In 1860, fires completely destroyed the commercial section of Dallas, Texas. The causes of the fires are debatable and suspicious in looking at the context of the times. This was an era when Texas slave owners were afraid that the Abolitionist Movement and the election of Abraham Lincoln would bring down the institution of slavery. Also, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was still fresh in the minds of those that were engaged in protecting the brutal institution of slavery. Abraham Lincoln and John Brown were vilified by southern racists and were viewed and attacked in much the same way as anti-racists whites and blacks are being attacked today—with fabrication and propaganda aimed at an ignorant and often times a poorly educated population. In order to continue this rotten way of thought we have a president that follows the racist brick road.
Blacks were viewed as animals without rights and animal stereotypes were used to describe blacks as inhuman. In 1860, the editor of the Dallas Herald, Charles Pryor, wrote letters to editors and owners of pro-slavery newspapers across the South, falsely asserting that the fires in and around Dallas were started by abolitionists and their black allies for the purpose of liberating slaves and perhaps establishing free territory in Texas. He even circulated articles claiming that blacks were trying to poison the water supply. This was white supremacist fake news at its best.Under Trump, the racist bombast has been given new life.Supposedly, according to the racist rants of Charles Pryor, anti-slavery white religious ministers, had enlisted the help of Dallas area slaves to set the fires and supposedly murder white men and rape “southern belles.” Of course, in order to make whites super infuriated he used the old fake claim that blacks would also be engaged in raping white women. These reprehensible claims set off unparalleled white racist terrorism that was exported across Texas and the rest of the South. Donald E. Reynolds’ (2007) research in, “Texas Terror: The Slave Insurrection Panic of 1860 and the Secession of the Lower South,” provides solid evidence that Charles Pryor helped to spread these lies for the purpose of rallying southern states to leave the Union.
In part, this is where being a professional liar (Trump) pays off, as Pryor’s assertions were readily accepted and was developed into the belief that the South was really waging a war against “Northern tyranny.” This cheap cliché is repeated to this day by those trying to avoid conversations and analysis that goes below and above the white racist bombast. We know that slavery was the central reason for the Civil War. However, the repeated lie that is still told today by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) and others is that it was not about slavery. Reynolds holds that it was Pryor that provided the scare tactics that caused the panic which stampeded southerners into fighting a war based on white supremacy and slavery. Charles Pryor, and his racial inventions as told in the Dallas Herald, will go down in history as propaganda that rivals Adolph Hitler’s propaganda apparatus during World War II. In part, Pryor’s fabrications caused the deaths of over 600,000 soldiers in the Civil War. This is why it is important to monitor neo-confederate groups who are engaged in emotional outbursts of historical fabrication that are certain to drive some people into a bayou of hatred. Trump is their hero of white supremacist bombast fire-eater rhetoric who engages in hate filled speeches and lies designed to incite the ignorant. White racist bombast is still alive!