Monday, August 4, 2014
August 4, 1888: Eli Bryan
From the St. Joseph Herald (Saint Joseph, Michigan dated August 11, 1888:
A MOB lynched Eli Bryan (colored) on the 4th in Winslow County, Miss., for assaulting a white woman.
This editorial of interest was published in The New York Times (New York, N. Y.) on August 5, 1899:
REPLY TO SOUTHERN GOVERNORS
To the Editor of The New York Times:
You have served our country to great advantage in getting a direct revelation of their minds from many of our Southern Governors.
The opinion of Gov. Atkinson of West Virginia is sound. It reflects soberness, wisdom, patriotism, and true citizenship. Says this noble man: "I have always opposed lynchings of any and all kinds." Gov. Joseph E. Johnston of Alabama does not directly express an opinion, but from what he says relative to a new law to meet all cases of the crime alleged, we infer that he is sound in the doctrine that lynching is not justifiable under any condition in a country where law and order are the rule of action . The opinion of the Governor of South Carolina is, on the whole, fair, yet we cannot fully agree with him. He says: "The only hope of relief lies in the stopping of the particular crime which is chiefly the occasion of mob law."
In Gov. McSweeney's own State, Postmaster Baker was lynched, not for assault, but because he was a colored man holding a Federal office; at Pheonix, S. C., last Nov. 14, colored citizens were lynched, not for assault, but because they were exercising their rights as citizens; at Anderson, S. C., May 25th, 1898, two colored men were lynched, not for assault, but for being accused of arson, and throughout the entire South in 1898, of the 102 colored citizens who were lynched only 16 were even accused of assault on women.
Gov. Jones of Arkansas expresses directly an opinion which is contrary to the truth and false to the core. He says: "The lynchings in this State have generally been in cases of assault." Is this true?
In Arkansas, on Jan. 7, 1898, a colored man was lynched in Cleveland County, not for assault, but for being suspected of having stolen a hog; on March 22, 1899, in Little Falls County, Arkansas, General Ducket, Edwin Goodwin, Adam King, Joseph Jones, Benjamin Jones, Moses Jones, Joe King, John Johnson, and four other colored men whose names the Associated Press did not reveal were lynched, not for assault, but for being "smart and troublesome niggers"; on April 30, 1899, at Osceola, Ark., Willis Sees was lynched, not for assault, but for being accused of barn burning; on the 24th of July, at Wilmot, Ark., four colored men, Click Davis, Louis Samin, and two other colored citizens, whose names could not be had, were lynched, but not for assault. But why continue the disgraceful picture.
Gov. Bloxham of Florida offers one, and only one, idea that deserves notice. He says in the latter part of his interview: "Public sentiment should be awakened to the necessity of educating the popular mind to the necessity of observing the law." This idea is divine and if put into action in the South lynchings will not be so frequent.
Gov. Candler maliciously perverts the truth. He says: "One of the main reasons for the strained relations between the white and black people is the evil instruction that they received immediately after the war." This statement is true, but not in the sense in which he uses it. What was the instruction that the negro received before the war? He was taught that he was a thing; that he had no rights which the white man was bound to respect: that God had made him inferior to the white man; that the white man was made to think for the black man, and that the black man's duty was to act accordingly.
Now for any one to give the negro any other lesson to study and to learn was to commit a great sin. But what was the instruction that the negroes received immediately after the war? They were taught that they were free; that they were citizens; that they had a right to think; that God had created all men free and equal. This "evil instruction" woke up the black, and he began to think and act for himself. He began to rise, the white man to oppress, and a conflict is the result. Harmony must and will be restored through the power of God and the righteousness of men.
Gov Candler's second reason for the race troubles in the South is that Northern white people intermeddle with Southern affairs. He holds that the North ought to stand by quietly and see the South lynch, flay alive, and shoot to death black men without any protest. This is, indeed strange reasoning.
In America we have no North or South, no East or West, but one common Union. What affects a part affects the whole. The northern part of the Union believes in law and order: believes that the law is always stronger than crime, that lynching is the worst form of anarchy, and, therefore, not justifiable under any condition. The North is a part of the Union; therefore, the North, holding these views, is morally bound to protest against any form of lawlessness, let it be manifest in the South or anywhere else in America.
The Governor further says that "Assault is the immediate or remote cause of lynchings nine times our of ten." This statement is the fruit of a diseased mind, false in every particular.
This man concludes his long statement by saying that "corrupt politics" is another cause of irritation. Who robbed the black man of his vote? Who corrupted politics?
This is the solution for the latter statement: The ballot must only be intrusted to the virtuous and intelligent. If this is done, a very few white men, including the Governor of Georgia, will have the chance to vote. Both the black man and the white man must rise together. Their interests are common.
P. BUTLER THOMPKINS.
New York, July 31, 1899.