WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: THE LYNCHING OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN


WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: THE LYNCHING OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN

By Marilyn Kai Jewett

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 Garveys’ Universal

Laura Nelson is the only woman of whom a photograph is known to exist who was lynched in America.

Laura Nelson is the only woman of whom a photograph is known to exist who was lynched in America.

Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). 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.” Right.

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, Florida 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 was 3 years-old in 1957.

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.

2015 SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY FLYER

Flyer for the 2015 Sacred Libation Ceremony

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.

Sisters Alma, 16 and Maggie Howze (House) 20, were both pregnant by Dr. E. L. Johnston, a married, white dentist who used them both as his sex slaves, when beaten and hung in 1918 from a bridge near Shutaba, Mississippi for allegedly killing him. Alma was close to giving birth when lynched. Eyewitnesses at her burial said that that the movements of her unborn baby could be detected.

Laura Nelson was accused of murdering a sheriff who had supposedly discovered stolen goods in her house. She was lynched with her 15 year-old son in 1911 in Okemah, Oklahoma. Laura and her son were taken from jail, dragged six miles to the Canadian River, where she was raped by the mob before she and her son were hung from a bridge.

Ann Barksdale (Ann Bostwick) was lynched in Pinehurst, Georgia on June 24, 1912 for supposedly killing her white, female employer. There was no trial and no statement was taken from Ann who authorities claimed had mental issues and should have been placed in a hospital. The mob was in a festive mood when they placed her in a car with a rope around her neck and the other end tied to a tree limb. Her murderers drove at a high speed until she was strangled to death. To make sure she was dead, the mob shot her eyes out and riddled her body with so many bullets that she was “cut in two.”

These lynchings are a part of the “African Holocaust – the Maafa” that some folks, including some Negroes, want us to forget. The Maafa included the Middle Passage, 300+ years of chattel slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow/De Facto segregation and continues to this day. Some of those people – African American and white — who witnessed these lynchings as children are still around.

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth on them.

The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth on them.  — Ida B. Wells

These African American women, men and children were lynched with the cooperation of local law enforcement – many of whom were leaders of the local Ku Klux Klan. However, there’s a different kind of lynch mob in 21st Century Amerikkka. People of African descent are still being lynched by those who uphold this tainted, blood-stained system – the police, the courts, politicians who make the laws and yes, the media. So when you speak of the modern day lynchings of Brandon Tate-Brown, Phil Africa, Michael Brown, Troy Davis, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant and the countless men of African descent whose lives were unlawfully taken by police and the judicial system, remember our sisters who were brutally lynched by the mob.

Much thanks and praises to the scholars who researched and uncovered this important history. Thanks and continued blessings also to Brother Nnamdi Azikiwe who posted the information on his website. For more information on these lynchings, go to https://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/recorded/.

Once again, I am asking all spiritually-conscious women and men of African descent to join me 3:00PM, Sunday, March 29 at Congo (Washington) Square, 7th & Walnut Streets in Philadelphia for the Second Annual Sacred Libation Ceremony in remembrance of our departed sisters. Although we are doing this in Philly, the ancestors want to be remembered with sacred libation ceremonies throughout the nation. We must never forget these women – our sisters, our ancestors — who were brutally tortured and murdered. NEVER AGAIN!

-30-

Advertisements

TO HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS.


As you stood in your womanly beauty,
In garments of glittering sheen,
Our hearts bowed down in gracious homage,
And we crowned you as our queen.

Although many have been before thee,
Thou beautiful dark-eyed queen,
None more worthy of allegiance

On the throne was ever seen.

For whether in joy or in sorrow

Thy magic art has been seen
We sat enslaved by thy sweet caprice,
Our fair, yes, charming queen.

We pledge thee our loyal allegiance,
We pledge thee our sympathy keen,
We pledge thee the love of a nation
And crown thee fore’er our queen!

The Lady Vanishes: Meet Henrietta Vinton Davis-one of the most amazing women you’ve probably never heard of | Baltimore City Paper


This article tells the journey of three men: their discovery of “The Shero of Our Story,” the lack of a marker on her grave, and the founding of the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation to rectify that historical oversight.

The Lady Vanishes: Meet Henrietta Vinton Davis-one of the most amazing women you’ve probably never heard of | Baltimore City Paper.

Livication Marker Unveiling 2013


PRESS RELEASE

07/10/2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

For more information:
Vaunita Goodman (202) 291-1663
email: shero1860@facebook.com
blog
: https://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com
#Livication

JULY 20, 2013 is HENRIETTA VINTON DAVIS GRAVE MARKER UNVEILING

-Events to recognize cultural icon-

Washington, DC –Today the Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation (HVDMF) announced plans to unveil a marker at the grave of its namesake in National Harmony Memorial Park. The Foundation has as its mission to raise awareness of the life and legacy of Shakespearean actor, elocutionist, dramatic reader and activist Henrietta Vinton Davis.

Miss Davis remained relatively unrecognized until July 1983 when an article entitled “Henrietta Vinton Davis and the Garvey Movement” by Professor William Seraile was published in the journal ‘Afro-Americans in New York Life and History’. Nearly a year later, acknowledgment of her contributions increased with the publication of the book ‘Shakespeare in Sable’ written by Professor Errol Hill of Dartmouth University. Her home in Northeast Washington, DC has been listed on Cultural Tourism DC’s African American Heritage Trail since 1999.

On Saturday July 20, 2013 the HVDMF starts the day off with an award presentation and celebration at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, culminating with the unveiling of a marker at Miss Davis’ grave site at National Harmony Memorial Park. Guest speakers and celebrants include:

Dr. William Seraile (Bruce Grit), Barbara Eklof (For Every Season), Kevin Grace (Friends of Joe Gans), Nnamdi Azikiwe (Vinton Davis Weblog) and Mwariama Kamau (UNIA). Producing partners for the occasion are Vaunita Goodman (MTPC) and Michon Boston (Iola’s Letter). Clayton LeBouef (Something The Lord Made, The Wire, Homicide) will serve as Master of Ceremonies.

In 2008, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty issued a proclamation designating August 25 ‘Henrietta Vinton Davis Day.’ The decree acknowledged Davis as the first African American to work at the DC Recorder of Deeds office beginning in 1878, before Frederick Douglass was appointed Recorder. She made her career debut as a Shakespearean actor, elocutionist and dramatic reader in Washington, DC on April 25, 1883 where she was introduced by Douglass, a family friend. The proclamation acknowledges the success of Miss Davis as a public speaker and cultural icon.

Celebration / Award Presentation recognizing Vera J. Katz, (Professor Emerita Howard University Theatre Arts) and others will be conducted in the A-5 Auditorium 11am-1:30-pm at the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial Library 901 G Street, NW, Washington, D.C. (202)  727-0321

Livication / Henrietta Vinton Davis Marker Unveiling will be conducted 3pm-5pm at her grave site in National Harmony Memorial Park 7101 Sheriff Road Largo, MD (301) 772-0900

Events are free and open to the public.

About Henrietta Vinton Davis
For thirty-five years after her debut performing “Shakespearean delineations”, original plays and dramatic readings with her own performing company, and local troupes throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean, Henrietta Vinton Davis broke new ground as a successful theatrical artisan. Her commitment to her craft gained her recognition as the first African American “woman of the stage.”

During 1919, a year notable for its “Red Summer,” she joined the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League headed by Marcus Garvey.

As a leader of the African Redemption Movement, Davis made use of her acting skills to promote the aims and objectives of the UNIA. Her ability to “transport her listeners” to another place with her oratorical skills played a key role in both attracting members to the organization and promoting the Black Star Line Shipping Company. As such, she was elected to numerous positions including International Organizer, and Third Assistant President General of the UNIA. Additionally, as Vice President and a Director of the Black Star Line, Davis was the de facto authority aboard the Black Star Line’s flagship vessel, the S.S. Yarmouth, on its maiden voyage. The ship was laden with a cargo worth upwards of $5.000.000 destined for the Caribbean. On the ship’s return Marcus Garvey proclaimed Miss Davis “the greatest woman of the [African] race today” in a meeting at the UNIA’s Liberty Hall.

About The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation
Initially organized to raise funds for a marker at the grave of Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis

in 2005, the mission of The Henrietta Vinton Davis Memorial Foundation has evolved to include publishing books, producing plays, films/videos and conducting symposiums educating the general public about her life and the times in which she lived.

* *

A scene from the play Christophe by William Edgar Easton

Proclamation for Henrietta Vinton Davis Day

George Alexander Hackett (1806 – 1870) – Find A Grave Memorial


The grave of Henrietta Vinton Davis’ stepfather George Alexander Hackett is currently located in Johnsville, Maryland.  It was disinterred along with the other graves in the cemetery in 1958.  This was following an attempt by the group who finagled their way into being owners of the property to bulldoze the graves and turn the property into a shopping center.  It is presently the site of the Edison Crossing Shopping Center.

George Alexander Hackett (1806 – 1870) – Find A Grave Memorial.

Exonerate Marcus Garvey! Sign the White House petition before October 22, 2011


Marcus Garvey said, "We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, for though others may free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind."

Marcus Garvey with quote on mental emancipation, the next stage of human development.

Click here to sign the petition to exonerate Marcus Garvey!!!

Marcus Garvey is the source for Bob Marley’s well known phrase in “Redmption Song:”

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery; None but ourselves can free our minds.

That famous lyric originated with Marcus Garvey.  In his 1937 speech “The Work That Has Been Done” given at Menelik Hall in Nova Scotia Garvey states:

We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.

The mental emancipation Garvey spoke about has yet to become significantly widespread among the human race.  One indication humanity has yet to achieve mental emancipation is the fact criminal charges are still on the records of the United States Federal Government.  Does such fact Garvey’s of universal emancipation warrant his exoneration?  With such a powerful statement having influence on people worldwide to the extent they seek further knowledge as to source of Bob Marley’s lyrics it would seem the answer is in the affirmative.

The only evidence used to convict Marcus Garvey was actually an absence of evidence.  At trial a single empty envelope was presented.  Allegedly the envelope once contained a flyer which suggested the Black Star Line owned a ship named for Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American to have published poetry.  Garvey was out of the USA at the time and therefore could not have created such a flyer if one actually existed.

This link will take you to the White House petition in support of Marcus Garvey’s exoneration.  We need 5000 signers by October 22, 2011.  Please share this with as many people as possible.

More information on the Garvey Case can be found in the article by Professor Justin Hansford.  Jailing A Rainbow can be read at the link below:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1321527&

 

 

 

 

Livication honoring two Great Baltimoreans


A Livication Celebration for 2 Great Baltimoreans will be held at the Eubie Blake Center in Baltimore Maryland, Sunday August 8, 2010 from 2pm to 4pm.

Joe Gans was the first African American boxing champion. He won the World Lightweight Boxing Championship in 1902 a full six years ahead of Jack Johnson’s Heavyweight Boxing victory. He is buried in the neglected but historically significant Mount Auburn Cemetery, Baltimore, Maryland.

Lady Henrietta Vinton Davis was an elocutionist, dramatic reader, Shakespearean actress and leader of the African Redemption movement headed by Universal Negro Improvement Association founder Marcus Garvey. She is buried in an unmarked grave in National Harmony Cemetery, Largo, Maryland.

Both were born in Baltimore, Maryland the same as Eubie Blake. Blake may possibly have performed with Lady Davis in Jamaica during the early 1900s.

Proceeds of this event will go to the production of a statue of Gans in the Blacks in Wax Museum.

Tickets are $25. The event will be held at:

Eubie Blake Cultural Center
847 N. Howard St
Baltimore, MD

Guest speakers include:

Clayton LeBouef (NBC’s “Homicide:Life On the Streets and HBO’s “The Wire”, Baltimore’s Center Stage, author of The Life & Breath of Henrietta Vinton Davis)

Colleen Aycock (Author of Joe Gans: A Biography of the 1st African-American World Boxing Champion)

Music by internationally renowned blues musican Chaz DePaolo

For more info go to:

WELCOME TO THE GLORY DAYS OF BOXING