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Tag Archives: lynching

The Waco Horror, and Its Aftermath

Lynching in the South was a method not only t maintain white supremacy, but to intimidate and blackmail the local minority populations into staying in line. The result of lynchings in the early 1900’s for a lot of the South was the Great Black Migration, and the loss of a large part of their workforce. One of the most violent lynchings was that of Jesse Washington in Waco Texas.

Around sundown of May 8, 1916, Lucy Fryer, the wife of a well regarded cotton farmer, was found bludgeoned to death in the doorway of her seed house. Jesse Washington, who was illiterate and branded “feeble-minded”, confessed to the murder.

Soon after a jury found him guilty, a crowd of 2,000 men seized Washington, chained him, beat him and dragged him to the town square, where he was burned.

His fingers were amputated for souvenirs and his fingernails taken for keepsakes. Finally all that was left was a charred torso, but Washington’s body parts were put in a bag so they could be dragged through downtown.

About 15,000 people, half of Waco’s population, had gathered to watch the lynching.

 

A mob gathers around to watch the lynching of Jesse Washington.

The “Waco Horror” still reverberates, 100 years later

Mary Pearson doesn’t need to be reminded of Jesse Washington’s lynching.

The Robinson resident grew up hearing the stories from her grandmother, a relative of the 17-year-old farmhand who was tortured to death on Waco’s town square a century ago last Sunday. The moral was never precisely stated, but the horror has stuck with Pearson all her 67 years.

Just after the boy received a death sentence for murdering his white employer, a mob seized him and dragged him to City Hall, where they doused him with coal oil and hanged him over a pile of burning wooden crates. They carved his charred body into souvenirs and dragged it around town.

But even more troubling for Pearson was what didn’t happen: Law enforcement didn’t intervene in the lynching, nor did anyone in a crowd of 15,000 spectators.

“All the folks were standing around, most of them were white, and nobody said anything, nobody stood up to try to do anything,” Pearson said in an interview with the Waco Tribune-Herald after a recent proclamation by Waco’s mayor condemning the lynching. “It’s a hurt and frustration even to think about it. … It can cause me a heavy depression.

“Every time I think about it, I get really angry and I have to ask the Lord to help me.”

White Waco spent most of the 20th century trying to forget the atrocity, dubbed the “Waco Horror” by the national press. The incident stood as a turning point in national anti-lynching efforts and helped bring to prominence the NAACP, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. But the atrocity received no mention in local history books until the late 1960s and was largely ignored or downplayed locally until 1998, when Councilman Lawrence Johnson publicly called for a memorial to “atone” for the lynching.

Meanwhile, the story survived on the frequency of a whisper in corners of the black community, in the form of legends and admonitions to sons and daughters.

Forgetting became impossible in the mid-2000s, when a series of books, exhibits and news articles brought the incident again to national attention. In 2006, the Waco City Council and McLennan County commissioners passed a general condemnation of the area’s lynching past.

The Community Race Relations Coalition and the NAACP have headed an effort to commemorate the centennial this spring with a lecture series, a march and a push to get a state historical marker for the lynching. The observances culminated with a “town hall” meeting at the Bledsoe-Miller Community Center.

The centennial is not meant to reopen old racial wounds or cast blame on anyone now living, said Peaches Henry, a McLennan Community College assistant English professor and president of the Waco NAACP. Rather, it’s an opportunity to bring whites and blacks together to reflect on a difficult shared history.

“Here’s the importance of history: It allows us to remind ourselves of both the good and the bad, and then to correct our course,” she said.

Henry said the city and county resolution against lynching a decade ago was a good start. The question of Washington’s innocence or guilt aside, Henry said city and county leaders failed to uphold the rule of law and were complicit in a heinous crime of torture.

The recent proclamation by Mayor Malcolm Duncan Jr. went further and specifically referred to the “heinous lynching of Jesse Washington.”

“It’s important to call the names of those who were wronged,” Henry said. “The same was true of the woman (Lucy Fryer) who was murdered. She was someone’s mother, sister and cousin. She was also important. For the council to offer a proclamation naming Jesse Washington is very significant. It means that in the public record he is no longer invisible.”

Those involved in the commemorations say burying the past doesn’t keep it from haunting the present.

Scheherazade Perkins, 64, a member of the race relations board, grew up in Waco and graduated from the black A.J. Moore High School in 1969. She never heard of the lynching until she was an adult, but it helped explain anxieties she heard when she was growing up.

“Obviously there is much that has been done, much progress that has been made,” Perkins said. “But there are processes that still go on, an unspoken terror that still exists, that makes people want to stay under the radar. It makes them hesitant to come forward with concerns for fear that they will be not only labeled but mistreated.

“Some of that lingers, not only with the older people who were right on the fringes of the atrocity, but with those who pass the same sentiment down: ‘Boy, you need to watch your mouth, because you never know.’ ”

The centennial comes at a time of national debate and unrest over police killings of unarmed black males, such as Freddie Gray in Baltimore; Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. A Washington Post investigation found that 40 percent of unarmed men shot and killed by police in 2015 were black, even though black men make up only 6 percent of the population.

Henry, the local NAACP president, said she has high regard for Waco police leadership, but she still has anxieties for her own son, an Eagle Scout and college junior, wherever he goes.

“There’s the talk that every young African-American man receives: When you get pulled over, keep your hands on the steering wheel,” she said. “You never make a move without letting the officer know.

“There’s nothing about my son when he is walking or driving down the street that can protect him.”

It’s a more subtle version of the same fear that African-Americans had a century ago, Henry said…Read the Rest Here

 

 
 

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Central Park 5 Rally For Teacher

The Central Park Five case in the early 90’s was a modern day lynching and serves as a template of how young black men are demonized, and ultimately denied justice by racism. The case remains as a Hallmark of racial justice and injustice in the United States on a par with the Scottsboro Boys sham trial and attempted executions.

Recently a NYC High School Teacher made the story of the Central Park 5 part of her lesson plan on history. She was promptly fired.

Central Park Five: Rehire Teacher Allegedly Fired Over Central Park Five Lesson

Administrators reportedly were concerned the lessons would cause “riots” among black students.

Two of the five men who were wrongfully convicted in the 1989 rape and assault of a woman in Central Park have expressed support for a New York City teacher who says she lost her job after teaching students about the case.

“We support her 100 percent,” Raymond Santana, a member of a group known as the Central Park Five, told The Huffington Post. “We’ll probably rally for her — go to the courthouse. I want her to keep doing what she’s doing. I hope this doesn’t discourage her.” He believes the teacher should be reinstated, he added.

Raymond Santana, right, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, left, all members of the Central Park Five, react to supporters Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, in New York.

Jeena Lee-Walker, who taught English at the High School of the Arts, Imagination and Inquiry in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, filed a federal lawsuit last week alleging that administrators at the school feared her lessons on the Central Park Five might “rile up” black students and cause small “riots.” They asked her to take a more “balanced” approach in teaching students about the case, her lawsuit claims.

“I was stunned,” Lee-Walker told the Daily News Friday. “I was kind of like, the facts are the facts. This is what happened.”

Students, she told the paper, “and black students in particular, should be riled up.”

Trailer for the Documentary –

Headline From the NY Daily News Creating the Term “Wilding” to describe out o control minority youth. A term which would enter the lexicon after being repeated again and again by periodicals and TV news around the country.

“It was awesome — they were so engaged,” she said of teaching her students about the Central Park Five, adding that they were “really moved” by a 2012 documentaryon the subject. “They really identified with the teenagers.”

Lee-Walker says she received a series of bad performance reviews, and was ultimately fired, in retaliation for pushing back against criticism from administrators over her Central Park Five lessons.

Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson and Korey Wise — all black and Latino men — were all under 16 years old when they were each arrested in 1989 for the beating and rape of Trisha Melli, a 28-year-old investment banker. The brutal attack dominated headlines, with the city’s tabloids stirring racially charged fears of “wilding” groups of violent black and Latino teenagers across the city.

Police zeroed in on the five teens, all of whom had reportedly been in or near Central Park at the time of the attack.

Each teen confessed to the crime during 24 hours of interrogation, but later claimed their statements had been coerced by police. They were all nevertheless convicted and sentenced to prison in 1990. (At the time, billionaire businessman and current Republican front-runner Donald Trump called for their execution.)

Santana, McCray, Salaam and Richardson each spent nearly six years in prison. Wise spent nearly 13 years in prison.

The convictions against the men were vacated in 2002 after a New York inmate named Matias Reyes confessed to raping Melli. Then-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau announced that DNA evidence from the crime scene matched Reyes’ DNA.

In 2014, the city agreed to pay the five men a total of $40 million to settle a federal lawsuit they had filed. …Read the rest Here

 
 

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Remembering Rosewood

In about 1820, due to the new “Black Codes” implemented in Virginia denying gun rights to free blacks, my g-g-g-Grandfather and Uncle petitioned the Court as free black men to have the ability to carry guns. They lived in a rural area of Virginia, not far from where Virginia Tech University is located in Blacksburg, Va. They owned fairly productive land on the banks of the New River which winds and wanders for 350 miles though North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and is the only river I know of in America which travels north, it eventually joins the Ohio River.

The family had settled the area, then considered the “Frontier”, shortly after the Revolutionary War, along with other free black families – some of whom won their freedom by fighting on the side of the British, and less frequently the Colonial Armies. They had built a “Plantation” on a large tract of land, adjoining one of the most prosperous white settlers in the area of the time, with whom they regularly traded tools and equipment manufactured by them for other manufactured goods, and perhaps labor.

One of the biggest fears at that time by free blacks was “slave catchers” an unscrupulous and bankrupt group of individuals who would on opportunity kidnap and family member they could get their hands on to sell into slavery further South. Aside from dangers of the native wildlife (bears and Mountain Lion were common at that time), they had to keep an eye out for the slavers in the sparsely populated area. The answer quite simply was, the slavers went up the mountain…and never came down. I confirmed this family legend one year while hunting on the property and discovering the entrance to a limestone cavern, and upon going back to get a bright spotlight to look in, finding the skeletons of at least half a dozen bodies at the bottom of the shaft, one of which appears to have had the remnants of a confederate uniform. Of course, nobody knew when the slavers would sneak into the area, as their business was illegal even by the laws of the time, and they didn’t exactly report their presence to. the local sheriff.

The bothers petitioned the court for the right to (continue to) carry guns as local landowners and citizens and won. Somewhere in the family there is an old octagon barrel Kentucky style rifle which belonged to them. In my inherited collection is one 44-40 Winchester rifle going back to the 1870’s that belonged to one of their sons or grandsons. At nearly 150 years old it certainly isn’t fire-able, even if you could find black powder cartridges for it. The fact that they continued to defend the home place from nefarious scumbags is evidenced by the dead confederate, placing their activity as late as the 1860’s during or after the Civil War.

With the emergence of the Second KKK in 1900, attacks on black communities, often for flimsily manufactured reasons and lynching s accelerated until “Red Summer” in 1919. What radically changed was that the black soldiers who had fought in WWI came home, not only with military training but sometimes with their rifles. Resulting in blacks fighting back against the wholesale community attacks similar to those in Rosewood and Tulsa,  in the “race riots” in Washington, DC, Chicago, IL, and Knoxville, TN – where things were substantially less one sided. Faced with folks who would shoot back, and not easy victims… The KKK and other racist organizations…blinked. It didn’t stop the lynchings – but it was no longer safe to attack a large black community. One of the things forgotten by history is that the folks in Tulsa did set up a defense, and the center of the town was designed to be defense-able. They just didn’t have enough guns. Rosewood was a small community of only about 16 houses.

With the rise of the Fourth KKK, or the Fourth Reich under Trump, and his like minded cohort of fools in the Reich Wing Clown Bus, at least to my belief, it is time for the black communities, and individuals to arm up again. We need to take the attitude of the Jews, “Never Forget”. Now this doesn’t mean going to to the store and buying a little Glock popgun pistol. The only reason any US Army soldiers carry a pistol, is to have a little something when their rifle runs out of ammo. They know full well that a guy and his “9” will last about a NY millisecond against someone armed with an AK, or AR-15 variant rifle… Or even a modern shotgun.

Sometimes the only way to get peace is out of the barrel of a gun. White people are not your enemy, but those deluded racist fools following the neo-fascist right, who happen to be white, are. We seem to be barreling down the road to a parallel with Nazi Germany, where a virulent minority can grab control of an entire nation. I don’t know about you – but I ain’t going in that cattle car peacefully in this here New American Reich.

Rosewood…After the Massacre

Remembering Rosewood: The racist lie that set off the destruction of a black Florida community

Four black schoolchildren raced home along a dirt road in Archer, Florida, in 1944, kicking up a dust cloud wake as they ran. They were under strict orders from their mother to run – not lollygag or walk or jog, but run – directly home after hitting the road’s curve.

The littlest, six-year-old Lizzie Robinson (now Jenkins), led the pack with a brother on each side and her sister behind carrying her books.

“And I would be [running], my feet barely touching the ground,” Jenkins, now 77, said at her home in Archer.

Despite strict adherence to their mother’s orders, the siblings weren’t told why they should race home. To the children, it was one of several mysterious dictates issued during childhood in the Jim Crow south.

As Jenkins tells it, the children didn’t know why Amos ’n’ Andy was often interrupted by revving engines and calls from her father to “Go upstairs now!”, or why aunt Mahulda Carrier, a schoolteacher, fled to the bedroom each time a car drove down their rural road.

Explanations for demands to hide came later, when Jenkins’s mother, Theresa Brown Robinson, whispered to her daughter the story of violence that befell the settlement of Rosewood in 1923.

The town was 37 miles south-east of Archer on the main road to the Gulf. Carrier worked there as the schoolteacher, while living with her husband Aaron Carrier. On New Year’s Day 1923, a white woman told her husband “a nigger” assaulted her, a false claim that precipitated a week of mob violence that wiped the prosperous black hamlet off the map, and led to the near lynching of Aaron Carrier.

Jenkins now believes that all of it – the running, calls to go upstairs, her aunt fleeing to the bedroom – was a reaction to a message her parents received loud and clear: don’t talk about Rosewood, ever, to anyone.

But after Jim Crow laws lifted, and lynch mob justice was no longer a mortal threat, survivors did begin to talk. So egregious were the stories of rape, murder, looting, arson and neglect by elected officials, that Florida investigated the claims in a 1993 report.

That led to a law that eventually compensated then elderly victims $150,000 each, and created a scholarship fund. The law, which provided $2.1m total for the survivors, improbably made Florida one of the only states to create a reparations program for the survivors of racialized violence, placing it among federal programs that provided payments to Holocaust survivors and interned Japanese Americans.

News of Florida’s reparations program ran nationwide when it was passed in 1994, on the front page of the Wall Street Journal among others. Hollywood picked up the tale. Don Cheadle starred in a 1997 film about the pogrom. Several books were written about Rosewood.

Though the legislation was never called such, the program now represents one of just a handful of reparations cases in the United States, as calls to compensate victims of racialized violence have grown louder in the last two years.

2015 brought renewed calls to compensate victims of race-related violence from college students, theologians and criminal justice advocates. The city of Chicago started a $5.5m reparations fund for the more than 100 victims tortured at the hands of police commander Jon Burge.

Last month, students at Georgetown University demanded that the administration set aside an endowment to recruit black professors equal to the profit from an 1838 slave sale that paid off university debt. The 272 slaves were sold for $400 each, the equivalent of about $2.7m today. One day after protests began, students successfully renamed a residence hall named after Thomas Mulledy, the university president who oversaw the sale (it was renamed Freedom Hall).

At least one progressive Christian theologian is pushing Protestants to reckon their own history with slavery with reparations. In 2014, Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates breathed fresh life into the debate in his widely lauded article The Case for Reparations .

Rosewood burning

Where Rosewood once stood is now little more than a rural scrubland along state road 24, a lonely highway in central Florida bordered by swamp, slash pine and palmetto. A placard on the side of the road describes the horror visited upon the hamlet.

But in 1923, the settlement was a small and prosperous predominantly black town, with its own baseball team, a masonic temple and a few hundred residents. It was just three miles from the predominantly white town of Sumner, and 48 miles from Gainesville.

On New Year’s Day 1923, white Sumner resident Fannie Taylor was bruised and beaten when her husband returned home. The Taylors were white, and the residents of Sumner were in near universal agreement that Fannie’s assailant was black.

A crowd swelled in Sumner to find the “fugitive”, some from as far away as Gainesville, where the same day the Klu Klux Klan held a high-profile parade. Over the next seven days gangs of hundreds delivered lynch mob justice to the once-affluent town of Rosewood.

“I blame the deputy sheriff,” Robie Mortin, a Rosewood survivor, told the Seminole Tribune in 1999. “Because that lady never dropped a name as to who did what to her. Just said a negro, black man. But when the sheriff came along with his posse and everything, he put a name to the person: Jesse Hunter.”

Mortin died in 2010 at age 94 in Riviera Beach, Florida. She was believed to be one of the last survivors of the New Year’s riots in 1923. After years of silence she became one of the most vocal. Though Florida completed an investigation into the events that took place in Rosewood, some narratives remain disputed.

“They didn’t find Jesse Hunter, but noticed that here’s a bunch of niggers living better than us white folks. That disturbed these people,” Mortin said. Her uncle, Sam Carter, is believed to have taken the man who beat Taylor, a fellow Mason, to safety in Gulf Hammock, a few miles away. When Carter returned he was tortured, shot and lynched by the mob looking for Taylor’s assailant.

“My grandma didn’t know what my uncle Sammy had done to anybody to cause him to be lynched like that,” Mortin told the Tribune. “They took his fingers and his ears, and they just cut souvenirs away from him. That was the type of people they were.”

Carter is believed to be the first of eight documented deaths associated with the riots that would worsen over the next three days.

The settlement itself was wiped off the map. Several buildings were set on fire just a few days after New Year’s, and the mob wiped out the remainder of the town a few days later, torching 12 houses one by one. At the time, the Gainesvile Sun reported a crowd of up to 150 people watched the dozen homes and a church set ablaze. Even the dogs were burned.

“The burning of the houses was carried out deliberately and although the crowd was present all the time, no one could be found who would say he saw the houses fired,” a Sun report said, describing the scene.

At least two white men died, including CP “Poly” Wilkerson of Sumner and Henry Andrews of Otter Creek, when they attempted to storm a house Rosewood residents had barricaded themselves in.

A state report on the violence identifies murdered black Rosewood residents as Sam Carter, matriarch Sarah Carrier, James Carrier, Sylvester Carrier and Lexie Gordon. Mingo Williams, a black man who lived nearby, was also killed by the mob.

Aaron Carrier, Mahulda’s husband and Jenkins’s uncle, was nearly killed when he was dragged behind a truck and tortured on the first night of the riots. At death’s door, Carrier was spirited away by the Levy county sheriff, Bob Walker, she said, and placed in jail in Bronson as a favor to the lawman.

Mahulda was captured later the same night by the mob, Jenkins said, and tortured before Walker eventually found her.

“They got Gussie, that was my aunt’s name, they tied a rope around her neck, however they didn’t drag her, they put her in the car and took her to Sumner. Don’t know if you know – a southern tradition is to build a fire … and to stand around the fire and drink liquor and talk trash,” Jenkins said.

“So they had her there, like she was the [accused], and they were the jury, and they were trying to force her into admitting a lie. ‘Where was your husband last night?’ ‘He was at home in bed with me.’ They asked her that so many times so she got indignant with them … And they said, ‘She’s a bold bitch – let’s rape the bitch.’ And they did. Gang style.”

Another Rosewood resident, James Carrier, was shot over the fresh graves of his brother and mother after several men captured and interrogated him. He was first told to dig his own grave, but couldn’t because two strokes had paralyzed one arm. The men left his body splayed over the graves of his family members.

But despite widespread coverage of the incident – the governor was even notified via telegram – the state did nothing.

Not for one month, when it appears a feeble attempt to indict locals was made by a grand jury, after all the residents of Rosewood had long fled into the nearby swamps and settlements of central Florida.

The oral history of Rosewood was a secret, passed through several families with each recipient sworn to silence, as black Americans endured decades of terror in Florida. When Jenkins was six her parents would have had fresh memories of lynchings.

From 1877 to 1950, the county where the Robinsons lived, Alachua, had among the largest sheer volume of lynchings of any community in the nation, according to the Equal Justice Initiative. Per capita, Florida lynched more people than any other state. And counties surrounding Alachua were not friendlier.

Hernando, Citrus, Lafayette and Taylor counties had some of the highest per capita rates of lynchings in the country. By volume, nearby Marion and Polk counties had among the most in the US.

Legislation, reparations and state reckons with ugly past

The story only came to light in 1982, after a reporter at the then St Petersburg Times exposed the forgotten riot. The reporter, Gary Moore, had traveled to Cedar Key, 10 miles south-west of Rosewood on the coast, to explore a Sunday feature on the rural Gulf town.

“Like the public at large, I personally had never heard of Rosewood,” Moore wrote in a synopsis of research published in the 1993 report that was submitted to the Florida Board of Regents. “I held dim assumptions that any such incident would long ago have been thoroughly researched and publicized by historians, sociologists, anthropologists, advocacy organizations, or others.”

That it wasn’t, Moore blamed on “psychological denial” and “blindness”.

“There were many things thought better left unquestioned,” Moore reasoned.

By 1993, before the report was issued, Moore’s story had made a wide impact, becoming a 60 Minutes documentary and earning follow-ups by other news outlets. Moore, however, recounted in detail his struggle for academic and political acceptance of the narrative, and said even 11 years after his story appeared many attempted to deny the massacre occurred.

One of Moore’s sources, Arnett Doctor, would later devote much of his life to lobbying for Rosewood reparations. Doctor, a descendant of survivors, spent untold hours eliciting detailed narratives of the event from survivors. He is often cited as the“driving force” behind the reparations bill, as the man who brought his findings to high-powered attorneys at Holland & Knight, who helped lobby the legislature for reparations.

Doctor died at the age of 72 in March 2015, in Spring Hill, Florida, a few hours south of Rosewood.

“We deliberately avoided anything but compensation for the losses they incurred,” said Martha Barnett, an attorney at Holland & Knight who helped lobby the Florida legislature on behalf of the survivors of Rosewood. Barnett said the term “reparations” can’t be found in the law passed in Florida.

Instead, attorneys focused on private property rights. She said she and other attorneys needed “to make it something legislators could find palatable in the deep south some 20-some years ago”.

Barnett said the then Democratic governor, Lawton Chiles, promised his support from the beginning. By April 1994, the House passed a bill to compensate victims of the attack with a 71-40 vote. Four days later, on 9 April 1994, the Senate passed a matching bill with a vote of 26-14, to cries of “Praise the lord!” from those Rosewood descendants present.

“It’s time for us to send an example, a shining example, that we’re going to do what’s right – for once,” Democratic senator Matthew Meadows said at the time. Chiles diedless than four years after signing the bill.

Now, near Rosewood, Rebel flags are common. Businesses bear the name, and some locals would be as happy to again forget the incident.

Information on the pogrom is notably muted in some local historical societies.

“What it takes to make someone whole, what it takes to repair the past, is probably different for every person, and some things are more effective than others,” said Barnett.

Many of the survivors invested the money they received into their homes. Willie Evans, 87 when he received the $150,000 payment in 1995, put a new roof , windows and doors on his home. Mortin considered traveling to Greece. Jenkins’s mother, who received $3,333.33 from the fund, placed ledgers on the graves of her sister, three brothers and parents.

“The thing that mattered most to [survivors] was that the state of Florida said, ‘We had an obligation to you as our citizens, we failed to live up to it then, we are going to live up to it today, and we are sorry,’” Barnett said.

For Doctor, whose own identity seemed wrapped up in the Rosewood story (the license plate on his truck read “ROSEWOOD” ), even the unique success of the legislation was not enough. He dreamed of rebuilding the town.

“The last leg of the [healing process] is the redevelopment and revitalization of a township called Rosewood,” Doctor told the Tampa Bay Times in 2004 , as the plaque along State Road 24 was dedicated by then governor Jeb Bush. “If we could get $2bn, $3bn of that we could effect some major changes in Levy County.”

 

 

 

 
 

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Trump Supporters Shout Sig Heil, and Threaten to Lynch Black Protester in Las Vegas

In this first video of the incident at a Trump rally in Las Vegas a day before the Republican candidate debate on CNN, Trump supporters can clearly be heard yrlling Sig Heil

In the second video, Trump Supporters are yelling “Light that motherf**ker on fire!”

 

 

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Lynching…Not Just Black Folks

Mobs in the South also occasionally lynched Jews. The most infamous case being that of Leo Frank, who was lynched purportedly for murdering a 13 year old white girl at the Factory which he managed. Didn’t really matter whether Frank was guilty…He was different.

A century after Jewish man’s lynching, Georgia town unsettled

Down past the Big Chicken, the 56-foot-high, steel-beaked beacon of extra crispy that may be this town’s most prized landmark, the wedge of dirt hard by Interstate 75 is notable only for its lack of notability. Stopping here, Rabbi Steven Lebow leaves the engine running and car door open.

Nearly ever since the South Florida native came to this Atlanta suburb three decades ago, this spot – or, more specifically, the tale of murder and vengeance that has stained its ground and local history for 100 years – has weighed on him.

But with transportation crews readying to build over the place where Marietta’s leading citizens lynched a Jewish factory superintendent namedLeo Frank a century ago, Lebow talks only of what’s worth preserving.

“There’s nothing to see here,” Lebow says. “That’s why we need to be the memory.”

As this community prepares to revisit that tale, though, there are reminders that it remains unsettled as well as unsettling.

In 1913, Frank was convicted of murdering 13-year-old Mary Phagan, who worked in his Atlanta factory. The case, charged with race, religion, sex and class, exploded in a national media frenzy. When Georgia’s governor commuted Frank’s death sentence, citizens took matters in their own hands.

The case established the Anti-Defamation League as the country’s most outspoken opponent of anti-Semitism. It also fueled the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Until ADL lawyers pressed officials to posthumously pardon Frank in the 1980s, the case was hushed in Atlanta’s synagogues, the homes of Old Marietta, and among Phagan’s descendants.

Though granted, the pardon was less than conclusive. Now, in a summer that has seen Southerners wrangle with the best-known symbol of the region’s embattled past, Lebow and others want to re-open a chapter some would prefer to let be.

But their effort to right history, as they see it, has renewed charges that, in doing so, they are unfairly trying to rewrite it…

Frank, raised in New York, ran a factory in industrializing Atlanta. In 1913, Phagan, her hair in bows, stopped to collect her pay.

That night, a watchman found her bloodied body in the basement. Police arrested several men before settling on Frank, who proclaimed his innocence. His conviction rested on the testimony of a custodian, Jim Conley, a rare case of a black man’s word used against a white defendant.

Frank’s lawyers appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that a climate of anti-Semitism had resulted in an unfair trial. The court upheld the verdict, 7-2. In 1915, Gov. John Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence to life. A furious crowd hanged the politician in effigy.

Months later, a group of Marietta men took Frank from prison. On Aug. 17, they hanged him outside town. Nobody was ever charged.

“The Frank case was like a lightning strike,” says Steve Oney, who wrote “And the Dead Shall Rise,” a 2002 book on the case. “Everything in the South stood briefly in relief and then it was dark again.”… More

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2015 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Ida B. Wells

Google’s search art was in tribute to Ida B. Wells. If you had gone to the search page, you will see this image –

Fearless Journalist And All-Round Badass Ida B. Wells Honored With Google Doodle

Doodle celebrates the civil rights activist’s 153rd birthday.

When Ida B. Wells was 22, she was asked by a conductor of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Company to give up her seat on the train to a white man. She refused, and the conductor attempted to forcibly drag her out of her seat.

Wells wouldn’t budge.

“The moment he caught hold of my arm I fastened my teeth in the back of his hand,” shewrote in her autobiography. “I had braced my feet against the seat in front and was holding to the back, and as he had already been badly bitten he didn’t try it again by himself. He went forward and got the baggageman and another man to help him and of course they succeeded in dragging me out.”

The year was 1884 — about 70 years before Rosa Parks would refuse to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Ida B. Wells from the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery

Wells’ life was full of such moments of courage and principle. Born into slavery in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862, Wells was a vocal civil rights activist, suffragist and journalist who dedicated her life to fighting inequality.

On July 16, Wells’ 153rd birthday, Google honored the “fearless and uncompromising” woman with a Doodle of her typing away on typewriter, a piece of luggage by her side.

“She was a fierce opponent of segregation and wrote prolifically on the civil injustices that beleaguered her world. By twenty-five she was editor of the Memphis-based Free Speech and Headlight, and continued to publicly decry inequality even after her printing press was destroyed by a mob of locals who opposed her message,” Google wrote in tribute of Wells.

The journalist would go on to work for Chicago’s Daily Inter Ocean and the Chicago Conservator, one of the oldest African-American newspapers in the country. As Google notes, she “also travelled and lectured widely, bringing her fiery and impassioned rhetoric all over the world.”

Wells married Chicago attorney Ferdinand Barrett in 1895. She insisted on keeping her own name, becoming Ida Wells-Barnett — a radical move for the time. The couple had four children.

Wells died in Chicago of kidney failure in 1931. She was 68.

Every year around her birthday, Holly Springs celebrates Wells’ life with a weekend festival. Mayor Kelvin Buck said at this year’s event that people often overlook “the historic significance of Ida B. Wells in the history of the civil rights struggle in the United States,” per the South Reporter.

The South is brutalized to a degree not realized by its own inhabitants, and the very foundation of government, law and order, are imperilled.

“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
Ida B. Wells-Barnett

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Black History, Giant Negros

 

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Theologian James Cone

James Cone is America’s best know black Theologian. He was the inspiration behind folks like Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the “black liberation theology” – which gives a lot of folks on the right side of the spectrum heartburn. Never one to back down to an injustice – Cone continues his work.

America’s ‘angriest’ theologian faces lynching tree

When he was boy growing up in rural Arkansas, James Cone would often stand at his window at night, looking for a sign that his father was still alive.

Cone had reason to worry. He lived in a small, segregated town in the age of Jim Crow. And his father, Charlie Cone, was a marked man.

Charlie Cone wouldn’t answer to any white man who called him “boy.” He only worked for himself, he told his sons, because a black man couldn’t work for a white man and keep his manhood at the same time.

Once, when he was warned that a lynch mob was coming to run him out of his home, he grabbed a shotgun and waited, saying, “Let them come, because some of them will die with me.”

James Cone knew the risks his father took. So when his father didn’t come home at his usual time in the evenings, he’d stand sentry, looking for the lights from his father’s pickup truck.

“I had heard too much about white people killing black people,” Cone recalled. “When my father would finally make it home safely, I would run and jump into his arms, happy as I could be.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Domestic terrorism, Giant Negros

 

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