Content Warning: this story contains images of anti-Black violence and lynching
Thomas Gilyard was part of a group of men sleeping in boxcars on a Joplin Missouri train depot for the evening. A white police officer walking along the rails noticed them, demanded they come out – and began shooting! The men tried to defend themselves, and Gilyard shot and killed the cop. The nightmare had begun.
The heathens marched to the Black section of Joplin and started attacking any Black person they saw. They shouted threats, shot into businesses, and burned homes to the ground. The white terrorists were determined to run every single Black person out of the city!
The attempt to racially cleanse the city failed, but our people still suffered. And of course, law enforcement continued to encourage and participate in violent attacks on the city’s Black citizens. Nevertheless, we refused to be run out of the city.
There is not a single era in United States history in which the police were not aggressively violent toward our people. We cannot reform a system meant to kill us. The best way to stop police brutality is to abolish the system that created it!