Pennsylvania was a battleground state that crowned Donald Trump, the president-elect. However, there is a new battle on the horizon; one far more disturbing—racism. On Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, the University of Pennsylvania battled bigoted text messages aimed at black students.
University of Pennsylvania’s African-American first-year students were targeted by a social media app called GroupMe. However, it was not the University of Pennsylvania’s caucasian student body responsible for this hostility. It was racist white students in Oklahoma. They were supporters of Trump and apparent avid hate-seekers. Their plan was to schedule a “daily lynching” of African-Americans.
University of Pennsylvania Encounters GroupMe
The University of Pennsylvania is Trump’s alma mater. Recently, it was a campus of frightened African-American students. All were threatened by racist messages through a popular app called GroupMe. Launched in May 2010, by Microsoft, it would become a tool used to spread fear and hatred.
Each month, GroupMe delivers over 550 million messages. Currently, it has over 12 million registered customers.
Users start the app by creating a “group.” In this case, it was a cluster of Trump factions. As the radical group grew, they added more hateful followers. Eventually, they launched a racist campaign of crude and anti-black remarks against students at the University of Pennsylvania. When a person sends a message, everybody in the group can see it and reply.
In this case, their words, full of racial slurs, were passed back and forth between them. Each person, adding increasingly offensive terms. The ghastliest; “nigger lynching.” The app allows users to attach and send photos, videos, and web-links effortlessly. There were no web links but plenty images of African-American lynching.
Next, they chose to showcase their abhorrence. Their target; black students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Viral Hate Unleashed at University of Pennsylvania
“I looked an official in the eye and could not maintain myself. I almost lost control. To be honest, I can’t stop these tears. It makes my stomach churn. I just don’t feel safe anywhere,” mentioned a University of Pennsylvania student on Facebook.
The University of Pennsylvania Campus Police increased school safety. They are also working on inspecting the roots of the account. As told by Time magazine, steps are being taken to block the app. The racist situation at the University of Pennsylvania is one of many college campuses experiencing racial problems. This hatred is happening all over the country and the perpetrators are using Trump’s name. Since his election, they have increased. He criticized minorities throughout his campaign. Trump often used racist and chauvinist rhetoric.
This does not seem to be making African-Americans students feel any safer at the University of Pennsylvania. Hearing about lynching only re-opens old wounds. According to some Black PENN students, the fact that the perpetrators are in Oklahoma, a state that was notorious for the hanging of blacks during 1885 to 1930, does not bring them any comfort.
As a result, black students at the University of Pennsylvania are forced to be reminded of time in history that they want to forget. An era when lynching blacks was acceptable. There have been no lynching in Pennsylvania reported since 1911. Unfortunately, it would not be a body dangling from a rope, but it would be burning a live person.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), mentioned that Oklahoma’s last lynching was in 1930. In this state, hanging was the most typical form of punishment. Oklahoma ranked no. 13 in the total number of deaths by lynching.
The Burning of Zachariah Walker
Before the University of Pennsylvania battled bigoted text messages, there was a period when lynching people of color was tolerable. Over 6,000 black individuals perished in racial brutality in the United States between 1865 and 1965. There were three in Pennsylvania and Zachariah Walker was one of them.
On the Sabbath evening, August 13, 1911, in Coatesville, Penn., Zachariah Walker, was lying in a hospital bed, when a mob of white men entered. Without saying a word, they dragged him out of bed. Screaming for his life, observers said the Walker’s last words were the following:
“For God’s sake, give a man a chance! I killed Rice in self-defense. Don’t hand me no crooked death because I’m not white!”
Earlier that day, Walker was on his way home from work. Several drunk immigrant workers stopped him. There was an argument. A man named Edgar Rice, a white security guard at the mill, took an interest in the quarrel. Rice tried to detain Walker. A struggle followed, and Walker, by his private confession, fired a bullet into Rice many times. Walker fled into the woods. Whether or not Rice had any authority to detain Walker on a public road is a mystery. Nonetheless, Walker’s confession claimed that he shot Rice to protect himself.
Moreover, his confession meant nothing, as a crowd of 5,000 men, women, and children hauled him to a field, outside the township of Coatesville. Without delay, Walker was tossed into a built fire. Witnesses saw him crawl out three times. The locals grabbed him every time and pushed him back in. His cries of agony fell on deaf ears until his body became a burnt corpse. Later, town members came back to collect Walker’s remains for souvenirs.
The University of Pennsylvania Takes Action
The University of Pennsylvania was President-elect Trump’s alma mater. Today it is a place of confusion for black first-year students since the racist text messages began. Pennsylvania acknowledged Walker’s hate crime, 105 years ago, and has paid their atonements.
Nevertheless, it appears as though the election of Trump has spiraled racial hatred. Apparently, in May, the perpetrator, who sent racist text messages to black Penn first-year students sought admittance to the Ivy League school.
Representatives of the university explained the student, whose name has not been released publicly, chose to register at a college in Oklahoma as an alternative. It is unclear why the student did not attend the University of Pennsylvania.
Particularly relevant is that the college is taking action. In the meantime, as the FBI investigate, the University of Pennsylvania campus is trying to come together, move forward, and heal from shocking situation as University of Pennsylvania battles with bigoted text messages.
By Jomo Merritt
Edited by Cathy Milne
Time: University of Pennsylvania Black Students Targeted in Racist Group Message
The Verge: University of Pennsylvania black students added en masse to ‘lynching’ GroupMe chats
USA TODAY: the University of Pennsylvania investigating racist ‘lynching’ group thread
NYU Press: Lynching in America: A History in Documents ‘ by Christopher Waldrep; January 1, 2006
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Roman Swordsman1’s Flickr Page – Public Domain License
First Insert Image by Library of Congress Courtesy of Wikimedia —Public Domain License
Seconde Insert Image by L. Horgan, Jr. Courtesy Wikimedia —Public Domain License