Newspapers (cite the interview)

People would say that veterans are honored. What do veterans do for the country they should be treated as such by its people. They were really the only media. How did the publications play a role? Newspapers were the dominant form of media in the late 1800s. It concentrated on convincing white voters that black public officials were incompetent and corrupt, unable to govern, and incapable of voting while also being sexually hungry and on the search for white women. They even had a name for it: the black beast rapist. (“‘Wilmington’s Lie’ Author Traces the Rise of White Supremacy in a Southern City”, 2020) In the grip of radical fear, whites became very aggressively anti-black, seeking ways to control the race as it "deteriorated."

White publications would spread allegations that Black veterans would assault white police officers, prohibiting Blacks from handling any type of firearm. Southern newspapers contributed to whites' anxieties about Black veterans by printing severe reports of so-called "race wars": clashes between supposedly innocent white cops and intoxicated and armed former Black soldiers out to cause trouble. (Stevenson, Bryan.). After whites rampaged through Memphis's Black neighborhood in what became known as the Memphis Massacre in May 1866, the white-owned Memphis Argus printed an article blaming the massacre on Black gun ownership. The editorial board wrote; “Again the irrepressible conflict of races has broken out in our midst, and again our streets are stained with blood. And this time, there can be no mistake about it; the whole blame of this most tragical [sic] and bloody riot lies, as usual, with the poor, ignorant, deluded Blacks....” it continued, “[W]e cannot suffer the occasion to pass without again calling the attention of the authorities to the indispensable necessity of disarming these poor creatures, who have so often shown themselves utterly unfit to be trusted with firearms.” then it finished “ On this occasion, the facts all go to show that but for this much-abused privilege accorded to them by misguided and misjudging friends, there would have been no riot...The universal question asked on all corners of the streets is, “Why are not the Blacks disarmed?” (Stevenson, Bryan.).

Ray Young

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