Ever wonder what would happen if the so-called “protesters” in Oregon were black? While we can’t really know, history — both recent and not-so-recent — provides us with a lot of evidence we can use to build a solid assumption.
How so? In 1979, about 40 members of a group calling themselves People Organized for Equal Rights set up shop in a federal wildlife preserve. Their ancestors had lived on that land for generations, but it took the feds all of three days to kick them out and arrest them.
Located in McIntosh County, Georgia, Harris Neck today is a wildlife reserve, and has been since 1962, when the land transferred from the hands of the military. It’s presently overseen by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is within the federal government’s Department of the Interior.
The U. S. military, using eminent domain, took the land over in mid-1942. They wanted a military base in the region, and while it didn’t pan out as effectively as they probably would have liked, the remains are still there for anyone to see: runways, taxiways, revetments and other structures that are mostly overgrown.
Before any of that, though, the land belonged to former slaves freed after the Civil War. Other former slaves joined and soon there was a community of freed slaves who lived, worked, fished and farmed in the region and did so for decades.
When the military exacted eminent domain over the population, they gave everyone three weeks to leave and paid black landowners much less than white landowners for the property. All of the houses, farms, and factories that the landowners built were leveled by the feds to make room for their military base.
A military base the feds forgot about after World War II. The descendants, however, did not forget. In 1972, 26 families organized to reclaim the land by staging a “camp-in.”
The unarmed protesters established their camps and asked for $50 million in reparations to help rebuild the churches, schools, businesses and homes the feds bulldozed almost 40 years earlier.
If this sounds somewhat familiar so far, rest assured, the story has a very different ending.
Within one day, federal authorities had secured a court order to kick the “squatters” off their land. All but four protesters refused to move. These protesters were unarmed and not posing a threat to anyone — but that didn’t stop them from being “forcibly removed” three days into the protest.
The four men were each sentenced to a month in jail for trespassing, and the courts ruled the land belonged to the U.S. government — although the descendants are still trying to rebuild the community.
Contrast that with Bundy’s yahoos. These armed terrorists have been holed up in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for damn near two weeks now, giving press conferences, issuing demands and threatening violence against authorities. All because they want land under federal control transferred to two ranchers convicted of arson — ranchers who want the terrorists to leave, and who voluntarily reported for their prison sentencing.
And many, if not all, of the terrorists have no ties at all to eastern Oregon. Most of them are out-of-state, and a handful or more are from Arizona.
The last time a population of armed black people threatened violence against law enforcement, law enforcement firebombed them with a C4/Torvex explosive and burned down 60 nearby houses in the process.
Now, to be clear, I’m not claiming the feds should firebomb Malheur.
I am, however, observing a level of hypocrisy that is — justly — perceived to exist based on historical precedent. And that should be enough to make people stop and think.
Watch the video below:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpa1XKRws3U&w=854&h=480]
Feature image via Screen Capture