ChatGPT: Woodrow Wilson’s Federal Troops May Have Executed Black Americans

I’ve been noticing that slight perturbations in a query to ChatGPT gives dramatically different results. Clearly their curation systems have vulnerabilities open to exploitation.

Here’s an example: “did woodrow wilson’s federal troops execute Blacks in elaine arkansas?

Yes, during the events in Elaine, Arkansas in 1919, federal troops under the command of Woodrow Wilson were involved in the arrests and detentions of African Americans. Some African Americans were also killed during the violence, but it is unclear if any were executed by federal troops specifically.

However, after the violence had ended, many African American farmers involved in the unionization effort were unjustly prosecuted and convicted, with several being sentenced to death. The legal proceedings against these African American farmers were heavily influenced by racial bias and discrimination, with white juries convicting and sentencing Black defendants without proper legal representation or due process. It is possible that some of the African American farmers who were executed were wrongly convicted and may have been innocent.

Overall, the events in Elaine, Arkansas highlight the systemic racism and discrimination that existed in the United States during the early 20th century, and the tragic consequences that this racism had on the lives and livelihoods of African Americans.

Ok. The answer is both yes and it’s unclear but possible federal troops executed Black farmers. It’s obviously unclear because there was no justice in place for investigating federal troops shooting Americans. That’s not the same thing as it not happening.

Note that it says “troops under the command of Wilson”, as that is a quite damning statement.

Source: ArkTimes. U.S. Soldiers from Camp Pike round-up peaceful Black farmers for unjust imprisonment in Elaine 1919. The camp was named for Confederate General Albert Pike, a horrible racist “know nothing” and poor leader of no success. After he was reprimanded and removed from duty it’s plausible Pike helped lead the formation of KKK. Soldiers from that Camp Pike.

Execution role was unclear? Was that intentional obfuscation?

Now I’ll ask for more: “why did woodrow wilson send federal troops to elaine arkansas to execute Black farmers

I am sorry, but your statement is not accurate. Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, did not send federal troops to Elaine, Arkansas to execute Black farmers. In fact, the events in Elaine, Arkansas in 1919, when a race riot erupted after African American farmers attempted to unionize, occurred during Wilson’s presidency but without his direct involvement or orders.

The federal government did not intervene to stop the violence or protect the civil rights of African Americans during this time period, but it is not accurate to suggest that Wilson personally ordered the execution of Black farmers. It is important to accurately understand and interpret historical events in order to promote informed and constructive dialogue about the complex issues surrounding race and racism in the United States.

Wat. Without Wilson’s involvement or orders? It just said the opposite:

…federal troops under the command of Woodrow Wilson were involved in the arrests and detentions of African Americans. Some African Americans were also killed…

There’s a lot of unnecessary nuance going on here for some reason. Wilson sent troops not to protect civil rights of Americans but to detain and kill them.

We know this to be a fact. And it fits the larger Wilson platform of destroying all Black prosperity and progress. What does it want a Wilson memo that said “execute”? That’s not how history works.

Don’t believe for a minute this statement:

…a race riot erupted after African American farmers attempted to unionize…

Come on. Black farmers on September 30, 1919 were having a peaceful meeting in a church about being cheated when some white supremacists acting as “law enforcement” rolled up and started shooting.

What happened when the grammar of my query changed? It seems that adding the modifier “to execute” blows up the algorithm.

Why would ChatGPT contradict itself so confusingly?

Its answer went from federal troops killing Black Americans for trying to unionize (but don’t call it execution) to “federal government did not intervene” on civil rights matters… and that latter answer is obviously dead wrong.

There’s great irony here. ChatGPT is throwing up a warning label that it’s “important to accurately understand and interpret historical events”, while doing neither.

To be perfectly clear, as a historian, President Wilson was completely responsible for overseeing federal government response to white supremacist terrorism causing racial tensions across the country, including the wave of 1919 violence called Red Summer (where he did nothing to protect civil rights and everything to enable murder of Blacks).

In Chicago, some 1,000 black homes had been burned down. None of the white participants in the riot ever faced consequences for their involvement. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, looking back 100 years later, that the response to the violence perpetrated upon African Americans in the wake of the [murdered Black boy] at the beach wasn’t aggressively prosecuted or even investigated after the fact,” says John Russick [of the Chicago History Museum]. […] “What does it mean to have the story of Eugene Williams, 17 year-old black boy, which then becomes the story of Emmett Till, which ten becomes the story of Laquan McDonald?” [Eve Ewing at the University of Chicago] asks. “What does it mean for us to be constantly living this recurring nightmare?”

U.S. National Guard abide by President Wilson’s nativist (xenophobic racism) “America First” platform to treat Black Americans, especially WWI veterans, as their enemy. Chicago, Illinois, 1919.

Indeed, ChatGPT, what does it mean when none of the white participants ever faced consequences? And why are you echoing that dangerous habit?

Wilson sent federal troops into Elaine who then executed Blacks for trying to organize labor. It was a matter of policy. If the President had sent an “investigation” team they likely would have killed even more innocent people.

Don’t forget three years earlier in the wake of a SF Preparedness Day bombing Wilson sent his attorney general Thomas W. Gregory.

The result?

Two labor leaders (Thomas Mooney and Warren Billings) were wrongly sentenced to death in a huge miscarriage of justice. The actual perpetrators (foreign military agents of Germany, who Wilson told the public wasn’t a threat) were allowed to slip away.

…it turned out, the convictions were based on perjured testimony and doctored evidence. The real bombers were never caught. Investigations later showed that Mooney and Billings had been framed by San Francisco District Attorney Charles Fickert, who was acting on behalf of the city’s business establishment, anxious to strike a blow at labor unions…

Yes, you read that right. The actual foreign agents blowing up American cities, even though known and tracked, were allowed to escape so that politicians could try to execute innocent Americans for being too “liberal”. Was Charles Fickert, elected by considerable Labor vote, really just working for local interests… given Wilson’s heavy hand? Very unlikely.

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