Debate Over Lynching Begins>Mary Terrell
Church Terrell, "Lynching from a Negro's Point of View,"
North American Review (1904)
Church Terrell was the President of the National Association of
1904 was three months old, thirty-one negroes had been lynched.
Of this number, fifteen were murdered within one week in Arkansas,
and one was shot to death in Springfield, Ohio, by a mob composed
of men who did not take the trouble to wear masks. Hanging, shooting,
and burning black men, women and children in the United States
have become so common that such occurrences create but little
sensation and evoke but slight comment now. . . .
is a great mistake to suppose that rape is the real cause of lynching
in the South. Beginning with the Ku-Klux Klan, the Negro has been
constantly subjected to some form of organized violence ever since
he became free. It is easy to prove that rape is simply the pretext
and not the cause of lynching. Statistics show that, out of every
hundred negroes who are lynched, from seventy-five to eighty-five
are not even accused of this crime, and many who are accused of
it are innocent. . . .
then, is the cause of lynching? At the last analysis, it will
be discovered that there are just two causes of lynching. In the
first place, it is due to race hatred, the hatred of a stronger
people toward a weaker who were once held as slaves. In the second
place, it is due to the lawlessness so prevalent in the section
where nine-tenths of the lynchings occur.