Presentation on theme: "Robbie G. Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY."— Presentation transcript:
1 Robbie G. Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY. LynchinginAmericaRobbie G Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY.
2 What were the primary motivations behind in the early half of the 20th century? lynching
3 90% of the victims were Southern 73% of the victims were black According to the Tuskegee Institute, 4,742 lynchings occurred between90% of the victims were Southern73% of the victims were black27% of the victims were white< Tuskegee Institute statistics
4 Perspectives… “mobocratic spirit” Abraham Lincoln “…it is impossible for a Negro accused of a crime, or even suspected of a crime, to escape a white man's vengeance or his justice.” (Editorial in The Charleston (1918) )“Easy people imagine that, having hanged a Negro, the mob goes quietly about its business; but that is never the way of the mob. Once released, the spirit of anarchy spreads and spreads, not subsiding until it has accomplished its full measure of evil. “ (Ray Stannard Baker, What is a Lynching?, McClure’s Magazine. (February, 1905) )“When his own suffering was more than he could stand, he could live only by witnessing the suffering of others.” (Erskine Caldwell, You Have Seen Their Faces (1937))“When the Negro's corpse fell, the pieces of rope were hotly contended for.” (Vicksburg Evening Post (4th May, 1919) )Six out of ten people in the South thought lynchings were justified in cases of sexual assault“mobocratic spirit” Abraham LincolnNation with "mobocratic spirit," Lincoln was scared that one person could rise above the people, someone who might destroy our constitutional liberties so he could achieve his own goals
5 What is Lynching? Nonlethal punishment- tar and feathering Execution by a mob of one individual who committed crimes/broke unwritten social lawsFive or more persons taking the law into their own handsMob assemblage without legal right acting to kill or injure people, depriving them the right to due process or equal protectionExpression of the community’s willtacit compliance with lynching= participation
6 For which crime was someone lynched? Lynching took the place of “the merry-go-round, the theatre, symphony orchestra” (H.L. Mencken)For which crime was someone lynched?For illegal crimes, such as murder, rape, or theftBut also, people were lynched for insulting a white person, buying a car…Or even, especially if it was a black lynching, for no crime at all. Just to remind blacks to stay in their place.Cut off body parts as souvenirs often committed with participation by law enforcementThousands of spectators Waco-Jesse Washington)
7 Origins of Lynching *localism* *instrumentalism* American frontier mentalityNeeded to take due process in their own handsRevolutionary era- popular sovereignty is won after long, vicious battle“enshrined” privilege in American life*localism**instrumentalism*Constitution- contrast between liberty/order, rights/duties, checks on gov’t/efficient gov’t, dangers of gov’t oppression/menace of individual action (Roscoe Pound, At the Hands of Persons Unknown, p. 148) Frontier: native Americans, horse thieves, remain vulnerable---secluded from urban cities.Localism: problems a community faces are best solved by the community itself Instrumentalism: American confidence that anyone (individuals) can do anything (break the law)
8 Lynch Law and Early Forms of Lynching Charles Lynch established informal courts to try horse thieves, suspected Tories tied convicted to trees and gave them multiple lashesLynch was tried in Virginia court but it was declared that the “Lynch Law” had been appropriate because of the hysterical conditions of warEarly 19th century: “The Regulators” (White Caps) - bands of citizens who punished criminals nonlethally (tar + feathering)Vigilance committees1835 lynching slave revolts needed to be repressed “patrollers”- armed committees of planters/thugs to restrict slave movement/meetings 1880s- KKK began“night-riding”“The Bostonians Paying the Excise Man” (P. Dawe, 1774) Whipping was punishment for slaves caught by “patrollers”Harsh and immediate- the crime would be repressed firmlyshameful experience- discouraged recidivism low cost- not as expensive as incarceration--> community gov’t can use funds for other projects castration was recommended to be legalized by Judge Simeon E. Baldwin (CT Supreme Court)1. Dawe, P. The Bostonians Paying the Excise Man Wikipedia. 01 June 2006 <
9 Why Did the Community Approve of Lynchings? Lynching became a fast alternative to due process outcome is the same as a trial, simply expeditedBonds within the community are strengthenedExciting, spontaneous activity with the entire townCriminals were getting what they deservedThe greater (white) community, especially white women, needs to be protected, despite some minor brutalityScary, no?
10 World War IAmerican concerns over WWI in Europe impeded the social reform characterized of the late 19th centuryAfter the Treaty of Versailles concluded the war, Americans became extremely disillusioned with international relationsNew conservatismAnti-immigrantsRise of KKK (Atlanta)---> millions of members by 1920NAACP put much effort into condemning Birth of a Nation, because of its portrayal of African-Americans eventually NAACP publicly accused D.W. Griffith of racism1. Digital image. [Birth of A Nation] June 2006 <Birth of a Nation (1915)
11 Lynching of John Carter Spectators at the lynching of Jesse Washington (1916)“Look first at Stacy, then turn to the little girl in the summer dress, looking at Stacy, and then to the man behind her, perhaps her father, in the spotless white shirt and slacks and the clean white skimmer. They will stand there forever, admiring the proof of their civilization.” (Roger Rosenblatt, Confronting the Past (17th February, 2000) )1. Digital image. [The lynching of Rubin Stacy. Onlookers, including four young girls] June 2006 <2. Digital image. [The lynching of Virgil Jones, Robert Jones, Thomas Jones, and Joseph Riley, warning note. Black onlookers.] June 2006 <3. Digital image. [Spectators at the lynching of Jesse Washington, one ma raised for a better view] June 2006 <
12 Marion, IndianaThe infamous Lawrence Beitler photograph, 1930.1. Beitler, Lawrence Marion, Indiana. 29 May 2006 <
13 Our Town: How Lynching is Reflected through Family History In Our Town, Cynthia Carr describes her own investigations in her family’s dark past, one OF which she was not aware until recently. As she discovers the implications of her grandfather’s involvement in the Ku Klux Klan, and especially in the Marion lynchings of 1930, she realizes the tacit compliance of her father, and thousands of other observers in Marion, Indiana. After speaking with James Cameron, a survivor of the Marion lynchings, she amounts to the shameful nature of her family’s story. In addition to her efforts to solve her grandfather’s mystery, Carr explores the observers of the lynching in Beitler’s photograph. Some seem to be on a date, some seem angry, some seem enthralled by the prospect of a lynching, and some seem to be passively watching the hanging of two innocent men, Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp. Even thought the Marion spectators might not be throwing rocks or tying the noose, every word, or every second that they watch, they are in some way participating in the utmost injustice.
14 The Lynching of Leo Frank (1913) “The lynching of Leo Frank was a damnable outrage. There was no excuse, no mitigating circumstances to justify the actions of the Georgia mob. An action like that makes a decent man sick.” (Pres. William Howard Taft)Response of Atlanta’s Jews mirrored response of black communities to black lynchingsBecame IntrovertedImmersed themselves with other GentilesRabbi Marx thought it was better to assimilate, forbid singing of Hatikvah (reformed the Jewish temple)Tribal rituals--->there is a “primitive energy” in lynching---”Apache-like barbarities”Lynching of Frank- most explosive lynchingLeo Frank, manager of pencil company, named murderer, sodomite, Jew, Yankee, (homosexual/bisexual) raped and killed Mary Phagan (12 yr)Response of the press- blames Georgia, decries lynchingJudge Newt E. Morris-known for stopping lynchers from destroying the body (already avenged Phagan’s death), yet conspired from the beginning Robert E. Lee Howell faces lynchers in crowd: upends negroes’ wicker basket (coffin to take to the undertaker)
15 The Anti-Lynching Campaign “No torture of helpless victims by heathen savages or cruel red Indians ever exceeded the cold-blooded savagery of white devils under lynch law. This was done by white men who controlled all the forces of law and order in their communities and who could have legally punished rapists and murderers, especially black men who had neither political power nor financial strength with which to evade any justly deserved fate…the Southerner ha[s] never gotten over his resentment that the Negro was no longer his plaything, his servant, and his source of income.” (Crusade for Justice, 1928)Ida B. Wells1909- Wells managed to force Illinois to reprimand a prison official for releasing a prisoner to a lynch mob Wells was one of the first founders of the NAACP, along with W.E.B. Du Bois (Niagara Movement- full rights for black citizens)She continued to write anti-lynching literature, such as her famous pamphlet. Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases, and The Red Horror, even though she was already involved in the fight for women’s suffrage- she refused to participate in the women’s parade (only white women were being considered for suffrage)1. Digital image. [Ida B. Wells]. 03 June 2006 <
16 Efforts of the NAACP Founded in 1909 Main Platform: Blacks have been denied of their natural rightsAction must be taken against this injusticeLynching is not the most efficient way to instill justice in a community; there are more expedient forms of judgmentState governments are unwilling to prevent lynch mobs from striking (inspired by comments from Theodore Bilbo, MI governor in 1919)“The negro has confessed says he is ready to die, and nobody can keep the inevitable from happening.” (Theodore Bilbo) At the Hands of Persons Unknown p. 257W.E.B. Du Bois’ poster: “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday” on Fifth Avenue
17 Anti-Lynching Legislation Dyer Bill (1921) Provisions:Lynching: “murder of a U.S. citizen by a mob of peopleSheriff/official who fails to protect prisoner is guilt of felonyU.S. government can prosecute lynchers if state government does notCounty in which lynching occurs must pay $10,000 to victim’s familyPassed in H.O.R./Filibuster in SenateLeonidas Dyer- St. Louis community, outraged by the East St. Louis riot of 1917, estimated greater amount of black casualties than ever before recorded in Tuskegee records When the Dyer Bill is reviewed in Congress, Southern Congressman Hatton Sumners maintains argument:Southern women need to be protected blacks who inhabit the South are a burden to the entire Southern community- must be dealt with in some way lynching is a racial instinctMO Congressman Edgar Ellis dismisses Sumners’ argument nat’l gov’t has the right to protect citizens from mobs Southern opponents of the bill fear that the bill would ‘deprive southern communities of a recognized and tolerated instrumentality for dealing with their Negro population” (The Hands of Persons Unknown, 265)Walter White, NAACP secretary + relationship with FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt FDR didn’t want to directly support Wagner-Costigan, because he was intimidated by losing Southern support for New Deal legislation FDR doesn’t mention Wagner-Costigan Bill or lynching in 1935 address to Congress—Eleanor defends him and says that lynching is a state-bound concern, and local officials are responsible for eliminating it
18 Anti-Lynching Legislation Wagner-Costigan Bill (1934) Provisions:mob: 3+ personsState officer’s neglect--->5 yr prison sentence and $5,000 fineConspirators-->5-25 yr prison sentenceCounty where lynching occurs: $2,000-$10,000 fine (to family, or to federal government if there is no family)To prove that summary execution does not save the public moneyDoes not openly condemn lynching- criminalizes negligence by officialsWas also defeated by Southern Senators in a filibusterLeonidas Dyer- St. Louis community, outraged by the East St. Louis riot of 1917, estimated greater amount of black casualties than ever before recorded in Tuskegee records When the Dyer Bill is reviewed in Congress, Southern Congressman Hatton Sumners maintains argument:Southern women need to be protected blacks who inhabit the South are a burden to the entire Southern community- must be dealt with in some way lynching is a racial instinctMO Congressman Edgar Ellis dismisses Sumners’ argument nat’l gov’t has the right to protect citizens from mobs Southern opponents of the bill fear that the bill would ‘deprive southern communities of a recognized and tolerated instrumentality for dealing with their Negro population” (The Hands of Persons Unknown, 265)Walter White, NAACP secretary + relationship with FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt FDR didn’t want to directly support Wagner-Costigan, because he was intimidated by losing Southern support for New Deal legislation FDR doesn’t mention Wagner-Costigan Bill or lynching in 1935 address to Congress—Eleanor defends him and says that lynching is a state-bound concern, and local officials are responsible for eliminating it
19 Anti-Lynching Legislation Wagner-Van Nuys Bill + Gavagan Bill (1937)Pro-legislation senators willing to protest the filibuster, but faced strong dissent from Southern senatorsFDR decided not to speak out against the filibusterThe anti-lynching movement had seventy senators and therefore, had the opportunity to challenge the filibuster and force a vote. But not all seventy were willing to challenge FDR’s decision nor stir resentment in Southern senators because of their control over several committeesJoseph A. Gavagan (NY Representative) proposed his bill at the same time as horrible double lynching in Duck Hill, Mississippi- fueled more public support
20 Presidential Reactions to Lynching “loosening of the bonds of civilization” black man’s runaway sexual appetite educated blacks could help eliminate the practice of lynching if they turned in fellow colored criminals to the stateTeddy RooseveltAny American “who takes part in the action of a mob…is no true son of this great democracy, but its betrayer”Woodrow Wilson, as motivated by the NAACPLynching is a “very sore spot on our boast of civilization”Congress ought to wipe the stain of barbaric lynching from the banners of a free and orderly, representative democracy” (1921)Warren HardingAt the Hands of Persons Unknown, p161 At the Hands of Persons Unknown p. 254At the Hands of Persons Unknown p. 259Passive actions by Presidents (like FDR) despite obvious anti-lynching sentiment- wanted to secure Southern voters/supportTo class: How does lynching relate to civilization as a whole?Lynching as a stain, the American crime (shoved under the rug).
21 Strange Fruit, (1939), written by Abel Meeropol John Carter, a mentally retarded black man lynched in Little Rock, AK.Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh, Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!Billie Holiday, performing liveBeitler’s photograph was an inspiration for Meeropol to write “Strange Fruit”Digital image. [Billie Holiday]. 25 May 2006 <Digital image. [John Carter]. 28 May 2006 <Beitler, Lawrence Marion, Indiana. 29 May 2006 <Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop, Here is a strangeObservers of the lynching of Thomas Shipp, Abram Smith, and James Cameron in Marion, Indiana.At 7:00 in the evening, May 4, 1927, they dragged Carter's body from City Hall down Broadway to the intersection of 9th and Broadway...and they set a huge bonfire in the middle of the streetcar tracks at that intersection and burnt Carter's body and one of the arms was ripped off and used to direct traffic."and bittercrop.
22 “Strange Fruit” and Billie Holiday Billie was singing to herself- as if she was being lynched herselfLynching of the spirit“Strange Fruit” was an opportunity to put into words what so many people had seen and lived through“resigned bitterness” (Benny Green)Larger impact on white liberals (in North) than the impact among black intelligentsia (Albert Murrows)Black ResponseBlacks as victims (did not approve)Feared the song would start new tensionsHeld “Strange Fruit” as sacredBillie usually chose not to look the audience in the eye during “Strange Fruit” Billie was able to “humanize” lynchingHoliday was once threatened after a performance of “Strange Fruit” in Café Society To class: What did the song illicit in you?
23 The Murder of Emmett Till (1955) August, 1955, a fourteen year old boy visiting his cousin in Money, Mississippi had whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant in a grocery store. Emmett Till was murdered, lynched, by two white men, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, that evening.Despite their arrests, the two men were eventually acquitted by an all white jury.New developments in 2004 allowed for the trial to be reopened, based on new evidence that suggested more people may have been involved.Mamie Till decided to have an open casket, with her son’s body untouched by the undertaker sparked the Civil Rights Movement, forced people to see white brutality up closeMontgomery Bus Boycott- three days after Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River.1. Digital image. [Emmett Till]. 4 June 2006 <
24 How did the lynching mentality transcend to modern hate crimes?
25 Modern Definition of Lynching & Hate Crimes Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994) Hate Crimes Act (2000)"Hate crimes do more than threaten the safety and welfare of all citizens. They inflict on victims incalculable physical and emotional damage and tear at the very fabric of free society. Crimes motivated by invidious hatred toward particular groups not only harm individual victims but send a powerful message of intolerance and discrimination to all members of the group to which the victim belongs. Hate crimes can and do intimidate and disrupt entire communities… In a democratic society, citizens cannot be required to approve of the beliefs and practices of others, but must never commit criminal acts on account of them.”(Hate Crimes Act 2000)Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (1994)100,000 police officers hired, funds allotted to the construction of new prisons, boot camps for teen delinquentsnew death penalty offenses- drive-by shooting (that results in death), civil rights related murders, drug dealing, terrorism $1.6 billion to help curb violence against women
26 Matthew Shepard Laramie, Wyoming October 7, 1998 Shepard never regained consciousness after the severe lacerations on which surgeons couldn’t operate, and the brain stem damage which he suffered. Henderson and McKinley claimed the “gay-panic defense”.Matthew Shepard, homosexual student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally killed by two Laramie citizens, Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinley.President Clinton was motivated by the innocent lynching of Matthew Shepard to pass hate crime legislation that included bias about sexual orientation. His efforts were refuted in Congress, however.Buck-like fence where Matthew Sheppard was tied on for eighteen hours, brutally beaten and fatally wounded.“gay-panic defense”- when a homosexual nature is so offensive and frightening, one undergoes a little-known psychiatric condition, with which one can act violently1. Digital image. [Fence] June 2006 <Tacit compliance is participation.
27 Other/ unknown/ multiple “Hate Crime” Incidents Victim Type by Bias Motivation, 2004Bias motivationTotal incidentsIndividualBusinessGovernmentSociety/publicOther/ unknown/ multipleTotal7,6495,99133225352780Single-Bias Incidents7,6425,985779Race4,0423,33816115039321Religion1,374640119722351Sexual Orientation1,1971,0892420653Ethnicity/ National Origin972869104Disability57491Multiple-Bias Incidents17Hate Crime Statistics, 2004 , chronicles 7,649 criminal incidents that law enforcement agencies reported--as motivated by a bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnicity, or sexual orientation--and includes information on 9,035 offenses, 9,528 victims, and 7,145 known offenders.About 60% of offenders were white. California, New Jersey, and Michigan had the highest recorded hate crime rate in % of hate crimes are motivated by racial bias1. "Victim Type by Bias Motivation." Chart. FBI Hate Crime Statistics Federal Bureau of Investigation. 02 June 2006 <1In a multiple-bias incident two conditions must be met: 1) more than one offense type must occur in the incident and 2) at least two offense types must be motivated by different biases.
28 On Monday, June 12, 2005, the Senate passed a non-binding resolution apologizing for not enacting anti-lynching legislation.“It’s a resolution, not a law… I'm afraid we still can't say with certainty that the last lynching has occurred.” (Nell Irvin Painter, Professor of American History at Princeton University)The Senate "expresses the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets of the Senate to the descendants of victims of lynching, the ancestors of whom were deprived of life, human dignity and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States."
29 Works CitedAllen, James. Without Sanctuary Lynching Photography in America. Santa Fe, N.M: Twin Palms, 2000.Beitler, Lawrence Marion, Indiana. 29 May 2006 <Blumenthal, Ralph. "Fresh Outrage in Waco At Grisly Lynching of 1916." New York Times 1 May EBSCO. EDWARD J. HART LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER, Chappaqua, NY. 06 JanCarr, Cynthia. Our Town. 1st ed. New York: Random House, 2006.Chadbourn, James Harmon. Lynching and the Law. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina P, 1933.Dawe, P. The Bostonians Paying the Excise Man Wikipedia. 01 June 2006 <Digital image. [Billie Holiday]. 25 May 2006 <Digital image. [Birth of A Nation] June 2006 <Digital image. [Emmett Till]. 4 June 2006 <Digital image. [Fence] June 2006 <Digital image. [Ida B. Wells]. 03 June 2006 <Digital image. [John Carter]. 28 May 2006 <Digital image. [Lynching of Leo Frank] Library of Congress. 03 June 2006 <Digital image. [noose]. 02 June 2006 <Digital image. [Spectators at the lynching of Jesse Washington, one ma raised for a better view] June 2006 <Digital image. [The lynching of Rubin Stacy. Onlookers, including four young girls] June 2006 <Digital image. [The lynching of Virgil Jones, Robert Jones, Thomas Jones, and Joseph Riley, warning note. Black onlookers.] June 2006 <Dray, Philip. At the Hands of Persons Unknown. 1st ed. Toronto: Random House, 2002."Hate Crime Statistics 2004." Federal Bureau of Investigation. Federal Bureau of Investigation. 8 June 2006 <Holiday, Billie. "Strange Fruit." By Abel Meeropol. RecKorosec, Thomas. "'Waco Horror' Won't 'Stay Hushed'" Houston Chronicle 30 Apr. 2005, 3 STAR ed., sec. A: 1. EBSCO. EDWARD J. HART LIBRARY MEDIA CENTER, Chappaqua, NY. 01 June 2006."Lynching by Year and by Race ( )." Classroom: the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive. Tuskegee Institute. 8 June 2006 <"Lynching in America." Court TV: Crime Library Courtroom Television Network, LLC. 06 June 2006 <"Lynching." Spartacus. 05 June 2006 <Margolick, David. Strange Fruit Billie Holiday, Café Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights. Philadelphia: Running P, 2000.Oney, Steve. And the Dead Shall Rise the Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank. New York: Pantheon Books, 2003.Pearson, Andy. "The Racial Divide in Arkansas." Today's THV KTHV Little Rock. 26 Feb KTHV and KTHV-DT, Little Rock. 06 June 2006 <"Senate Apologizes for Not Enacting Anti-Lynching Legislation." Democracy Now! 14 June June 2006 <Steelwater, Eliza. The Hangman's Knot; Lynching, Legal Execution, and America's Struggle with the Death Penalty. 1st ed. Boulder, Colorado: Westview P, 2003.Till-Mobley, Mamie, and Chris Benson. Death of Innocence. 1st Ed. ed. New York: Random House, 2003."Victim Type by Bias Motivation." Chart. FBI Hate Crime Statistics Federal Bureau of Investigation. 02 June 2006 <