Why Black Folk Are Angry

By Beverly Gadson-Birch  

Why are Black Folk so angry?  Read on …. I was talking to one of my Hilton Head Island friends about the significance of Black History being taught in public schools.  We spoke about how our kinfolk– Africans were brought to America as slaves and the gut wrenching plight of native American Blacks in this country.  Howard cited a couple of examples from the book entitled “100 Years of Lynchings” by Ralph Ginzburg.  I had a copy of Ginsburg book in my collection.   

I remembered reading about the gruesome fate of Blacks at the hands of White mobs. I would like to share a few of those stories with you.  Hopefully you will share these stories with your children; so, they can relate to the importance of Black History. This generation is big on tattoos while Baby Boomers are not as fond.  Tattoos are a form of “branding”.  Our forefathers were branded with cattle prods more severely than that of tattooing.

The following stories appeared in newspapers across this country.

Birmingham Voice of the People- April 1, 1916- Heading- Bumps Into Girl, is Lynched. Cedar Bluff, Miss., March 31, Jeff Brown was lynched by a mob here late Saturday afternoon.  Brown was walking down the street near the car tracks and saw a moving freight train going in the direction in which he wanted to go.  He started on the run to board the moving train.  On the sidewalk was the daughter of a white farmer.  Brown accidentally brushed against her and she screamed.  A gang quickly formed and ran after him, jerking him off the moving train.  He was beaten into insensibility and then hung to a tree.  The sheriff has made no attempt to find out who the members of the mob were.  Picture cards of the body are being sold on the streets at five cents apiece.

New York Age, April 30, 1914- Brother Powerless to Aid Sister Who Was Raped And Lynched. Clovis, N.M., April 27, The brother of the young colored girl who was lynched by a mob of white ruffians near Wagner, Okla., a few weeks ago, passed through this town on his way to Mexico.  He gave a pathetic account of the lynching to colored citizens here.  The young man’s sister was but 17 years old and of respectable parents.  Two half-druken white men walked into their home during the absence of the mother and found the girl dressing, locked themselves into her room and criminally assaulted her.  Her screams for help were heard by her brother, who, kicking down the door, went to her rescue.  In defending his sister, he shot one of the brutes.  The other escaped. Later in the evening the local authorities, failing to find the brother, arrested the sister, who was taken from jail by a mob at 4 o’clock in the morning and lynched.  From his hiding place the brother, who is 21 years old, could hear his sister’s cries for help, but he was powerless to aid her.

New York Amsterdam News, August 26, 1944- Mississippi Minister Lynched.  A lynched killing of a 66-year-old minister last March 26 in Amite County, MS because he hired a lawyer to safeguard his title to a 220-acre debt-free farm, has just been revealed in an affidavit sworn to by Eldridge Simmons, son of the murdered man. Rev. Isaac Simmons was going peacefully about the business of running his farm and had no trouble until it began to be suspected that there was oil on his land.  Whites then tried to “muscle in” and take his property away.  When they found out he had consulted a lawyer, they got together a small mob and killed him in the presence of his son, who was later driven from the county. Rev. Simmons and his son were called “smart niggers” for going to see a lawyer.

The White men then drove him from his home, beat him and his son. Rev. Simmons was shot three times in his back after he tried to escape from the men. The White men let Simmons’ son go and gave him ten days to vacate the property and if anyone asked him about who killed his dad, he was to say he “did not know.” Rev. Simmons was found three days later by the side of the road in thickets with a broken arm, his tongue cut out and nearly all of his teeth knocked out.  When the inquest was held into Simmons’ death, the verdict was “Rev. Simmons met his death at the hands of “unknown parties”.

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