Inherent racism and lynching
The first Blacks arrived in America in chains. Then there was civil war, ending in 1865, and emancipation followed. But racism did not end. The entire generation of White Americans were raised on the Christian belief that they were superior. Despite losing the Civil war, the South resented the anti christian position of giving the same right to blacks, whom they referred to with the N word. In their struggle to adjust to the new ways of this astonishing concept, so clearly at odds with Gods Natural Order, racism, as it was called, the majority of Southerners supported their own brand of justice. An Apartheid system that survived long after emancipation.
The most telling example is the practice of lynching.
There are three primary sources for lynching statistics, none of which cover the entire time period of lynching in the United States. Before 1882, no reliable statistics are available. In 1882, the Chicago Tribune began to systematically record lynchings. Then, in 1892, Tuskegee Institute began a systematic collection and tabulation of lynching statistics, primarily from newspaper reports. Finally, in 1912, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People started an independent record of lynchings. The numbers of lynchings from each source vary slightly, with the Tuskegee Institute’s figures being considered “conservative” by some historians.
Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, has defined conditions that constitute a recognized lynching:
- “There must be legal evidence that a person was killed. That person must have met death illegally. A group of three or more persons must have participated in the killing. The group must have acted under the pretext of service to Justice, Race, or Tradition.”
Tuskegee remains the single most complete source of statistics and records on this crime since 1882. As of 1959, which was the last time that their annual Lynch Report was published, a total of 4,733 persons had died as a result of lynching since 1882. To quote the report,
- “Except for 1955, when three lynchings were reported in Mississippi, none has been recorded at Tuskegee since 1951. In 1945, 1947, and 1951, only one case per year was reported. The most recent case reported by the institute as a lynching was that of Emmett Till, 14, a Negro who was beaten, shot to death, and thrown into a river at Greenwood, Mississippi on August 28, 1955… For a period of 65 years ending in 1947, at least one lynching was reported each year. The most for any year was 231 in 1892. From 1882 to 1901, lynchings averaged more than 150 a year. Since 1924, lynchings have been in a marked decline, never more than 30 cases, which occurred in 1926….”Typical scenario is the 1920 story from Duluth, Minnesota, on June 15, 1920, three young African-American traveling circus workers were lynched after having been accused of having raped a white woman and were jailed pending a grand jury hearing. A physician’s subsequent examination of the woman found no evidence of rape or assault. The alleged motive and action by a mob were consistent with the “community policing” model.
The last lynching to take place in California was Clyde Johnson. A White man. 1935.
Yreka’s second lynching took place in August 1935. At the funeral of Dunsmuir, California Chief of Police, F. R. Daw, a number of mourners planned the lynching of his alleged murderer, Clyde Johnson. Early on the morning of August 3, 1935, the masked mob, estimated as large as fifty, forcibly removed Johnson from his jail cell and dragged him three miles (5 km) south of town where they hanged him from a pine tree. Local and state officials expressed mixed reaction to news of the lynching.
District Attorney James Davis declared that he would open an investigation and “do everything the law requires to apprehend members of the mob.” On the other hand, the California Attorney General, referring to the recently delayed execution of an accused murderer, stated that the “uncontrollable unrest” was a natural result of the “apathy of the Supreme Court of the United States.”
Americas lynching habit acquired international celebrity. International media, including press in the Soviet Union, covered racial discrimination in the U.S. Deeming American criticism of the Soviet Union’s human rights abuses as hypocrisy, the Soviets would respond with “And you are lynching Negroes“. In his 1934 book Russia Today: What Can We Learn from It?, Sherwood Eddy wrote: “In the most remote villages of Russia today Americans are frequently asked what they are going to do to the Scottsboro Boys and why they lynch Negroes.”
What is this aspect of the American national character that chooses lynching. This ‘Strange Fruit.’
In a meeting with President Harry Truman in 1946, Paul Robeson urged him to take action against lynching. In 1951, Robeson and the Civil Rights Congress made a presentation entitled “We Charge Genocide” to the United Nations. They argued that the U.S. government was guilty of genocide under Article II of the United Nations Genocide Convention because it failed to act against lynchings.
Still lynchings went on. By the 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum. Membership in the NAACP increased in states across the country. The NAACP achieved a significant U.S. Supreme Court victory in 1954 ruling that segregated education was unconstitutional. A 1955 lynching that sparked public outrage about injustice was that of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago. (See video of Bob Dylan’s version.) Spending the summer with relatives in Money, Mississippi, Till was killed for allegedly having wolf-whistled at a white woman. Till had been badly beaten, one of his eyes was gouged out, and he was shot in the head before being thrown into the Tallahatchie River, his body weighed down with a 70-pound (32 kg) cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire. His mother insisted on a public funeral with an open casket, to show people how badly Till’s body had been disfigured. News photographs circulated around the country, and drew intense public reaction. The visceral response to his mother’s decision to have an open-casket funeral mobilized the black community throughout the U.S. The state of Mississippi tried two defendants, but they were speedily acquitted by an all-white jury. Of course they were. They did nothing wrong.
From 1882 to 1968, “…nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law.” No bill was approved by the Senate because of the powerful opposition of the Southern Democratic voting bloc
Although lynchings have become rare following the Civil Rights Movement and changing social mores, including Bob Dylan’s Song – Emmet Till, some have occurred.
In 1981, two Klan members in Alabama randomly selected a 19-year-old black man, Michael Donald, and murdered him, to retaliate for a jury’s acquittal of a black man accused of murdering a police officer. The Klansmen were caught, prosecuted, and convicted (one of the Klansmen, Henry Hayes, was sentenced to death and later executed). A $7 million judgment in a civil suit against the Klan bankrupted the local subgroup, the United Klans of America.
In 1998, Shawn Allen Berry, Lawrence Russel Brewer, and ex-convict John William King murdered James Byrd, Jr. in Jasper, Texas. Byrd was a 49-year-old father of three, who had accepted an early-morning ride home with the three men. They attacked him and dragged him to his death behind their truck. The three men dumped their victim’s mutilated remains in the town’s segregated African-American cemetery and then went to a barbecue. Local authorities immediately treated the murder as a hate crime and requested FBI assistance. The murderers (two of whom turned out to be members of a white supremacist prison gang) were caught and stood trial. Brewer and King were sentenced to death (with Brewer being executed in 2011.) John William “Bill” King (November 3, 1974 – April 24, 2019) was Berry’s longtime friend. He was accused of beating Byrd with a bat and then dragging him behind a pickup truck until he died. King, who prior to the murder had recently been released from a Texas prison, said that he had been repeatedly gang raped in prison by black inmates. He was found guilty and sentenced to death for his role in Byrd’s kidnapping and murder, and was on death row at the Polunsky Unit. He was executed at the Huntsville Unit on April 24, 2019 by lethal injection. A cruel and inhumane method that adds excruciating pain to the death sentence.he is 44 now.
Shawn Allen Berry (born February 12, 1975) claimed that Brewer and King were entirely responsible for the crime. Brewer, however, testified that Berry had cut Byrd’s throat before he was tied to the truck. The jury decided that little evidence supported this claim. As a result, Berry was spared the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison. As of 2008, Berry was living in protective custody at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Ramsey Unit, and will be first eligible for parole when he is 63 years old in June 2038. He spends 23 hours per day in an 8-by-6-foot (2.4 by 1.8 m) cell, with 1 hour for exercise. Berry married Christie Marcontell by proxy. Marcontell was Berry’s girlfriend at the time of the murder. They have one child together.
John King and Shawn Berry Lawrence Russell Brewer
Brewer was a typical White Supremacist. 44 at the time of his execution. Before his execution, Brewer ordered a last meal that included two chicken-fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fully loaded fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers. When the meal was presented, he told officials that he was not hungry and as a result he did not eat any of it. The meal was discarded, prompting State Senator John Whitmire to ask Texas prison officials to end the 87-year-old tradition of giving last meals to condemned inmates. The prison agency’s executive director responded by stating that the practice had been terminated effective immediately
There were lynchings in the Midwestern and Western states, mostly of Asians, Mexicans, and Native Americans. But it was in the South that lynching evolved into a semiofficial institution of racial terror against blacks. All across the former Confederacy, blacks who were suspected of crimes against whites—or even “offenses” no greater than failing to step aside for a white man’s car or protesting a lynching—were tortured, hanged and burned to death by the thousands. In a prefatory essay in Without Sanctuary, historian Leon F. Litwack writes that between 1882 and 1968, at least 4,742 African Americans were murdered that way.
It took until 2018 for a memorial to open. And a definitive study to be published. “Lynching in America.” Read it here.
Located in the heart of downtown Montgomery, Alabama, the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice are just a 16-minute walk apart. Experience both the museum and memorial in a single day or plan an overnight trip to explore America’s history of racial injustice and its legacy.
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opened to the public on April 26, 2018, is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.
Work on the memorial began in 2010 when EJI staff began investigating thousands of racial terror lynchings in the American South, many of which had never been documented. EJI was interested not only in lynching incidents, but in understanding the terror and trauma this sanctioned violence against the black community created. Six million black people fled the South as refugees and exiles as a result of these “racial terror lynchings.”
This research ultimately produced Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror in 2015 which documented thousands of racial terror lynchings in twelve states. The same 12 states that voted Trump in. The same people whose vote counts for 8 times as much as one Californian PhD in The History of Democracy.
But today the White Supremacist leader of the USA compared his unpopularity to a lynching?
Trump, Making Amerca Lynch Again.
Just because America is built on racist exploitation does not mean all of our efforts to place that firmly in the past, to expose the endemic racism and stop the hate mongers, should all be undone by the small minority of redneck racist Trump supporters. Denying the condition does not make it go away It allows it to resurface in that most vulnerable layer of society. The poor uneducated whites whose only claim to advantage is their belief that White skin is superior to Black.
Sadly, white on black prejudice does not end with less than 5,000 documented lynchings.
Medical care is another barometer of racial division. In 1989, the Journal of the Medical Association published a report about whites and Africans receiving the treatment of heart disease. If both white and African people walked into a doctor’s office with similar chest pains and heart problems, the white patients were more likely to go through coronary angiography and twice as likely to undergo bypass surgery. A few years later, another journal reported that older African American patients who were on Medicare received bypass grafts only about a fourth as often as the whites (Gamble).
Then there’s the ‘Bad Blood’ story. The Tuskegee syphilis experiment (also known as the Tuskegee syphilis study or Public Health Service syphilis study). A clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 in Tuskegee, Alabama by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the natural progression of untreated syphilis in poor, rural black men who thought they were receiving free health care from the U.S. government.
The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Investigators enrolled in the study a total of 600 impoverished, African-American sharecroppers from Macon County, Alabama; 399 who had previously contracted syphilis before the study began, and 201 without the disease. For participating in the study, the men were given free medical care, meals, and free burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term for various illnesses that include syphilis, anemia, and fatigue.
In 1972 the Tuskegee Study was brought to public and national attention by a whistleblower, who gave information to the Washington Star and the New York Times. Heller of PHS still defended the ethics of the study, stating: “The men’s status did not warrant ethical debate. They were subjects, not patients; clinical material, not sick people.”
Here are some of the Christians involved
Now studies require informed consent (with exceptions possible for U.S. Federal agencies which can be kept secret by Executive Order), communication of diagnosis, and accurate reporting of test results.
By 1947, penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Choices available to the doctors involved in the study might have included treating all syphilitic subjects and closing the study, or splitting off a control group for testing with penicillin. Instead, the Tuskegee scientists continued the study without treating any participants and withholding penicillin and information about it from the patients. In addition, scientists prevented participants from accessing syphilis treatment programs available to others in the area. The study continued, under numerous US Public Health Service supervisors, until 1972, when a leak to the press eventually resulted in its termination on November 16. The victims of the study included numerous men who died of syphilis, wives who contracted the disease, and children born with congenital syphilis.
The Tuskegee Syphilis Study led to the 1979 Belmont Report and the establishment of the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP). It also led to federal laws and regulations requiring Institutional Review Boards for the protection of human subjects in studies involving human subjects. The Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) manages this responsibility within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Gosh. I didnt mean to write 4,000 words about racism, but I read poor Trumps complaint about being ‘Lynched’ and I thought. It’s so unfair this poor white man with a low IQ is being persecuted so terribly just because of his color. His American supporters can’t possibly be expected to undersstnd and then consider those two words that define them.
We reap the consequence of putting Blacks – an Ape in Heels – in the White House.
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