In a recent book by E.R. Bills titled, “The 1910 Slocum Massacre: An Act of Genocide in East Texas,” the author exposes the horrible crimes committed in Texas by a racialized white population in Anderson and Houston counties in East Texas. The horror in Slocum took place in late July of 1910 and went on into August. The incident, in which as many as 200 African American may have been murdered were hunted down like animals and their land taken took place a few miles from Palestine, Texas in a small, mostly black community called Slocum, Texas. The racist horror against blacks from this incident has largely been purposely erased by Texas historians and historical societies. In fact, one racist-minded historian actually took records of this act of genocide home with them so that the history of how racist Texas actually was (and is in some places) could be hidden.
According to recent research by E. R. Bills, the head of the Houston County Historical Commission, Eliza H. Bishop, purposely and disgracefully hide the records at her home. This racist act of hiding the truth is documented in Bills’ book, “When Bishop passed away, and however, a cache of letters, papers, and documents concerning the Slocum massacre . . . was discovered at her home. . . She kept it separate and hidden at her residence.” This woman was supposed to be a keeper of historical documents, but instead shamefully and irresponsibly hide the records. According to the Anderson County Sheriff, quoted in the New York Times, and documented in the Bills’ book, “Men were going about killing Negroes as fast as they could find them, and so far as I was able to ascertain, without any real cause. These Negroes have done no wrong that I could discover. There was just a hot-headed gang hunting them down and killing them. I don’t know how many were in the mob, but I think there must have been 200 or 300. . . They hunted the negroes down like sheep.”
They were attacked in home invasions, killed in their sleep, and slaughtered as they ran. Woman and children were shot as well, and after the bloody campaign homes that were abandoned by blacks were burned down and their land taken. This Texas massacre of innocent African Americans was worse than the Rosewood Massacre in Florida. All things Texan includes an ugly racist past of white supremacy that has largely been ignored in an attempt to make the history of the Lone Star State look like some paradise. Tons of Lies! White mobs even attempted to burn down the courthouse in Anderson County to erase the records of black ownership of the land. In fact, according to Bills, the records were purposely lost or fraudulently altered to remove property records proving that blacks owned the land in question.
Texas is made to look like an independent land, based on equality, liberty, individualism, constitutionalism, and other high sounding phrases. This is was they really mean when they say everything is bigger in Texas—bigger hatred, lies, and ignoring what will implicate Texas in racist murders. We have no idea in the 21st Century how barbaric Texas Anglos that believed in racism were. Whites that tried to help blacks in Slocum were beaten, shot, and threatened many times by the ancestors of the Confederacy. White racism expected all white to comply with their insane ideology or they too would be victimized.
According to Bills, “Bodies were wrapped in blankets and interred together in a large pine box. Other accounts said bodies were unceremoniously dumped in the trench and suggest the exact number of corpses was unclear . . . Some of the bodies in various stages of decomposition . . . indicates that before the informally scheduled mass burial took place, search parties combed the surrounding woods and thickets and periodically returned with additional bodies.” This happened in East Texas at a time when white supremacy was at fever pitch because of the hatred of the black heavy-weight boxing champion Jack Johnson.
Some blacks did escape the slaughter, including Preston and Annie Pierson and their children. They were able to hide and finally escaped the rampaging genocidal mob leaving behind the family farm of 188 acres. These lands would become available for blood thirsty mob members in much the same way Mexican land was stolen decades before by Texas settlers. The Slocum Massacre of 1910 should be remembered as one of many ugly chapters to Texas history. The surviving ancestors of the massacre should be compensated for the horror they had to endure. So far the Texas legislature has only issued an apology, which is a day late and a dollar short!