Lynch in the USA

Lynch in the USA


Lynch in the city of Marion. Indiana, United States, 1930

And your Negroes are lynching ”- a catch phrase used here to denote the use of a rhetorical device known as tu quoque (“ such itself ”) or ad hominem. In a literal sense, this phrase cites numerous instances of the lynching of African Americans in the USA as an argument that the outbreaks of racism on the territory of the political opponent are worse than the flaws imputed to the socialist system.

Many people know that the word lynching or “The Lynch Court” (The Lynch justice) came about on behalf of a person and by this is meant the massacre of criminals without trial. However, there are a few clarifications.

First, the surname is not all versions of the origin of a given word. Secondly, it is not always true that "without trial". In many cases they were lynched after trial and investigation (although not always fair). And thirdly, you probably have no idea what scale all this took in the United States in certain years.

Let's find out more about this ...

Photo 1.

September 22, 1780 in the United States was recorded the first case of lynching - a massacre of a criminal without trial.Captain William Lynch corporal punishment of robbers and horse thieves, after which the tradition of mob justice became so widespread in the United States that in the 19th century it became already widespread and practically legalized. 70% of the people who were lynched were black, and many of them suffered for minor offenses. The practice of lynching has been used for two centuries: the last case was recorded in 1981.

Photo 2.

The lynching know-how is often attributed to others: for example, Colonel Charles Lynch, a war veteran who organized his own court. After the court hearing, he independently passed a sentence, usually mortal, and immediately executed it. If William Lynch punished black slaves, then Charles Lynch sentenced deserters, marauders and embezzlers to be hanged, regardless of skin color. There is a third version: the word “lynching” came not from the name of one's own, but from the verb to linch - “beat with a club”, “scourge”.

Photo 3.

Whoever was the lawmaker of this “fashion”, the reprisal took place according to the same scenario: the street crowd executed the criminal by hanging, burning at the stake, beating with sticks, etc.D. Most often the victims of the Lynch court became the powerless black population of the United States. In the period from 1882 to 1951. 4,730 cases of lynching were officially established, of which 3,657 were blacks. It was only in 2005 that the US Congress apologized for its inaction regarding the practice of mob justice.

Photo 4.

The lynching of three blacks in Duluth, Minnesota, 1920

One of the most notorious was the mob law over Leo Frank, whom the mob hanged for rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl. The suspect served as a superintendent at a pencil factory where the body of Mary Fagan was found in a warehouse. The accusation was based on the testimony of just one witness who saw Leo Frank walking somewhere with this girl. The court sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment, but an indignant crowd rushed into the prison, pulled Frank out and pulled him onto a bitch not far from the place where the girl was buried. Many of those present were photographed against the hanged man. Only in 1982 it became known that another person was responsible for the death of Mary Fagan. He did not suffer punishment, since he died 20 years ago.

Photo 6.

Leo frank


The execution of Leo Frank

As a rule, the massacre gathered thousands of spectators, turning into bloody performances. The punishment for the 17-year-old black criminal Jess Washington was indicative. In 1916 he was tried for the murder of a white woman. In court, he admitted his guilt, and he was sentenced to death by hanging. But an angry mob wanted to execute the sentence right there. The convict was seized, dragged out into the street, stripped and beaten with sticks, shovels and bricks. And then, directly in front of the building of the city authorities, they made a fire and burned the killer in front of 15 thousand people. Fingers and toes cut off and pulled apart for souvenirs.

Photo 8.
0_1ee5c3_460b22b4_orig

Those present were happy to take pictures against the background of the executed victims. Photos from the murdered Jess Washington became postcards. A Texas guy sent this postcard to his mother, writing on the back: “This is the barbecue that we had last night. I am left at the pillar with a cross. Your son Joe. In the 1900s postcards with hanged in vogue.

The federal government banned this kind of postal products in 1908, but it was illegally printed and circulated until the 1930s.

Photo 9.

In 1919, Black Brown was tried in Nebraska for raping a 19-year-old white girl.The crowd stormed the court, pulled out a criminal, immediately hung him up, then fired hundreds of bullets into the corpse, dragged him through the streets, chopped off limbs, poured gasoline on them and burned them.

Photo 10.

Such egregious cases of mass atrocities became more and more. As a result, organizations have arisen against lynching. Journalist Ida Wells conducted an investigation, during which she found that 70% of 728 blacks were executed for minor offenses. At the beginning of the twentieth century. a campaign began against the methods of the Lynch court, and gradually this practice began to decline, although isolated cases of lynching were recorded in the USA until the end of the 20th century.

Photo 11.

Although the Lynch courts were often condemned by the federal government (especially the Republican Party), there was in fact no legal opposition to these actions: the authorities of the southern states and districts usually consisted of those who saw self-defense from the numerous atrocities of the Negroes in lynching. There were cases, when justified by the law court and out of court room Negro mob then dragged to hang, and the judge did not interfere.In the first half of the 20th century, cases of condemnation of lynching participants are sporadic.

Photo 12.

The struggle against lynching under the pressure of public opinion (which was clearly expressed by the famous song of Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit") was started by the Democratic presidents, F. D. Roosevelt (who in 1936 did not dare to adopt tough laws against lynching, afraid to lose the support of southern voters) especially G. Truman. After World War II, lynching became a completely isolated practice, usually associated with private terror of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, and each time under investigation.

Photo 13.

Currently the Lynch Court no longer exists. In American society, the moral support for this practice has disappeared. The destruction of Jim Crow’s laws and the equation of African Americans in their rights under Kennedy and L. Johnson deprived mass actions against African Americans of legal support.

Lynch Court in Memphis

The following passage was written by Ida Wells-Barnet, who was the chief editor of the Memphis newspaper for blacks and who witnessed the execution of a negro on July 22, 1893:

Memphis is one of the main cities of the south with a population of about 75 thousand people and one of the largest and richest cities in the United States. However, it was on its streets that events did not do honor even Congo.Two women were traveling in a wagon to the city when Lee Walker approached them and asked for food. The women raised such a cry that the Negro hurried to escape, but they claimed that he was trying to rape them.

Immediately throughout the city, the news spread that a huge black man attacked two white women. The crowd rushed to the villain quest along the way by shooting another black man who refused to stop when he was ordered to do. A few days later, the police caught Walker and put him in Memphis prison.

The July 23 Memphis Daily newspaper provides a full account of the events that followed:
“Today at midnight, Le'Walker, who attacked Miss Molly Mac Kadan last Tuesday, was taken out of the county jail and hung on a telegraph pole north of her.
The whole previous day, rumors spread around the city that an attempt would be made in the evening to attack the prison, and since no one doubted that the police would resist, this attempt threatened to escalate into open conflict between the crowd and the city authorities.

At 10 o'clock in the evening the captain 0'Hever, Sergeant Horan and several patrol officers were at the prison, but could not do anything with the crowd, which launched an attack on the southern gate.Sheriff Mack Landon and several of his people tried to stop the assailants, but two or three people managed to break into the prison where they were. managed to grab. The police did not use their batons, although they used them, the whole crowd could be immediately dispersed by 10 law enforcement officers. However, the sheriff insisted on the non-use of violence.

The crowd used a metal fence grille as a ram to storm the central entrance, Sheriff Poppy Landon tried to stop her, and one of the attackers knocked him down, dropping a chair on his head. However, even now the sheriff insisted on refraining from using force and did not give the order to his subordinates to disperse the crowd with the help of batons. This behavior of the sheriff inflamed the crowd, who decided that the police were afraid of them, and she redoubled her efforts. At 12 o'clock in the morning the door was broken.

Two entered Walker's cell and ordered him to follow them. He desperately resisted, scratching and searching for his tormentors. On the way, the crowd beat him with fists and pricked them with knives. When he was led up the stairs, he clung to the railing, but he was stabbed with a knife, and by the time he was dragged to the exit of the prison, his strength dried up, he stopped resisting and accepted his fate.They dragged him through the crowd of screaming, profane men, each of whom did not miss the opportunity to spit at him or poke him with a fist.


John Richards 1916

The crowd then headed to Frant Street, stopping only at the grocery store on Sycamore Street, where they got the rope.

“Get him to an iron bridge on Main Street,” shouted some of the crowd. However, those who held Walker hurried to finish the job as soon as possible, and when they stumbled across the telegraph pole on Frant Street by the alley leading to Sycamore Street, they threw a noose over the head of the unfortunate, while others piled a pile of trash under the pole. The rope was thrown over a pin sticking up in a pole and lifted Walker until his legs were three feet above the rubbish heap. Some guy grabbed his legs and pulled him so that his neck vertebrae cracked. From the unfortunate, they tore off their clothes and began to prick and cut already dead bodies with knives until their ribs appeared. Someone shot a gunman in the head, but a dozen voices demanded to stop shooting.

The body hung on the pole for about half an hour, after which the rope was cut. The negro fell down, and the mob began kicking his prostrate body.

Someone shouted:
- Burn it!

Creek picked up hundreds of sips. Detective Richardson begged and begged the crowd not to burn the body and not to dishonor the city, since the rapist had already received his.
Meanwhile, in the center of the street a fire was kindled, good, firewood was at hand; from the nearest vegetable shop brought kerosene.

Half a dozen men took a naked bloody body and, shaking, threw it into the fire. Firewood was thrown over the corpse, so that only the head, legs and one arm were visible. After a few minutes, the hand began to swell, burn blisters appeared on it, and soon the meat burned and bones appeared. It was a terrible sight, perhaps, none of the participants of lynching had seen anything like this before. It was too much, and most of the crowd hurried to leave the place of execution.

However, many remained unafraid of the sight of a burning corpse. Two or three white women squeezed through the crowd surrounding the fire and calmly, without a shadow of horror or disgust, began to watch the fire devouring the remains of the unfortunate Walker. Some man and woman brought with them an eleven-year-old girl, obviously their daughter, so that she could see the body that was burning.Apparently, it did not occur to them that this spectacle could adversely affect the psyche of the child and deprive him of sleep for many nights. The crowd accompanied the burning of various comments. Some suggested that they continue to crack down on the Negro rapists in the same way, others complained that their wives and daughters could become victims of the Negro attack. Still others said that it would be possible to refrain from burning the body, and not a word of sympathy towards the victim himself.

The rope with which they hanged Walker was a souvenir, and those who hunted her cut her into pieces and shoved it into her pockets. Other souvenir lovers waited until the fire was burned out, and they began to pull out horrible souvenirs from it with sticks: teeth, bones, nails, pieces of skin left over from the victim.

After the bonfire was finally extinguished, a piece of wire was tied to the charred body, dragged along Main Street to the courthouse and hung in front of it on the same telegraph pole. The crowd made such a fuss that police intervention was required. They called the funeral home owner Walsh, who took the body to his office.
It should be noted that not only racists have resorted to the court of Lynch. This method of extrajudicial reprisals was widely used by members of the self-proclaimed

"Committees of Vigilance" that existed in the days of Frontier (XIX, and the very beginning of XX centuries) in the conquered western states, Texas and Klondike and Alaska. Since in these places the few sheriffs could not adequately resist the rampant of bandits, horse thieves, gold hunters, etc. evil spirits who have become angry with the lawlessness of criminals have begun to organize detachments of detainees, persecute the criminals and their accomplices, and after a short trial hang them.

“Vigilant” as often as the members of the Ku Klus clan hid their faces under the masks, fearing the revenge of the criminals, however, they decided the court and reprisals in crowded places, surrounded by a crowd of sympathizers. To their credit, it must be said that, unlike the clan members, the “Vigilants” almost never tortured or mocked their victims, although anything happened. It must be said that the authorities often tried to prevent these amateur justice administrators, who often seized and upset innocent people, but for a very long time all these attempts turned out to be unsuccessful.With amateur judges managed to end only after the development of these states and the establishment of a modern civil administration.

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  • Lynch in the USA

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