Many of us who are students of history know about the thousands of Black men who were lynched in this nation. However, most don’t know about the many African American women who were also lynched.
Last year, I came across a website dedicated to Henrietta Vinton Davis, a prominent and fearless leader in Marcus Garvey’s United Negro Improvement Association. The website included a listing of documented cases of African American women who had been lynched between 1870 and 1957. The website provides documented information on these women—their names, dates, places, the reason they were lynched and with whom they were lynched. Reading this made me angry and brought tears to my eyes.
Reading the details of these lynchings is hard and painful, but necessary for those who want to know the truth. This is part of our history—Amerikkkan history—world history—that must be taught to our children and grandchildren. They will not learn this in school. It’s up to us to teach them the true history of the U.S. that proclaims that it’s “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
These “women,” many of whom were children, were not just lynched—they were raped and tortured before being hung, shot or burned by mobs of White men. Now days, African Americans ostracize Black people who are Republican. However, the first three women on the list—Mrs. John Simes lynched in 1870 in Henry County, Kentucky and Mrs. Hawkins and her daughter, lynched in 1872 in Fayette County, Kentucky, were all murdered for being Republicans!
Many of these women were lynched for standing up for themselves and their families. If their husband or son was accused of a crime and couldn’t be found, the females in the family were lynched. Entire families, including the children were lynched together. Some were lynched merely because they were Black. Others were lynched because they dared to have a dispute with a White person.
Hannah Kearse was lynched in 1895 in Colleton, South Carolina with her mother and son for supposedly stealing a bible. Jennie McCall was lynched in 1903 in Hamilton, Fla by mistake! Mercy Hall was lynched in 1922 in Oklahoma City for strike activity. Eliza Bryant was lynched May 25, 1926 in Duplin, North Carolina for having the nerve to be successful. The last sister on the list, Mrs. Frank Clay, was lynched November 18, 1957 in Henderson, North Carolina for having a dispute with a White person.
I’m sure most people don’t know about these women, but we must never forget women like pregnant Mary Turner who was lynched May 17, 1918 in Brooks County, Georgia to teach her a lesson.
After her husband was lynched, Mary threatened to have those who lynched him arrested. She fled, but the mob pursued her and found her the next morning. She was eight months pregnant when the mob of several hundred took her to a stream, tied her ankles together and hung her from a tree upside down. She was doused with gasoline and set on fire. One of the mob took a knife and split open her womb so that her unborn baby fell to the ground. The baby’s head was then crushed under the heels of her murderers. But, that wasn’t enough for the demonic mob. They finished Mary off by riddling her body with bullets—to teach her a lesson.
Seventeen year old Marie Scott was lynched on March 31, 1914 in Wagoner County, Oklahoma by a White mob of at least a dozen males. Two drunken White men had broken into her house as she was dressing and raped her. Her brother heard her screams for help, kicked down the door, killed one assailant and fled. Unable to find her brother, the mob lynched Marie. After she was arrested, the mob took Marie from jail, threw a rope over her head as she screamed and hung her from a telephone pole.
(For more information on these lynchings, go to https://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/recorded/.)
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