Saturday, February 24, 2018

Aerial bombing of America, 1921

106 years ago an enthusiastic Italian reconnaissance pilot snuck a few grenades aboard his bird, and threw them out of his open cockpit aiming to harm a few Turks.

No one was hurt, but a lot of folks were shaken up by his audacity.

One of the earliest bombers, the Taube
[indirectly via National Geographic]

Less than 10 years later, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was more effectively bombed--though even the local historical society has no comment on that.

“I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building. Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top.”  Buck Colbert Franklin via the Smithsonian.

It's called the Race Riot of 1921. It was not. It was a pogrom.

Tulsa burning from the top down
 Several hundred people of color were killed, over 6,000 were interned, and their town was destroyed, deliberately, from the air.

Reading two books that have been synergistic, and highly recommended.
Inequality in the Promised Land by R. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy, and Air Traffic, by Gregory Pardlo--I got lucky and a pre-release copy fell into my hands.


Anonymous said...

Much of this kind of history is not something I learned until very recently and I had to go out of my way to start teaching myself this kind of history.
It brings to mind an episode of podcast series that I'm constantly recommending to people. I'm not sure if you are a podcast/audio fan, but Seeing White ( is an absolutely amazing series. There is an episode that focuses on how in Corbin, KY in 1919 a white mob forced the entire black population of the town out by gunpoint. If that wasn't shocking enough this kind of racial cleansing event was not unique. There are literally hundreds of similar events where black populations are forced out of towns. This is the book mentioned in that episode

Shannon said...

I hope this isn't my third comment. Clearly I cannot computer tonight. Somehow in an attempt to edit my comment before publishing blogger changed me to anonymous so I'm here to claim the Anonymous comment. Then I thought I had already submitted this comment, but then it didn't appear. I don't know.
Glad to still see you blogging away!