Show Description - Monday, August 28th: On today's program, Vince finishes the series "Racism: A History -A Savage Legacy"
In the name of civilising 'the African,' 90% of Africa was divided among the European powers. Leopold II of Belgium set out to become personally wealthy through his seizure of the Congo, where extreme violence, mutilation and other coercive methods forced the local people to obtain rubber and other raw materials. Between 1880 and 1920 about 10 million people, were killed, yet Leopold built an opulent museum to the colonisation of the Congo, which became the venue of one of the first so-called Human zoos that toured Europe throughout the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.Then the words genocide, holocaust and racism became used in connection with the Nazi treatment of the Jews and it became clear that these were abhorrent. However, it did not change the way things were done towards people of colour.
In South Africa the system of racial classification did not have the intention of exterminating the black population created a bureaucracy to determine and enforce access to resources along racial lines. This included an illusory face of democracy which enabled the government to obtain the support of international governments. After the Sharpeville massacre, the banning of the ANC and arrest of Nelson Mandela, the attacks became increasingly violent and deaths mounted up. In 1976 student riots led to many schoolchildren being killed as well as Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko. Practically every family in South Africa was in some way affected by the killings and torture.
It comes as no surprise that many countries supported South Africa. In the United States African American soldiers returning from the war in 1946 were lynched at the rate of one a week. Protests led finally to the passing of anti-lynching laws. When schools were desegregated, violence erupted, resulting in the death of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, the photo of whose mutilated face, testimony of extreme viciousness and hate, bore witness of the white man's savagery towards blacks. Four months later the Civil Rights Movement was born, having to deal with years of violent resistance and the murder of two of its leaders, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. However, even the civil rights legislation could not alleviate the ubiquitous poverty.