Monday, July 27, 2015

January 4, 1898: David Hunter

Lynching was a commonly used tactic to keep people of color and people in poverty in line. There were many reasons people were lynched, but a large amount was for no other reason to make sure the populace behaved in the manner chosen by the elite. After Reconstruction, white supremacy ruled the South. The forms of lynching were varied; including but not limited to hanging, shooting, drowning, whipping. Another way to keep the populace in line, was to arrest and then send them to work on farms or in mines. If you look at court dockets in the south, you can see this many times over. It was called peonage and was eventually outlawed; just like lynching, peonage affected an overwhelming amount of people of color and/or poverty. Lynching was rarely about protection, even though the language commonly used claimed it was, it was far more about control. On many occasions people were forced into contracts to work on farms with little or no way out of the situation. Sometimes they were outright lied to about the situation they were getting into, other times they were prevented from getting any other work and had no choice but to accept the contract. Today we learn about a lynching for violating one such contract. It comes to us from the January 6, 1898 edition of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania):

The following dispatch dated Columbia, South Carolina, January 4th, reveals another brutal crime perpetrated on a negro by heartless Southern white men:

"David Hunter, colored, died in Clinton, Laurens county, tonight, from effects of merciless whipping inflicted on him in open daylight, today, by several white men.

"Hunter was accused of violating a contract in leaving the farm, on which he had moved before the expiration of the specified time.

"The cause for his leaving or the names of the men who flogged him to death cannot be ascertained. tonight."

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 

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