Commentary by Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver-Velez

The more Black history we uncover, the more we need to uncover. We will not allow it to be erased.

I don’t know how most of you keep track of Black history events. I subscribe to email alerts from, and to their YouTube channel, along with following a number of Twitter history sources. 

What popped up in my mailbox this morning was a history reminder, and a link to the “Fact of the Day,” about the “Chicago Race Riot” of 1919.

Though my grandparents lived in Chicago at this time, where my dad was born on April 1, 1919, I don’t remember them ever discussing this in front of me, though I know they were well aware of the racism, and intense segregation.

Just like we don’t get taught the truth about the NYC Draft riots, a massacre of Black people in 1863, I don’t remember ever hearing about this “riot” in Chicago in high school or college history classes.

The good news, if you could call it that, is that there are now far more places where this history is now available, thanks to social media and history websites. What we need to do is ensure that they get more attention, and that we share what we find with others.

So instead of simply posting the following tweets and links to the twitter roundup history section in the comments below, I’m hoping that you will pass what I’ve found on to folks who probably don’t read either Black Kos, or Daily Kos.



From “‘Ready to explode’: How a black teen’s drifting raft triggered a deadly week of riots 100 years ago in Chicago”

Deadly attacks in stockyards, downtown

The true horrors of the 1919 riots began to emerge the day after the raucous scene following Williams’ death at the beach, just as many unsuspecting black men were leaving for work that Monday afternoon.

Athletic clubs — youth gangs sanctioned by Irish-American politicians like the Ragen’s Colts, the Alywards and the Hamburgs (who counted future Mayor Richard J. Daley as a member) — had cranked up their attacks on black citizens in the weeks leading up to riots, history professor William Tuttle Jr. wrote in his seminal 1970 book “Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919.”

The Chicago Commission on Race Relations’ report on the incident would describe terrifying early scenes:

  • A 30-year-old black stockyard worker heading home was chased from a streetcar by 50 white men from a crowd of 400 on the street and fatally beaten near 47th Street and Normal Avenue. Twenty minutes later, another black man was fatally stabbed while fleeing a mob in Bridgeport.
  • Downtown, two middle-aged black men were chased down and killed by a “mob of white civilians, soldiers, and sailors, who had been chasing, beating and robbing blacks through the Loop for two or three hours. The bodies of one of the men was robbed by rioters.”
  • White gangs soon targeted black households that bordered their communities in Back of the Yards, Englewood and Bridgeport. Mobs drove families from their homes, which were then firebombed.
  • A raid on a streetcar full of black passengers left a father and son dead and the mother severely wounded. The daughter escaped.




Closing this segment with a musical tribute to Eugene Williams:

Grace Chorale of Brooklyn and Apollo Chorus of Chicago present Epitaph for Eugene Williams – for double chorus and string quartet.This original work, based upon “A Stone to the Head: The Death of Eugene Williams,” which was commissioned by Grace Chorale and first performed in Brooklyn in 2019, tells the story of Eugene Williams, whose death in 1919 set off 8 days of racial violence in Chicago. The story remains relevant today.






Glaring absences in US data despite disproportionate effect on Black, Latino and Native American communities. The Guardian: Covid’s racial impact in US clouded by failure to collect race and ethnicity data


The full picture of the racial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is clouded by systemic failures to collect race and ethnicity data, even in states that are leaders in promoting health equity.

In California, for example, a key benchmark for reopening and allocating vaccines doesn’t fully incorporate race and ethnicity data. Meanwhile, nationally there remain glaring absences in testing and hospitalization data by race and ethnicity a full year after it was shown Covid-19 had a disproportionate effect on Black, Latino and Native American communities.

Black Americans have the highest Covid-19 death rate nationally and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Native Americans, Latinos and Black people are two times more likely than white people to die of the disease.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, said in May that as society returns to “some form of normality”, people should remember that “the undeniable effects of racism in our society” has created unacceptable disparities in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Tired exhausted female african scrub nurse wears face mask blue uniform gloves sits on hospital floor. Depressed sad black ethic doctor feels fatigue burnout stress, lack of sleep, napping at work.



By 2030 the country aims to almost double geothermal capacity, to 1.6GW. Bloomberg: The World’s No. 1 in Geothermal Electricity, Kenya Aims to Export Its Know-How


When Kenya opened the Olkaria power plant four decades ago, it was considered more research project than commercial venture. Located in Hell’s Gate National Park, a barren zone of volcanic rock permeated by sulfurous gases and populated mostly by warthogs and zebras, the facility generated electricity using steam rising from deep in the ground. The untested and costly geothermal technology was at best experimental, with the first unit expected to supply power for perhaps 10,000 homes. Today, Olkaria generates more than 50 times that, and the technology is on track to become the backbone of the country’s electricity grid. “Our strategy going forward is geothermal,” says Rebecca Miano, chief executive officer of the state-owned Kenya Electricity Generating Co., or KenGen.

For decades, Kenya and surrounding countries focused on hydroelectric power and oil-fueled thermal stations, but lately they’ve awakened to the potential of their vast underground energy resources. The region sits astride the Great Rift Valley, an area where tectonic plates meet, bringing the magma at the Earth’s core closer to the surface. It’s one of the world’s most active volcanic zones—Mount Kilimanjaro lies at its heart—with dozens of hot springs hinting at the intense heat lying just below. Kenya gets nearly half of its electricity from geothermal plants, more than any other country, according to researcher Fitch Solutions, and it’s on track to increase that to almost three-fifths by 2030.

Olkaria, the continent’s first geothermal power station, is fed by pipes drilled almost 2 miles into the Earth’s crust. These deliver high-pressure steam as hot as 350C (662F), which is used to propel giant turbines. Over the next five years, KenGen plans to invest $2 billion in four new plants and other upgrades at Olkaria that will almost double Kenya’s geothermal capacity to more than 1.6 gigawatts—enough to power a city of 1 million. Longer term, KenGen predicts, the country has the potential to generate at least six times that.

The biggest obstacle, in Kenya and across the region, has long been the initial investment. The turbines and other equipment above ground add up to about $3 million per megawatt, but the real expense lies below the surface. A single well can cost as much as $6 million, and each unit typically requires multiple drilling attempts to find sufficient steam to keep the turbines spinning; for the first station at Olkaria, KenGen drilled 33 wells. Early on, geothermal “was thought of as too risky, and high upfront cost was a hindrance,” says Peter Omenda, a consultant who’s worked on numerous projects in the area. While technological advancements have brought down the price and made it easier to get more steam from each well, the expense of drilling remains a significant hurdle.

A control room at the Olkaria plant.


Regulator’s move comes amid fears that limited press freedoms are being eroded by the government. The Guardian: Outcry after Nigerian TV stations told to curb reporting of security issues


Nigeria’s broadcasting regulator has told TV stations to limit their reporting of rising insecurity in the country and withhold details of incidents and victims, in a move widely criticised by the country’s media and civil society groups.

In a letter sent to the country’s broadcasters, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said TV stations should refrain from “giving details of either the security issues or victims of these security challenges”, and they should “collaborate with the government in dealing with the security challenges” by toning down reporting and commentary.

The letter, which was issued earlier this month but came to light in recent days, comes amid profound frustration around Nigeria at the scale of rising insecurity and fears that limited press freedoms are being eroded by the government.

Africa’s most populous country is facing multiple security crises at once, with the north-west and central regions suffering an unprecedented wave of mass abductions of schoolchildren, and kidnappings for ransom as well as killings by armed groups known as “bandits”. Fears have also grown that jihadist activity is on the rise, spreading from the north-east where a 12-year jihadist insurgency rages on.

A protester holds a banner during a protest in Lagos last month. 
Photograph: Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto/Rex/Shutterstock



Cross called Kelly a “50-year-old bully” and told her to “let the grown women speak” The Grio: Tiffany Cross goes off on Megyn Kelly in viral monologue


Tiffany Cross has had enough.

The host of the MSNBC show The Cross Connection went off on former Fox News host Megyn Kelly for repeatedly slandering Black women such as Naomi Osaka and Meghan Markle in an effort to grow her platform.

Cross began by telling viewers that instead of doing a typical segment about someone “relevant,” she would instead take a “slightly different approach” and address someone “completely irrelevant.”

“I’m speaking of course, about Megyn Kelly,” Cross said. “The 50-year-old bully is trying to bulldoze her way back into relevance that only comes to women like her for being a provocateur, not for offering any type of intellectual input.”



Voices & Soul

Vintage Books
“… and when
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight
And all of you came clear to me… “

– Wole Soyinka
”Civilian and Soldier”

by Justice Putnam,

Black Kos Poetry Editor

The Nigerian Poet, Playwright, Actor and Political Activist, Wole Soyinka, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first African writer to be so recognized. Though much of his early work satirized the absurdities of his society with gentle humor and an affectionate spirit, as the struggle for independence in Nigeria turned sour, Soyinka’s work took on a darker tone. One such example is a conversation between two adversaries who are often pitted against each other, two adversaries who, in the heat of battle, believe one to be the master of the other, yet each are one and the same.

My apparition rose from the fall of lead,
Declared, ‘I am a civilian.’ It only served
To aggravate your fright. For how could I
Have risen, a being of this world, in that hour
Of impartial death! And I thought also: nor is
Your quarrel of this world.
                        You stood still
For both eternities, and oh I heard the lesson
Of your traing sessions, cautioning –
Scorch earth behind you, do not leave
A dubious neutral to the rear. Reiteration
Of my civilian quandary, burrowing earth
From the lead festival of your more eager friends
Worked the worse on your confusion, and when
You brought the gun to bear on me, and death
Twitched me gently in the eye, your plight
And all of you came clear to me.
                        I hope some day
Intent upon my trade of living, to be checked
In stride by your apparition in a trench,
Signalling, I am a soldier. No hesitation then
But I shall shoot you clean and fair
With meat and bread, a gourd of wine
A bunch of breasts from either arm, and that
Lone question – do you friend, even now, know

What it is all about?

– Wole Soyinka

”Civilian and Soldier”






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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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