Jul. 8, 2017

Hamburg 2017 Never Forget Hamburg 1876

While world leaders meet in Hamburg, Germany at the G20 meeting. There is another Hamburg that comes to my mind today. While protestors incite and burn to combat against world policies on this city's streets while the world populace watches. No one was watching the horrific events that occurred 141-years-ago today in a tiny enclave actually named after the German city of Hamburg, that being the now non-existent black majority town of Hamburg, South Carolina.

On this day in 1876 in a town of 600 residents, 80% of whom were black a white vicious racist mob lead by a former Confederate officer took the lives of 6 innocent blacks. Though the black town's militia fought gallantly against this onslaught they were overrun by the mob. The carnage at Hamburg, South Carolina is said to have initiated the energy to re-impose the Black Codes or bring to bear the birth of Jim Crow in the South. To say this hideous act was shoved under the rug of ignorance and ignored by our white history books is indeed an understatement. As a matter of fact at one point, the only memorial of the event was a statue to a member of the white hate ladened mob Johnson Meriweather. Who was killed while attempted to massacre the black men cornered in Sibley's Building in Hamburg? It was Meriweather who earlier in the day who threatened to kill threatened not only to kill “every God damned nigger that there was in Hamburg” but to “try the women and children, and after he had got through with them [to] go up awhile and try Old Jesus Christ.” 

The list of the known dead black citizens was Jim Cook, Moses Parks, Allan Attaway, David Phillips, Hampton Stephens, and Albert Myniart although in white mob led incidents like these many more blacks suffered and murdered than the actual count. This massacre not only tragic and horrid in scope lead to the end of Black Republican rule in the State of South Carolina because, in the election of 1876, South Carolina's white Democrats regained the power lost as the result of the Civil War. In addition, the national election secured the end of Reconstruction with the Compromise of 1877. The town of Hamburg no longer exists it was lost to floods but in reality that once proud town of a majority of black men, women, and children was destroyed on July 8, 1876 by a white mob intent to taking back what was never rightfully theirs to own, our freedom, dignity, and independence from white supremacy.

While we as residents of the world indeed must be cognizant of the happenings in Hamburg, Germany. For these world leaders indeed control the futures of our economies and environments. We as a nation of Black Americans must never forget that our ancestors faced horrific challenges just to as Martin Luther King Jr. once stand up straight and unshackled themselves from the bondage of prejudice and racism. Hamburg, South Carolina is alive as long as we don't allow it be ever be swept under the rug of our Black History again.