October 24: The Chinese Massacre in Los Angeles, Walt Disney Testifies Before the HUAC, and Other Events of the Date
A number of important events took place on October 24 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1871 – The Chinese Massacre in Los Angeles
One of the most severe racial riots against Asian Americans occurred on October 24, 1871, in Los Angeles, California. It all started with a mob of around 500 white and mestizo people entering LA’s Chinatown, and then attacking, murdering, and robbing a number of residents. As is often the case, the riot was triggered by a rumor that a policeman had been killed by a resident of Chinatown.
Death toll estimates vary, yet, it is known that no less than 17 Chinese immigrants were killed by the angry mob, being either hanged or shot. Some historians say there were 20 Chinese immigrants killed.
Unfortunately, although some of the men responsible were later arrested (only ten), and eight were even prosecuted and convicted for the massacre, they didn’t get to jail, because the convictions were simply overturned after an appeal was made.
1947 – Walt Disney testifies before the House of Un-American Activities Committee
As we wrote on October 20, in these days back in 1947, “…one of the darkest pages both in the history of American internal politics and the world of cinema production was turned on this date 71 years ago, as The House Un-American Activities Committee launched the investigation of the so-called “Communist infiltration” of the film industry, which later resulted in the formation of the Hollywood Blacklist…”
Following the investigation, Walt Disney, prominent American cartoonist, animator, entrepreneur, and film producer testified before HUAC on October 24. The bad thing is that Disney actually deceived and betrayed many former co-workers, saying they were “communist sympathizers.” Even though the men named were later cleared of formal charges, many of them were later unofficially blacklisted.
Another Hollywood start who testified against his colleagues was future President Ronald Reagan. Others, such as Humphrey Bogart, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, and Frank Sinatra abstained from the hearing and created the Committee for the First Amendment to protest against the investigation.
2002 – The D.C. Sniper attacks end
From the middle of February until this day in 2002, Washington D.C. suffered from a wave of planned shootings and sniper attacks. In the context of the 9/11 attacks and the beginning of the War on Terror, American society was really quite concerned: “the enemy is in our land” was a common mindset at that time.
17 people were killed, along with 10 wounded during this spree. Apart from the District of Columbia, the shootings also took place in Maryland and Virginia. The spread of domestic terrorism was only stopped on October 24, as the police caught two suspects: John Allen Muhammad (aged 41 at the time) and Lee Boyd Malvo (aged 17 at the time).
A year later, September 2003, Muhammad was sentenced to death. Six year later, September 2009, he was executed by lethal injection. Malvo was sentenced to life in prison, since he was underage. Last year, in 2017, his parole was overturned.
These are the most notable events in U.S. history that occurred on October 24, at least in our view.