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Racial Terrorism in America: Group Wants to Honor 4,000 Lynching Victims With Historical Markers

Society & Culture  (tags: Civil Rights, American South, racism. Alabama, society, culture, ethics, crime, death, government, humans, sadness, violence, politics, abuse, activists, freedoms )

- 1585 days ago -
An Alabama-based civil rights organization found that over the course of the South's turbulent racial history, some 4,000 people are known to have been lynched. Historian Bryan Stevenson intends to make these killings a matter of public record.


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Mitchell D (82)
Tuesday February 10, 2015, 7:07 pm
I see "Public record' as a good idea, one of those "Lest we forget" items.

Joanne Dixon (37)
Tuesday February 10, 2015, 9:14 pm
As a reminder of the dark side of US History, I am ashamed we did not do it years ago. My only reservation is that the bigots may regard every one of those markers as an accomplishment rather than a crime. They don't seem to see things the way sane people see them.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 12:35 am
So long as the historical markers act as a reminding factor NOT TO repeat. . . humans seem to have difficulty grasping this.

Lona Goudswaard (66)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 3:52 am
I was really shocked by this article, Carrie. Almost 4000 people, most of them young black men, were lynched in little over 70 years (1877-1950) in the Southern states, with 237 people alone In Phillips County, Arkansas, who were lynched in 1919 during the Elaine race riot. And this isn't generally known, not on public record, but buried under the rug for convenience sake? Buried lest people shouldn't have to be ashamed of what their ancestors have done or bigots celebrate these accomplishments? The fact that the last could actually happen is the most shocking of all.

Hugh Smith (112)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 4:01 am
It shocking to the core, still it happens but thank the Lord there are now laws to protect people, and these poor souls should be honoured in the name of the free world.

Arild Warud (174)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 4:47 am
I think Mitchell D put it perfectly.

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 5:31 am
I agree Mitchell and if one is not careful another group can become the victim of a hate crime. Is why hate crimes must be called out. Don't feel so smug that you or your family can't become the next victims.

That photo is absolutely horrendous but what it doesn't show is the faces of the people standing around this now barely recognizable remains of a human being. TomCat had placed another photo on for one of his stories that is showing Jesse Washington still attached to the pole. In the background you can see all the smiling faces of those who were watching this man be burned alive.

Not only was he burned alive but they toyed with him in the beginning by being raised up and down over the flames. This was in 1916 yet one year later within one week of Wilson’s declaration of war, for WWI, the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled.

Yes, put some physical reminders around and maybe the same thing can be done for the Native Americans. Is long overdue that this Country that prides itself on being so fair and standing for Human Rights takes a good look at itself. The hate that I read, even on threads is still there for "others" whoever happens to be the choice for today.

Today it seems to be the Muslims to keep this ongoing forever war on terror going or the Hispanics that are suppose to be stealing your jobs.....either way, the propaganda that so many people fall into to hate others while failing to see the real causes of why. To keep the masses off the eye of the "true culprits" who would rather have you look there, at each other, rather than to look where one should be looking.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 6:28 am
Bryan Stevenson is a famous Harvard-Law-School-trained ATTORNEY, a death penalty defense lawyer & NYU law professor, as well as the director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), "a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system."

They "litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment."

"EJI also prepares reports, newsletters, and manuals to assist advocates and policymakers in the critically important work of reforming the administration of criminal justice."

They have 8 senior attorneys & a dozen staff attorneys, plus 2 social workers & a Rural Development Manager. They go beyond providing legal counsel, they have education & community outreach programs that seek to help people move out of poverty and re-enter society on the right foot, once released from prison.

For anyone interested in justice (and injustice), criminal justice & wrongful convictions; against the death penalty, mandatory sentencing procedures, children sentenced to life in prison (which Stevenson calls 'death in prison') and overly harsh sentencing, Bryan Stevenson is a HERO! He has argued before the US Supreme Court on several occasions & in June, 2012,
Attorney Bryan Stevenson Argued & Won Landmark Supreme Court Case: Life W/Out Parole for Kids Ruled Unconstitutional:
"[We’ve] been victims of the politics of fear and anger in this country for 40 years [with] tremendous investment into excessive sentences, mass incarceration," says juvenile defense attorney Bryan Stevenson, who filed the landmark Supreme Court case.

He is so great --not just brilliant, but modest, likeable, funny... -- I had his TED talk as my video on my profile page for a few years!

I have the EJI calendar, "A History of Racial Injustice," which retraces the history of African-Americans, the civil rights movement, slavery, hate crimes, lynchings, as well as Native American history & issues, day by day for a whole year. It's an education in injustice & a plea for progress in human & civil rights.

The idea of placing historical markers is a great one: we can't fight for justice if we don't remember & recognize the injustices that were committed in the past. These markers also serve to remove the victims of lynching from anonymity & restore their honor & dignity. They're a way of publicly declaring, "Never Again." The degree of horror & terror that marked African-American lives in the South is devastating. The number & nature of the deaths revolting. People must still bear the trauma of the sick, sadistic society that permitted this.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 7:30 am
I forgot to add that Nobel Peace Laureate Desmond Tutu has called Bryan Stevenson “America’s young Nelson Mandela.”

Today, actual lynchings rarely occur, but figurative lynchings still take place........ in courtrooms. A week hardly goes by, it seems, without another innocent man being released after 15 - 20 - 30 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit.

Patrick Donovan (344)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 10:04 am
Lucy, thank you very much for the link to Bryan Stevenson's TED talk. It should be mandatory in all schools and elsewhere.

Angelika Kempter (96)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 12:01 pm
Noted-thank you Carrie

Janet B (0)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 2:55 pm

Gloria H (88)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 3:17 pm
I'd much rather see this monument than ANY that celebrates the confederacy's "heroes". would like to see a tally of how many slaves each of these "patriots" owned.

Rose Becke (141)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 5:00 pm
I agree with Mitchell, and what Darren said too

Val D (34)
Wednesday February 11, 2015, 9:41 pm
This is so powerful and so necessary. Just by meeting some frightening southerners I am convinced that reparations are in order by the kin and still living members of the families that partook in these heinous human rights violations. We must uproot the criminal mindset of "white supremacy" that still plagues this nation. It makes me sick to my stomach that it still exists with all of the recent murders of african americans by the police and crazy rednecks, and hey this includes the rich bigots too.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 2:22 am
Common Dreams, 11 Feb 2015 - "Walking While Brown, Chapter 6,782" - Excerpt:

"In further evidence U.S. police forces include way too many RACIST THUGS who SLAM 'EM to the ground and BEAT 'EM UP first and (possibly) think second, Madison, ALABAMA POLICE partially PARALYZED a 57-year-old INDIAN gentleman after ASSAULTING him for taking a MORNING STROLL through his engineer son's AFFLUENT WHITE neighborhood. The cops were called after a caller declared Sureshbhai Patel "SUSPICIOUS," apparently believing he was scouting garages for the right place to plant a bomb because he hates our freedom, when in fact he was ADMIRING THE CLEAN STREETS before going in to help take care of his NEWBORN GRANDSON. When police accosted him, he repeatedly said "No English" and POINTED to his son's NEARBY HOUSE, but police JUST POUNDED HIM anyway.

"...Hank Sherrod, the family's attorney, who did not mince his words. "There is nothing suspicious about Mr. Patel other than he has BROWN SKIN." The family is suing. On their part, Madison police admitted no crime was committed. They did suspend the officer, launch an investigation, and wish Mr. Patel "a speedy recovery." Only in America, where this sort of thing inexplicably keeps happening, day in and day out, far too often, and will likely continue to until a big enough fuss is made about it."

{Please take a look at the photograph of this poor man in hospital!}

" "This is just one of those things that doesn't need to happen," said Sherrod, saying the police escalated to violence without cause and left Patel lying bleeding from his face, paralyzed and in need of paramedics. "That officer doesn't need to be on the streets."

Sureshbhai Patel was taken by ambulance to Madison Hospital. Hospital staff called his son at work at 9:42 a.m. on Friday. Chriag Patel found his father at the hospital unable to move his legs and with limited motion in his arms.

From there, due to swelling in the spine, Sureshbhai was transferred to Huntsville Hospital for surgery to fuse two vertebrae. He remains hospitalized. Chirag said his father can now move his right leg a little bit, but the left remains paralyzed. He said his father can raise both arms, but cannot make a tight grip.

He said his father had no health problems prior to this incident.

Chirag Patel hopes his father will regain full motion, but he said he was told this would involve lengthy therapy. He is uncertain when his father will be able to leave the hospital. .../... "This is a good neighborhood. I didn't expect anything to happen," said Chirag Patel, who recently bought the new house .../...

"Madison, a booming bedroom community, is home to about 46,000 residents just outside Huntsville. While largely white and affluent, with a per capita income almost double the state average, the young city is also home to many FOREIGN-BORN professionals. One in 10 residents speak something OTHER THAN English in the home, and 8 percent of residents were born in another country."
"Patel said his father leased farmland in India and the family is not wealthy. He said he was proud of his new home in Madison. "It is a dream for me because I came from a very poor family and I worked so hard here," said Patel. He said he chose Madison in large part because of the schools and the opportunities for his son.
"I'm totally devastated that I might have made a big mistake," said Patel. .../..."

It's going to take a great deal more than markers to put an end to racism, but maybe if they'd been put up earlier, like 50 years ago, we wouldn't be where we are now!

I've never done any research on lynchings, but now that your article has got me thinking about it, Carrie, I wonder what official reaction was at the time. Did the Federal government, did past Attorneys General, did former Presidents ever come out to condemn the heinous practice?? I suspect they were ignored.

jan b (5)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 7:49 am
The hate e-mails passed around about our black President still gets into my e-mail-box. Recently I became aware that a long time friend of mine in my former state of Massachusetts that she "got religion" and a Klan mentality. I'm naïve because I couldn't conceive of true Christians being a part of any KLAN. I still don't believe you can truly be both.

I often did think of the "white supremist" groups as being a southern or western thing until recently I became acquainted with " Long live the Ku Klux Klan and racial Cleansing!!!! Serving Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, Westfield, West Springfield, South Hadley, Agawam, Amherst, Northampton, Easthampton, and Southampton. Massachusetts. "

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 12, 2015, 8:48 am
Thank you

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Friday February 13, 2015, 3:27 am
I'm so glad, Patrick, that you enjoyed watching Bryan Stevenson's TED talk that we both have now left the link for. I used to listen to it again from time to time, when I was feeling low, for he is truly an INSPIRATIONAL person - he restores your love of humanity, your optimism, your belief that the human heart & soul will win out, whatever the odds. Even though that may not be entirely realistic & it is an ongoing struggle that requires enormous energy & dedication, even though there are so many horrible, truly heinous things happening, so many injustices, so many ruined lives, somehow, in 23 minutes, Bryan Stevenson makes you feel so good & makes you feel so proud to be sharing this moment on planet Earth with him! He is the most UPLIFTING person I have encountered, even if it's on YouTube! (Vandana Shiva also gives me somewhat similar feelings, but Stevenson is the TOP!)

Otherwise, to get back to the struggle ---And I know that you, Carrie, can mobilize a lot of people better than I can! :

As of Feb. 12, 2015, Amnesty is trying to mobilize supporters for a
"Call in for Chicago torture reparations" & Follow-Up Form -

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has the opportunity to call for the passage of an ordinance that would provide reparations for Chicago police torture survivors.

Please call his office and ask him to act:

1. Call 202-783-0911. This line should ring to the Mayor's Office in Washington D.C.

2. When answered, you can say the following:

"Hi, my name is ________ and I live in _________ (City, State). I'm calling to ask the Mayor to publicly support the Chicago Police Torture Reparations Ordinance, currently pending in Chicago City Council, and to schedule a prompt public hearing. I hope that he can do this in advance of the election! Will you please pass that message along?"

3. You might also mention the reasons that the reparations ordinance is important to you:
•To allow the torture survivors and their families to heal
•To rebuild trust in the Chicago police and other authorities
•To fulfill obligations under international law
•Or add your own

Follow-Up Form: "Did you get to talk with someone on the phone?" *

How did your call go?


Chicago Sun Times, 01/15/2015 "Burge torture victims demand $20 million reparations fund" + Video of 65-year-old torture victim Darrell Cannon addressing a message to Mayor Rahm Emanuel at a demonstration: “If you do not stand up and do the right thing, then we the citizens of Chicago will, in fact, stand up and do the right thing to see that someone else gets in office. This may not have happened on your shift, but you are now the caretaker.”

".../... Cannon is a posture (sic; read 'poster') child for the reparations ordinance that has support from 26 aldermen. He spent 24 [years] in prison for a murder he did not commit after he was tortured into confessing by Burge cohorts who allegedly put an electric cattle prod on his genitals and placed a shotgun in his mouth. The charges were dismissed in 2004.
But not before a court-appointed attorney representing Cannon advised him to accept a meager $3,000 to satisfy Cannon’s torture complaint. .../... After his murder conviction was dismissed, Cannon tried to sue again. But a federal appeals court subsequently ruled that he was bound by the $3,000 settlement."

"Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, was singled out for criticism by Burge torture victims because the reparations ordinance is STALLED in his committee. .../... The STALLED reparations ordinance, first introduced in October, 2013, would serve as a formal apology to Burge “survivors” but go far beyond Emanuel’s words."

".../... Emanuel noted then that he has already gone a long way toward erasing, what he called “this stain” on the city’s history. He’s done that by settling the Burge cases he inherited, trying to CUT OFF Burge’s CITY PENSION, even though it DIDN’T work, and by ISSUING the PUBLIC APOLOGY that torture victims have long demanded, but former Mayor Richard M. Daley REFUSED (!!) to give. .../... "

"Torture victim Mark Clements noted that NONE of Burge’s torture victims has EVER received PSYCHOLOGICAL COUNSELING paid for by the city.

“What does any type of reparations look like? It looks like respect. It looks like, `Stop playing political football.’ It looks like showing a true sorrow for the wrongs that occurred to the men affected as a result of this torture,” Clements said. .../..."

Dec. 1, 2014, Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM)* - On Friday, November 28, 2014, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) condemned the U.S. Government and the City of Chicago for failing to provide sufficient redress to those who were tortured by notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and the detectives under his command. This is the SECOND time in EIGHT YEARS that the UN Committee has condemned the U.S. Government for failing to fulfill its obligations under the Convention Against Torture with respect to the Burge torture cases.

Last week the UN Committee noted that the “vast majority of those tortured,” most of who are African American, “have received no compensation for the extensive injuries they suffered.” (see Paragraph 26). The UN Committee called on the U.S. Government to provide redress to the Burge torture survivors by supporting the passage of the Ordinance seeking Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Survivors that is currently pending in Chicago City Council’s Finance Committee.

* "Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) aims to honor and to seek justice for the survivors of Chicago police torture, their family members and the African American communities affected by the torture. In 2010 CTJM, a group of attorneys, artists, educators, and social justice activists, put out a call for speculative memorials to recall and honor the two-decades long struggle for justice waged by torture survivors and their families, attorneys, community organizers, and people from every neighborhood and walk of life in Chicago. This effort culminated in a major exhibition of 75 proposals and a year-long series of associated teach-ins, roundtables, and other public events in 2011-2013.CTJM now turns its attention to a CAMPAIGN FOR REPARATIONS for those affected by Chicago Police torture, and to working in solidarity with other groups and individuals for racial justice and to end police violence and mass incarceration."

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Friday February 13, 2015, 3:45 am
Forgot to add: "In June 2010, Burge was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for falsely denying that he and others engaged in acts of torture. It was too late to charge him with the actual torture, the statute of limitations having run out [though in some countries, like France, for ex., crimes against humanity have no statutes of limitation, and most certainly, torture of this magnitude that went on for over 20 years, ought to meet the criteria]. As a result, he was sentenced to serve [only] 4 ½ years in prison. In October 2014, Burge was released from federal prison after serving less than 3 ½ years." (Disgusting!)
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