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This is a visual map of the racial composition of Omaha as of 2010. Green represents African American; orange, Hispanic/Latino; red, Asian American; blue, white. From the Racial Dot Map at https://demographics.virginia.edu/DotMap/index.html

A Timeline of Race and Racism in Omaha

Race and racism has dominated Omaha has history of movement, organizing and activism for civil rights for African Americans and others that goes almost back to the founding of the city. In my research on the history of race and racism in Omaha, I have found examples of more than 60 different types of segregation meant to keep Black people separated from white people. Many of these types are included in the following article. For a complete list of the 60 different types, see here.

Following is a timeline of race and racism in Omaha.

Claude L. Nethaway (1867-1937) was an abhorrent racist and white supremacist in Omaha, Nebraska
Claude L. Nethaway (1867-1937) was a plainly racist real estate agent in Florence. Before that he owned the Forgot Store in Ponca Hills. On the front, his business card reads “I never sell or rent Florence property to N*****, Japanese or Chinamen.” On the back he says much more.

1804 to 1900

The Omaha Star, founded in 1938, is Nebraska’s only African American newspaper. It was led by community leader Mildred Brown for more than 60 years.
Omaha Star article, May 14, 1970 celebrating Malcolm X Day in Omaha
Omaha Star article, May 14, 1970 celebrating Malcolm X Day in Omaha

1900 to 1930

Hamitic League of the World, Omaha, Nebraska
The Hamitic League of the World was founded in Omaha in 1917.
African American youth swim at Peony Park in 1955 after the NAACP Youth Council and others successfully boycotted the facility.
African American youth swim at Peony Park in 1955 after the NAACP Youth Council and others successfully boycotted the facility.
1918 Carnival of the Nations, North Omaha, Nebraska
In 1918, St. John AME and Zion Baptist sponsored the Carnival of the Nations at N. 24th and Grant. Their ad said, “Every nation will be represented by twenty persons in oriental and antiquated garb…” and then included a list of ethnic slurs to describe the “nations” represented.
DePorres Center, N. 24th and Grant Streets, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is a 1954 pic of the storefront of the Omaha DePorres Center at N. 24th and Grant Streets in North Omaha, Nebraska.

1930 to 1960

Dr. Matthew O. Ricketts (1958-1917) of North Omaha was an African American member of the Nebraska Legislature from 1893 to 1897.
Dr. Matthew O. Ricketts (1958-1917) was an African American member of the Nebraska Legislature from 1893 to 1897.
Omaha Black Panthers, North Omaha, Nebraska
Several Black Panthers are pictured leaving the downtown Omaha Police Department headquarters after being questioned for their roles in the ongoing riots after Vivian Strong was murdered by a policeman. Pictured here are Robert Cecil, Robert Griffe, Frank Peak, Gary House and William Peak.

1960 to 1980

Harry Haywood (1898-1985) was born in South Omaha, Nebraska
Harry Haywood (1898-1985), a leader of the Communist Party of the United States, was radicalized by white racism in Omaha in the 1910s.
Omaha Bee headline from February 22, 1908 reads, "Steady exodus of Greeks from Omaha since rioting began."
This headline from the Omaha Bee on February 22, 1908 reads, “Steady exodus of Greeks from Omaha since rioting began.” The Greektown Riots of 1909 decimated the Greek community of Omaha.
St. John's AME Church, 2402 N 22nd St, North Omaha, Nebraska
This is the third building of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Church, Omaha’s oldest African American Church, which was founded in 1867.

1980 to Today

York, the first Black person in Omaha, Nebraska
A statue of York, the first Black person in the area that became Omaha, who came through in 1804 as a slave of Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

MY ARTICLES ABOUT CIVIL RIGHTS IN OMAHA
General: History of Racism | Timeline of Racism
Events: Juneteenth | Malcolm X Day
Issues: African American Firsts in Omaha | Police Brutality | North Omaha African American Legislators | North Omaha Community Leaders
People: Rev. Dr. John Albert Williams | Edwin Overall | Harrison J. Pinkett | Vic Walker | Joseph Carr | Rev. Russel Taylor | Dr. Craig Morris | Mildred Brown | Dr. John Singleton | Ernie Chambers | Malcolm X
Organizations: Omaha Colored Commercial Club | Omaha NAACP | Omaha Urban League | 4CL | DePorres Club | Omaha Black Panthers | City Interracial Committee | Providence Hospital | American Legion | Elks Club | Prince Hall Masons
Related: Black History | African American Firsts

Elsewhere Online


BONUS PICS!

1964 civil rights protest of S.S. Kresge Co. store, Omaha, Nebraska
This 1964 Omaha Star headline reads, “4CL Vows to Continue Drive ‘Until Hell Freezes Over.’” They were boycotting Omaha’s S. S. Kresge Co. store in downtown Omaha.
Segregated schools in Omaha in 1967.
A 1967 map of Omaha’s Black schools at that point, including Tech Junior and Senior High; Webster, Franklin, Kennedy, Fairfax, Druid Hill, Monmouth Park, Saratoga, Lothrop, Lake, Connestoga, and Kellom Grade Schools; and Mann Junior High.
Jones and Company Colored Funeral Directors and Embalmers, 2314 North 24th Street, North Omaha, Nebraska
An 1916 ad for Jones and Company Colored Funeral Directors and Embalmers shows their location at 2314 North 24th Street.
These are the historically segregated schools in Omaha: Kellom, Lothrop, Lake, Howard Kennedy, and Long Schools.
Historically segregated schools in Omaha included Kellom, Lothrop, Lake, Howard Kennedy, and Long Schools.
Omaha Sorrow March, Sept 23, 1963
The Omaha Sorrow March happened on September 23, 1963 in memory of the girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, AL.

DePorres Protest Flyers

Bombing 2867 Ohio Street North Omaha Nebraska on August 1970
These are photos showing 2867 Ohio Street after a bombing on August 1970. Graphic content included showing the body of a police officer killed by the explosion.
An announcement for the first "Grand Benevolent Festival" by "the colored people of Omaha" from the November 24, 1867 Omaha Daily Herald.
An announcement for the first “Grand Benevolent Festival” by “the colored people of Omaha” from the November 24, 1867 Omaha Daily Herald.

7 responses to “A Timeline of Race and Racism in Omaha”

  1. Hello Adam! My name is Stacy Nichols (Moore). Thanks for what you are doing to help preserve such historical information regarding my home town. Hopefully, by reading all of your articles I may find several pieces of my family and history to continue my family search. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what so-called “American history” has done for 250 years, and shows exactly why we need to focus on what we white people do to people of color — including taking away their history.

      Like

  2. Fuxk you, Mitchell. The only good redneck is a dead peck. Catch you in the streets, snowflake.

    Like

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