By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent
In the century following the Civil War, as many as 5,000 people of color were murdered by mobs who believed in the cause of white supremacy.
On average, mobs killed nine people per month during the 1890s. Over the next 20 years, seven people each month were victims of lynch mobs.
The figures are all according to an interactive map project that tracks the history of lynching in America – state-by-state.
The map is called “Monroe Work Today.”
It is named after a black sociologist, who put together much of the information that details lynchings from 1835 to 1964, the period covered in the map’s data set.
Information found on the map reveals that black men were the most lynched group of people among the documented victims, usually due to mob violence after criminal accusations.
The map, which users can view based on region, also reveals the lynchings of Latinx people, Asians, Italians and Native Americans.
Monroe Nathan Work lived from 1866 to 1945, and the interactive map is called a rebirth of one aspect of his work.
Work was compelled to document every known lynching that was happening in the United States.
“You might already be familiar with what lynching is, and this website will examine it more,” the website’s authors write. “Of course, it starts with an act of injustice: by sentencing someone outside the law with no process or trial. Even worse, at the turn of the century, the methods of lynching had become commonplace, fueled by hatred — and unspeakably cruel. It was Mr. Work’s meticulous recordkeeping that preserves the names that are now an important part of our history.”
Work was known to love sociology for its search for the facts.
According to his biography on the website, sociology enabled Work to demonstrate how African Americans actually lived, in comparison to racist stereotypes.
For example, his work, “A Half Century of Progress,” compares the years 1866 to 1922. Despite enduring slavery and violence prior to 1866, by 1922 black people had increased literacy rates by 70 percent and vastly improved economically. The number of homes owned by black people grew from 12,000 in 1866 to 650,000 in 1922, just 62 years later. In aggregate, black people’s wealth grew by 750 percent, increasing from $20 million to $1.5 billion.
“Before this website, it was impossible to search the web and find an accurate scope of the history of American lynching. The names have always been kept safe but distant, in old archives and scholarly books and dissertations. This site leaves the record open for all Americans, especially high school students who want to learn more than what their textbook has to say,” the site’s authors wrote.
The website provides an education on the definition of lynching.
It doesn’t always mean hanged from a tree.
“There were many ways that a mob could take the life of a victim they were after. Yes, many people died by hanging, but others were killed from a hail of gunshots, dragged to death behind a vehicle, and some were burned alive. Sometimes, the mob would do all of these things to a single person,” the authors wrote.
A victim usually was accused of something. Thus, lynching wasn’t a random attack. Many times, it was utterly trivial and not a crime at all, like talking back to a white person or daring to file a lawsuit.
Some lynchings that were rationalized as defending a women’s honor — a white woman — were actually covering up what were at the time, forbidden relationships. Newspaper articles from the period reveal the flimsy reason was a black man found “hiding under the bed.”
Whatever the charge, it was never allowed to take its course in court. An angry group broke into the jail, pulled the person out, and executed him or her outside the law. Sometimes victims were tortured for a crowd’s amusement.
Some lynchings went far beyond mere murder. They included dark and brutal tortures to a person’s eyes, fingernails, genitals, orifices. People were set afire, or bones were crushed, bodies mutilated, and sometimes cut into pieces. The person died in agony. This kind of cruelty served as a lesson of terror to everyone else who might challenge the status quo.
Further, onlookers showed no signs of guilt for participating.
Many lynchings gathered a large crowd of spectators, like a carnival, and the lynching might be prolonged until more spectators could arrive. For example, the lynching of Sam Hose in 1899 in Georgia caused the railroad to run extra trains to let more people come right after Sunday church. Many photographs exist today because they were taken as proud souvenirs and postcards.
Lynching began as a form of self-appointed justice in local communities in the 1800s, when townspeople made grave accusations first but never bothered to gather the proof. Then as the 1870s turned into the ’80s and onward, lynching became adopted as a terrorist tactic by white supremacists. When slavery was abolished, and as settlers continued to arrive on the West coast, there were very real crusades to change the United States to a place only for whites.
In the South, a mythology arose that lynching was the only way to protect their “gentle women” against a crime wave of rapes. Similarly, in 1933, the Governor of California publicly praised the lynching of one kidnapper by people on the street. He promised to pardon anyone who might be prosecuted for participating in the mob, according to the website authors.
“God made the white into a man and implanted within his breast that determination to always be supreme among races of men,” read an October 29, 1920 article in the Okaloosa News-Journal in Florida. “This is why the white man of the South, standing out boldly tells civilization: ‘I am a white man! I will rule!’ Were he to do otherwise, he would be a renegade to his race.”
To view the map, click here.
Parents Raise the Alarm About Violence in Schools, Say Their Votes Depends on Improvement
NNPA NEWSWIRE — “Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
A new poll revealed that parents continue to express “legitimate concerns” about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources.
Alarmingly, the poll released by the National Parents Union found that 59 percent of parents are very or extremely concerned about how schools are teaching race and diversity.
“Many Black parents are worried that schools are being harsher on students of color compared to white students,” researchers noted in the poll.
The National Parents Union counts as a network of parent organizations and grassroots activists committed to improving the quality of life for children and families in the United States.
Conducted from November 19 to November 23, the survey included 1,233 parents who also count as registered voters.
Researchers found that 84 percent of parents are concerned about how schools address the threat of violence, and 59 percent identified increased bullying or violence in school as a significant issue.
About 52 percent said student mental health after coping with the pandemic is a significant issue, as well.
“Parents have very legitimate concerns about violence in schools, increased bullying, and a lack of mental health resources,” Keri Rodrigues, co-founder, and President of the National Parents Union, said in a statement.
“Now, it is incumbent on schools to do something about these issues, especially given the federal funds available. It’s not rocket science. Rather than repaint a football field, first, make sure that there are enough counselors to help students cope with mental health issues,” Rodrigues asserted.
The poll also asked the parents who responded that they were concerned about the threat of violence, which worries them the most.
The top three most pressing concerns remain:
- 44 percent: schools not having enough counselors, psychologists, or social workers to work with students
- 42 percent: schools not having resources to keep weapons out of schools
- 39 percent: schools not having school resource officers or police accessible on campus
- 59 percent of parents are extremely or very concerned about how schools are teaching about race and diversity; Among Black parents, 69 percent share this sentiment, which drops slightly to 67 percent among Hispanic parents.
Of the overall number of parents who are at least somewhat concerned (79 percent):
- 48 percent say what concerns them the most is schools are not teaching accurate information about the issue of race.
- 42 percent are most concerned about schools pushing a progressive agenda onto students
- 56 percent of GOP parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
- 32 percent are most concerned that schools aren’t focused on the issue enough
- 46 percent of Black parents who are concerned say this is their top concern
- 78 percent of parents are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues
- Nearly half (46 percent) of Black parents who said they are concerned about how schools are handling disciplinary issues are worried that schools are harsher on students of color compared to white students
- 38 percent of parents trust Democrats to do a better job of handling education; 31 percent trust Republicans; 14 percent trust both equally; 11 percent trust neither
Among parents who identify as Independents, 28 percent trust Republicans and 20 percent trust Democrats.
“These findings underscore the importance of the very thing we have been imploring school leaders across the country to do – listen to the parents in your community,” Rodrigues stated.
“It also reinforces the need for those running for office to take the concerns of parents very seriously or risk losing elections.”
COMMENTARY: Telling Our Family Stories Keeps Black History Alive
We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of our favorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.
Let’s Talk Black Education
By Dr. Margaret Fortune, President/CEO Fortune School
When we were kids, my dad would take us to football games at the University of Southern California (USC). I didn’t care much for football, but I loved it when we’d stay after the game to hear the USC marching band play. His love for marching bands is why we have a drumline at the public charter school I founded and named after my parents — Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School.
We grew up hearing family stories about life in the Carolinas from our parents and grandparents. My sister, Gwen Fortune-Blakely, has written her first children’s book, Rex and the Band, inspired by one of ourfavorite stories our grandma used to tell about my dad, Dr. Rex Fortune, who is now a retired public school superintendent.
As the story goes, one day back in 1947, my grandma sent little Rex to the corner store to get some eggs so she could bake a cake. My dad bought the eggs and put them in his pockets. On the walk home, he encountered a marching band high-steppin’ down the dusty road to his mother’s house. Little Rex got so excited that he followed the band, beating on his legs like drums all the way home and, yes, breaking all the eggs.
“Rex and the Band” explores a day in the life of Rex, a spirited young boy who dreams of one day playing in a high-energy marching band like the ones he enjoys watching with his father during North Carolina A&T football games.
Reading my sister’s beautifully illustrated book, I cried tears of joy. Telling our family stories is such an important way for African Americans to keep our history alive. Griots, or storytellers, are the reason why we know the truths that we do know about our family history and ancestors.
I believe all of us can think back to when our grandparents would tell us stories about our ancestors who may have passed on before we were born. It was their way of making sure our stories were not only told but preserved.
The Black press has been the clearinghouse for many stories that have impacted the Black community over time. My sister published her first poem in Ebony Jr. as an elementary school student and then in high school she interned at the Sacramento Observer newspaper.
Gwen founded Cocoa Kids Books to publish books like “Rex and the Band” that encourage Black children to dream, aspire for more, and soar because they see themselves reflected in stories that are engaging, authentic, uplifting, and inspiring. I’m so proud of my big sis! You can buy Gwen’s book at https://store.bookbaby.com/book/rex-and-the-band.
Dr. Margaret Fortune is the president/CEO of Fortune School, a system of nine, K-12 public charter schools with over 2,300 students focused on closing the Black achievement gap by preparing students for college.
American Cancer Society and Four Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announce Groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research Program to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The awards provided through the DICR program are unique in cancer research. They provide a large amount of salary support for the four colleges to select clinical faculty who need more dedicated time for their cancer research and scholarly activities. They also fund other student and postdoctoral programs and underpin the awards with career development funds and mentorship by established American Cancer Society Professors.
The American Cancer Society (ACS), along with four historically black medical schools including Charles Drew Medical School, Howard University, Meharry Medical College, and Morehouse School of Medicine, today announced a groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Program to help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the cancer research field.
The inaugural initiatives of the overarching program include DICR Institutional Development Grants. The four HBCUs have received DICR grants in a pilot program for 2021-2022.
The awards provided through the DICR program are unique in cancer research.
They provide a large amount of salary support for the four colleges to select clinical faculty who need more dedicated time for their cancer research and scholarly activities.
They also fund other student and postdoctoral programs and underpin the awards with career development funds and mentorship by established American Cancer Society Professors.
The grants will build sustainability for both clinical and scientific cancer-focused careers, launching or sustaining the careers of 104 individuals by 2025.
The impactful program will create a more inclusive research environment to address health disparities more effectively and could lead to targeted recruitment efforts focused on bringing people of color into clinical research protocols.
Establishing a research community that is made up of a diverse group of people is vital to ensuring scientific excellence.
“The American Cancer Society is committed to launching the brightest minds into cancer research and to reducing health disparities,” said Dr. William Cance, American Cancer Society Chief Medical and Scientific Officer.
“To accomplish this, we believe it is essential to invest in the minority workforce and their dedicated efforts to solve disparities and establish equity in cancer care.”
“There are many reasons the Black community continues to experience disparities in cancer care outcomes. But one of the most critical factors behind the imbalance, and one of the most promising paths to closing the gap, is diversity in cancer care research. We must improve diversity and representation in our laboratories if we expect different outcomes in our hospitals,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University.
“As a cancer surgeon and as the president of an HBCU, I believe the Diversity in Cancer Research Program will prove to be pivotal in altering the field of cancer care research and improving cancer care outcomes for Black Americans. I am deeply appreciative of the American Cancer Society’s efforts behind this initiative.”
Data show that African Americans and Black people, Hispanics and Latinos, indigenous people and native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in grant funding.
Fewer than 2% of applicants for the National Institute of Health’s principal grant program come from Black/African Americans, and fewer than 4% from Hispanic/Latino populations.
“We are incredibly excited about this new program with the American Cancer Society,” said Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Ph.D., MD, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College.
“There is a significant imbalance in the representation of minority populations in clinical research which has led to poorer outcomes for specific racial and ethnic minority groups. To eradicate the varying health disparities that affect these populations, we must prioritize diversifying clinical trials and those who conduct trials to ensure treatment is safe and effective.”
This is a fantastic step to ensuring minority populations receive effective treatment and provides great opportunities for our students and faculty to engage in cancer research,” Dr. Hildreth stated.
“The development of diverse, highly competitive, and independent research faculty has been a goal at CDU since its inception 55 years ago,” shared Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, located in South Los Angeles.
“This generous grant from the American Cancer Society will directly support a range of programs towards that goal, including the Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities as well as our Clinical Research and Career Development Program, which provides training and mentoring in health disparities and community-partnered participatory research to minority scholars and junior faculty at CDU. This funding will undeniably help CDU in forming a solid foundation in social justice for future cancer research leaders.”
With the DICR program, ACS has committed to a $12 million investment to support four HBCU medical schools with DICR institutional development grants to fund a four-year program that aims to increase the pool of minority cancer researchers by identifying talented students and faculty from HBCUs.
This program will inform efforts to develop a national program to boost cancer research and career development at minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
These grants are designed to build capacity and enhance the competitiveness of faculty at MSIs when applying for nationally competitive grant support and aid in faculty development and retention.
“Here in Georgia, cancer health disparities exist by age, gender, race, income, education, and access to care, among other factors, with Georgia residents in rural communities experiencing worse cancer health outcomes than their urban counterparts,” said Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, president and CEO at Morehouse School of Medicine.
“The DICR program will be a much-needed and welcome contribution to our work at the Morehouse School of Medicine Cancer Health Equity Institute, forever changing the field of cancer research. The program will not only ensure diversity and inclusion in research, but address health disparities in diverse communities, and assist in our mission in leading the creation and advancement of health equity.”
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