In 2007, I was in my car when NPR started a 15-minute segment on the shameful history of the 1919 race riot of Corbin, Kentucky.
That event wasn’t as bad as what would happen in Tulsa two years later, but that’s not saying much: Corbin is a small town, and somewhere between 6 and 8 percent of its population lost everything in a single night in an event that today we would call ethnic cleansing.
It was also a jaw-dropping revelation.
From age 9 to 11, I lived in Corbin, never hearing a whiff of its sordid past. As I reached my destination and sat in the parking lot listening to the end of the broadcast, all I could think was: how could it have been so thoroughly covered up that I didn’t know?
As the old newspaper clip I’ve used as the image for this post indicates, it was a national story. (If you can’t read it, it’s from the El Paso, Texas.)