ANNUAL SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY FOR OUR SISTERS: The community remembers Black women lynched


ANNUAL SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY FOR OUR SISTERS

The community remembers Black women lynched

Spiritually-conscious women and men of African descent will gather 3:00PM sharp, Sunday, March 29, rain or shine, at Congo (Washington) Square, 7th & Walnut Streets in Philadelphia for the Second Annual Sacred Libation Ceremony in remembrance of the 150 documented Black women who were lynched between 1870 and 1957.

2015 SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY FLYER 3

Flyer for the 2015 Sacred Libation Ceremony to be conducted at 7th & Walnut Streets in Congo (Washington) Square Philadelphia, Pa.

In March 2014, the first annual Sacred Libation Ceremony for the women was conducted by Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett and a group of priests of Philadelphia’s African American Yoruba/Orisha community. Although it rained that day, approximately 30 people came to witness the ritual – some from as far as New York and Washington DC. The ceremony has now been instituted as an annual ritual on the last Sunday in March as part of Women’s History Month.

In addition to libation being poured by Jewett in the Yoruba tradition, women from other traditions also will participate. The Queen Mothers of the Philadelphia Asante NationNana Afua Afriyie Kyeiwaa, Philadelphiahemaa and Nana Akua Oforiwaa Amanfo, Philadelphia Asonahemaa, will pour libation in the Akan tradition from Ghana. They will be accompanied by the women of the Philadelphia Asante Abusuafoo. Other holy women participating includes well-known healer/education activist Mama Gail Clouden and her godchildren.

How did this all come about? Last year, while perusing stories on Dr. Boyce Watkins’ “Your Black World” news website, Jewett came across a story entitled, “Black women were lynched too!” written by blogger Yolanda Spivey. Although she was a student of history and knew about the list of 5,000 documented lynchings of people of African descent in the U.S., Jewett wasn’t aware of the number of women who were included. Neither was Spivey.

I can’t begin to tell how shocked I was to learn the depths of what happened to lynched Black men and women in this country,” said Spivey.  “I wasn’t naïve about the lynchings, but I was definitely naïve to learn the circumstances surrounding their murders.  The Black women in some cases were pregnant — and that didn’t matter to the white people who murdered them.  They were, in all circumstances, murdered for the silliest infractions or implicated in crimes that they did not commit.” 

Spivey’s story (http://naturallymoi.com/2014/02/yolanda-spivey-lets-not-forget-that-black-women-were-lynched-too/) led Jewett to a website owned by Brother Nnamdi Azikiwe, that’s dedicated to Henrietta Vinton Davis, a prominent leader in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The website (https://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/recorded/) provides documented information on these women – their names, dates, places, why and with whom they were lynched. After reading details of the lynchings, the Egun (ancestors) began speaking to Jewett and instructed her that she must do more than send an email informing people about the history.

Amy Jacques Garvey, Henrietta Vinton Davis and Marcus Garvey

Amy Jacques Garvey, Henrietta Vinton Davis and Marcus Garvey

They needed libation poured for them to uplift and bring light their souls,” Jewett explained. They wanted to be remembered and have their stories told. They wouldn’t let me rest. It was physically and spiritually painful. I couldn’t sleep for the two weeks leading up to the ritual. I kept asking them why me? They replied that it was part of my destiny and that I had to do it.”

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REMEMBERING OUR SISTERS: BLACK WOMEN LYNCHED


REMEMBERING OUR SISTERS: BLACK WOMEN LYNCHED

Second Annual Sacred Libation Ceremony in Remembrance on March 29

By Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett

laura_nelson_high_res

Laura Nelson is the only one of the Black Women who were lynched in America of whom we have a known photograph.

Last year 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. 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. Olódùmarè help me! Egun directed me to conduct a sacred libation ceremony to remember them and bring some peace to their souls. They also directed me to do this annually on the designated day. I will conduct this annual ritual as long as I have breath in my body.

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.

Sisters Alma (16) and Maggie Howze (20) were both pregnant by Dr. E. L. Johnston, a dentist who used them both as his sex slaves, when lynched in 1918 in Mississippi for allegedly killing him. Eyewitnesses at Alma’s burial said that that the movements of her unborn baby could be detected.

Laura Nelson was accused of murdering a sheriff who had discovered stolen goods in her house. She was lynched together with her son (15), 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.

2015 SACRED LIBATION CEREMONY FLYER

2015 Sacred Libation Ceremony Flyer

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 segregation and continues to this day. For more information on these lynchings, go to https://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/recorded/.

Last year 25-30 of you came in the pouring rain to witness this important ritual. Thank you for standing up for our sisters! 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 for the second annual sacred libation ceremony in remembrance of our sisters. Please wear white – no black or dark colors. Bring your children because they must know and learn about this forgotten history so it will never be repeated. We must never forget these women – our sisters — who were brutally tortured and lynched.

REMEMBER THE MAAFA! NEVER AGAIN!