Barry’s Blog # 412: Who is an American? A Timeline, Part Four of Eight

Part Four: 1850-1900

You cannot lynch me and keep me in ghettos without becoming something monstrous yourselves. And, furthermore, you give me a terrifying advantage. You never had to look at me. I had to look at you. I know more about you than you know about me. Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

1850s-1890s: The “Ley Quinto” Indian scalp bounties in the Mexican state of Chihuahua set a price of $200 for the scalps of warriors. Durango and Sonora pass similar laws. Sonora sets the price at $100 for women and children. To prevent fraud, states officially define “scalps” as one or both ears and the crown of the head. All Mexican nationals and foreigners are eligible to be Indian hunters. Many Texas Rangers supplement their income this way. Hunters are allowed to keep any possessions of those they kill, including livestock. Bounties are advertised widely both south and north of the Rio Grande. Scalpers slaughter any natives they can find, including peaceful tribes. The Mexican laws will not be repealed until 1886.

California’s first American governor announces a “war of extermination” against Indians, appropriating $1.3 million to underwrite genocide. Over 370 massacres occur in California, most with no names. Congress passes legislation to steal prime land from the Plains tribes for white settlement and to confine Indians to undesired land, restrict their movement and make them dependent on the government. Prohibited from leaving reservations, even for traditional food gathering, they receive food rations, but starvation is common.

1851: Tehama, Mariposa  and Wintu Massacres. San Francisco forms its first vigilante committee, initially to suppress Australian criminals. Physician Samuel Cartwright invents a mental illness – Drapetomania – that causes slaves to flee captivity. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is publicly burned and banned. By this time, nearly 300 blacks have tried to escape from Indian Territory to Mexico or Kansas Territory. Antislavery activists in Boston forcibly liberate an escapee from federal custody. Similar rescues are later made in New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

1852: Hynes Bay, Wright and Bridge Gulch Massacres.

1853: Howonquet, Yontoket, Achulet and Ox Massacres. The first legal black-white marriage is between Mary King and William Allen, who leave the country immediately for England.

1853-56: The U.S. acquires 174 million acres of Indian lands through 52 treaties, each of which it will subsequently break. Congress includes 43 members of the Know-Nothing party. With its single platform that resists Irish Catholic immigration, it is the first time that large numbers of citizens display intolerance of other white people.

1854: Nasomah, Chetco River and Asbill massacres. Seven states elect Know-Nothing governors and 75-100 congressmen. Massachusetts enacts a nunneries inspection bill.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, allowing both territories to vote on whether to be slave or free, effectively repeals the Compromise of 1850. Both pro- and anti-slavery supporters convince settlers to move to Kansas to sway the vote. Extreme violence over the next five years leads to the period becoming known as “Bleeding Kansas.”

In Boston a force of 1,600 soldiers is required to repulse a large-scale attempt to rescue a fugitive slave. Its population is now 1/3 foreign born, mostly Irish, leading to the term “paddy wagon”.

1855: Klamath River, Harney, Lupton and Little Butte Creek massacres. California enacts an anti-vagrancy law (also known as the Greaser Act). The slavery issue causes a split between Northern and Southern Know-Nothings. Election riots occur in Louisville.

1856: Grande Ronde, Shingletown, Cascades and Cayuse massacres. North Carolina is the final state to abolish the property requirement for voting. Previously barred Catholics and non-Christians are enfranchised. Some states allow white immigrants not yet naturalized to vote. Know-Nothing presidential candidate Millard Fillmore gets a fifth (800,000) of the popular vote.

1856-1859: Round Valley Massacres.

1857: Mountain Meadows Massacre.  In the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court decides that no black person, slave or free, can be a U.S. citizen, with “…no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” It also strikes down the entire Missouri Compromise. Oregon is admitted as a state with a law (not to be abolished until 1927) that excludes all Blacks from settling there. The newly formed American Medical Association lobbies to outlaw abortion and midwifery to eliminate competition. Maryland sentences free Black minister Sam Green to 10 years in prison for owning a copy of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Rival police forces battle each other in New York City. Shortly after, the nation’s first gang war (involving over a thousand white men) rages across the city.

1858: Fraser Canyon massacre.

1859: Pitt River, Chico Creek and Jarboe massacres. Abolitionist John Brown is executed for attempting to incite a slave rebellion.

1860: Bloody Rock, Indian Island and Pease River massacres. One in seven Caucasians is foreign-born. Of the ten million slaves who have lived in the country, four million are alive. Over 1,700 congressmen have owned slaves.  The last slave ship arrives in Alabama despite the ban on trafficking.  Several states pass ambiguous anti-abortion laws. After 1860 stronger laws will be more vigorously enforced. Most Southern states prohibit educating slaves and bar them from possessing reading material or writing instruments. Some of these laws authorize death as punishment, but 5% of slaves secretly learn to read and write. Due to forced breeding, 57% of slaves are younger than twenty. Some Cherokee and other Oklahoma tribes, owners of 8,000 slaves, choose to fight for the Confederacy.

1861: Horse Canyon and Fort Fauntleroy massacres. Eleven states decide to secede from the Union rather than end slavery. The Union Army organizes itself along national lines, with Irish, German and Italian units. Rebels in California attempt to annex the Mexican state of Sonora for the Confederacy.

1862: Upper Station, Big Antelope Creek, Gallinas Springs and Konkow massacres. The Army Medical Museum collects Indian remains. Some newspapers accuse Jews of financing the Confederacy. General Grant expels Jews from areas under his control (Lincoln rescinds the order a few months later). Minnesota offers a bounty of $200 for the scalp of each fleeing or resisting Indian. Around 1,700 Dakota are force-marched into a concentration camp. The first Homestead Act opens up millions of acres for white settlement, which will ultimately result in 45 million descendants of the recipients.  The Union Army presses liberated slaves into “contraband camps.” Over 185,000 blacks will serve in the army (over 37,000 will die), and 200,000 black civilians will work as laborers, cooks, teamsters and servants, but Congress will not equalize their pay with that of whites until 1864.

Following the massive loss of lives at the battle of Shiloh, the Confederacy passes a conscription act, followed shortly by the “Twenty Slaves Act,” which exempts slaveowners from military service. Up to two thirds of all Southern soldiers will desert from the army during the war, and 300,000 Southerners will the South at the onset of the war to fight for the Union army. Several strikes will break out. In retaliation, the Conscription Act includes a provision requiring conscription for striking workers. Slaveowners in Louisiana, anxious about the specter of emancipation, import Chinese contract workers (“coolies”) to replace black slaves. In response, Congress passes the Anti-Coolie Act, which prohibits citizens from importing these workers.

1863: Bear River and Keyesville massacres. Irish terrorize blacks in the New York City Draft riots.  The hanging of 38 Dakota men at Lincoln’s order, the largest mass execution in U.S. history, takes place the same week he signs the Emancipation Proclamation. The army forcibly removes 1,000 Paiute from California’s Owens Valley 200 miles to Fort Tejon.  Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation frees only those slaves held in the rebellious states. It exempts Tennessee and portions of Virginia and Louisiana, and it leaves slavery wholly intact in the border states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky and Missouri. The Union institutes its own conscription draft. Soon after, Irish terrorize blacks in the New York City Draft riots.

1864:. Oak Run, Bloody Tanks and Skull Valley massacres. Colorado militia attack a peaceful Cheyenne village at Sand Creek, killing over 500. The Confederates under Nathan Bedford Forrest massacre 300 mostly Black Union soldiers who had already surrendered at Fort Pillow. The army, under Kit Carson, forces 10,000 Navajo (Dine’) to march 300 miles in winter from their homeland to a concentration camp in New Mexico; 1,500-4,000 die while interned there for four years. Idaho bans interracial marriage, with a 2-year prison punishment, later increased to 10-years. Both Fugitive Slave Laws are repealed.

1865: Three Knolls, Mud Lake, Owens Lake and Grass Valley massacres. The Enrollment Act penalizes draft evasion or desertion with denationalization (loss of citizenship). Up until the war’s end, Southern newspapers continue to advertise slave auctions.

 The 13th Amendment frees 4 million slaves. But since it does not apply to those convicted of a crime, it leads to massive detention and forced labor of Blacks. The “except as a punishment for crime” clause essentially re-invents slavery. “Convict leasing” will continue for another forty years and justify mass incarceration for another century.  Kentucky, Mississippi and Delaware reject the Thirteenth Amendment. South Carolina explicitly prohibits black people from performing any labor other than farm or domestic work. Whites murder over 2,000 blacks in southern Louisiana, 200 in New Orleans. General Sherman’s Special Field Order # 15 confiscates 400,000 acres along the South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida coasts and divides it into parcels of 40 acres on which 18,000 formerly enslaved families are to be settled. After Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson reverses the order, pardons certain Confederates, evicts the blacks and returns the land to its previous owners. Johnson’s policies usher in sharecropping, a new practice that soon replaces slavery as a primary source of agricultural labor and Black exploitation.

Southern states enact the first “black codes” to force blacks back onto the plantations as defacto slaves.  Violation requires offenders to pay fines. County courts can hire out those unable to pay until they work off their balances in slavery-like environments with high fatality rates. Refusal to work off debts leads to vagrancy charges, resulting in more fees and forced labor. Since licenses are required for offenders to perform skilled labor, blacks have few opportunities to learn trades. All blacks are subject to local curfews and must carry passes from their employers. Local officials oversee all meetings of blacks, including church. Any blacks desiring to live in town require white sponsors.

Indian Territory is entirely reconstructed. The government justifies taking Native lands as punishment for the tribes having supported the Confederacy, although most had done so under duress. All five tribes are forced to cede the western half of Indian Territory and agree to the construction of two railroads across it. Those Indians who had sided with the Confederacy are the only group of former slaveholders compelled to provide their former slaves with land. The Cherokee, Muscogee, and Seminole are forced to provide citizenship to former slaves and the Choctaw and Chickasaw have the option to adopt the freedmen or provide for their removal from their territory. The Choctaw adopt the freed slaves, but the Chickasaw do not.

1865-1868: At least 34 documented mass lynchings occur during Reconstruction. Whites murder over a thousand blacks in Texas. None of the five hundred who are indicted are convicted.

1865-1872: In the 76 years prior to 1865, the Supreme Court had struck down just two Congressional acts. Between 1865 and 1872, it will do so 12 times. Most of these decisions will rob the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of their purpose.

1865-1903: Hunters working for the military annihilate the buffalo to deny basic food to the plains Indians. All the Southern states introduce the use of chain gangs.

1866: Circleville  and Memphis massacres. The first Hawaiian leprosy patients are sent to Moloka‘i Colony. Andrew Johnson pardons over 7,000 Confederates. The Ku Klux Klan is founded as a domestic terrorist force serving the interests of the Democratic Party. It will murder at least 10% of the black members of the constitutional conventions of 1867-8. Black veterans in particular are targeted for mistreatment and murder. A White mob attacks a Black voting rights convention in New Orleans, killing 35 Black marchers and three white Radical Republicans. Texas restricts Blacks from testifying in court.  Congress adopts a bill to invade and annex Canada and creates permanent all-Black regiments, to be remembered as the “Buffalo Soldiers”. Florida’s Black Code prohibits blacks from possessing firearms, punishing violators with public whippings. Police are posted at train stations throughout the South to seize black veterans’ guns.

The first Civil Rights Act, passed over Johnson’s veto, declares all persons born in the U.S. (except Indians) to be natural citizens. For the first time, some people other than whites are accepted. A second Homestead Act encourages blacks to participate, but rampant discrimination slows black gains.

1867: Aquarius Mountains massacre.  New Jersey allows voter registration only on the Thursday before election. Buffalo Bill Cody singlehandedly kills 4,000 buffalo. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the butcher of Fort Pillow, becomes the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. His statue will stand in Nashville from 1998 until 2021. Johnson offers further pardons to Confederates. Congress passes the Reconstruction Acts, imposing military rule on the South. In ten of the eleven former Confederate states, 80% of eligible Black male voters register to vote.

 1868: Campo Seco, La Paz, Opelousas and Washita massacres. The first Jew is lynched in Tennessee. A white mob in Georgia, armed by the local sheriff, fires upon an election parade, killing two dozen. Hundreds of Black veterans are driven from their homes.

The 14th Amendment establishes equal protection under the law but allows states to decide what crimes will allow the loss of voting rights. The southern states are forced to ratify it in order to regain representation in Congress. The Supreme Court opts for a narrower interpretation of this and the 13th Amendment, focusing on African Americans. For Indians and Alaska Natives, involuntary servitude persists through debt peonage. Before the war, 3/5ths of Southern slaves had been included in calculating Congressional representation.  However, as free persons, all blacks are now counted, and this change significantly enhances Southern power in Congress and the Electoral College. Meanwhile, only eight Northern states allow blacks to vote. Johnson pardons almost all of the remaining Confederates, further establishing the logic of the U.S. racial state: providing civic inclusion for treasonous whites and exclusion for newly liberated Blacks. Oakland becomes the west coast terminus of the transcontinental railroad. Ultimately, thousands of Black Pullman Porters will retire there, transforming the city.

1869: Wyoming Territory is the first to grant women suffrage in state elections. The House of Representatives votes against seating John Menard, the first Black man ever elected to it  (Joseph Rainey will be seated the next year). The first national women’s suffrage organizations are established.

1870-1890: The U.S. Army will engage in over a thousand combat operations against Indians.

1870: Marias massacre. The 15th Amendment establishes black male suffrage but does not forbid literacy, educational tests or poll taxes and does not question the notion that voting is a privilege that states can regulate as they see fit.

Naturalization of black immigrants (but not Asians or Mexicans) is permitted. The 1870s will see 16 major race riots, all of them white-on-black. Utah women, who have previously had the right to vote, lose it. Nearly every black church or schoolhouse in the Tuskegee area is burned. Tennessee prohibits school integration. Hiram Revels of Mississippi is the first African American elected to the Senate. During Reconstruction, 2,000 Black men will serve in elected office in the South (16 in Congress), almost half in South Carolina and Louisiana, where Blacks have had the longest history of political organization. They (briefly) repeal discriminatory laws, rewrite vagrancy statutes, outlaw corporal punishment and sharply reduce the number of capital offenses. Over 90% of Blacks reside in the South but only one percent (30,000) in the region own land.

1871: Kingsley Cave and Camp Grant massacres. Residents of the District of Columbia lose the right to vote for mayor. Congress ends treaty-making with tribes and forbids Western tribes to leave reservations without permission. Congress makes violence infringing on civil and political rights a federal crime. Southern states refuse to comply, forcing the major burden of enforcement onto the federal government. Violence by the KKK in South Carolina forces President Grant to declare martial law. The government indicts over 700 Klansmen in Mississippi, but most receive suspended sentences.

1872: Skeleton Cave massacre. Congress returns the right to hold office to most former Confederates, excluding only 500 leaders, and returns confiscated property. The General Mining Act allows the staking of Indian lands without their consent. Susan B. Anthony is arrested for voting. A single railroad company ships 500,000 bison hides east.

1873: Cypress Hills massacre. Whites massacre 150-280 blacks in Colfax, La.  Newspapers first use the word “communist”. The Federal Comstock laws criminalize use of the Postal Service to send contraceptives, abortifacients, sex toys or personal letters with any sexual content. Half of the states will enact similar laws. Boston officials follow by banning anything that they find to be  inappropriate, leading to the phrase “banned in Boston”.

1874: A white militia overthrows an integrated Louisiana government. White mobs massacre Blacks at political meetings in Mississippi and Alabama. Alabama restores former Confederate leaders to legislative and executive authority, ending Reconstruction in the state and mandating school segregation.

1874 – 1983: Congressional white supremacists will use the filibuster against civil rights and anti-discrimination bills in 1874, 1875, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1954, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1972, 1976 and 1984, anti-lynching litigation in 1921, 1922, 1925, 1935 and 1938, the creation of a monument to Black World War I soldiers in 1926, an extension of the Voting Rights Act in 1982 and the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day federal holiday in 1983.

1875: Sappa Creek and Clinton massacres. New York and Boston crowds welcome Confederate military units. The Page Act bars entry of Chinese, Japanese, prostitutes, felons, and contract laborers, to “end the danger” of cheap labor and Chinese women, “…few of whom,” says President Grant, “are brought to our shores to pursue honorable or useful occupations.” The American Medical Association argues that Chinese immigrants carry deadly disease. The Supreme Court rules against women’s suffrage. The Civil Rights Act provides for equal treatment in public accommodations and transportation and prohibits exclusion from jury service. It will be struck down eight years later, and no new Civil Rights legislation will be enacted until 1957. Dances are finally banned in New Orleans’ Congo Square.

1876: Thousands of municipalities (“Sundown Towns”) begin to exclude non-whites, and in some cases, Jews, after sunset. The Supreme Court overturns the only three convictions resulting from the Colfax massacre. It rules that the Fourteenth Amendment protects citizens only from state action and not from violence committed by private individuals, heightens the burden on prosecutors by demanding proof of intentional discrimination and reinforces the belief that Blacks should not be permitted to bear arms, notwithstanding the Second Amendment. These new limits on the constitutional authority of Congress to control racist violence changes the balance of power in favor of state and local police, prosecutors, and courts, who can now enforce white supremacy without fear of federal oversight. The Justice Department drops 179 Enforcement Act prosecutions in Mississippi alone. Mob terror against Republicans picks up across the South. Mississippi strengthens convict leasing. Recently amnestied Confederate veterans regain political control through terror and intimidation. In the presidential election the national platforms of both the Democrats and the Republicans single out “Mongolian” immigration as a problem.

1877: Big Hole and Buffalo Hunters massacres. White San Franciscans riot against Chinese residents. Jews can finally vote and hold office in all states, though they still face obstacles if voting is held on Saturdays or if they don’t speak English (there are no Yiddish translations of ballots). Many courts continue to judge the veracity of witnesses based on their Christian beliefs and don’t allow Jews to swear oaths according to their own religious customs. The Compromise of 1877 finally settles the Presidential election, resulting in the removal of federal troops from the South, the end of Reconstruction, the beginning of the Jim Crow era and a new wave of violence that overwhelms the few remaining protective structures for Black people.

1878-1930: Over 6,500 people, overwhelmingly African American, will be lynched.

1879: Fort Robinson massacre. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School becomes a model for others to be established by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It utilizes forced assimilation to Christian culture and abandonment of Native American traditions. A federal judge rules the Ponca tribe are “people” who can bring petitions for habeas corpus, and that Indians who had severed their relationships with their tribes cannot be ordered to a reservation against their will. Nearly 40,000 black “Exodusters”  settle in Kansas and Oklahoma, creating many Freedman’s towns.  Henrietta Wood receives $2,500, the largest verdict ever awarded for slavery reparations.

1880: Louisiana mandates that the votes of only nine of twelve jurors are enough to convict a defendant, thus nullifying the votes of any black jurors and condemning thousands. The 1880s will see seven major white-on-black race riots.

1882: The U.S. Navy bombards Tlingit villages in Alaska. The Chinese Exclusion Act   suspends immigration of Asian laborers for ten years and prohibits “any convict, lunatic or idiot ” from entering the country. Prior to this date, nearly anyone except for the Chinese and Japanese who crossed the borders had been considered legal. It is possibly the first time in recorded history that a country denies entrance to people based exclusively on their skin color or country of origin and will remain in effect until 1943. The term “illegal immigrant” is first used. New York City police arrest 137 persons for violating the Sunday Laws, or Blue Laws,  which are still in effect in many states.

1883: The Supreme Court declares the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional, legitimating segregation and racial violence, and upholds criminalization of interracial sexual relationships.  The Religious Crimes Code deprives Indians of their first amendment rights and bans their dances and ceremonies, including the Sun Dance, the Ghost Dance, potlatches, and the practices of medicine persons. It gives Indian agents authority to use imprisonment and the withholding of rations to stop any cultural practices they deem immoral or subversive. Courts of Indian offenses are created to replace Native governance. Intellectuals introduce the term “eugenics.” Hula performance is revived in Hawaii.

1884: San Francisco public schools deny admission to Chinese American children.

1885: Rock Springs massacre and Tacoma Riot. The Alien Contract Labor Law prohibits importing of any foreigners to perform labor, including “professional actors, artists, lecturers, or singers (and) persons employed as strictly personal or domestic servants.”  Ohio allows voters to register on only seven select days during the year.

1885-1888: Racist mobs lynch several uniformed Black “Buffalo soldiers”. Over 100,000 Chinese  work on the railroads, in agriculture and mining and as domestics and service workers.

1885-1908: All 11 former Confederate states rewrite their constitutions to restrict Black voting rights using poll taxes, literacy tests and felon disenfranchisement. In Louisiana the number of Black registered voters drops from 130,000 during Reconstruction to 5,000 by 1900 and 1,000 by 1904.

1886: White mobs in Vancouver and Seattle riot against Chinese residents. Idaho expels its 4,000 Chinese residents. 

1887: Hell’s Canyon Massacre. The Thibodaux Massacre leaves 60 Blacks dead and ends unionized farm labor in the South for decades.  The Dawes Act grants citizenship to Native Americans who disassociate themselves from their tribe and subdivides communal landholdings into individual allotments. Utah is the second territory to allow women to vote, but Congress repeals woman’s suffrage there. The Indian Affairs Commissioner bans Native languages in schools. Plantation owners force Hawaiian King Kalakaua to sign the “Bayonet Constitution”.

1888: The Supreme Court affirms (and will repeatedly re-affirm) that corporations have all the rights of people.

1889: Oklahoma’s first “land rush” occurs as the federal government opens nearly two million acres to settlement. Additional land rushes will occur in 1891 (twice), 1893 and 1895.

1890-1920: Eleven million rural people move to the cities of the North and the Midwest as twenty million European immigrants arrive.

1890: Buffalo Gap, Stronghold and Wounded Knee massacres. Whitecappers force blacks in mixed-race areas to move out. As a result, Oklahoma becomes quite segregated, with some formerly mixed towns becoming all-white. The government assumes control of immigration and constructs the Ellis Island Inspection Station. It will eventually process 12 million immigrants, who will become the ancestors of 100 million Americans. The Bureau of Immigration is created to enforce federal immigration laws, especially the ban on Asians. All reservations in Indian Territory are annexed into the new Oklahoma Territory. Mississippi amends its constitution to permanently disenfranchise people who commit certain crimes they believe are more likely to be committed by Black people. They do not include murder and rape, which will not be added until 1968. The 1890s will see nine major (white-on-black) race riots.

1891: A New Orleans mob lynches a group of eleven Italian Americans, whom they call “white niggers”. The word “Mafia” enters the American lexicon. Federal officers forcibly take Indian children from their homes and reservations. In Oklahoma territory a land lottery is held instead of another land rush. Night riders attack Jews in Louisiana and Mississippi. Congress prohibits immigration by polygamists.

1892: The Geary Act extends the Chinese Exclusion Act, requires all Chinese to carry resident permits on penalty of deportation and prohibits them from testifying in court. The Supreme Court upholds it.  The Commissioner of Indian affairs imposes prison penalties for those who repeatedly participate in religious dances or act as medicine people. Congress recommends establishing Columbus Day as a national holiday because of “the devout faith of the discoverer and for the divine care and guidance which has directed our history and so abundantly blessed our people.”

1893: White planters and businessman overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy. The Supreme Court decides that the government’s right to expel foreigners is “absolute” and that “the provisions of the Constitution, securing the right of trial by jury, and prohibiting unreasonable search and seizures, and cruel and unusual punishment, have no application” in such cases. It first establishes the uniquely marginal, political category of “illegal alien”. For the first time since slavery, an entire category of people can be imprisoned without a trial by jury.

1895: Federal authorities imprison 19 Hopi leaders on Alcatraz Island for opposing the government’s forced education and assimilation of indigenous children. The United Daughters of the Confederacy is founded.

1896: The Plessy vs Ferguson decision (“Separate but equal”) legalizes segregation. The teaching of the Hawaiian language is prohibited in schools. A white mob murders an interracial couple in Louisiana.

1898: White supremacists stage a military assault on the last bastion of biracial government in the South, killing scores of Blacks and driving thousands out of Wilmington, North Carolina.  The Supreme Court rules that a child born in the U.S. of parents of Chinese nationality is a citizen.  The Curtis Act breaks up tribal governments and communal lands in Oklahoma. White settlers are given license to ignore tribal laws, evade permit taxes, fence lands illegally and refuse to vacate lands claimed by Native allottees. The “Five Civilized Tribes” who had suffered the Trail of Tears lose control of over 90 million acres. The U.S. annexes Hawaii. The convict lease system supplies 73% of Alabama’s entire state revenue.

1898-1934: Congress creates the nation’s only “Institution for Insane Indians”, the Canton Insane Asylum, confining many for resisting government regulations or to steal their mineral rights. For the first two years, there are no doctors or nurses. Tourists come to view the “insane Indians.” At least 121 patients die.

1899: The Oklahoma Legislature prohibits the practices and healing ceremonies of native medicine men. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) admits the rigidly all-white International Association of Machinists.

Read Part Five here.

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