Slocum Massacre | Texas Public Radio

Slocum Massacre

In July 1931, Texans were wondering if their state was going to war with Oklahoma. The two neighboring states were in a showdown over a bridge over the Red River. While many saw this Red River Bridge War as a farcical episode it was also a watershed moment in history.


This is part one of a five-part series broadcasting on Texas Standard. The series tells the strange story of W. Lee O'Daniel who in 1938 went from being a flour salesman on the radio to Governor of Texas and then U.S. Senator.  O'Daniel is considered one of the most amazing politicians in Texas history who accomplished virtually nothing.

In the 1930s every weekday at 12:30 in the afternoon there was one radio program that dominated the airwaves across Texas. W. Lee “Pass The Biscuits Pappy” O'Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys were on the air and selling flour.

You don’t have to look far in to Texas' past to see the ugly face of racial violence against African Americans. There is the 1910 Slocum Massacre which we’ve covered on Texas Matters. But there are so many more examples.

David Martin Davies

A little known episode in Texas history known as the Slocum Massacre is now officially recognized with a state historic marker. But the descendants of Slocum say this is only the first step in spotlighting acts of injustice in Texas.

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Constance Hollie-Jawaid

July 29, 1910 in Slocum, Texas started off like any other Friday in this rural East Texas community – but before the day was over one of the worst racial atrocities in Texas history would happen.

It wasn’t long after sunrise that the shooting started – and continued throughout the day.

In Texas, from 1891 to 1922, there was a systematic and routine practice of the burning of African American men at the stake. It happened so often that the state averaged one fatal burning a year during that 31-year period. These didn’t happen in the backwoods in secret by hooded men, but in town squares in daylight with local politicians leading the cheering mobs.

David Martin Davies

Two weeks ago Texas Matters aired a special report on the 1910 Slocum Massacre. It told the story of a murderous attack on an East Texas African American community and how Texas history has overlooked the event.

David Martin Davies

July 29, 1910 in Slocum, Texas started off like any other Friday in this rural East Texas community – but before the day was over one of the worst racial atrocities in Texas history would happen.

It wasn’t long after sunrise that the shooting started – and continued throughout the day.