On July 29, 1910, citizens in the small, predominately African American town of Slocum, Texas were massacred in an act of terror designed to maintain economic white supremacy.
That morning, hundreds of white citizens from the surrounding community converged on Slocum. Over the following days terror reigned for the African American citizens as individuals were gunned down working fields and seeking shelter in their homes.
Even those who tried to leave town were not safe. Many bodies were found shot in the woods, with their travel packs at their sides. While there has never been a clear figure of how many died, estimates range from 8 to 25. Many suspect the toll was much higher.
This was one of many towns, such as Rosewood and Tulsa, where a successful, self-sufficient African American community was the subject of a terrorist attack designed to maintain economic white supremacy.
In each town, the incident that sparked the attack was relatively insignificant and often fabricated. In Slocum, there were various trigger incidents such as a disputed debt between a well-regarded black citizen and a white citizen as well as anger from some whites when an African American man was put in charge of local road improvements.
The aftermath? As E.R. Bills explains in The Dissident Voice:
[After the massacre], the personal holdings of many Slocum area Anglo citizens fortuitously increased.
The abandoned African-American properties were absorbed or repurposed as the now majority white population saw fit. The standard southern Anglo-centric world order was restored, and this order has endured, even to the present day.
According to recent demographic statistics, most of the communities around Slocum have an African-American population that ranges between 20-25%. Grapeland’s is 35%, Rusk’s is 30% and Palestine’s and Alto’s is 25%. Slocum’s African-American population is just under 7%.
Today, Slocum is still an unincorporated community and that’s probably wise. If there was an elected civic leader or assembly in Slocum, they might be asked to apologize for the massacre or explain why there are no placards acknowledging the event or the American citizens who were slaughtered there and covered up in unmarked graves in the woods and creek bottoms.