Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lynchings of African Americans.

Sean O'Torrain.

This is an excerpt from a recent speech by a judge in Mississipi when sentencing three European Americans for their murder of a young African American man. Just allow your imagination to work when you see the figures for how many African Americans were lynched. I have not got them here now but there were a lot of lynchings of Hispanic Americans also.

The judge said in his speech: "In Without Sanctuary, historian Leon Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968 an estimated 4,742 blacks met their deaths at the hands of lynch mobs. The impact this campaign of terror had on black families is impossible to explain so many years later. That number contrasts with the 1,401 prisoners who have been executed legally in the United States since 1976. In modern terms, that number represents more than those killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and more than twice the number of American casualties in Operation Enduring Freedom — the Afghanistan conflict. Turning to home, this number also represents 1,700 more than who were killed on Sept. 11. Those who died at the hands of mobs, Litwack notes, some were the victims of "legal" lynchings — having been accused of a crime, subjected to a "speedy" trial and even speedier execution. Some were victims of private white violence and some were merely the victims of "n... hunts" — murdered by a variety of means in isolated rural sections and dumped into rivers and creeks. "Back in those days," according to black Mississippians describing the violence of the 1930s, "to kill a Negro wasn't nothing. It was like killing a chicken or killing a snake. The whites would say, 'n........s jest supposed to die, ain't no damn good anyway — so jest go an' kill 'em.' ... They had to have a license to kill anything but a n......... We was always in season." Said one white Mississippian, "A white man ain't a-going to be able to live in this country if we let n.......s start getting biggity." And, even when lynchings had decreased in and around Oxford, one white resident told a visitor of the reaffirming quality of lynchings: "It's about time to have another [one]," he explained, "[w]hen the n........s get so that they are afraid of being lynched, it is time to put the fear in them."

1 comment:

A R Devine said...

They used to actually sell postcards in the south back in the early decades of the 20th century showing crowds gathered happily at lynchings.Appalling the way African Americans were treated. Didnt the term Lynching come from an Irish slave owner called Lynch in the West Indies who used to hang his slaves. I think the African American people have shown great dignity and strength of character in their struggle against racism in the US.