This blog was written by Dr. Trichita M. Chestnut, Management and Program Analyst in the Office of the Chief Operating Officer at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland
This will be the first blog post on a series of blogs on the lynching of women in the United States.
Lynching remains one of the most disturbing and least understood atrocities in American history. During the Postbellum and Reconstruction periods, mob violence in the South became a tool for maintaining the racial order. African-American men, women, and children now comprised the majority of victims of lynch mobs and lynchings assumed an increasingly sadistic nature.
Between 1837 and 1946, 173 women were victims of white mob violence in the United States. Of the 173 women lynched: 144 were African American, 25 were white, 3 were Mexican, and 1 was Native American. 164 of these women met their deaths at the hands…
150 BLACK WOMEN WHO WERE LYNCHED IN THE U.S. BETWEEN 1870-1957
They must not be forgotten
A SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY will be held to honor their memory and humanity. It will take
place at 3:00PM Sharp on Sunday, March 30, 2014 at Congo (Washington) Square
6th & Walnut Streets Philadelphia, PA.
A Sacred Libation Ceremony in Remembrance on March 30
By Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett
Last week while reading articles on a Black news website, I noticed a link to an article about Black women who were lynched. Being a student of history, I followed the link which led to another Black website and read the story which detailed the history of 150 documented cases of Black women in the U.S. who had been lynched between 1870 and 1957. These “women,” many of whom were mere girls were not just lynched — they were raped and tortured before being hung, shot or burned by mobs of white men. 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!
I have been a student of history (American, Black/African and ancient history) since I was a child. I knew that thousands of African people in America have been lynched. Thanks to my god sister, Dr. Katrina Hazzard-Donald, director of Rutgers University’s Africana Program, I read “The Lynching Calendar” that lists 2,400 of the 5,000 documented lynchings of African people in the U.S., but I didn’t realize there were this many women lynched! The website with The Lynching Calendar” has since mysteriously disappeared.
A post on another Black website provided documented information on these women – their names, the dates, places, the reason they were lynched and with whom they were lynched. Reading this made me angry and brought tears to my eyes. I sent it to my email list and told the brothers and sisters to send it to every person of African descent they know. This is part of our history — Amerikkkan history that we must pass to our children and grandchildren. They will not learn this in school. It’s up to us to teach them.
After reading the accounts of the lynchings, the Egun (ancestors) spoke to me and directed me to do something so they will be remembered. I broke down and cried like a baby because I could feel the horror and pain that these women endured. I am crying as I write this article. Olódùmarè help me! Egun directed me to conduct a sacred libation ceremony to remember them and bring some peace to their souls.
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 her husband 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 with her head down. She was doused with gasoline and set on fire. One of the mob took a knife and split her stomach open so that her unborn baby fell to the ground. The baby’s head was crushed under the heels of the mob. But, that wasn’t enough for the demonic mob. They finished Mary off by riddling her body with bullets.