On the Subject of America’s Racial Terror and How Lynch Mobs and Barbaric Violence Still Haunt Our Country Today

jesse-washington-lot13093-no.38By Elaine Magliaro

On Tuesday, Mike Spindell wrote a post titled When We See ISIL’s Barbarity, We Forget Our Own. In his column, Mike wrote about remarks that President Obama had made at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast.

Mike Spindell:

President Obama was recently criticized for his speech at a prayer breakfast for stating that Christianity too has had incidents where supposedly religious people acted barbarically. Many of his critics said he was bringing up a history that was hundreds of years past and so no longer was relevant. America’s legacy of enslavement and hatred of people of color is not a relic of 400 years past, but I would argue far more current.

The same day, I wrote a post about a report on lynchings in America that the Equal Justice Institute (EJI) had recently published. EJI’s multi-year investigation looked into nearly 4,000 lynchings of African Americans that took place  in this country from 1877 to 1950.

This morning, Elias Isquith of Salon posted an interview with Bryan Stevenson, the founder and director of EJI, titled America’s real racial terror: How lynch mobs & barbaric violence haunt us today. Isquith said that Salon spoke with Stevenson on the phone in order to discuss EJI’s report and “the importance of recognizing these lynchings as a form of terrorism and how the age of racial terror still influences the United States today.”

In his introductory paragraphs to Salon’s interview with Stevenson, Isquith also wrote about  the remarks that President Obama made at the National Prayer Breakfast.


Earlier this month, President Obama made a remark about U.S. history that sent many members of the American far-right into a paroxysm of rage. Speaking at the annual National Prayer Breakfast, Obama said that it would be wrong to blame all Muslims or Islam itself for the cruelty and evil of ISIS, because every ideology and every religion includes people who are willing to distort their creed in order to justify oppression and brutality. “[L]est we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place,” Obama said of ISIS, “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Isquith noted that Conservatives “were outraged that the president had the audacity to compare Americans — American Christians, at that! — to the murderous zealots that comprise the paramilitary terrorist group.”  He said that writers Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jamelle Bouie and others “rightly noted that Obama wasn’t merely telling the truth but was actually soft-pedaling the historical record.” Isquith added, “The truth is, Americans not only have a long history of supporting white supremacy with pseudo-Christian arguments; they also have a history of enacting violence on the bodies of their fellow citizens that was every bit as heinous as what ISIS has done to people throughout Syria and Iraq. And essentially for the same purposes, too.”

Excerpt from America’s real racial terror: How lynch mobs & barbaric violence haunt us today:

The use of the word “terror” to describe these crimes, was that done consciously? If so, why do you think it’s important for us to use that word and see these acts of violence through that lens?

I heard from older people of color in the South over the last 10 years who have complained to me that they get angry and upset when they hear TV commentators and news analysts talking about how, after the 9/11 attacks, America is dealing with terrorism for the first time in [the] its history. What these older people of color will say is, Mr. Stevenson, we grew up with terrorism. We were menaced and threatened and lynched and traumatized every day of our lives. And it is injurious to us to not have that recognized by these casual comments. So our use of the word “terror” was definitely intentional.

There is a narrative about America’s racial history that we have not acknowledged, that we have not confronted. We have been burdened by continuing problems with race relations and racial equality because we have not understood the narratives in the way that I think we should. It actually begins with slavery; I think even the way we talk about slavery has been superficial. I don’t think the evil of slavery was involuntary servitude. To me the great evil of slavery was this narrative of racial difference, this ideology of white supremacy, that black people weren’t fully human, that they had deficits and deficiencies that meant that it was okay, that it was moral and just, to enslave them.

That narrative that was the true evil of slavery wasn’t addressed by the Thirteenth Amendment; it wasn’t addressed by the Emancipation Proclamation. As a result, slavery didn’t end at the end of the Civil War; it just evolved. It set up an era where white people in the South felt that they had to enforce racial hierarchy in all things. So the lynchings of African-Americans during this period of time were not just simple punishments for individuals accused of crimes. It was a statement to the entire African-American community that they must remain compliant to Jim Crow segregation; no voting rights, economic exploitation and racial hierarchy.

That’s what terrorism is about. It’s about effectuating social, political and economic conditions through menace, through violence, through terror. And that’s what we saw in the Deep South during this era of lynching…

Stevenson also talked about “public-spectacle lynchings.” He noted how local newspapers “would advertise the time and date and location of the lynching the day before, or hours before.” He said he thought it was “astonishing” to think about an “entire town coming out to watch someone burned to death or mutilated or shot hundreds of times, or dragged through the streets. To see this kind of barbarism celebrated, the idea that people would take their children to ‘enjoy’ the spectacle of this violence, says something really astonishing about the cultural attitudes that made lynching such a widespread phenomenon with so little resistance.”

Click here to read Salon’s interview with Bryan Stevenson.


America’s real racial terror: How lynch mobs & barbaric violence haunt us today (Salon)

LYNCHING IN AMERICA: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror—A Report from the Equal Justice Initiative (Flowers for Socrates)

When We See ISIL’s Barbarity, We Forget Our Own (Flowers for Socrates)

This entry was posted in American History, Equal Rights, Government, Local Government, Racism, States, United States and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to On the Subject of America’s Racial Terror and How Lynch Mobs and Barbaric Violence Still Haunt Our Country Today

  1. bron98 says:


    Mike posted this on another thread:


    Seems to me ISIS is all about religion and Islam in particular.

  2. bron98 says:


    The majority of white people didnt participate in or sanction those acts. Whites ended slavery, whites ended Jim Crow, whites passed the CRA.

    There was a small group of white southern democrats who terrorized blacks.

  3. “There was a small group of white southern democrats who terrorized blacks.”

    This is a partisan argument often put forth by people who forget that there was a polar swap in political philosophies, in particular regarding social ideology, starting with the election of 1912. This went through a long period of change, for example the DNC losing most if not all of the socially conservative Dixecrats during the civil rights movement and culminating in the Reagan conservative ascendency. It wasn’t so much “democrats” who terrorized blacks. It was conservatives as a matter of prime causality. Lincoln in his day was a Republican. Today? He’d either be a Democrat or – perhaps disgusted (and rightfully so) with both major parties and their actions since his death – an independent. What he wouldn’t be is either a Libertarian or a Bagger, both of which have planks in their platforms that are diametrically opposed to Lincoln’s known and espoused views.

  4. Elaine M. says:


    Whites were slavers. Whites mistreated/beat their slaves. Whites wrote the Jim Crow laws. Whites lynched black people.

  5. Elaine M. says:

    The Brutal, Jim Crow-Style Lynching That Recently Took A Black Man’s Life In Mississippi

    James Craig Anderson sang tenor in the choir at the First Hyde Park Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. He’d worked at a car plant near Jackson for seven years, and he enjoyed gardening in his free time. Anderson’s partner of 17 years, a man named James Bradfield, was the legal guardian of a 4 year-old child, and Anderson and Bradfield were raising the child together. This child will not grow up in Anderson’s care, however, because Anderson was killed by a mob of white teenagers.

    The murder of Mr. Anderson recalls Jim Crow era lynchings. On a Sunday morning shortly before dawn, a group of teenagers were drinking in the nearby town of Puckett. According to police, one of them told his friends they should leave and “go fuck with some niggers.” Two carloads of the boys then drove to Jackson, where they found Anderson in a parking lot, beat him, and then drove their pickup truck over him. During the beating, some of the teens reportedly yelled out the words “white power.”

    Yet, while Anderson’s death may resemble Klan violence from another era, it is hardly a memory from a distant past. James Craig Anderson died in 2011. Three of his killers were sentenced Tuesday by a federal judge.

    Judge Carlton Reeves delivered fairly substantial remarks at the sentencing hearing. His full remarks are worth reading in their entirety. In them, he laments the “toxic mix of alcohol, foolishness and unadulterated hatred” that “caused these young people to resurrect the nightmarish specter of lynchings and lynch mobs from the Mississippi we long to forget,” and he lays out the brutal history of racial violence that still defines Mississippi in many people’s minds. Quoting one author’s description of the state, Judge Reeves says that “there is something different about Mississippi; something almost unspeakably primal and vicious; something savage unleashed there that has yet to come to rest.”

  6. bron98 says:

    I dont know Gene, most of those guys like Bull Conner were hardcore democrats. Kennedy was more of a liberal republican and the case can be made that Reagan was similar to Kennedy. So the people who followed Reagan also followed Kennedy. To my knowledge Bull Conner and Orval Faubus never became Reagan Republicans. Although Conner died too soon, he died a democrat.

  7. bron98 says:


    It is that influence from those southern demcrats of 50-100 years ago. Bull Conner still lives. As does Byron De La Beckwith who ran as a democrat for the Lt. Gov. position in Mississippi.

  8. “I dont know Gene, most of those guys like Bull Conner were hardcore democrats.”

    You are apparently having a problem distinguishing between a party label and an ideological stance, B. Today, Bull Connor would likely be either a Republican or a Bagger. In his day, he was a Democrat, but he was also a member of the States’ Rights Democratic Party, a more organic precursor of the Baggers.

    Conservatism isn’t the sole province of any one party than liberalism is the sole province of any one party, no matter what they might like you to think.

    Partisan politics are – in no small part – a sucker’s game because it is an exercise in labeling and marketing that services particular agenda(s) that in action may or may not reflect an espoused ideology. Both major parties right now want you to think one thing: the RNC is the champion of conservatism and the DNC is the champion of liberalism. If you pay attention and follow the dictate of Marcus Aurelius to “ask of each and every thing what is it in itself”, you quickly come to the observation and subsequent conclusion that both parties are actually the parties of corporatism and any message ancillary to that is their saying whatever they think they need to say to get popular votes so they can retain office and continue the bidding of their oligarchical financial masters.

    You are missing the forest for the trees.

  9. Elaine M. says:


    Were Connor and Beckwith white?

  10. Elaine M. says:


    What do you have to say about the “public-spectacle lynchings” that were advertised in the local newspapers? What about the hundreds/thousands of people who turned out to watch black people being tortured, mutilated, burned, hanged? Did you read the summary of the lynching report published by the Equal Justice Initiative?

  11. blouise says:

    “What the gang of teens did not know was that a surveillance camera was focused on the parking lot that night, and many of the events, including the actual murder of Anderson, were captured live on videotape. …The group of teens that night was led by 18-year-old Deryl Dedmon, Jr., of Brandon, Mississippi, according to police and officials. … Dedmon led and instigated the attack from early in the evening, he took part in the beating of Anderson, and Dedmon was also the actual driver of the Ford 250 truck that would serve as the murder weapon, according to officials. …I ran that nigger over,” Dedmon allegedly said in a phone conversation to the teens in the other car.”

    “The three pleaded guilty in March 2012 to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves sentenced Dedmon to 50 years and five years to be served concurrently; John Aaron Rice to 18 ½ years and five years to be served concurrently; and Dylan Wade Butler to seven years and five years to be served concurrently. None of them are eligible for probation. .. .Seven others are awaiting sentencing.

    Reeves will sentence Joseph Paul Dominick, William Kirk Montgomery and Jonathan Kyle Gaskamp on Feb. 25. Dominick pleaded guilty to conspiracy in 2013 and faces five years in prison. Montgomery, who pleaded guilty in 2012, faces life in prison on a hate crime charge and five years on conspiracy. Gaskamp, who wasn’t present the night Anderson died, pleaded guilty in 2012. He faces five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years on a hate crime charge.

    U.S. District Judge Henry T. Wingate will sentence four people:

    — Sarah Adelia Graves, who pleaded guilty in December, faces five years in prison on a conspiracy charge at sentencing April 9.

    — Shelbie Brooke Richards, who pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy and concealing the crime by lying to police, faces eight years in prison at sentencing April 16.

    — John Louis Blalack, who pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to two hate crimes charges, faces 20 years in prison at sentencing April 23.

    — Robert Henry Rice, who pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to one hate crime charge, faces 10 years in prison at sentencing April 30.”

    Reeves went on to point out the sadness and the irony of the day.

    “Each defendant was escorted in by African-American U.S. Marshals, prosecuted by an African-American Assistant U.S. Attorney, from an office headed by an African-American U.S. Attorney, under an African-American Attorney General, and my final act will be to turn them over to the Bureau of Prisons, which is also led by an African American,” he said.”

    (I will post the 2 sources immediately)

    I think it is important to note the names of these individuals as they are each a product of the culture that is very much a part of this country. Too often we think “mob” and semi-excuse behavior to mob mentality. It’s a fashionable way of hiding the barbaric behavior from view, excusing the totality of man’s inhumanity to man. These individuals made conscious decisions that night, decisions their culture freely placed before them.

    That culture will find expression through politics and political parties. But there, too, it is individuals that must be identified. Listen carefully to their words and pay attention to their voting record. They chose the culture they wish to represent based on their individual preferences. Party alliance means little for that culture is expressed by individuals in all political parties. Forget the collective … look at the individual. Identify them for who they are and their culture for what it is.

  12. Elaine M. says:

    Carnival of Death: Lynching in America

    The History of Lynching

    Lynching differs from ordinary murder or assault because it is a killing that is committed outside the boundaries of due process by a mob who enacts revenge for an offense. During the late 19th century, lynching frequently enjoyed the approval of the public. It is a practice that was committed, ostensibly, in the name of justice. But the motivations for these killings were alien to the themes of justice and honor.

    Lynching became almost a necessary practice “that served to give dramatic warning to all black inhabitants that the iron clad system of white supremacy was not to be challenged by deed, word or even thought” (Friedman, p. 191) For all their suffering though, it would be incorrect to say that lynching was only used against blacks. Whites, too, suffered the rope, at times in greater numbers than blacks. Who became a victim had a lot more to do with where the lynching took place than the victim’s offense. In the Deep South[3], most often the victim was black. In the West, the victim was most often white. However, lynching, when used against African Americans, was utilized for reasons other than a form of substitute justice. That was just an excuse. As the noted psychologist William James (1842-1910) once wrote: “for all sorts of cruelty, piety is the mask” (Myers, p. 208).

    Lynching is a derivative term that was taken from the name of Col. Charles Lynch who was a landowner in Virginia in 1790. Lynch had a habit of holding illegal trials of local lawbreakers in his front yard. Upon conviction of the accused, which was usually the case, Lynch took to whipping the suspects while they were tied to a tree in front of his house.

    Over time, this practice became known as simply “lynching”. Although mistreatment of slaves was common throughout the early part of the 19th century, lynching was a separate practice apart from slavery[4]. The term “lynching” refers only to the concept of vigilantism, in which citizens would assume the role of judge, jury and executioner. Vigilante groups were common during the last half of the 19th century and were fed by a strong notion that the existing laws were not functioning properly resulting in criminals, especially black criminals, being set free at the expense of the public.

    Many newspaper editorials of the day echoed those sentiments and contributed to the passions aroused by the practice of lynching. Consider this editorial published on June 19, 1897: “The people of Ohio have seen murderers tried and convicted of murder in the 1st degree two or three times over and finally set free. They have known many desperate and dangerous criminals to be sent to the penitentiary for long terms and released soon enough to make the whole costly process of the courts seem little better than a farce…That is the real reason why, once in a while, the passion and indignation of the masses break through all restraints and some particularly wicked crime is avenged…” (The Cleveland Leader). This editorial was published after a black rape suspect was forcibly taken from a county jail and lynched in front of a crowd of 9,000 people.

    The actual process of lynching was morbid and incredibly violent. Lynching does not necessarily mean hanging. It often included humiliation, torture, burning, dismemberment and castration. Victims were beaten and whipped, many times in front of large crowds that sometimes numbered in the thousands. Coal tar was frequently used to douse the unfortunate victim prior to setting him afire.

    Onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities. Pieces of the corpse were taken by onlookers as souvenirs of the event [5]. Such was the case when James Irwin was lynched on January 31, 1930. Irwin was accused of the murder of a white girl in the town of Ocilla, Georgia. Taken into custody by a rampaging mob, his fingers and toes were cut off, his teeth pulled out by pliers and finally he was castrated. It still wasn’t enough. Irwin was then burned alive in front of hundreds of onlookers (Brundage, p. 42). No one was ever punished for this barbaric killing. Black victims were hacked to death, dragged behind cars [6], burned, beaten, whipped, sometimes shot thousands of times, mutilated; the savagery was astonishing. How could ordinary people participate in such brutality?

  13. Elaine M. says:

    People and Events: Lynching in America

    For many African Americans growing up in the South in the 19th and 20th centuries, the threat of lynching was commonplace. The popular image of an angry white mob stringing a black man up to a tree is only half the story. Lynching, an act of terror meant to spread fear among blacks, served the broad social purpose of maintaining white supremacy in the economic, social and political spheres…

    Rise in Black Prominence
    Although the practice of lynching had existed since before slavery, it gained momentum during Reconstruction, when viable black towns sprang up across the South and African Americans began to make political and economic inroads by registering to vote, establishing businesses and running for public office. Many whites — landowners and poor whites — felt threatened by this rise in black prominence. Foremost on their minds was a fear of sex between the races. Some whites espoused the idea that black men were sexual predators and wanted integration in order to be with white women.

    Public Events
    Lynchings were frequently committed with the most flagrant public display. Like executions by guillotine in medieval times, lynchings were often advertised in newspapers and drew large crowds of white families. They were a kind of vigilantism where Southern white men saw themselves as protectors of their way of life and their white women. By the early twentieth century, the writer Mark Twain had a name for it: the United States of Lyncherdom.

    Headlines and Grisly Souvenirs
    Lynchings were covered in local newspapers with headlines spelling out the horrific details. Photos of victims, with exultant white observers posed next to them, were taken for distribution in newspapers or on postcards. Body parts, including genitalia, were sometimes distributed to spectators or put on public display. Most infractions were for petty crimes, like theft, but the biggest one of all was looking at or associating with white women. Many victims were black businessmen or black men who refused to back down from a fight. Headlines such as the following were not uncommon:

    “Five White Men Take Negro Into Woods; Kill Him: Had Been Charged with Associating with White Women” went over The Associated Press wires about a lynching in Shreveport, Louisiana.
    “Negro Is Slain By Texas Posse: Victim’s Heart Removed After His Capture By Armed Men” was published in The New York World Telegram on December 8, 1933.

    “Negro and White Scuffle; Negro Is Jailed, Lynched” was published in the Atlanta Constitution on July 6, 1933.

    Newspapers even printed that prominent white citizens in local towns attended lynchings, and often published victory pictures — smiling crowds, many with children in tow — standing next to the corpse.

  14. bron98 says:

    I would say that neither the RNC or the DNC is worth a shit.

    I would further say that Marcus Aurelius was a student of Aristotle.

    One other thing, enlightenment principles arent a bad place to begin to found a country.

  15. bron98 says:


    So what? All races have their good and bad people.

    They were also white democrats as mentioned above. Wasnt Robert Byrd a grand kleagle or something? Look under the bed’s of most republicans and you find a well worn, faded copy of the emancipation proclamation, look under the bed’s of most white democrats and you find a clean and pressed white sheet and hood ready for use.

  16. Elaine M. says:


    I’m not talking about political parties. I’m talking about race…and about some of the terrible and violent things that white people have done to black people in this country.

    Your second comment seemed to imply that African Americans should feel indebted to whites. Is that what you really think?

  17. Bob Kauten says:

    “look under the bed’s of most white democrats and you find a clean and pressed white sheet and hood ready for use.”
    Really? Are you really that fucking nuts, or is this an attempt at humor?

  18. Mike Spindell says:

    “The majority of white people didnt participate in or sanction those acts. Whites ended slavery, whites ended Jim Crow, whites passed the CRA.

    There was a small group of white southern democrats who terrorized blacks.”


    I keep hoping that your intelligence will finally defeat your prejudice and come to realize that the whole scheme of liberal v. conservative; and Democrat v. Republican is but a scam, but constantly you deny history in service to your incorrect pre-judgments and constant parroting of right wing memes that have no basis in fact.

    While slavery existed predominately in the South, an overwhelming majority of White Americans believed and many still believe, that Black people were inherently inferior to White people. Even as liberal and anti-slavery person like Mark Twain wrote about Blacks, with sympathy, yet stereotypically. Growing up in a family that preached against racism, I was constantly amazed at how many of my friends were racist. Remember, I grew up in liberal Jew York. Part of where you completely miss the boat is in believing that because the majority of Whites didn’t own slaves, or seem overtly racist, that they didn’t look down upon Black people as inferior and/or attack them. see the “Draft Riots” in mid-19th Century New York and too many other examples of historical facts to be denied by only those with their heads buried in the sands of denial.

  19. blouise says:


    When a cultural practice, especially one fully accepted by those within the culture, is under attack, expect deflection and dissembling. Killing black people for sport (Night Rides) is an accepted cultural practice within the culture that produced that large group of Mississippi, white, teenagers. They decided to “let’s go fuck with some niggers,” and proceeded to do so. The surveillance camera showed the actuality of the cultural sport in real time and exposed the culture in which those teenagers were raised for what it is. Terrorism as sport. Deflection and dissembling are the only defenses that subscribers to that particular culture can mount.

    If we look a little deeper this is what we find.

    “Specifically, Dominick’s plea agreement stated that he and the other co-conspirators–Jonathan Gaskamp, William Montgomery, Deryl Dedmon, Dylan Wade Butler and John Aaron Rice, all of Rankin County–used beer bottles, slingshots and shod feet in their months-long attack spree that targeted blacks they believed to be drunk or homeless.

    Dominick’s plea agreement states that on one trip, the conspirators stopped at a sporting goods store for the sole purpose of buying a slingshot to shoot metal ball bearings at African Americans. Dominick carried a handgun “for protection,” the agreement states.

    Federal prosecutors charged that Dominick and the other conspirators boasted about the attacks and recruited other “young, white men and women” to join them for assaults.

    Dominick and his friends also purchased bottled beer expressly to drink and use as ammunition in the assaults against black pedestrians, whom the group called n*ggers. During one incident, one of the gang members threw a beer bottle at a group of African Americans standing near the street, striking one of the people and knocking the person to the ground.

    “Members of the group thought this was funny,” federal prosecutor Sheldon Beer said in court this morning.

    At Dominick’s birthday bonfire early the morning of June 26, 2011, several of the conspirators drove to Jackson where they found and killed James Craig Anderson. Dominick, who dated former American Idol contestant Skylar Laine, did not go along on the trip.”


  20. buckaroo says:

    What does anyone think regarding the Ox Bow Incident ?

  21. Elaine M. says:

    BBC’s Racism: History- A lynching in Texas in 1916

  22. blouise says:

    In much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth his knowledge increases his sorrow also. – Ecclesiastes 1:18

    So it is that ignorance is bliss. And thus we turn a blind eye to the horrors that beset our own nation.

  23. gbk says:

    “In much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth his knowledge increases his sorrow also. – Ecclesiastes 1:18

    So it is that ignorance is bliss. And thus we turn a blind eye to the horrors that beset our own nation.” — blouise

    Ignorance can indeed offer bliss; yet the blind eye that besets this nation is not ignorance — it is subscription to zero-sum economic pretensions — and the apathy that follows. Cooperation is suspiciously viewed as a ploy; understanding as a weakness.

  24. pete says:


    I had a very long post but deleted it because it rambled too much.

    Yes, almost everyone white person in the south was a democrat. Just about every elected office in the state of Alabama were filled by democrats. From around 1965 to 1984 there was a shift. 82 was the last year George Wallace was elected, and that was with about 95% of the black vote. The person who ran against him, Emery Folmer, was a damn sure enough racist. With Wallace it was mostly political, he was as racist as he needed to be to win the election.
    Just a small note, Joe Smitherman, who was mayor of Selma during the march, was still mayor until the 2000. In that time Selma went from being majority white, to majority black. Now there’s a politician.

    My point is that what a democrat was in Alabama was then (middle of the 1900’s) is not what you think of a a democrat now. Think of them more as Dixiecrats.

    Remember, back then they also had liberal republicans.

  25. pete says:

    Almost forgot, this person sums up the party shift in Alabama and the rest of the south. He was elected in 78 as a pro business democrat (he owned Diversified Products, or DP, they made sports equipment).
    He was re-elected in 94 as a religious republican.

  26. Bob Kauten says:

    The South became Democrats because the demon slave-freeing Lincoln was a Republican.
    Then, the Democrats enforced civil rights for Southern blacks.
    So the South became Republican, again.
    Them white folks in the South are single-issue voters. Totally manipulable, politically. Dumber ‘n’ shit.
    They’ll never forgive Lincoln.
    They’ll never get over the Civil War.
    They’ll never get it straight that their pathetic fiefdoms aren’t sovereign.
    They’ll never get over losing their slaves.

  27. Harvey says:

    And no one should comfort themselves by saying those crowds were only the uneducated, the rednecks.

    My ex-wife’s family was from Mississippi. Lovely, warm, funny, charming family. They would NEVER go to a lynching. But none of them, and some had political positions, ever lifted a hand, wrote a letter, spoke up in church to condemn lynchings. They didn’t laugh about it, but their silence was stunning and, I think, evidence of a dark, hidden support for the evil practice.

  28. rafflaw says:

    I am amazed at your comments that reflect a lack of concern and a lack of historical knowledge. In order to get beyond racism, one must want to get beyond it.

  29. Elaine M. says:

    Christian Soldiers
    By Jamelle Bouie

    For his victims, “Judge Lynch”—journalist Ida B. Wells’ name for the lynch mob—was capricious, merciless, and barbaric. C.J. Miller, falsely accused of killing two teenaged white sisters in western Kentucky, was “dragged through the streets to a crude platform of old barrel staves and other kindling,” writes historian Philip Dray in At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America. His assailants hanged him from a telephone pole, and while “the first fall broke his neck … the body was repeatedly raised and lowered while the crowd peppered it with small-arms fire.” For two hours his corpse hung above the street, during which he was photographed and mutilated by onlookers. Finally, he was cut down and burned.

    More savage was the lynching of Mary Turner and her unborn child, killed for protesting her husband’s murder. “[B]efore a crowd that included women and children,” writes Dray, “Mary was stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roasted to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground, gave a cry, and was stomped to death.”

    These lynchings weren’t just vigilante punishments or, as the Equal Justice Initiative notes, “celebratory acts of racial control and domination.” They were rituals. And specifically, they were rituals of Southern evangelicalism and its then-dogma of purity, literalism, and white supremacy. “Christianity was the primary lens through which most southerners conceptualized and made sense of suffering and death of any sort,” writes historian Amy Louise Wood in Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890–1940. “It would be inconceivable that they could inflict pain and torment on the bodies of black men without imagining that violence as a religious act, laden with Christian symbolism and significance.”

  30. Elaine M. says:

    The Foolish, Historically Illiterate, Incredible Response to Obama’s Prayer Breakfast Speech
    Using religion to brutalize other people is not a Muslim invention, nor is it foreign to the American experience.
    FEB 6, 2015

    The “all too often” could just as well be “almost always.” There were a fair number of pretexts given for slavery and Jim Crow, but Christianity provided the moral justification. On the cusp of plunging his country into a war that would cost some 750,000 lives, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens paused to offer some explanation. His justification was not secular. The Confederacy was to be:

    [T]he first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society … With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so.

    It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another star in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws.

    Stephens went on to argue that the “Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa” could only be accomplished through enslavement. And enslavement was not made possible through Robert’s Rules of Order, but through a 250-year reign of mass torture, industrialized murder, and normalized rape—tactics which ISIS would find familiar. Its moral justification was not “because I said so,” it was “Providence,” “the curse against Canaan,” “the Creator,” “and Christianization.” In just five years, 750,000 Americans died because of this peculiar mission of “Christianization.” Many more died before, and many more died after. In his “Segregation Now” speech, George Wallace invokes God 27 times and calls the federal government opposing him “a system that is the very opposite of Christ.”

    Now, Christianity did not “cause” slavery, anymore than Christianity “caused” the civil-rights movement. The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power. That is what the Muslim terrorists in ISIS are seeking to do today, and that is what Christian enslavers and Christian terrorists did for the lion’s share of American history.

  31. gbk says:


    Bob Kauten stated: “They’ll never get over losing their slaves.”

    It appears they won’t:

    “In 1805 there were just over one million slaves worth about $300 million; fifty-five years later there were four million slaves worth close to $3 billion. In the 11 states that eventually formed the Confederacy, four out of ten people were slaves in 1860, and these people accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states. In the cotton regions the importance of slave labor was even greater. The value of capital invested in slaves roughly equaled the total value of all farmland and farm buildings in the South.


  32. Bob Kauten says:

    Your move, bron.

  33. gbk says:

    Chatel / Chattel:

    Only one consonant separating skiing in the Alps, and picking cotton in Mississippi.

  34. gbk says:

    Language is a very strange construct; much, “goes under the bridge,” I’m sure.

  35. blouise says:

    Mary Turner was lynched by a large group of white people in Georgia on May 19, 1918. She was 8 months pregnant. The Georgian citizens hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil and set her afire. As she was burning and while still alive, a white, Georgian male sliced open her abdomen so that the unborn child would fall to the ground. The infant gave one cry and then the white Georgian citizens, men, women, and children, stomped it to death.

    The Associated Press in reporting on the lynching wrote that Mary Turner had made “unwise remarks” about the execution of her husband, and that “the people, in their indignant mood, took exception to her remarks, as well as her attitude”.

    Mary and her infant were buried under the tree. In 2010 a marker commemorating their deaths was placed under the tree. In 2013 the marker was defaced with 5 bullet holes.

  36. gbk says:

    “Attitude” will get someone every time, won’t it?

  37. blouise17 says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot. The Associated Press also failed to mention that she was 8 months pregnant nor did they report on the manner in which the white citizens of Georgia killed the infant.

    “There is a $200 reward being offered for anyone who has information on the person or persons responsible for vandalizing a local historical marker. A monument dedicated to Mary Turner, a woman who was lynched in 1918, was found with five bullet holes in it this week. The sign is located near the Little River.

    Mary Turner Project Coordinator and VSU professor Dr. Mark George says the vandalism doesn’t come as a shock, saying that race ‘is still a big issue in this community.’

    That sign has been up since 2010- anyone with information on who shot up the sign is asked to call the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.”


  38. blouise17 says:

    Oh yeah, I forgot. The Associated Press also failed to mention that she was 8 months pregnant nor did they report on the manner in which the white citizens of Georgia killed the infant.

    “There is a $200 reward being offered for anyone who has information on the person or persons responsible for vandalizing a local historical marker. A monument dedicated to Mary Turner, a woman who was lynched in 1918, was found with five bullet holes in it this week. The sign is located near the Little River.

    Mary Turner Project Coordinator and VSU professor Dr. Mark George says the vandalism doesn’t come as a shock, saying that race ‘is still a big issue in this community.’

    That sign has been up since 2010- anyone with information on who shot up the sign is asked to call the Lowndes County Sheriff’s office.”

  39. gbk says:

    I pray to Lord Jesus,
    Let the cash flow sustain;
    Our claims of attrition,
    The follies we shame.

    May the world forgive us
    Our fortune and fame,
    While we keep many others
    From claiming the same.

  40. Elaine M. says:

    As Study Finds 4,000 Lynchings in Jim Crow South, Will U.S. Address Legacy of Racial Terrorism? (Democracy Now!)

    BRYAN STEVENSON: Sure. I mean, lynching became a really social phenomenon. It became quite intoxicating. When people got this power to just abduct folks and to torture them and engage in this carnival-like atmosphere, they became, for want of a better word, bloodthirsty. And you see some of these counties where you have a lynching, and then that’s followed by two or three more in a very short period of time. And what was so traumatizing to people of color is that all people of color were the intended targets and victims of these lynchings. This was not an act assigned to someone for committing a crime. As you’ve described, oftentimes people were being lynched for no criminal accusation at all. You know, in Blakely, Georgia, an African-American man, William Little, came home from World War I wearing his uniform, and people were offended, annoyed that he had on this American uniform, and he was lynched because he refused to take it off. A black man, running to catch a train, bumps into a white girl. He’s lynched for that incident. This violence, this terror, was really aimed at sustaining racial hierarchy, keeping black people in their place. And in many ways, it was quite intoxicating. You could see whole communities getting involved in these acts of violence and really being quite grotesque about the way they carried them out…

    BRYAN STEVENSON: Well, I think the president is quite right to acknowledge this history. I mean, we have never really talked about all of this destructive violence. I mean, these public spectacle lynchings that we document in our report are horrific. Ten thousand people showed up in Paris, Texas, in a carnival-like atmosphere to watch a man be tortured. Some of these executions—we have one in Dyersburg, Tennessee, where the man had his eyes gouged out. He was burned. He was mutilated. And thousands of people witnessed this. And it does speak to a very dark era in our history, and we make a mistake in this country when we don’t talk honestly and soberly about these experiences.

    I mean, the whole North and West is populated with African Americans who fled to Detroit and Chicago and Cleveland and Los Angeles, not as people looking for opportunities, but as refugees from terror. And this narrative of racial difference, which was born in this era, that has created a presumption of guilt and dangerousness that too many young people of color are burdened with, is something that we haven’t adequately addressed, because we haven’t talked about these issues.

    And so, I think the president is quite right to remind us of this history. We didn’t have truth and reconciliation in this country, and because of it, I think we remain haunted, even contaminated, by the disarray, the disruption, that these acts of violence have created in our national psyche, but also in our relations with one another. So I think it’s absolutely appropriate to be talking about these eras…

    BRYAN STEVENSON: Yes, we absolutely did, and you’re absolutely right. In our full report, we actually talk about the lynchings of Mexicans and Mexican Americans. And they had many of the features that are evident in the lynchings of African Americans. They weren’t being lynched for accusations of crime necessarily. There were Mexicans that were lynched for speaking Spanish in settings where people didn’t want to hear Spanish. People were lynched for celebrating Mexican holidays. And you’re absolutely right. In the border states, in particular, this phenomenon of lynching directed at Mexicans and Mexican Americans was a very real threat.

    And so, this idea that racial difference can make you a target of violence and terrorism is something that we’ve been dealing with for a very long time, and I think we just haven’t really talked about it. And one of the things we want to do by erecting these markers and monuments is to get communities to begin to reflect more soberly on what this history represents. You go to Germany now, and you are forced to deal with the legacy of the Holocaust, because there are markers and monuments everywhere. We do the opposite in this country. We celebrate the things, in my judgment, that we probably shouldn’t be celebrating. In all of these states, you find Confederate memorials and monuments everywhere, dedicated to the people who were defending slavery, trying to preserve slavery, and yet nothing about the pain and anguish and suffering and injustice that those institutions created.

  41. eniobob says:

    Mental Slavery,keeping ones beak wet in the name of God on another front:

    “Since his earliest days as a county judge, Roy Moore has followed a higher law, one he considers more sacred than even the U.S. Constitution. His belief that God’s word and the Ten Commandments supersede federal authority has already cost him the post of Alabama’s chief justice once, but he’s battled back to hold the same office once again. And once again he’s picked a showdown with the primacy of federal judges”.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/02/roy-moore-alabama-gay-marriage-115128.html#ixzz3RpBpl7LD

  42. bron98 says:

    you think I dont see the racism? You guys are dumber than you think I am.

  43. Seeing and understanding, let alone understanding causality which is a different kind of analysis altogether, are not the same thing, B.

    What I’m about to say, I do not mean in a malicious way. Not in the slightest. You see things fairly well. You can identify problems quite often. But your understanding of causality is often distorted usually by a prejudice or preconception rooted in your propensity to work from principle to observation instead of observation to principle or your propensity for binary thinking or working from false premises (usually about human nature). I’ve seen you sometimes even get analysis exactly backwards. I say that as a general observation made over time. It’s the larger blind spot in your analytical abilities.

  44. Elaine M. says:


    I don’t doubt that you see the racism. That’s what this post is about–racism…and not politics. It matters not to me if a racist is a Democrat or a Republican or a Libertarian. A racist is a racist. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. A racist by any other name is still a racist…and stinks!

  45. bron98 says:


    Thank you for your most insightful analysis.

  46. blouise17 says:

    You guys are dumber than you think I am. – Bron

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” (Princess Bride)

  47. One lives to be of service, B.

  48. Elaine M. says:

    Regarding the Equal Justice Initiative’s report on lynchings in America:

    Lynching as Racial Terrorism
    FEB. 11, 2015

    The report argues compellingly that the threat of death by lynching was far more influential in shaping present-day racial reality than contemporary Americans typically understand. It argues that The Great Migration from the South, in which millions of African-Americans moved North and West, was partly a forced migration in which black people fled the threat of murder at the hands of white mobs.

    It sees lynching as the precursor of modern-day racial bias in the criminal justice system. The researchers argue, for example, that lynching declined as a mechanism of social control as the Southern states shifted to a capital punishment strategy, in which blacks began more frequently to be executed after expedited trials. The legacy of lynching was apparent in that public executions were still being used to mollify mobs in the 1930s even after such executions were legally banned.

  49. blouise says:

    Referencing the NYTimes opinion piece above: The reality of this legacy is what so many fail to grasp when they wonder why the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” mantra carries such weight within the African-American community. It was almost comical to read all the righteous indignation about and mob references to the actions of protesters in the Brown killing. The lack of understanding of and depth of ignorance about the legacy of terror visited upon African-American communities in this country is appalling and can rightfully be viewed as a continuation of same.

  50. Elaine M. says:


    Think, too, of how blacks are so often demonized after they have been killed by police or the likes of George Zimmerman. They get severely criticized for things that white men and boys wouldn’t. Do you remember my post about what happened in Keene, New Hampshire, last fall? Those white college kids were just revelers…boys feeling their oats. They weren’t called thugs–even though they threw glass bottles, overturned cars, started fires, pulled down street signs, etc.

  51. Elaine M. says:

    Yes, ISIS Burned a Man Alive: White Americans Did the Same Thing to Black People by the Thousands

    American Exceptionalism blinds those who share its gaze to uncomfortable facts and truths about their own country.

    For almost a century, the United States practiced a unique cultural ritual that was as least as gruesome as the “medieval” punishments meted out by ISIS against its foes.

    What is now known as “spectacular lynching” involved the ceremonial torture, murder–and yes, burning alive–of black Americans by whites. Like ISIS’s use of digital media to circulate images of the torturous death of Muadh al Kasasbeh by fire, the spectacular lynchings of the black body were shared via postcards and other media.

    In fact, the burned to death images of the black body were one of the most popular types of mass culture in 19th and 20th century America.

    This account of the horrific murder of Sam Hose by White Americans is an even more grotesque and exaggerated version of the cruelty visited upon Muadh al Kasasbeh by ISIS:

    The white-owned newspapers of the South had long gorged themselves with exaggerated or fabricated accounts of such violence. In the papers’ version, the fight between Sam Hose and his boss became transformed into the most enraging crime of all: the rape of the white man’s wife.

    White Georgians tracked Hose down and prepared for his lynching. Two thousand people gathered for the killing, some taking a special excursion train from Atlanta for the purpose. The leaders of the lynching stripped Hose, chained him to a tree, stacked wood around him, and soaked everything in kerosene. The mob cut off Hose’s ears, fingers and genitals; they peeled the skin from his face. They watched, a newspaper reported, ”with unfeigning satisfaction” as the man’s veins ruptured from the heat and his blood hissed in the flames.

    ”Oh, my God! Oh, Jesus,” were the only words Hose could manage. When he finally died, the crowd cut his heart and liver from his body, sharing the pieces among themselves, selling fragments of bone and tissue to those unable to attend. No one wore a disguise, no one was punished.

  52. blouise17 says:


    I remember that piece well.

    I have little patience for those who choose to remain blind when so much evidence is placed in front of them.

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