White Supremacy and Colonization
Following is a list of many incidents from the years 1519 – 2020 that document the white supremacist and colonizing behavior of people from Europe. As we start to understand the extent and insidious nature of this behavior we can begin to realize the importance of doing things differently. At some point we hopefully can move toward decenter the negative white behavior and instead center the positive contributions, resilience, survival and strength of pole of color.
1519: Herman Cortez lands in what is now known as Mexico.
1565: Spain establishes St. Augustine colony in Florida.
1607: English arrive in Virginia.
1619: 20 African slaves captured and brought to Jamestown colony.
1625: first treaty that gives indigenous lands to the English colonists.
1630: first law specifically mentioning race regarding a white man who is whipped for sleeping with black woman.
1637: New England colonists kill over 500 Native Americans in King Phillips war.
1662: Virginia enacts law stating that if a white male has a child with a slave, the child has the status of a slave; a law making slavery hereditary.
1755: Massachusetts/Maine offers bounty of twenty pounds for the scalp of male “Indian”, ten pounds for the scalp of a female or child under 12 (see Phips Proclamation.)
1769: Father Junipero Serra begins first Spanish mission in California enslaving Indigenous People.
1776: the Declaration of Independence excluded people from Africa, Native Americans and European women and called indigenous people “merciless savages.”
1790: Congress’s first session enacts the naturalization law of 1790 which specifies that only free white immigrants would be eligible for naturalized citizenship. Therefore denied the right to vote and own land. (This law is not completely wiped off the books until the Mccarran Walter act of 1952.)
1818: The Adams–Onís Treaty also known as the Florida Purchase was a treaty between the United States and Spain, basically declaring war on the Seminole Indians and once enslaved Africans.
1820: Louisiana territory purchases territory from France with the above colonial mentality.
1830: Indian removal act, the first act initiated by President Andrew Jackson called for forcible removal of all Indigenous Nations, resulting in the 1838 Trail of Tears.
1835: U.S. slave holding colonists in northern Mexican territory declare war on Mexico.
1845/1846: U.S. government annexes Texas, declares war on Mexico
1848: US defeats Mexico and “purchases” the future states of California, Texas, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and parts of Colorado and Wyoming
1848: U.S. and Mexico sign the treaty of Guadelu Hidalco. Despite assurances to the contrary, the property rights of Mexican citizens were often not honored by the U.S. in accordance with modifications to and interpretations of the Treaty.
1849: in San Francisco a white vigilante group called the Hounds, attacks Chilean miners, raping women, burning houses and lynching two men
1850: Missouri Compromise; US Supreme Court declares the provision in the Louisiana Purchase which set boundaries on the extension of slavery territories unconstitutional.1850 Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Law allowing federal marshals to capture runaway slaves and enlist the assistance of other Whites; also makes it possible for a black person to be captured as a slave solely on the sworn statement of a white person with no right to challenge the claim in court.
1851: 2000 people gather to watch a Chicana lynched in Downieville CA.
1851: The California Land Act requires Californians to prove title to their land in courts using English. It also encourages European American settlers to squat on Mexican land. This removes most non-white Californians from their land to give to the Southern pacific railroad ownership of 11,588,000 acres of California.
1857: 300-400 California indigenous people massacred in Petaluma under the excuse that someone took cow. After the massacre of 200 indigenous people in Eureka in 1860, one white man boasted of murdering with impunity, 60 indigenous infants with his hatchet.
1857: Dred Scott v. Sanford was decided. Dred Scott was slave who went with his owner to free state and then sued for his freedom. The court said that Scott was still slave, that the constitution specifically excluded blacks from any rights of citizenship and that no African had rights that white man was bound to respect.
1859: White abolitionist John Brown leads raid on Harper’s Ferry arsenal to get weapons for arming slaves to resist slavery. Most of his men were killed, and he was tried for treason and hanged.
1862: Congress passes and President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act allotting 160 acres of western — Native American land — to “anyone” who could pay $1.25 and cultivate it for five years. European immigrants and land speculators bought 50 million acres. Congress gave another 100 million acres of Indian land free to the railroads. Since the Homestead Act applied only to U.S. citizens, Native Americans, Blacks and non-European immigrants were excluded. Within 10 years 85,000,000 acres of indigenous lands had been sold to European homesteaders.
1862: Congress passes the Morrell act creating land grant colleges in each state and the railroad act assuring coast to coast railway. Within 10 years Plains Indians lost an additional 71,000,000 acres to land grant colleges and another 155,000,000 acres to the railroad companies.
1863: President Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in loyal border states; and also exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control.
1863: The New York draft riot was closely associated with racial competition for jobs. Northern labor feared that emancipation of slaves would cause an influx of African American workers from the South. White rioters vented their wrath on the homes and businesses of the black community killing hundreds, wounding thousands, and forcing most of the community to escape the city.
1864: In the Sand Creek massacre, the U.S. army killed and mutilated an estimated 150–500 Cheyenne and Arapaho people, about two-thirds of whom were women, children and infants.
1865: the 13th amendment abolishing slavery is passed which contains the provision “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” This was the basis for slavery of imprisoned people a disproportionate number of whom would be people of color.
1865: President Andrew Johnson overturns General Sherman’s field order 15 which granted thousands of acres of confiscated plantation land to freed people in South Carolina and Georgia. General Howard tells black landholders on the Sea Islands that they must return their lands to the plantation owners and go to work for them.
1865: Defeated southern states pass newer versions of the old slave codes. They were particularly concerned with controlling movement and labor. This included broad vagrancy law, which allowed local authorities to arrest blacks for minor infractions and commit them to involuntary labor.
1865: The Ring; composed of white merchants, politicians, bankers, land speculators, ranchers, lawyers and Judges rules New Mexico for two decades using U.S. law and vigilante terror to take away most of the lands of native Mexicans.
1866: Ku Klux Klan is organized. Thousands of blacks are massacred in this period.
1868: the treaty of Fort Laramie signed between the U.S. army and the Oglala Sioux stipulated that no whites will travel through or live in the black hills areas without Indian permission. When gold is discovered in the hills, without consultation or agreement with Oglala Sioux, Congress changes the terms of the treaty.
1871: A white mob in Los Angeles attacks the Chinese community, killing 19 and destroying the community.
1871: was an attack on Pinal and Aravaipa Apaches at Camp Grant. A total of 144 were killed and mutilated, nearly all of them scalped. All but eight of the corpses were women and children. Twenty-nine children were captured and sold into slavery in Mexico.
1872-74: U.S. government permits white traders to slaughter buffalo. In this three-year period, 3,700,000 buffalo were killed destroying the primary food source for the Cheyenne, Kiowa and Comanche thereby losing control of their territory.
1875: Page Law. Congress bars entry of Chinese, Japanese, and “Mongolian” felons, and contract laborers.
1877: Sioux driven out of Nebraska to barren reservation. Crazy Horses killed.
1877: Hayes Tilden Compromise removed federal troops from the south leaving blacks totally unprotected from white violence. The southern economy, still based on black labor used sharecropping as a form of agricultural semi-slavery. Northern industries and banks are the main economic beneficiaries of this system. The started the denial of all political, civil, educational rights that African Americans had struggled for and to some extent won during reconstruction
1877: The San Francisco riot of 1877 was a two-day event waged against Chinese immigrants by the white population resulting in at least four deaths, maiming of unknown numbers and the destruction of more than $100,000 worth of property belonging to the Chinese immigrant population including twenty Chinese-owned laundries.
1878: U.S. Supreme Court rules Chinese individuals are ineligible for naturalized citizenship.
1882: Chinese Exclusion Act. Congress prohibits Chinese immigration for 10 years,(renewed 1892: made permanent 1902, repealed 1943).
1882–1990: 3,011 recorded lynchings of primarily African Americans in the South. In reality there were many more.
1883: Supreme Court strikes down 1875 Civil Rights Act and reinforces claim that the federal government cannot regulate behavior of private individuals in matters of race.
1885: whites riot against Chinese in Rock Springs Wyoming killing 28, wound many more and driving others from their homes.
1887: The Dawes Act dissolves tribal lands, granting land allotments to individual families leading to division of Indian territory and encroachment by whites on Indian land. This act explicitly prohibits communal land ownership. “Unused” land could be sold to whites. As a result, indigenous people lose 100 million acres, nearly 2/3 of their territory. the greatest beneficiaries are the railroads.
1887: The Supreme Court decides in favor of the Maxwell Company, a division of the Santa Fe Ring, allocating millions of acres of Mexican and Indian land in New Mexico to the Anglo corporation.
1888: the Scott Act prohibits the immigration of Chinese laborers limiting entry to only merchants, professionals and tourist from China.
1890: Wounded Knee; three hundred Sioux Indians are massacred by the U.S. army, almost half of whom were women and children. “There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce …”American Horse (1840–1908); chief, Oglala Lakota.
1893: in Paris Texas an African American named Henry Smith accused of raping a white girl(the standard myth used to justify lynching) is tortured with red hot irons and burned alive while school children are given the day off as holiday so they can watch and railroads run special excursions to the lynch site.
1893: A coup led by Sanford Dole (Dole Pineapple) took over the Hawaiian government and pressed the U.S. government to annex the islands. Two years later deposed Queen Liliʻuokalani was charged with treason and put under house arrest. In a statement, in exchange for a pardon for her and her supporters, she “yield[ed] to the superior force of the United States of America” under protest.
1896: in Plessv v. Ferouson, the Supreme Courts rules separate but equal facilities to be constitutional.
1898: The U.S. defeats Spain and acquires Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines and Cuba which had already declared her independence from Spain, becoming a virtual colony of the U.S. The U.S. annexes Hawaii.
1900: Congress passes the Foraker Act, establishing a colonial government in Puerto Rico and stipulating both the governor and executive council be appointed by the U.S.
1902: Chinese immigration made permanently illegal; Chinese population sharply declines.
1905: San Francisco school board segregates Chinese, Korean and Japanese students.
1913: the California legislature passes law making it very difficult for Japanese immigrants to lease land.
1917: Whites attack African Americans in race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois. Three days of violence forced African-American families to run for their lives. An estimate of 40–250 African Americans were killed.
1917: Immigration Act of 1917, also known as the Asian Barred Zone Act, imposed a literacy test and establishes an Asiatic Barred Zone banning immigration from southern and eastern Asia including India and the Pacific islands, but excluding Japan and American territories of Guam and the Philippines. Because these geographic regions were then home to many of the world’s Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, these religious groups were effectively shut out of the United States.
1917: The Jones Act makes Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens, eligible to serve in the military and subject to the draft (just prior to WW!) but not eligible to vote in national elections.
1919: during “Red Summer” so called because of all the blood, white mobs attacked black communities in approximately 25 race riots throughout the U.S. including Omaha NB, Washington D.C., Knoxville TN and Chicago IL. Longview, Texas; and Phillips County, Arkansas. There were hundreds of deaths across the United States, which resulted from anti-black white supremacist terrorist attacks. In most instances, whites attacked African Americans. In some cases many black people fought back, notably in Chicago and Washington, D.C. The highest number of fatalities occurred in the rural area around Elaine, Arkansas, where an estimated 100–240 black people, and five white people, were killed; white labor leaders helped to organize the white mobs.
1922: citing the 1790 naturalization act, the Supreme Court held that Japanese immigrants were not eligible for citizenship.
1924: the Johnson Reed Immigration Act sets restrictive quotas on immigrants from Asia, Africa and Latin America, virtually bars all Asian immigration. A key element of the act was its provisions for enforcement. The act provided funding and legal instructions to courts of deportation for immigrants whose national quotas were exceeded.
1929: white mobs attack Filipinos in Exeter California and injure 200.
1930: U.S. deports 600,000 Mexicans, many of whom were U.S. citizens.
1934: The Tydings-McDuffie Act grants independence to the Philippines and limits Filipino immigration to 50 persons per year. The act specifies that in 1946, when independence is complete, all Filipinos will be excluded under the provisions of the Oriental Exclusion Act.
1935: President Roosevelt signs the repatriation act which offers free transportation to Filipinos who return to their homeland and restricted future immigration to the U.S.
1935: the National Labor Relations Act, known as the Wagner Act legalized the right to organize and form unions but specifically excludes farm workers and domestic workers most of whom are African American, Latinx or Asian.
1935: California law declares Mexican Americans are foreign-born Indians.
1930–1940: U.S. deports 600,000 Mexicans, many of whom are U.S. citizens.
1942: President Roosevelt signs executive order 9066 authorizing internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans living in California including American citizens.
1942: The Bracero Program invited Mexican workers to work temporarily in the U.S. during the war period where they develop the U.S. agricultural industry. Later they are sent home without the promised pay due to them.
1943: White mobs in Detroit murder 34 African Americans. White mobs in Los Angeles attack young Mexicans leading to the Zoot Suit riots. American servicemen and other whites attacked and stripped children and teenagers who wore zoot suits which originated in the urban black scene, ostensibly because they considered the outfits, which were made from a lot of fabric, to be unpatriotic. While most of the violence was directed toward Mexican American youth, African American, Italian American, Filipino American youths who were wearing zoot suits were also attacked. The police arrested only Mexican youth, not Anglos.
1947: the Taft Hartley Act seriously restricts the rights to organize of all working people and especially targeted workers of color.
1952: the McCarran Walter Immigration act repeals the exclusion from citizenship provisions of the 1790 Naturalization Act but gives extensive police interrogation powers to the INS (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service) and few protections to the interrogated. The INS powers are used extensively to prevent organization of Latinx and Asian workers. In both fields and factories employers frequently call the INS to raid the work place and deport workers just before payday.
1954: U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service sets up Operation Wetback to round up and deport “illegal” Mexicans living in the United States.
1954: The Supreme Court unanimously decides in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in education is inherently unequal.
1955: (Aug.) Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till is kidnapped, brutally beaten, shot and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two white men arrested for the murder are acquitted by an all-white jury and boast about the murder in a Look magazine interview. (Dec.) Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat at the front of the “colored” section to a white passenger and is arrested. In response the Montgomery bus boycott begins and lasts over a year until the busses are desegregated.
Mid 1960s: The FBI under Edgar Hoover sets up the COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) to destroy the black liberation movement. The program, although officially, ended continued under different names.
1962: James Meredith is the first black student to enter University of Mississippi, under federal guard. President Kennedy sends in 5,000 troops to quell white violence.
1963: Martin Luther King jailed during anti-segregation protests; writes his famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail,”
1964: The Democratic Party refuses to seat the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in place of the Segregationist Mississippi Democrats at the party’s convention in Atlanta.
1964: Three civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman, are murdered by Klansmen in Mississippi.
1965: Malcolm X. assassinated after FBI infiltrates the Nation of Islam to promote opposition to Malcolm X.
1965: Civil rights workers marching for voting rights are stopped at the Pettus Bridge by police who use tear gas, clubs, and whips against them. Dubbed “Bloody Sunday.”
1968: Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated
1969-1972: raids on Black Panther Party offices, assassination of leading panthers, imprisonment of hundreds of others. FBI agents incitement of internal fratricidal struggle resulting in destruction of the black panther party. Many prisoners such as Geronimo Pratt are still in prison.
1970: Police kill Latino journalist Ruben Salazar
1973: Federal and State police and FBI launch military assault on American Indian Movement activists and traditional indigenous leaders of the Lakota Nation at Wounded Knee. Leonard Peltier is convicted on false charges of murdering an FBI agent and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences.
1976: Congress passes Hyde Amendment denying federal funds for abortions to poor women. Women of color are disproportionally affected and denied right to control when they will have children.
1982: Unemployed auto workers in Detroit, blaming the Japanese for the loss of their jobs, murder Vincent Chin, a Chinese American mistaken for Japanese.
1982: Mumia Abu-Jamal, a political activist and journalist was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the alleged murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The murder trial was seriously criticized for constitutional failings. Mumia supported the Move Organization in Philadelphia, a black liberation group founded in 1972, and he covered the 1978 confrontation.
1985: another confrontation with Move ended when a police helicopter dropped a bomb on the compound, a row house in the middle of the 6200 block of Osage Avenue. The resulting fire killed eleven Move members, including five children, and destroyed 65 houses in the neighborhood.
1986: The Immigration Reform and Control Act criminalizes the employment of undocumented workers; establishes one-year amnesty for undocumented workers living in the U.S. since 1982; and mandates intensification of the Border Patrol.
1982: unemployed auto workers in Detroit murder Vincent Chin mistaking the young Chinese man for Japanese and blaming Japanese for the loss of their jobs.
1990: Congress passes a comprehensive new immigration law that sanctions employers for knowingly hiring workers without “papers,” discouraging employers from hiring Latino and Asian American workers for fear they may not have the right papers (e.g., social security card, legal residency). At the border brutality against Latino border crossers becomes commonplace. Vigilante groups support INS patrols
1991: KKK leader David Duke wins 55% of the white vote in Louisiana though massive black turnout prevents his being elected governor on platform of turning in his white sheet for blue suit and utilizing racist code words.
1992: Riots in Los Angeles, the first in decades, follow the acquittal of four white police officers following the videotaped beating African American Rodney King.
2017-2018: data from ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) shows white supremacists’ propaganda efforts increased 182 percent, with 1,187 distributions across the U.S. in 2018, up from 421 total incidents reported in 2017.
2003-2016: there were no white supremacist events in U.S.
2016-2017: there were 77
2017-2018: there were 172
2018-2019: there were 171
2019-2020: there were 81
Martinas, S. (1992). SELECTED LANDMARKS IN THE HISTORY OF U.S. WHITE SUPREMACY