The lesson of lynchings | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 22, 2008

The lesson of lynchings

Posted By on Mon, Dec 22, 2008 at 6:49 AM

-- Encyclopedia of Arkansas

LR LYNCHING: Of John Carter, in 1927.

Interesting op-ed in the NY Times today on the reluctance in Southern states to display images of lynchings, though an important collection is now set for use in center in Atlanta. I remember in my early days at the Arkansas Gazette that references to Little Rock's lynching history were to be handled very carefully because of the belief that the subject remained highly charged decades later and because eyewitnesses and perhaps participants might still be alive.

These paragraphs jumped off the page, in passage about postcards made about lynchings and their mailing:

By permitting images like this one to move through the mail at all, the government tacitly endorsed lynching, along with the presumption that African-Americans were less than human. The mailings also aided a propaganda campaign that was intended to terrorize the black population in the nation as a whole, not just in the South.

Joe from Waco is no doubt long dead. But many of the people who attended lynchings as children in the 1930’s and 40’s must be still alive and walking the streets of the principal states of the lynching belt. They include Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas, all of which voted against the first black president.

PS -- Guy Lancaster at the Enycyclopedia of Arkansas provides a link to a Texas' historian's detailed account of lynchings written in the interest of keeping the past from being forgotten.

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