Linn Washington Jr. in Counterpunch:
These Black heroes of 9/11 valiantly battled terrorism. But the sacrifices of these Black heroes will receive no recognition during the commemorations around America for the 20th Anniversary of what is considered the most tragic terrorist attack ever conducted on America soil. These heroes, William Parker and his colleagues, confronted terrorists on 9/11 in defense of freedom and liberty – professed pillars of democracy in America. Although badly outnumbered, these Black heroes successfully battled the armed terrorists whose onslaught included threats to employ a weapon of massive destruction. While the anti-terrorism actions of Parker and his band of Black heroes did occur on 9/11 those actions did not occur on ‘that’ 9/11.
The so-called “Christiana Riot” on September 11, 1851, involved Parker and his band battling a group of slave catchers from Maryland who sought return of three Blacks who fled the enslavement of a Methodist minister in Baltimore. The continued failure of America to recognize the contributions of these Black heroes constitutes a tragedy larger than 9/11 itself. This failure to learn from the lessons these Black heroes taught is tied into many of the tribulations that now ravage America domestically and internationally.
Most Americans know nothing about these Black 9/11 heroes, some of whom went on to fight in America’s bloodiest war. Compounding this lack of awareness is the fact that the possibility of more Americans learning about these heroes is now under brutal attack across the country from conservative driven campaigns to kill instructional initiatives to expose institutional racism like Critical Race Theory and the New York Times’ award-winning 1619 Project. Their actions on September 11, 1851, made national news, far beyond the small village of Christiana located about 50-miles west of Philadelphia in what is now Lancaster County. The terrorism that Parker and his band battled in 1851 was the brand of deadly domestic terrorism that predates America’s “War on Terror.”