Debate Over Lynching Begins>Ray Baker
Stannard Baker, American Magazine, Following the Color Line (1908)
the sixteen years from 1884 to 1900 the number of persons lynched
in the United States was 2,516. Of these 2,080 were in the Southern
states and 436 in the North; 1,678 were Negroes and 801 were white
men; 2,465 were men and 51 were women. Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana
and Georgia - the black belt states - are thus seen to have the
argument on lynching in the South gets back sooner or later to
the question of rape. Ask any high-class citizen - the very highest
- if he believes in lynching, and he will tell you roundly, "No".
Ask him about lynching for rape, and in ninety-nine cases out
of a hundred he will instantly weaken.
he says, is absolutely necessary to keep down this crime. You
ask him why the law cannot be depended upon, and he replies: "It
is too great an ordeal for the self-respecting white woman to
go into court and accuse the Negro ravisher and withstand a public
cross-examination. It is intolerable. No woman will do it. And,
besides, the courts are uncertain. Lynching is the only remedy."
the white man sets an example of non-obedience to law, of non-enforcement
of law, and an example of non-obedience to law, of non-enforcement
of law, and of unequal justice, what can be expected of the Negro?
A criminal father is a poor preacher of homilies to a wayward
son. The Negro sees a man, white or black, commit murder and go
free, over and over again in all these lynching counties. Why
should he fear to murder?