Black History is American History. The lack of historical acknowledgement or an accurate account of the Black American experience is a regular complaint of those dedicated to racial justice in America.
The continued subtle omission of Black/American accomplishments in history books help shape a contemporary mindset- an indoctrination.
O.K. back to omissions
A particularly grievous omission( historical disregard) hovers around the issue of lynching; this brutal bizarre form of mob 'justice' would occur continually from the end of the Civil War to the last celebrated lynching in 1951. The statistics are fuzzy- The Tuskeegee institute claims about 3,500 during that period- most of the lynching recorded were documented through press clipping and postcards , there were obviously a lot more.
My grandmother has shared first hand accounts of an American world gone mad.
Before we continue ask yourself.
If I was alive then would I do something?
(To stop it)?The Klu Klux Klan started in 1865.....thats interesting.
Isn't that the same year the slaves were freed?
Mr. Pike( 1st Grandmaster) did not wait one Mystikal second to set the record straight.
No..... I repeat...no.... uppity niggers!
The white supremacist mindset included a belief that Black people were less than human therefore inhumane acts could be committed.
The Klan would help define those methods.
The level of brutality was incomprehensible.
A lot of people will have difficulty reading this post.
Many won't even finish
Racism hits a nerve.
I always wonder why white people are so quick to say.
"This isn't about race"
"He played the race card"
We did not invent the race card.
Back to lynching.
Contrary to popular belief there was a lot of skilled slave labor. Slaves were used to build and maintain the infrastructure of the Southern United States.
But who cares.
They are not doing it now.
We all know the Civil War devestated the southern economy. All the, newly freed, skilled artisans who were once sources of income for their masters immediately became bonafide competitors.
There main competition was poor whites.
The frugal lifestyle of the former slave served as a catalyst for creativity and efficiency. It was easy for these survivors to create a comfortable modest lifestyle from very little.
Prosperity was right around the corner all the newly freed men needed was opportunity. The ingredients for success were there.
Guaranteed in The Constitution.
Many ex-slaves began to thrive as a result of hard work and of course, humility but the rapid success brought about jealousy from the Southern Gentleman- the once dominant Southern Planter did not enjoy the same profits he did before. It was an abomination for him to be stripped of his skilled cheap labor, but for the brutes to succesfully compete with him was unthinkable- like war with Iran
I actually got hate mail for this article.
As we climbed the social totem pole under the watchful and protective eye of Federal Troops we began to develop a little self esteem. Started to walk upright, no longer bowing our heads as we walked by a white person. Some even made direct eye contact with a white person-before abolition that could get you killed.
Some former slaves even competed in international markets for tobacco and other crops during harvest charging top dollar for a superior crop.
This is surely where the notion of being uppity was invented.
The former Master snickering away as The French Merchant buys his ex-slave's bumper crop of Tobacco.
His face turning red.
Knuckles bone white.
Gripping the Lions Head on his cane... A gentleman
Many white southerners felt the The Federal Government had declared outright war on their sensibilities. There was a simmering effect.
It was not just the Klan.
There was determination to prevent the newly freed black men from ever being on equal ground with was the white man.
William J Northern Governor of Georgia from 1890-1894 conducted qa fact finding mission on the backroads of his state
He observed: I was amazed to find scores and hundred of men who believed the negro to be a brute, without reponsibility to God, and his slaughter nothing more than the killing of a dog.
Remember Black folks were no longer a private commodity the value of Black life cheapened considerably.
Lynching became the most popular means of controlling and intimidating Black people. To deter ant type of progress but it was mainly about white supremacy. It was terrorism American style.
It was a cultural phenomenon that persisted for generations undeterred by local, regional and even Federal law enforcement.
Lynching were not restricted to the south, they occured all over the United States.
Wherever they were it was an occasion.
There was a self righteous pride in these mobs. Photographs were taken, post cards made to commemorate what came to be known as The Negro Bar- B- Que.
Most of us conjur images of a man hanging from a tree.
Sorry- its worse.
The first recorded lynchings involved tying the victim to a tree, whipping them and then setting them on fire.
Pretty effective way to send a message to the uppity......
They would usually grab an innocent upstanding citizen to send a message
"We'll take their best nigger an burn im on the trash heap if they get to actin biggity"(quote in Without Sanctuary 00')
The power of the lynch mob was directly related to the excitement that could be generated. Many victims were dragged out of court after acquittal by a Judge and lynched. You could be lynched for just about anything.
Talk about race card.
There are documented lycnchings with absurd reasons like reckless eyeballing, unpopularity...unpopularity? and not selling land
Regardless the atmosphere was always carnival like . A man dressed as a clown in blackface
might be running around like a gleeful imp encouraging people on the sidelines to get involved.
People would sometimes rampage through streets severing digits, limbs or genitals off the victim as they made their way kicking, screaming and pleading for mercy
The burning coal oil would await them and the mob would erupt in a frenzy as the near dead but concious man/woman was lowered into the oil. Participants would come and clip a finger, toe somethiong as a souvenir before he was finally set afire and mercifully allowed to die.
An account of a lynching a by a reporter for the Vicksburg Evening Post decribes the 1904 execution of a husband and wife. When the two negroes were captured, they were tied to trees and while their funeral pyres were being prepared the were forced to suffer the most fiendish tortures. The blacks were forced to hold out thier hands while one finger at a time was chopped off . The fingers were distributed as souvenirs. The ears of the murderers were cut off. Holbert was beaten severely his skull was fractured and one of his eyes, knocked out with a stick, hung by a shred from the socket...The most excruciating form of punishment consisted in the use of a large corkscrew in the hands of some of the mob. The instrument was bored into the woman in the arms, legs ,and body and then pulled out, the spirals tearing out big pieces of raw, quivering flesh every time it was withdrawn.
A frenzied atmosphere...in America there are a lot of frenzied atmospheres.
Suffice it to say the thin fabric of order was routinely torn in many otherwise law abiding communities. Entire towns would trade in their civility and replace it with demonic, unthinkable demonstrations of hatred.
Words like savage , brutal, sadistic, evil and abberant can be used to describe every report of a lynching. remember these were supposedly sane people. The postman, The Dentist.
They were all indoctrinated to believe it was o.k.
This is The America we fail to recall in The History Books.
This is the America that gave a race of people PTSD
An old black man shared some thoughts "Kill a mule, buy another, Kill a nigger hire another...They had to have a license to kill anything but a nigger".
At least now you have to have a badge.
Bridge the gap...if you can.
any funny looking heirlooms in your family?