Unit 1: 300 years
As Anti-racism activist Jane Elliot says: We wouldn’t have to have Black Lives Matter if we didn’t have 300 years of Black Lives Don’t matter.
These series of short essays hopefully will start to explain the above quote from Jane Elliot, one detail at a time.
The first piece of information to make this clear is about lynching. Most everyone knows about the horrors of lynching. Many though think it was a southern phenomena that happened from the late 1800’s up to the 1940’s to hundreds of people. Unfortunately nearly 6,500 lynchings have been documented. it happened in Dec 1961 when David Jackson, a Black male was lynched in McDuffie Co. Georgia. “There exists a photograph of his death taken by members of the crowd to share proudly as souvenirs.” And it happened right up until 1981. Also of note is that many happened in Northern states.
You can see a map where you can choose the distinction that makes sense to you by clicking here. Clicking on any of the orange dots will bring up information on the particular incident such as: “Robert Lewis Black male lynched in early Jun 1892. Port Jervis, Orange Co. New York. He was lynched in a spectacle before some 2000 people. When the mob discovered he was still alive, they hanged him a second time.” Or Frank Viles Native American male lynched in Aug 1896 Asotin, Washington. Or the story of Beulah Mae who is best known for filing a civil lawsuit against the United Klans of America after her youngest child Michael was found hanging from a tree in Alabama in 1981. Michael was the youngest child of Beulah Mae. At 19 years old, he was walking home from his sister’s home when two members of the United Klan kidnapped him intent on killing. Despite his attempts to escape, the Klansmen lynched Michael and then slit his throat to ensure he died. That was in 1981.
Or, although not technically a lynching, the story of James Byrd Jr. an African-American man who was murdered by three white supremacists in Jasper, Texas, on June 7, 1998. Shawn Berry, Lawrence Brewer, and John King dragged him for three miles behind a pickup truck along an asphalt road. Byrd, who remained conscious for much of his ordeal, was killed about halfway through the dragging when his body hit the edge of a culvert, severing his right arm and head. The murderers drove on for another 1+1⁄2 miles before dumping his torso in front of a black church.
Above is an image of part of Northern states, each orange dot is a lynching, the bigger the dot, the more lynching.
Sit for a minute and Imagine living with the terror that this could happen to a loved one at any time.
This is why we need to be clear that Black Lives Matter. This is why, I’ve keenly felt “as the living experience of the inward Light became a reality to the first followers of George Fox they found that the many forms of social injustice witnessed around them “struck at their Life” and could no longer be tolerated. It was from this central experience that they sought a new order of human relationships.”
thanks for listening,
The following are some relevant articles:
By DeNeen L. Brown | AUGUST 8, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. — Since 2000, there have been at least eight suspected lynchings of Black men and teenagers in Mississippi, according to court records and police reports.
“The last recorded lynching in the United States was in 1981,” said Jill Collen Jefferson, a lawyer and founder of Julian, a civil rights organization named after the late civil rights leader Julian Bond. “But the thing is, lynchings never stopped in the United States. Lynchings in Mississippi never stopped. The evil bastards just stopped taking photographs and passing them around like baseball cards.”
Mississippi was a top state for lynching and, according to a report in the Washington Post, it still is.
By Terrell Jermaine Starr )Aug 2021
There is no more blatant form of racial intimidation against a Black person that one can use than that of a noose. The practice of lynching was used against enslaved Black people, but it was an especially popular form of violence against Black Americans after slavery ended.
It is considered a more dated form of violence today, but a story in the Washington Post reports that the practice of lynching never truly stopped.
Jill Collen Jefferson, a lawyer and founder of Julian, a civil rights organization named after the late civil rights leader Julian Bond, has been conducting her own research into lynching in Mississippi and found that at least eight Black people have been lynched in the state since 2000. She began her research into lynchings across the country in 2017 and focused on Mississippi, her home state, in 2019. In each case of lynching she discovered, Jefferson said the police ruled the deaths suicides, but the families of the deceased said their loved ones were lynched.
“There is a pattern to how these cases are investigated,” Jefferson said. “When authorities arrive on the scene of a hanging, it’s treated as a suicide almost immediately. The crime scene is not preserved. The investigation is shoddy. And then there is a formal ruling of suicide, despite evidence to the contrary. And the case is never heard from again unless someone brings it up.”