Google has become such a part of our every day lives that we often just click and go on the search engine, failing to pay attention to their graphics. While Google is no stranger to creative doodles to honor people, holidays, and special occasions, they may not always catch your attention. If that's the case for you, July 28, 2017, is the day you may want to do a little more research on Google's doodle.
Today, they are honoring the Silent Parade of 1917, one of the first mass protests against lynching and anti-black violence in the U.S.
As Google recalls, the march that took place on New York's Fifth Avenue was silent. There was no singing, and there was no chanting. The only sound was the muffled beat of drums. Nearly 10,000 African American children, women, and men marched in silence. Children led the protest dressed in white, followed by women also dressed in white, and men marched in the back dressed in dark suits. Both participants and onlookers remarked that this protest was unlike any other seen in the city and the nation.
BlackPast.org informs that the parade was the result of the violence acted upon African Americans, including the race riots, lynching, and outages in Texas, Tennessee, Illinois, and other states. However, one of the biggest factors was the East St. Louis Riots of 1917, also known as the East St. Louis Massacre, during which between 40 and 250 Black people were killed and thousands more displaced by white mobs.
The protest was organized by the NAACP with leaders such as James Weldon Johnson and W.E.B Du Bois at the forefront. The purpose of the march was to force President Woodrow Wilson to take the legislative action to protect African Americans that he had touched on during his presidential campaign. Here America was trying to force democracy through World War I while the civil rights of black Americans were being stripped away.
While protesters said nothing, they carried banners and posters stating their reasons for the march. “Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy”- one sign read.
James Weldon Johnson recalled in his 1938 autobiography, Along This Way, that “the streets of New York have witnessed many strange sites, but I judge, never one stranger than this; among the watchers were those with tears in their eyes.”
Let us never forget our history and the struggles that our people have gone through and continue to go through. Google has even created an interactive website to learn more about the time period, and the era of lynching that led to this protest.
How do you think our ancestors would feel knowing that 100 years later and we're still marching?