Many years ago, Abel Meeropol famously wrote “Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees...” The purpose of this poem was to describe the heinous lynching of African Americans in the south. They would be strung up to a tree and hung in front of crowds of hateful people spewing ignorance with no regard for human life outside of their own race. Sometimes their neighbors and loved ones would be present as well, while they struggled to free themselves and gasp for air before they eventually die. Although lynching is better known as the act of hanging a body up to a tree, there are also other acts that fit into the lynching …show more content…
Lynching could be anything from burning a person while they were still alive, to castration, and body dismemberment. It was a very inhumane way of dying, but it was widely practiced throughout the south after the reconstruction era. Lynching was used as a vehicle to terrorize the African American community into a mind state of inferiority. It essentially set the tone that any wrong move, merited or otherwise could result in the loss of your life. Contrary to popular belief lynching was not born purely out of hatred for black people; it was deeply rooted in fear as well. There was an inherit need for white supremacists to control the Negro physically and mentally if they were going to remain superior. There was also a distinct physiological toll watching lynching took on black people. It may not have been happening to someone directly related to them, but they were all intricately connected through the color of their skin. They were painfully aware that it could just as easily be them or a loved one next. They were painfully aware of the crimes or lack thereof, which could result in their death. These offenses could range from suspicion of rape to the simple disagreement with a white …show more content…
After losing the Civil War their world was in disarray. There was an inherent belief that black people were dangerous, would rape their women, and wreak havoc on their society. White people at that time thought that if they could control the black population, they could keep the south from changing. There fear was that the Negro would rise up and be able to vote, own business, and flourish in general. They needed African Americans to be dependent upon them and they still viewed them as subhuman. White supremacists were not going to accept them as citizen no matter what the law said. If need be they would manipulate the laws to work in their favor or circumvent the law altogether. Fear of blacks began to resonate after the loss of the Civil War. They could no longer legal keep the black population in chains and under submission; therefore they would need to keep them in chains in a metaphorical sense. They implemented Jim Crow laws, but they did not seem to be effective enough for them. They needed a way to physically express their superiority. They needed a way to control the blacks so they would not seek revenge and lynching provided an avenue for them to instill fear into the Negro population, the same fear that held them hostage to their malicious
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‘Fire in a canebrake’ is quite a scorcher by Laura Wexler and which focuses on the last mass lynching which occurred in the American Deep South, the one in the heartland of rural Georgia, precisely Walton County, Georgia on 25th July, 1946, less than a year after the Second World War. Wexler narrates the story of the four black sharecroppers who met their end ‘at the hand of person’s unknown’ when an undisclosed number of white men simply shot the blacks to death. The author concentrates on the way the evidence was collected in those eerie post war times and how the FBI was actually involved in the case, but how nothing came of their extensive investigations.
In Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday, and Chapter 15 in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, they both represent the idea of racial mob lynching. In the song, there is a “fruit for the crows to pluck” when the Old Sarum in To Kill a Mockingbird said that Atticus “[knew] what [they] want.” So the Old Sarum asked Atticus to “get aside from the door” since they “Called ‘em off on a snipe hunt.” After the fruit in Strange Fruit suddenly smelled like blood and flesh, the fruit appeared as if it could be plucked by crows.This illustrates how the Old Sarum, a mob of white people who despise blacks, attempted to storm inside the Maycomb county’s Prison so that they could kill Tom Robinson, who was a African American accused of crime.
Moores Ford Lynching On July 25, 1946, two young black couples- Roger and Dorothy Malcom, George and Mae Murray Dorsey-were killed by a lynch mob at the Moore's Ford Bridge over the Appalachee River connecting Walton and Oconee Counties (Brooks, 1). The four victims were tied up and shot hundreds of times in broad daylight by a mob of unmasked men; murder weapons included rifles, shotguns, pistols, and a machine gun. "Shooting a black person was like shooting a deer," George Dorsey's nephew, George Washington Dorsey said (Suggs C1). It has been over fifty years and this case is still unsolved by police investigators.
Pfeifer, Michael J. (2004). Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society: 1874-1947. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Retrieved October 30, 2006 from . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_County_War.
Bryan Stevenson decided to write this article explaining why he chose to focus on lynchings for the memorial honoring black people who were killed. According to the article Bryan wants people to examine an era of American history that goes ignored. They called it ¨a chapter often left untold.¨ In the article, Bryan explains that he felt this was apart of our history that needed to be addressed. I also feel as if this was a big part of our history that needed to be addressed due to the lack of understanding. In the article it says ¨The era of racial terror is the least understood in the American history,¨ and according to most people, no one has had the audacity to actually talk about it. The author of the article also asks Bryan if he is
From the late 1800s to the late 1900s, lynching was a prominent atrocity in the Southern American Society. As Ida B. Wells once said “our country's national crime is lynching. It is not the creature of an hour, the sudden outburst of uncontrolled fury, or the unspeakable brutality of an insane mob.” Although there were many terrible cases of this, many notable anti-lynching activists, like Ida B. Wells, arose in an attempt to end the unlawful killings of African Americans. Along with this, many historical sites have been created and a memorial is in the process of being built to honor those who were slain during these devastating times.
White men had three reasons for executing these acts. The first reason was a claim that Blacks were having a rebellion, so they had to use the force of killings to overpower Blacks from following through with the plans. Since these rebellions were false predictions, they had to find a better reason to eliminate the Black population. Blacks were now being given the right to vote, which placed fear in the White men that Blacks would take over so groups such as the Ku Klux Klan formed to attack Blacks and kill Blacks. The government deserted Blacks because they thought since Blacks were given freedom then they were fine, but in actuality, they needed to be secured too. The third reason, Whites claimed that they needed to protect White women from Black men because Black men were “alleged” raping White women. White men did not believe that a consensual relationship could occur between a white woman and a black man and always assumed of rape. Many other lynchings occurred and might not have been recorded. The Whites had no good reason for these unjust acts and just did them because they knew they could and were just vicious
Southern Horror s: Lynch Law in All Its Phases by Ida B. Wells took me on a journey through our nations violent past. This book voices how strong the practice of lynching is sewn into the fabric of America and expresses the elevated severity of this issue; she also includes pages of graphic stories detailing lynching in the South. Wells examined the many cases of lynching based on “rape of white women” and concluded that rape was just an excuse to shadow white’s real reasons for this type of execution. It was black’s economic progress that threatened white’s ideas about black inferiority. In the South Reconstruction laws often conflicted with real Southern racism. Before I give it to you straight, let me take you on a journey through Ida’s
In 1860-1960 there was lynching in the United States. When the confederates (south) lost the civil war the slaves got freedom and got rights of human beings. This was just to say because segregation wasn 't over in the South and didn 't go away for over 100 years. Any black person in the South accused but not convicted of any crime of looking at a white woman, whistling at a white woman, touching a white woman, talking back to a white person, refusing to step into the gutter when a white person passed on the sidewalk, or in some way upsetting the local people was liable to be dragged from their house or jail cell by lots of people crowds, mutilated in a terrible
The Harlem Renaissance is considered the Golden Age in African American culture, manifesting in literature, music, stage performance, and art. During that time, two very well known poets, Langston Hughes and Claude McKay had written poems that connect to things that would often occur. The Ballad of the Landlord, by Langston Hughes, described the anger that tenants would experience just trying to get landlords to fix certain things. The Lynching, by Claude McKay, described the horrors that African Americans would have to go through and the sights that the young ones would have to witness and later grow up to become lynchers themselves. The Lynching and The Ballad of the Landlord both demonstrate vivid images of violence, yet have many similarities
Lynching in the 19th century was an act of punishment caused by large groups, mobs, or vigilantes, in order to punish an alleged criminal, or to show authority over a certain minority group. Lynching was said to be first started in 1811, after William Lynch, who created “Lynch’s Law”. “This was an agreement with the Virginia General Assembly (Virginian state legislature) on September 22, 1782, which allowed Lynch to pursue and punish criminals in Pittsylvania County, without due process of law,” (New World Encyclopedia, Etymology, p.1)
Lynching, Brawls, Massacres, and so on happend with this group of violent people. These people wanted white supremacy and nothing else. It wasn’t just a certain group of people either. There were poor whites, ministers, confederate soldiers, and military personnel, along with lots more. These men were hooded, burned crosses, and murdered those who stood in the way of there American Dream. Blacks tried to find a new world to settle much like the old one. Work on plantations increased, lost of taxes like poll taxes increased, violence, and literacy test were given to the African-Americans to keep them from voting.
Lynching: to be killed by hanging, mod action, or without legal authority. This word has a very deep meaning especially in the late 1800s to the late 1900s. To most white men lynching meant nothing to them unless they had committed a crime such as stealing cattle or murder ,but to black men this was not a word they loved to hear and manly fear this 8 letter word.