The 1910 Slocum Massacre in East Texas officially saw between eight and 22 blacks killed, and evidence suggests African-American casualties were 10 times these amounts. Yet the massacre has become a dirty Lone Star secret, remarkably more for the inattention it has received than for its remembrance. Unlike most Texas communities in the early 20th century, the unincorporated town of Slocum — like Rosewood — was mostly African-American, with several black citizens considerably propertied and a few owning stores and other businesses. This alone, in parts of the South, might have been enough to foment violence.
According to the Aug. 2 edition of the Palestine Daily Herald, Gardner said there could be “no justification for shooting men in the back, waylaying or killing them in their houses.” By the time the grand jury findings were reported on Aug. 17, several hundred witnesses had been examined. Though 11 men were initially arrested, seven were indicted — and they were only accused in the murders of five of the identified victims. In the Slocum Massacre, seven men were indicted by a grand jury, but no one was ever tried.
This discussion will focus on the plight of one family (the Holley's) and it is through their eyes that we'll explore what happened at Slocum and what has been done to never forget the price that was paid in that small Texas town.
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