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Here is a brief history of racism in 30 powerful photos

Here are some powerful photos that everyone should take time out to look at.

The blog Earthly Mission put together some powerful photos that everyone should take time out to look at.

This is an attempt to grasp the absurdity of these two interlinked ideologies without showing dead bodies or fighting armies. Instead, I used some rarely published photographs that I find extremely fascinating.

Powerful indeed.

Check out the series below:

1. Farmers await the opening of a slave fair in St. Louis, Missouri, 1852. race 1
2. A slave showing his scars from repeated floggings, 1863. race 2
3. A device that was probably meant to prevent slaves from escaping through small openings, such as windows, 1863. race 3
4. The Edmonton ice hockey team, 1916. This picture shows how the swastika symbol was at one time somewhat universal and not associated with racism, being in use long before Hitler utilized it. race 4
5. Hitler’s own designs for the Nazi Party symbol, 1920. race 5
6. Mussolini is greeted with a giant letter M in the Italian village of Piemonte, 1928. race 6
7. A German bomb with a message for Churchill, 1940. race 7
8. A Canadian soldier searching Jakob Nacken, the tallest soldier in Hitler’s army, 1944. race 8
9. A German “Rail Wolf” destroying train tracks in Italy, 1944. race 9
10. A Japanese family returning to their home in Los Angeles after WWII, 1945. race 10
11. Soviet soldiers with Hitler’s globe after WWII, 1945. race 11
12. Segregation in North Carolina, 1950. race 12
13. Paula Hitler, Adolph Hitler’s only sibling, 1954. race 13
14. A Holocaust survivor bonks a skinhead on his skin head, 1985. race 15
15. A British sailor removing the leg irons from a slave, late 1800s. race 16
16. Klu Klux Klan at a carnival, 1925. race 17
17. World’s Highest Standard of Living – A Margaret Bourke-White Photograph,1937. race 18
18. A rare color photo of Adolf Hitler which shows his true eye color (date unknown). race 19
19. US Government mockups of how Hitler could have disguised himself, 1940s. race 20
20. The last photo taken of Adolf Hitler as he overlooks the damage in Berlin,1945. race 21
21. This is what he saw. race 22
22. A German soldier returns home only to find his family no longer there, Frankfurt, 1946. race 23
23. A girl who grew up in a concentration camp draws a picture of “Home” while living in a residence for disturbed children, Poland, 1948. race 24
24. Black children looking in on a whites-only playground, Mobile, Alabama 1956. race 25
25. African girl in human zoo, Belgium 1958. race 26
26. Black man drinking at white only fountain, 1964. race 27
27. Nelson Mandela keeps his fists raised after he was sentenced to life imprisonment, June 1964. race 28
28. Demonstrator at the Harlem Peace March to end racial oppression carries an anti-war sign, 1967. race 29
29. The child of a KKK member approaches black state troopers, 1992. race 30
30. A sign warning white residents in Johannesburg during apartheid times, 1956. race 31

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83 Comments

83 Comments

  1. Wanda Doyle

    July 26, 2014 at 2:10 am

    #4, the Edmonton Ice Hockey team should not have been included, as the picture was taken in 1916 and had nothing to do with either racism or Nazism, as the caption plainly indicates.

  2. walterwart

    July 26, 2014 at 5:05 am

    #4 doesn’t belong in a “brief history of racism”. Back in 1916 the swastika was not a Nazi or racist symbol. It was a mostly associated with Buddhism and good luck.

  3. Lisa

    July 26, 2014 at 5:05 am

    These make me sad.

  4. Becks

    July 26, 2014 at 5:19 am

    It should be noted the Swastika was a very commonly used symbol prior to the Nazis adopting it and originally had no racist implications.

  5. copperhead19592004freckasmfreck

    July 26, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Funny, didn’t see anything about the Black panthers here!

  6. Sword&Shield

    July 26, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I feel the need to remind everyone that the swastika has been around long before it was ever tainted by evil and I am a damn proud of mine as it is a good symbol (good place to look is here for more information: http://reclaimtheswastika.com/symbolism/).

    owning people was evil and there is still those being owned such as women and children whom are still used as slaves to this day.

    let us not forget the sins of humanity’s past or risk repeating them.

  7. david

    July 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Many items from before Hitler’s time have swastikas on them. I even have an old boy scout medal from 1910 with one on it. It had a totally different meaning then, typically ‘peace’ or ‘good luck’. Hitler hijacked it for his evil intentions, and forever changed how people see it. It is unfair to call people who used it before his time any sort of racist because of their association with it.

  8. jsaq

    July 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Prior to Hitler, the Swastika had no widespread racist connotation. Including a photo from 1916 isn’t an example of racism. It is still a widely used symbol in some eastern religions and in it’s original Sanskrit, it’s thought to mark lucky or auspicious items. At the time of the photo of the ice hockey team, there was no racist meaning to the Swastika. In that era, before Hitler and Nazism’s rise, it was a symbol of good luck.

  9. James

    July 26, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    The Edmonton ice hockey team doesn’t wear a right facing swastika, that has nothing to do with race…

  10. Brian

    July 26, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I don’t know how many of them are the best examples of racism. Many seem to be showing an end result of racism. For example, a soldier searching a soldier, is that racism? The swastika also means different things to different people, and I doubt the hockey team was using it as a symbol of hate in 1916. It’s still in use by many eastern religions as a symbol good luck or well being. It has just been burned into our minds as a symbol of hate and of the Nazis, that we cannot fathom that it might have been used for more innocuous purposes.

  11. grahamfreeman

    July 26, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    How is #4 a part of A Brief History Of Racism?

  12. John Martin

    July 28, 2014 at 1:42 am

    For picture #4, you misunderstand the original meaning — to include the meaning at the time (you might as well post an image of a new house in India or Japan, which will likely include a swastika if it’s in the rural areas).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor_Swastikas

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernie_Swastikas

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_use_of_the_Swastika_in_the_early_20th_century

  13. Angèle

    August 12, 2014 at 3:30 am

    Everybody freaking out about the Edmonton hockey team — use your brain. It’s included here to demonstrate how much the context has changed regarding that symbol thanks to (wait for it) RACISM. And tyrannical bloodthirsty despots more generally. Gone are the days when a bunch of women could innocently select a swastika as their team symbol.
    It’s an interesting historical photo because without a caption telling you if those women are pre-1930s or post-1930s, you really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at.

  14. Pablo

    October 10, 2014 at 2:44 am

    Lots of iconic images here by some of the 20th Century’s best photographers, yet only Margaret Bourke White is worthy of credit? Remember, if the photos are powerful, it’s because someone had the vision to create them. Credit the artists, please.

  15. john

    December 4, 2014 at 3:49 am

    half of these arent even racist

  16. Red Cabbage

    December 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Yeah, right. I mean with those millions of people they executed and all the white people they lynched. Should definitely be up there with the Third Reich and the KKK. You are the smartest person ever!

  17. Horuss

    December 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Picture #3 is entirely wrong. That device was one of many that those who had runaway were forced to wear–sometimes for the rest of their lives to let all whites know that this particular slave might run again so beware. This is a rather simple one. many had elaborate bell systems attached and other cumbersome heavy devices that would both identify the runaway and his/her violation of the law and to help find them if they decided to run again. Also, the Edmonton team with Swastikas has nothing to do with racism of any kind. The swastika is an ancient symbol used in many cultures including the culture of the native Americans. The swastika was a common decorative motif for native Americans.

  18. Me'ira

    December 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Why are so many people so focused on what they deem to NOT be racist here rather than feeling any empathy to what IS, That is truly a sign of the pervasiveness of racism in our society.

  19. Kene

    December 4, 2014 at 8:19 am

    You need to remember that the panthers didn’t have the power to change anything in america. Racism was part of the law in america.

  20. Weird Sh***

    December 4, 2014 at 9:31 am

    how on earth the photo of Hitlers sister is a racist photo?! … And Human Zoo thats insane

  21. Rocks

    December 4, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    What should make you sad is how little has changed. I know it seems as though we’ve made great strides but mostly the hate has gone underground. Its depressing, particularly for a “Christian” country.

  22. Rocks

    December 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    After hundreds of years of slavery you want a flash in the pan movement mentioned? Take off the hood.

  23. Rocks

    December 4, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    This is humanity’s present as well. Just cause its gone underground dont think its left us.

  24. Nathaniel Mulcahy

    December 4, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Piemonte is not a village, it is a region.

  25. Eyezee

    December 5, 2014 at 12:37 am

    more like copper brain… #jackass

  26. christopher

    December 5, 2014 at 3:49 am

    Every race has been enslaved at one time or another and in africa today it is still a common practice thugs be thugs regardless of there color!

  27. Tommy Bones

    December 5, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    That symbol you refer to points to the left and is basically the mirror image of the nazi swastika.

  28. wmodes

    December 5, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Ug, I hate this article. Its focus on Nazis makes it seem like fascists invented racism — it is more likely that fascists learned the effectiveness of state-sponsored racism from the U.S. Where are the photos of the happy prosperous southern U.S. which was built on the labor of African slaves? For that matter, what about photos of the happy prosperous 19th Century Northern U.S. which benefited indirectly from slavery? Where are the photos of lynching, the ever-present threat of violence that kept black people in line? Where are the photos of police violence against civil rights workers? What about racism against people of Asian decent, like the American concentration camps for the Japanese? This journalist took the easiest possible route and picked a few evocative clickbait photos of black slaves and Nazis. Lazy and ignorant. But I guess maybe that is a good characterization of racism after all.

  29. Scott Fecher

    December 26, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Fair point, but its inclusion throws shade on those women who don’t deserve it.

  30. Scott Fecher

    December 26, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Or perhaps they agree those things are racist and have nothing more to add. Not everyone is trying to outdo each other with outrage.

  31. John Magin

    December 26, 2014 at 1:56 am

    It predates Nazism by thousands of years. For example: Ancient Roman ruins in Koln have these inlaid symbols in the tiles. Perhaps where he drew inspiration from?
    http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/symbol-swastika-and-its-12000-year-old-history-001312

  32. D'Arcy Mann

    December 26, 2014 at 5:44 am

    ” without a caption telling you if those women are pre-1930s or post-1930s, you really have no idea just what it is you’re looking at”

    Their outfits are a bit of a giveaway. Canadian women’s hockey teams didn’t dress like that in the 1930s and 40s.

    Further, this collection is full of photos that have little or nothing to do with racism. So cram your condescending tone. Sideways.

  33. Cinde

    December 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    This is NOT a christian country. We were neither established as one, nor do we behave as one.

  34. Mike

    December 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Paula was not Hitler’s only sibling, he had 3 other siblings none of whom made it to adulthood. You should check your facts.

  35. Ariele Betterton

    December 29, 2014 at 10:09 am

    THANK YOU.

  36. alsanbalaur

    December 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    The Swastika (which is, itself, a Sanskrit word) predates the Nazi symbol, no matter WHICH way it points, by millenia. It was a symbol of protection, and of the sun. This photo had no place in this article.

  37. Ryan Patrick

    January 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Well stated, and the best point anyone has made.

  38. Bill Volckening

    February 1, 2015 at 1:18 am

    Remove picture #4 and add a picture of Ferguson, Missouri. But don’t do it because Michael Brown’s death was racial profiling. Do it because it wasn’t!

  39. Will

    February 1, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Well said.

  40. nal13

    February 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for stating this, I was thinking the same thing.

  41. nal13

    February 1, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for stating this.

  42. hunter8906

    February 2, 2015 at 3:42 am

    The list of historical screw ups in this article is quite long.

    As has been mentioned, the ‘Swastika’ in #4 is actually quite often seen in historical artwork related to Asia.

    Not entirely sure what #s 6, 7, 8, 9, and 11 have to do with racism. Aside from them being related to Germany, which Germany itself isn’t racist, it’s a tract of land in Europe.

    #13 Adolf Hitler actually had 5 siblings. Since the caption may imply that Paula was the last of the Hitler children left alive, we can’t really say its wrong since it could be a misunderstanding.

    I found #27 humourous because it says ‘fists’ when if you look, there are two right hands sticking through the bars. Maybe I’m just being too literal.

  43. DeadState

    DeadState

    February 4, 2015 at 2:59 am

    This was quite a long list of non-screw ups. You obviously didn’t even read the caption of #4.

  44. Bilal Akhtar

    March 18, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This post seem to target Hitler only and all others who had human zoo’s and human display centers.

  45. Justified

    March 28, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Let’s get this straight. Race is a human/social construct designed primarily for control and manipulation. Racism is demonstrated when one race of people have the means to impact and thereby control the lives of another race of people. The Black Panthers did not control the American system of government, nor any other system for that matter.

  46. Dave

    April 5, 2015 at 11:51 pm

    It says it was included to show that the symbol itself was used long before Hitler turned it into such a negative symbol. It is not suggesting the hockey team were racist, quite the opposite.

  47. Pingback: Picture of the day: civil disobedience

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    June 8, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Why is there no mention of the fact the Democrat Party created and nurtured the KKK?

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