Tuesday, June 27, 2006


I was browsing the blog's list of newspapers (as I try to do every couple of days) and came across the Danville Register & Bee. They had a feature, apparently built up over numerous issues, on the subject of lynching in general and in Southwest Virginia in particular. And it got me thinking - while Appalachia was in many ways the origin point of American anti-slave and desegregation movements it still had, and frankly still has, its problems in terms of ethnic, racial, and religious discrimination - human beings do live there, after all. I just wanted to share a couple of links with you that I though might be useful in considering this, and frankly, in helping us as Appalachians and Americans to remember we must remain conscious of the long-term effects of looking the other way when others act in bigotted ways. First, I want to link you to the Danville Register & Bee's stories and visuals - there are also some really good links. Secondly, I am going to link you up to a map of selected instances of lynching on the website The History of Jim Crow. . . this is where I first learned there was, in 1912, a lynching in my hometown of Bluefield. Sigh. And finally I am going to link you to PBS's The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, which has an interactive map of particular quality, and which details the total number of lynchings in each state:

Kentucky: 142 black and 63 white
North Carolina: 86 blacks and 15 white
Tennessee: 204 black and 47 white
West Virginia: 28 black and 20 white
Virginia: 83 black and 17 white

This subject, I should say, specifically brings to mind books such as Lies My History Teacher Told Me - works that bring up the propensity of educational institutions to be molded by their parent institutions (such as churches or governments) in order to manipulate childrens' perceptions of right or wrong and their loyalties. For me, this tendency, to teach our children not the whole truth, but the truth we think will be kindest and most "politically correct" (white people were nice to all their happy slaves, women were happier in the home performing only male-dictated activities, native Americans were socialist, environmentalist, never-greedy folk, African slaves were in their position only because of European [and not African as well] greed, the Western democracies have either done no evil or caused nothing but evil, and so on) is, I think, at the root of humanity's tendency to 'repeat history.' Our children do not learn because, for our own reasons, we deprive them of the knowledge they require to make superior political, economic, and socio-cultural decisions. Tell your kids not only about the sins of others, but of their ancestors' sins as well.

One other really . . .hmm . . . moving site is this one - Without Sanctuary. Its an incredible collection of horrible images that illustrate the horror of lynching in an incredibly powerful way.

1 comment:

Ferdinand said...

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