Have black women ever been lynched?

The harrowing history of the lynching

The Republican member of the House of Representatives from Missouri, Leonidas C. Dyer, introduced this legal text. It was rejected in the Senate.

"Ultimate Expression of Racism"

Over 200 such bills had been overturned in Congress in the past hundred years. As recently as 2005, when the Senate passed a resolution apologizing for its inability to pass a law against lynching, according to a Washington Post report, "passionate speeches were being made about how lynching helped reduce the danger." Colored) for white women and to keep the races separate. "

According to CNN, the new law defines lynching, or killing by angry people without legal authority, as "the ultimate expression of racism in the United States" and places it on its list of hate crimes. "Lynching was an unnecessary and heinous act of violence fueled by racism," California Senator Kamala Harris said after the law was passed. "We have to admit this fact so that we do not repeat it."

Her New Jersey colleague, Cory Booker, admitted that the law “does not undo the harm, horror and violence that has been committed, nor does it bring back the lives that have been brutally taken. But it will recognize the mistakes in our history. It will remember those who were so brutally killed. And it will leave a legacy that future generations can look back on - that we did the right thing that day. "

Lynch justice - a fun fair

"Between 1877 and 1950, 4,075 African Americans in twelve southern states were hanged by angry crowds," counted the Equal Justice Initiative, a private aid organization for destitute defendants in Alabama. Other institutions name 4745 victims of lynching in the years between 1882 and 1964. The newspaper "The Nation" reported 4732 victims of lynching between 1882 and 1951, "although before and after this time there were certainly still numerous undocumented (such murders) committed".

The Tuskegee Institute in Alabama (a university founded by blacks) counted 4,743 people lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, including 1,297 whites. The Tuskegee Institute, which has carried out the most complete and comprehensive research on the subject, categorizes the victims only in black and white, with white mostly referring to Mexicans, Chinese and Indians. The authors of the study “A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1982–1930” concluded that “during these years, on average, a black man, a black woman or a black child was lynched by a white mob every week ". The new law notes that "99 percent of all perpetrators were spared punishment".

The law enforcement officers did nothing about it

The hanged man had often been tortured beforehand - in the presence of the crowd. It was like a fair, photographers took pictures of the spectacle, which were later often sold as postcards, onlookers smilingly posed for photographers. Occasionally, parts of the body were then cut off and sold as souvenirs. No law enforcement officer, police officer, sheriff, marshal or judge intervened. They did nothing to protect the victims or bring them to due trial.

On the contrary, they took part in the murder orgies themselves. For example, in May 1927, when an angry white mob in Little Rock, Arkansas, hung a black man named John Carter from a telegraph pole, then dragged his body through the main street and doused gasoline in the center of the black neighborhood and set it on fire. Around 5000 whites took part in the drive. The deputy sheriffs made no attempt to hold back the mob. The police simply diverted the traffic. The next day, photos of the murdered man's body were offered in the streets of Little Rock for 15 cents each. The coroner's report stated that Carter was killed "by strangers in a mob." Nobody ever had to answer for the murder in court.

Racial Differences vs. Class Differences

In 1910, a mob stormed the Dallas courthouse, put a rope around the neck of a black man who was accused of sexually assaulting a three-year-old white girl, and threw the other end out the window. Outside, a mob dragged the man out of the hall and hung him up. In 1922, 25-year-old George Gay was also hung from a tree in Dallas and riddled with hundreds of pistol bullets. That same year, another mob in Dallas accused three black men of killing a white woman. Under the gaze of hundreds of lemonade-drinking spectators, they were castrated, beaten, tied to a plow, doused with gasoline and set on fire.

"Most of the white upper and middle class in the southern states and most of the white politicians approved of lynching as a way of preserving the racial hierarchy," The Nation wrote recently. Even when the same interests were at stake, black and white did not come together.

At the turn of the century, when banks and railways wanted to squeeze the barren fields from small farmers, a farmers' association tried to mobilize white and black workers and tenants in a coalition in order to create a counterweight to the overpowering opponents. But racist reservations and violence prevented an alliance between white and black. The whites without possessions preferred political alliances based on racial differences over class differences.

“The aristocracy of the South gave Jim Crow to the white man,” declared Martin Luther King in his speech at the end of his legendary march from Selma to Montgomery in March 1965. “And when his shrunken stomach cried for food that his empty pockets could not deliver , he ate Jim Crow (1), a psychological bird who told him that no matter how bad he was, the white man was better than the black man. And when his malnourished child called out for things that his low income could not provide, he showed him the Jim Crow signs on buses and in shops, on the streets and in public buildings. And his children also learned to feed on Jim Crow. "

Raved about public hanging in the election campaign

Today, lynching is rare. The last case was seen in 1981 when in Mobile, Alabama, members of the Ku Klux Klan beat, killed and hanged the young African American, Michael Donalds, from a tree. And "the tragic deaths of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 and 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014 reminded the nation of the continued killing of unarmed blacks by citizens and law enforcement officers," the University of Cambridge, MA, wrote in February 2016 her blog: "It's sad, but the shooting of unarmed black people seems to continue unabated, despite numerous nationwide protests, town hall meetings and promises by politicians and law enforcement officials to address this problem."

It was not until 2016 that the Los Angeles Times reported that four white high school students in Missouri had put a noose around the neck of a black fellow student and “tugged at it”. In the same year, the family of a twelve-year-old black girl filed a lawsuit against a private school in Texas because three white classmates had put a rope around her neck and pulled her to the ground. And last year, the guards found Smithsonian facilities with slings hanging from them.

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican from Mississippi who presided over the Senate when the anti-lynch law was debated, was caught on a television camera making racist statements. In the election campaign for her re-election in November, she praised a supporter with the words: "If he would invite me to a public hanging, I would be in the front row."

[1] Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation.