THE ANTI-Lynching Bill

THE ANTI-Lynching Bill


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Age-old sectional attitudes which have tolerated lynching-with-impunity

have consistently defeated successful prosecution of local lynchings.



Books by Walter White


The Fire in the Flint (novel,1924) / Flight (novel,1926)  / Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch (1929)

How far the Promised Land? 955) / A Man Called White (autobiography,1948).

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Books on Lynching & Racial Violence


 The Chronological History of the Negro in America (1969) /  Strain of Violence: Historical Studies of American Violence and Vigilantism (1975)


 But There Was No Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction (1984) / Lynch Law ( 1905)  / An American Dilemma (1944)


The Crucible of Race: Black-White Relations in the American South Since Emancipation (1984) / Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. (1989)


Rope and Faggot ( 1929)  /  The Tragedy of Lynching (1933)  /  Race Riot in East St, Louis (1964)  / Urban Racial Violence (1976)  


Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968)  /  Violence in America (1969)

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Lynching Must Go!

An Editorial 


The verdict of the Greenville, South Carolina jury acquitting all twenty-eight white men accused of lynching Willie Earle, a Negro, last February, eliminates the last possible argument against the early enactment of the pending Federal Anti-lynching Bill.

Southern opponents of the Federal Anti-lynching laws have argued that the states could apprehend, prosecute, and punish those implicated in local lynchings. Now, after acquittal of twenty-eight who took part in the most recent mob murder, this objection to an effective Federal law vanishes into thin air. According to the newsmen who covered the recent trail the charge was ably presented by the prosecutor and complete fairness marked the attitude and rulings of the court. Then, too, it caused local surprise that the alleged confessions of the accused were admitted into evidence. However, after five hours of deliberations, the local jury returned ninety-eight verdicts of acquittal, freeing all twenty-eight who had been implicated in the lynching.

Editorial comment reflecting the opinion of the press, and openly expressed views of white and Negro leaders from all parts of the country, indicate that state courts can not be relied upon to convict those who are actually guilty of lynching American Negroes. Age-old sectional attitudes which have tolerated lynching-with-impunity have consistently defeated successful prosecution of local lynchings. Adequate Federal laws are required; Federal courts should be given jurisdiction and Federal prosecutors the authority to enforce the law.

Lynching would be nationally repudiated by the enactment of the pending bill. The early enactment would mark the first step in breaking down the tradition that any American could be lynched-with-impunity; it would do much to enhance the prestige of American democracy throughout the world. Indeed, there is no justification for further delay and there is every reason for the passage of this law by the American Congress.

Lynching Must Go!

Source: The Interracial Review, May 1947 

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The Anti-Lynching Bill

An Editorial


Twenty-eight self-confessed lynchers were set free last May by a Greenville, S. C., jury. Meanwhile, twenty-eight men who shot down two Negro couples in Monroe, Georgia., last summer are still at liberty. Nevertheless Congress has adjourned after by-passing a bill that would have made lynching a federal offense-the only course that will end the virtual immunity of those who choose to kill in the name of racial intolerance.

By passing the anti-poll tax bill in the House in spite of Southern filibusters, the 80th Congress encouraged hope that it would strike yet another blow for Negro citizens by assuring that hereafter every lyncher would be tracked down with the skill and resources at the command of the federal government. That it failed to so has been a sharp disappointment to all justice loving Americans. But this disappointment should breed a determination that the new Congress finally enact a law for which leading church and civic organizations throughout the country-the South especially-have consistently clamored.

The next step rests with individual citizens. In the interval before Congress is re-convened, voters can write their Congressmen and Senators telling them how they feel about the lynching evil and demanding that legislators face squarely the issue before them.

By decisively meeting the challenge of lynching the next Congress will be merely carrying out, however belatedly, the clear wish of most citizens, white as well as Negro. The temper of public opinion on this issue id evident from a recent Gallup Poll which shows that in the North 69 percent of voters favor anti-lynching legislation, while in the South 56 percent approve.

Nine percent of Northerners and 16 percent of Southerners questioned in the Gallop survey had “no opinion” in regard to the proposed legislation. Perhaps stirring up this apparent lethargic element, the majority pressure for the bill will be increased to such a degree that Congress will be made more aware of the need for swift and forthright action. 

Source: The Interracial Review August 1947       

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Walter Francis White (July 1, 1893, Atlanta, Georgia – March 21, 1955, New York, New York) was an African American who became a spokesman for his community in the United States for almost a quarter of a century, and served as executive secretary (1931–1955) of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He graduated from Atlanta University in 1916 (now Clark Atlanta University). In 1918 he joined the small national staff of the NAACP in New York at the invitation of James Weldon Johnson. White acted as Johnson’s assistant national secretary. In 1931 he succeeded him at the helm of the NAACP.

White oversaw the plans and organizational structure of the fight against public segregation. Under his leadership, the NAACP set up the Legal Defense Fund, which raised numerous legal challenges to segregation and disfranchisement, and achieved many successes. Among these was the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which determined that segregated education was inherently unequal. He was the virtual author of President Truman’s presidential order desegregating the armed forces after the Second World War. White also quintupled NAACP membership to nearly 500,000.In addition to his NAACP work, White was a journalist, novelist, and essayist, and influential in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.  Wikipedia.


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Bill Moyers Interviews Douglass A. Blackmon

Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II (2008)

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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Here lies Jim Crow: Civil rights in Maryland

 By C. Fraser Smith

Though he lived throughout much of the South—and even worked his way into parts of the North for a time—Jim Crow was conceived and buried in Maryland. From Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney’s infamous decision in the Dred Scott case to Thurgood Marshall’s eloquent and effective work on Brown v. Board of Education, the battle for black equality is very much the story of Free State women and men. Here, Baltimore Sun columnist C. Fraser Smith recounts that tale through the stories, words, and deeds of famous, infamous, and little-known Marylanders. He traces the roots of Jim Crow laws from Dred Scott to Plessy v. Ferguson and describes the parallel and opposite early efforts of those who struggled to establish freedom and basic rights for African Americans.

Following the historical trail of evidence, Smith relates latter-day examples of Maryland residents who trod those same steps, from the thrice-failed attempt to deny black people the vote in the early twentieth century to nascent demonstrations for open access to lunch counters, movie theaters, stores, golf courses, and other public and private institutions—struggles that occurred decades before the now-celebrated historical figures strode onto the national civil rights scene.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 26 May 2012




Home    Civil Rights: Struggle for Black Power  DuBois Malcolm King Forum  Lynching Index

Related files:  Roy Wilkins and Spiro Agnew in Annapolis   Commentary on “Color Line and War”     The American Institution of Lynching   

Walter White on Lynching  Letter from Eleanor Roosevelt   Editorials on Lynching     Walter White Biography  Walter White Biography Table  Walter White Reviews   

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