac to the long dream at the end of his life where in a town in mississippi, there's also a story of lynching.
incredibly, my father never spoke about lynchings to m he left me to discover that asct of what is called the american nightre, by myself. and i thank him foit because i think he was wise. he realized i was not prepared for it. he waited until 1959 when his friend martin luther king visited him in paris on his way to india, and spent -- they ent the day together. nobo knows what they talked about because they closed the office doors and they talk and they talked and they talked. but at one point, my father called me -- i was 17 years old -- and he introduced me to this
small light-skinned man. and he looked so miliar to me. i could not place him. and myather said, "this is martin's working, jr.." and my father turned to mark luther king and said, "martin, i want you to do what we spoke about." and martin open his shirt and showed me the recent scaof his abbing. and all my father said to me that i can remember is, "thiis what happens to us, julia, when we fig for our rights." martin remained silent. silence is something that maybe
-- there's a lot to say about black sence. amy: of course, martin luther king, who stepped in chicago, not in the south, and chicago where he said he was more afraid when he was fighting for housing rights in chicago for african-americans, said he was more afraid than he was anywhere in the south. i wanted to bring in paul ortiz. professor, i'm glad you made it from gainesville, from florida. so hard-hit hit by the hurricane. made it to raleigh, north carolina. but the two of you participated virtually in this event this weekend. talk about what happened 103 years ago. the significance of what the african-americans in elaine who are landowners, business owners, professionals calling for better
compensation for their crops, what happened to them. >> thank you, amy. it is such a great honor to be with julia wright. what happened was african-americans in phillips county, arkansas, around elaina, were really beginning to get organized. it was the world war i era, the price of cotton was increasing. most important, african-americans were making major gains as landowners in places like elaine and places like the black belt of alabama, northern florida, all across the south. w.e.b dubois knows this. because of the gains that african americans played in world war i, their expectations were rising. the white power structure mobilized against these rising aspirations. it is important to mention that
many african-americans in elaine owned their own land. those that did night were on the way to becoming landowners -- that did not were on the way to becoming landowners. they were beginning to organize unions in elaine and all around the south and the progressive household union was really coming together with the plan not only to increase land ownership among black farmers, but to begin to farm and market their produce cooperatively. this was seen as a threat by the white power structure. they mobilized against it. they began to attack farmers -- black farmers even before the elaine massacre. julia wright mentioned her great uncle that was lynched because he was a successful black businessman. all of this came to a head in the elaine massacrwhen black farmers in phillips county
reached a local organization where hundreds of black farmers were joining the union. this is when the white power structure struck back. there are a number of legacies that come out of this, amy, that we try to address at the 103rd anniversary of the elaine massacre organized by the elaine center in elaine, arkansas. one of the legacies is this a black land loss that african-american farmers have been driven off the land and places like elaine, florida, this is to be -- mississippi. another set at the symposium, the criminal justice system. amy, it is important remember hundreds of african-americans were massacred in and around phillips county arkansas in 1919. not a single white perpetrator of this violence was ever put on trial. instead, african-american farmers were put on trial. they were known as the elaine
12. a nationwide crusade organized by people, as you mentioned ida b. wells and naacp, a very heroic gentleman, had organized national defense campaign cap get these men some justice that resultn a landmark supreme court case in 1923 in which the 14 meant -- 14th mm is brought to bear. convictions of those men, six of them by the way sentenced to death from all of then torture brutally, electrocuted with -- amy: there were 500 u.s. soldiers who were involved in the killing of hundreds of african-americans in this massacre? >> yes, this made a cover-up much more difficult compared to other massacres.
the governor requested federal troops. these troops were supposed to restore order. in fact, many of them engaged in the massacre. they shot people down. they shot people down in the woods. those murders were never prosecuted. amy: we can't leave it there so we will continue this conversation and bring you part two at democracynow.org. paul ortiz, professor of history and director of the samuel proctor oral history program at the university of florida. and julia wright, the daughter of the literary giant richard wright who wrote "black boy." [captioning made possible by democracy now!] cc1 test message cc1 test message cc1 test message cc1 test message cc1 test message