Woodstock Performers First Album

Woodstock Performers First Album

Though many of those who performed at Woodstock were famous already [at least to their fans they were], in terms of having a recording contract and releasing an album, most of them had been in the music business (as opposed to performing) for a short time. If fact for a few, their first album release came after the Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

Listed below are all those who performed at the festival in the order that their first album was released. I’ve also included the age of band members (if available) at the time of the album’s release.

There were 32 music performances at Woodstock, but Country Joe performed twice: once solo and once with the Fish. I have counted him as one and with the Fish, so I’ve listed 31 albums below.

To the point of “being in the business,” the large majority–25–of the bands had released their first albums from 1967 and after. Or, only 6 had released an album before 1967.

And three in that majority released an album after 1969.

Woodstock Performers First Album

Ravi Shankar

Woodstock Performers First Album

Ravi Shankar released his first album, Music Of India – Three Classical Ragas On Sitar, in 1956. He was 36.

Woodstock Performers First Album

Joan Baez

Woodstock Performers First Album

October 1960: Joan Baez (age 19) released her first album, Joan Baez.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1965

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

October, 1965: The Paul Butterfield Blues Band album released. Paul Butterfield was 22. No other personnel for the album performed at Woodstock.

The Who

Woodstock Performers First Album

December 3, 1965: The Who [Pete Townshend, 20; Keith Moon, 19; Roger Daltrey, 21; and John Entwistle, 21] released My Generation album.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1966

Incredible String Band

Woodstock Performers First Album

June, 1966: Incredible String Band (Robin Williamson, age 22 , and Mike Heron, age 22 ) released first album, The Incredible String Band.

Tim Harden

Woodstock Performers First Album

July 1966: Tim Hardin (age 25) released first album, Tim Hardin 1

Jefferson Airplane 

Woodstock Performers First Album

August 15, 1966: Jefferson Airplane released their debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off. The personnel differs from the later “classic” lineup and the music is more folk-rock than the harder psychedelic sound for which the band later became famous. Signe Toly Anderson was the female vocalist and Skip Spence played drums. Both left the group shortly after the album’s release and were replaced by Grace Slick and Spencer Dryden, respectively. (Jorma Kaukonen (age 25), Paul Kantner (age 25), Jack Casady (age 22), Marty Balin (age 24), Grace Slick (age 26), Spencer Dryden (age 28).

Richie Havens

Woodstock Performers First Album

Late 1966: Richie Havens (25) released his first album: Mixed Bag

Woodstock Performers First Album

1967

Grateful Dead

March 17, 1967: the Grateful Dead released their first album: Grateful Dead. Jerry Garica (25), Bob Weir (19),  Pigpen (21), Phil Lesh (27), and Bill Kreutzmann (21).

Country Joe and the Fish

April 1967: Country Joe (25) and the Fish released first album, Electric Music for the Mind and Body.

Jimi Hendrix Experience

May 12, 1967: the first Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Are You Experienced, released in the UK. Jimi Hendrix (24), Mitch Mitchell, (19), and Noel Redding (21) .

Canned Heat

July 1967: Canned Heat released first album, Canned Heat. The three members who played Woodstock were Bob “The Bear” Hite, age 24, Alan Wilson, age 24, and Larry Taylor,  age 24)

Big Brother and the Holding Company

August 1967: Big Brother and the Holding Company released first album with Janis Joplin (23).  The other band members, none of whom played at Woodstock, were: Sam Andrew, James Gurley, Peter Albin, and Dave Getz.

Arlo Guthrie

September 1967: Arlo Guthrie (20) released first album, Alice’s Restaurant.

Sly and the Family Stone

October 1967: Sly and the Family Stone released first album, A Whole New Thing. Sly Stone (25), Freddie Stone (20),  Larry Graham (19), Cynthia Robinson (21), Jerry Martini (25), and Greg Errico (19).

Ten Years After

October 27, 1967: Ten Years After released its first album, Ten Years After. Alvin Lee (22), Chick Churchill (21), Leo Lyons (23), and Ric Lee (22).

Johnny Winter

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968: Johnny Winter (age 22) released first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment with John Turner (24) and Tommy Shannon (22).

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968

Blood, Sweat, & Tears

February 21, 1968: Blood, Sweat, & Tears released its first album, Child is Father to the Man. The album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Bobby Colomby (23), Jim Fielder (20), Dick Halligan (24), Steve Katz (22), and Fred Lipsius (24).

The Band

July 1, 1968: The Band released its first album, Music From Big Pink. Rick Danko, age 26; Robbie Robertson, age 25; Levon Helm, age 28; Richard Manuel, age 25; Garth Hudson, age 31.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Woodstock Performers First Album

July 5, 1968: Creedence Clearwater Revival released first album, Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty (23), Doug Clifford (23), Stu Cook 23), and Tom Fogerty (26)

Melanie

November 1968: Melanie (age 21) released her first album, Born to Be.

Sweetwater

1968: Sweetwater released its first album entitled Sweetwater. Birth dates for the band members are not available. They were: Nansi Nevins, Frank Herrera, August Burns, Elpidio Cobian, Alan Malarowitz, Albert Moore, and Alex Del Zoppo.

Bert Sommer

Woodstock Performers First Album

1968: Bert Sommer (age 18) released his first album, The Road to Travel. It was produced by Artie Kornfeld. Sommer was a schoolmate of Leslie West. None of the several other musicians on the album played at Woodstock.

Woodstock Performers First Album

1969

Keef Hartley Band

1969: Keef Hartley Band (Keef Hartley age 25 whose career began as the replacement for Ringo Starr as drummer for Rory Storm and the Hurricane) released first album, Halfbreed. The other album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Miller Anderson (24), Gary Thain (21), and Henry Lowther (27).

Joe Cocker

April 23, 1969: Joe Cocker (age 24) released first album, With a Little Help from My Friends. The only other album personnel who also played at Woodstock were: Henry McCullough (25) and Chris Stainton (25).

Crosby, Stills, & Nash

Woodstock Performers First Album

May 29, 1969: Crosby, Stills, & Nash released first album.  (David Crosby age 28; Stephen Stills age 24; Graham Nash, age 27)

Santana

Woodstock Performers First Album

August 30, 1969: Santana  released its first album, Santana. Carlos Santana (22), Gregg Rolie (22), David Brown (22), Michael Shrieve (20), Michael Carabello (21), and José “Chepito” Areas (23).

Sha Na Na

1969: Sha Na Na released its first album, Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay! Since it was released after Woodstock, I will give the personnel who performed at Woodstock (most birth dates are unknown): Alan Cooper (?), Bruce Clark (?), Dave Garrett (?), Donny York (?), Elliot Cahn (?),  Jocko Marcellino (29?),  Joe Witkin (?), Richard Joffe (?), Rob Leonard (?),  Scott Powell (21), Dennis Greene (20),  and Henry Gross (18).

Woodstock Performers First Album

1970

Quill

January 1970: the band Quill released album: Quill. The personnel: Dan Cole (?), Jon Cole (?), Norman Rogers (?), Phil Thayer (?), and Roger North (?).

John Sebastian

January 19, 1970: John Sebastian (25) released his first solo album, John B Sebastian. He had, of course, had great success with the band Lovin’ Spoonful. Sebastian was 21 when that band released the ablum, Do You Believe In Magic.

Mountain

Woodstock Performers First Album

March 7, 1970: Mountain released its first album, Climbing! [also known as Mountain Climbing!] The album personnel who had played at Woodstock were: Leslie West (24),  Felix Pappalardi (30),  and Steve Knight (34).

Woodstock Performers First Album

American Lynching 4

American Lynching 4

This is the fourth of four blog entries on Lynching in America (see Never Forget, AL2, and AL3 for the previous entries).

While lynching Blacks may have “ended” in the the 20th century, the inordinate number of Blacks killed has continued. The Black Lives Matter movement of the 21st century–…working for a world where Black lives are no longer systematically targeted for demise–attests to that.

Robert Johnson lynched

January 30, 1934: Deputy Constable Thomas Grave, assigned to move  Robert Johnson (see Jan 28), decided to do so after midnight; this was not standard procedure, and Graves later claimed he opted for a late night transfer to avoid waking up early in the morning. Around 2:30 a.m. on January 30th, Graves placed Johnson in the front seat of the police car and began driving to the county jail; on the way, Graves’s vehicle was stopped by three cars full of white men who allegedly disarmed Graves and made him lie face down in the backseat of his car while they kidnapped Robert Johnson.

The mob carried Johnson off to a wooded part of town along the Hillsborough River near Sligh Avenue, where about thirty people were gathered to watch the lynching. Johnson was killed with four shots to the head and one to the body, all fired from the pistol the mob had taken from Deputy Constable Graves.

Governor David Sholtz called for an investigation of the lynching and a grand jury was convened. Though Deputy Constable Graves testified that he was beaten by the mob, the grand jury noted that he bore no bruises or other signs of injury. Nevertheless, the grand jury’s investigation didn’t produce any charges of conspiracy, and no one was prosecuted for Robert Johnson’s murder. [EJI article]

American Lynching 4

Ernest Collins & Benny Mitchell lynched

November 12, 1935:  two teenage black boys – fifteen-year-old Ernest Collins and sixteen-year-old Benny Mitchell – were killed in Colorado County, Texas, in a public spectacle lynching committed by a mob of at least 700 white men and women. Afterward, officials called the lynching “justice,” and no one in the mob was punished.  [EJI article]

American Lynching 4

Lint Shaw lynched

April 28, 1936: a 45-year-old black farmer named Lint Shaw was shot to death by a mob of forty white men in Colbert, Georgia – just eight hours before he was scheduled to go on trial on allegations of attempting to assault two white women.  [EJI article]

American Lynching 4

Elbert Williams lynched

June 20,  1940: a group of white men led by the local sheriff and the night marshal  abducted NAACP leader Elbert Williams from his home in Brownsville, Tennessee. Three days later, Mr. Williams’s lifeless and brutalized body was found in the nearby Hatchie River. He was thirty-one years old.

In the months following the lynching of Elbert Williams, up to forty more black families were permanently driven from the community under threats of violence from the white mob. African Americans who remained in Brownsville were prohibited from meeting in groups, even for church services, and two African American men were beaten to death after being arrested by the same night marshal who had helped to abduct Williams. [EJI article]

American Lynching 4

Jesse Thornton lynched

June 21 Peace Love Art Activism

June 21, 1940: twenty-six-year-old black man Jesse Thornton addressed a passing police officer by his name, Doris Rhodes. When the officer, a white man, overheard Mr. Thornton and ordered him to clarify his statement, Thorton attempted to correct himself by referring to the officer as “Mr. Doris Rhodes.” The officer hurled a racial slur at Mr. Thornton while knocking him to the ground and arresting him. Rhodes then walked Thornton into the city jail as a mob of white men formed just outside.

Thornton tried to escape and managed to flee a short distance while the mob quickly pursued, firing gunshots and throwing bricks, bats, and stones at him.  Thornton was injured by gunfire and eventually collapsed. The mob dumped him into a truck and drove to an isolated street where he was dragged into a nearby swamp and shot again. Thornton’s decomposing, vulture-ravaged body was found a week later by a local fisherman in the Patsaliga River, near Tuskegee Institute.

Dr. Charles A.J. McPherson, a local leader in the Birmingham branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, wrote a detailed report on Thornton’s lynching. Thurgood Marshall, then an attorney with the NAACP, provided the Department of Justice with the report and requested a federal investigation. The Justice Department instructed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether law enforcement or other officials were complicit in the lynching but there is no record that anyone was ever prosecuted for Mr. Thornton’s murder. [Northeastern article]

American Lynching 4

Willie James Howard lynched

January 2 Peace Love Art Activism

January 2, 1944 15-year-old Willie James Howard, a black boy, was kidnapped and lynched by three white men in Suwannee County, Florida, after being accused of sending a love note to the daughter of one of the men.

During Christmas 1943, Willie Howard sent cards to all of his co-workers at the Van Priest Dime Store in Live Oak, Florida. Unlike the other cards, Willie’s card to Cynthia Goff, a white store employee, revealed a youthful crush. His greeting expressed hope that white people would someday like black people and concluded: “I love your name. I love your voice. For a S.H. [sweetheart] you are my choice.”

After reading the card, Cynthia’s father, Phil Goff, brought two friends to the Howard home and demanded to see Willie. Despite his mother’s pleading, the men dragged Willie away, and then kidnapped Willie’s father, James Howard, from work. The men drove the two Howards to the embankment of the Suwanee River, bound Willie’s hands and feet, stood him at the edge of the water, and told him to either jump or be shot. Willie jumped into the cold water below and drowned while his father was forced to watch at gunpoint. Willie’s body was pulled from the river the next day.

Goff and his accomplices admitted to the local sheriff that they took Willie to the river to punish him, but claimed the teen had become hysterical and jumped into the water unprovoked at the thought of being whipped by his father. Fearful for his own life and the other members of his family, James Howard signed a statement supporting Goff’s account. He and his family fled Live Oak three days later. [PBS report]

American Lynching 4

Eldridge Simmons lynched

March 26, 1944:  a Rev. Simmons controlled more than 270 acres of debt-free Amite County (Mississippi) land that his family had owned since 1887. A farmer and minister, Rev. Simmons worked the land with his children and grandchildren, producing crops and selling the property’s lumber.

In 1941, a rumor spread that there was oil in southwest Mississippi. A group of six white men decided they wanted the Simmons’ land and warned Rev. Simmons to stop cutting lumber. Rev. Simmons consulted a lawyer to work out the dispute and ensure his children would be the sole heirs to the property.

On Sunday 26 March 1944, a group of white men arrived at the home of Rev. Simmons’s eldest son, Eldridge, and told him to show them the property line. He agreed to do so, but while Eldridge Simmons rode with the men in their vehicle, they began to beat him, and shouted that the Simmons family thought they were “smart niggers” for consulting a lawyer. The men then dragged Rev. Simmons from his home about a mile away and began beating him, too. They drove both Simmons men further onto the property and ordered Rev. Simmons out of the car, then killed him brutally–shooting him three times and cutting out his tongue.

After Eldridge and the rest of the Simmons family buried Rev. Simmons, they fled their land in fear. The white men who committed the lynching took possession of the land; only one of the six men was ever prosecuted for the murder, and he was ultimately acquitted by an all-white jury. [EJI article]

American Lynching 4

Lynching at Moore’s Fort Bridge

July 25, 1946: the lynching of two married African-American couples, known in some circles as the “Lynching At Moore’s Ford Bridge,” took place in northern Georgia. An angry mob of white men attacked the couples, with one of the wives seven months pregnant and a man in the group a World War II Army veteran. George Dorsey, the veteran who had been back in the States just nine months after serving in the Pacific, and his wife, Mae, worked as sharecroppers. Roger and Dorothy Malcolm also worked on the farm with the Dorseys and were expecting a child.

The FBI was sent to the town of Monroe, but the investigation yielded little as no one stepped forward to offer assistance or testimony. (2017 NC News article on re-enactment)

American Lynching 4

NAACP report

January 3, 1947: an NAACP report said 1946 was “one of the grimmest years in the history of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” The report deplored “reports of blow torch killing and eye-gouging of Negro veterans freshly returned from a war to end torture and racial extermination” and said “Negroes in America have been disillusioned over the wave of lynchings, brutality and official recession from all of the flamboyant promises of post war democracy and decency.”

American Lynching 4

Anti-lynching law platform

July 14, 1948: President Harry Truman and the Democratic Party adopted a platform that called for a federal anti-lynching law, the abolition of poll taxes and the desegregation of armed forces. Three days later, Southern “Dixiecrats” held their own convention and nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for president.  [text of platform]

American Lynching 4

Ruby Hurley

April 28 Peace Love Activism

April 28, 1951: Ruby Hurley opened the first permanent office of the NAACP in the South, setting it up in Birmingham, Ala. Her introduction to civil rights activism began when she helped organize Marian Anderson’s 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Four years later, she became national youth secretary for the NAACP. She helped investigate lynchings across the South and received many threats, including a bombing attempt on her home. In 1956, she left Birmingham for Atlanta after Alabama barred the NAACP from operating. She served as a mentor for Vernon Jordan and retired two years before dying in 1980. In 2009, she appeared on a postage stamp. (women’s history dot org bio)

American Lynching 4

A year without a lynching

December 30 Peace Love Art Activism

December 30, 1952: for the first time in seventy years, a full year passed with no recorded incidents of lynching. Defined as open, non-judicial murders carried out by mobs, lynching befell people of many backgrounds in the United States but was a frequent tool of racial terror used against black Americans to enforce and maintain white supremacy.

Prior to 1881, reliable lynching statistics were not recorded. But the Chicago Tribune, the NAACP, and the Tuskegee Institute began keeping independent records of lynchings as early as 1882. As of 1952, these authorities reported that 4726 persons had been lynched in the United States over the prior seventy years and 3431 of them were African American. During some years in American history it was not unusual for all lynching victims to be African American.

Lynching in the United States was most common in the later decades of the nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth century, during post-reconstruction efforts to re-establish a racial hierarchy that subordinated and oppressed black people. Before the lynching-free year of 1952, annual lynching statistics were exhibiting significant reductions. Between 1943 and 1951 there were twenty-one lynchings reported nationwide, compared to 597 between 1913 and 1922. After 1952, the number of lynching incidents recorded annually continued to be zero or very low and the tracking of lynchings officially ended in 1968.

Though the diminished frequency of lynching signaled by the 1952 report was encouraging, the Tuskegee Institute warned that year that “other patterns of violence” were emerging, replacing lynchings with legalized acts of racialized inhumanity like executions, as well as more anonymous acts of violence such as bombings, arson, and beatings. Similarly, a 1953 editorial in the Times Daily of Florence, Alabama, noted that, though the decline in lynching was good news, the proliferation of anti-civil rights bombings demonstrated the South’s continued need for “education in human relations.”

American Lynching 4

Mack Charles Parker lynched

April 25 Peace Love Activism

April 25, 1959: three days before his scheduled trial, Mack Charles Parker, a 23-year-old African American truck driver, was lynched by a hooded mob of white men in Poplarville, Mississippi. Parker had been accused of raping a pregnant white woman and was being held in a local jail. The mob took him from his cell, beat him, took him to a bridge, shot and killed him, then weighed his body down with chains and dumped him in the river. Many people knew the identity of the killers, but the community closed ranks and refused to talk. Echoing the Till case, the FBI would investigate and identify at least 10 men involved, but the U.S. Department of Justice would rule there were no federal grounds to make an arrest and press charges. Two grand juries — one county and one federal — adjourned without indictments. (Black Past article)

American Lynching 4

Michael Donald

Lynched

March 21, 1981: Mobile, Alabama. Henry Hays (age 26), and James Llewellyn “Tiger” Knowles (age 17) kidnap, beat, strangle, and slit the throat of Michael Donald before hanging him from a tree. Local police initially stated that Donald had been killed as part of a drug deal gone wrong. (see June 6, 1997). Donald, an African-American, had been walking back from a store and randomly selected by Ku Klux Klan members Hays and Knowles.

Indictments

American Lynching 4

June 16, 1983: authorities charged Ku Klux Klansmen James Knowles, 19 years old, and Henry Hays, 28, both from Mobile County, in the March 20, 1981 death by beating of black teenager Michael Donald. [NYT article]

Southern Poverty Law Centre

In February 1987: with the support of Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin at the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), Beulah Mae Donald, the mother of slain Michael Donald sued the United Klans of America. An all-white jury found the Klan responsible for the lynching of Michael Donald and ordered it to pay 7 million dollars. This resulted the Klan having to hand over all its assets including its national headquarters in Tuscaloosa.

Michael Donald lynching

June 6, 1997: Henry Hays, one of the two murderers of Michael Donald in 1981, executed in the electric chair. Hays was the only Ku Klux Klan member to be executed for the murder of a black man in the 20th century. Hay’s accomplice, Llewellyn Knowles had been sentenced to life in prison after testifying against Hays. [NYT article]

American Lynching 4

Tulsa Lynchings Reparations

February 21, 2001:  after the Oklahoma State Legislature authorized a commission to study the Tulsa Riot of 1921, the  report recommended actions for substantial restitution; in order of priority (Tulsa history article):

  1. Direct payment of reparations to survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race riot;
  2. Direct payment of reparations to descendants of the survivors of the Tulsa race riot;
  3. A scholarship fund available to students affected by the Tulsa race riot;
  4. Establishment of an economic development enterprise zone in the historic area of the Greenwood district; and
  5. A memorial for the reburial of the remains of the victims of the Tulsa race riot.
American Lynching 4

Duluth, MN lynching 

American Lynching 4

October 10, 2003: the June 15, 1920 Duluth, MN lynching was commemorated by dedicating a plaza including three seven-foot-tall bronze statues to the three men who were killed. The statues were part of a memorial across the street from the site of the lynchings. The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial was designed and sculpted by Carla J. Stetson, in collaboration with editor and writer Anthony Peyton-Porter.

American Lynching 4

At the memorial’s opening, thousands of citizens from Duluth and surrounding communities gathered for a ceremony. The final speaker at the ceremony was Warren Read, the great-grandson of one of the most prominent leaders of the lynch mob:

It was a long held family secret, and its deeply buried shame was brought to the surface and unraveled. We will never know the destinies and legacies these men would have chosen for themselves if they had been allowed to make that choice. But I know this: their existence, however brief and cruelly interrupted, is forever woven into the fabric of my own life. My son will continue to be raised in an environment of tolerance, understanding and humility, now with even more pertinence than before.”

American Lynching 4

US Senate apologizes

June 13, 2005: between 1882 and 1968, approximately 4743 people were lynched in America, and nearly three-quarters of those lynching victims were black. Lynchings were extrajudicial and heinous killings, usually intended to warn other blacks not to transgress racialized social, political, and economic boundaries. Victims often were hanged, but sometimes were shot, stabbed, or burned alive. Their murders ranged from community spectacles at which hundreds of participants ate picnics and took body parts and photo postcards as souvenirs to low-profile concealed murders involving as few as two assailants.

During the lynching era, seven United States presidents exhorted Congress to pass legislation authorizing federal prosecution of lynch mobs. Two hundred anti-lynching bills were introduced but only three passed the House of Representatives and none passed the Senate due to Southern conservatives’ successful filibusters. In the absence of federal protection, and amidst the inaction of local state courts, lynchings persisted for decades.

On June 13, 2005, the United States Senate formally apologized for failing to pass anti-lynching legislation. Resolution sponsor Senator George Allen (R-VA) expressed his regret for “the failure of the Senate to take action when action was most needed,” while co-sponsor Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) declared, “It’s important that we are honest with ourselves and that we tell the truth about what happened.” Nearly eighty other senators co-sponsored the resolution.

Hundreds of relatives of lynching victims were present to witness the apology, as was ninety-one-year-old James Cameron, largely considered the only known survivor of a lynching attempt. In 1930, Mr. Cameron was sixteen when he and two friends were seized by a white lynch mob in Marion, Indiana, and both of his friends were hung and killed. Mr. Cameron was cut down and released. No one was ever arrested or charged.

American Lynching 4

Lynching in America

American Lynching 4

February 10, 2015: The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, which documented EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in those states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date. (EJI pdf of report)

American Lynching 4

American Lynching 3

American Lynching 3

Some rationalize American terrorism toward American Blacks by saying that poverty created the defensive urge in some poor whites, but Bob Dylan may have gotten closer to the truth when he wrote:

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than the blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin, ” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used, it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Whatever the reason, the arc of justice, if it was bending toward justice, may have bent for some, but hardly for others–if at all.

As the lynchings continued the echoes of States Rights from the Civil War continued to thwart attempts by some to outlaw lynching.

Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill

American Lynching 3

October 20, 1921: the House Judiciary Committee favorably reported Leonidas C. Dyer’s Anti-Lynching Bill which would impose heavy penalties on persons involved in mob action resulting in the taking of life.

Despite filibusters and ongoing southern Democratic obstruction, the House, controlled by a Republican majority,   eventually passed the bill and sent it to the Senate where the like-minded southern Democrats were able to kill the bill.

See Dyer for an expanded chronology of the long sad story.

American Lynching 3

And lynching continued…

Arthur Young & Charles Wright lynched

December 12, 1922: Arthur Young and Charles Wright were accused of killing a local white school teacher. Though items found near the woman’s body belonged to a local white man, police were convinced the perpetrator had to be a black man, and quickly focused on Wright as a suspect. The deep racial hostility that permeated Southern society during this time period often served to focus suspicion on black communities after a crime was discovered, whether evidence supported that suspicion or not. This was especially true in cases of violent crime against white victims.

After several days of violent manhunts that terrorized the black community and left at least one black man dead, police arrested Charles Wright with a friend named Arthur Young. Before the men could be investigated or tried, a white mob seized Mr. Wright as they were being transported to jail and burned him alive.

Four days later, on December 12th, the lynch mob attacked again. As officers were moving Arthur Young to another jail, the mob seized him, riddled his body with bullets, and left his corpse hanging from a tree on the side of a highway in Perry, Florida.  [EJI article]

American Lynching 3

Rosewood burned

American Lynching 3

January 1, 1923: in Sumner, Florida, Fannie Taylor, a sixteen-year-old married white woman, claimed she had been assaulted by Jesse Hunter, a black fugitive from a prison chain gang. There was no evidence against Hunter, but local white men launched a manhunt in Rosewood, a nearby town of about 200 black people.  [Guardian report]

January 2, 1923: a mob of white men kidnapped, tortured, and lynched Sam Carter, a black craftsman from Rosewood, on suspicion that he had helped Jesse Hunter escape. White men continued to terrorize Rosewood searching for Hunter and black residents armed themselves in defense. [Black Past report]

January 4, 1923: hundreds of white men began the burning of Rosewood, Fla. Within three days, the entire African-American town had been burned to the ground. By the time the violence ended, six African Americans and two whites had died. No one was ever prosecuted. Survivors later recounted that Fannie Taylor had made false accusations against Jesse Hunter to conceal her extramarital affair with a white man. In 1994, the Florida Legislature voted to compensate victims and their families.

American Lynching 3

Moore v. Dempsey

February 19 Peace Love Art Activism

February 19, 1923: in Moore v. Dempsey, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that mob-dominated trials violated the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In 1919, African-American sharecroppers had gathered in a church at Elaine, Ark., to discuss fairer prices for their products. White men fired into church, leading to three days of fighting and the killing of five white men and more than 100 black men, women and children. A white committee appointed by the governor concluded the black men planned to kill all the whites. More than 700 African-American men were arrested with 67 sent to prison and a dozen to Death Row. The Supreme Court reversed the cases on appeal, concluding the trial had been prejudiced by a white mob outside yelling that if the black men weren’t sentenced to death, the mob would lynch them. The court decision was a major victory for African Americans and the NAACP, which had represented the men. (PBS article)

American Lynching 3

Murderer Acquitted

American Lynching 3

July 13, 1923: US House representative Leonidas Dyer of St Louis stated that he was not surprised at the acquittal of a George Barkwell at Columbia, Missouri on the charge of murder in connection with the lynching of James Scott, a Black. Dyer referred to statistics which, he said, showed that 3,824 lynchings had been recorded during the last thirty-five years and that in all those cases there had scarcely been a conviction. [H of R bio]

American Lynching 3

Ben Hart lynched

August 24, 1923: a 34-year-old black farmhand Ben Hart was killed based on suspicion that he was a “Peeping Tom” who had that morning peered into a young white girl’s bedroom window near Jacksonville, Florida. According to witnesses, approximately ten unmasked men came to Hart’s home around 9:30 p.m. claiming to be deputy sheriffs and informing Hart he was accused of looking into the girl’s window. Hart professed his innocence and readily agreed to go to the county jail with the men, but did not live to complete the journey.

Shortly after midnight the next day, Hart’s handcuffed and bullet-riddled body was found in a ditch about three miles from the city. Hart had been shot six times and witnesses reported seeing him earlier that night fleeing several white men on foot who were shooting at him as several more automobiles filled with white men followed.

Police investigating Hart’s murder soon determined he was innocent of the accusation against him; he was at his home 12 miles away when the alleged peeping incident occurred. [EJI  story]

American Lynching 3

Lynch law for Blacks only

July 15, 1930: Senator Coleman L. Blease‘s advocated a lynch law for Blacks (only) guilty of criminally assaulting white women. “Whenever the Constitution comes between me and the virtue of the white women of South Carolina, I say ‘To hell with the Constitution.’ “

Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith lynched

August 7 Peace Love Art Activism

August 7, 1930: a white mob lynched Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana. The two young black men, 18 and 19 years old respectively, had been arrested that afternoon. They were accused of attacking a young white couple, beating and fatally shooting the man, and attempting to assault the woman. Once the men were detained, word of the charges spread and a growing mob of angry white residents gathered outside the county jail.

Around 9:30 p.m., the mob attempted to rush the jail and was repelled by tear gas. An hour later, they successfully barreled past the sheriff and three deputies, grabbed Shipp and Smith from their cells as they prayed, and dragged them into the street. By then numbering between 5000 and 10,000 people (half the white population of Grant County) the mob beat, tortured, and hung both men from trees in the courthouse yard, brutally executing them without benefit of trial or legal proof of guilt. As the men’s bodies hung, members of the mob re-entered the jail and grabbed 16-year-old James Cameron, another youth being held for the crime. The mob beat Cameron severely and were preparing to hang him alongside the others when a member of the crowd intervened and insisted he was innocent. Cameron was released and the mob later dispersed.

Enraged by the lynching, the NAACP traveled to Marion to investigate, and later provided United States Attorney General James Ogden with the names of 27 people believed to have participated. Though the lynching and its spectators were photographed, local residents claimed not to recognize anyone pictured and no one was charged or tried in connection with the killings. A photograph of Shipp’s and Smith’s battered corpses hanging lifeless from a tree, with white spectators proudly standing below, remains one of the most iconic lynching photographs. After seeing the photo in 1937, New York schoolteacher Abe Meeropol was inspired to write “Strange Fruit,” a haunting poem about lynching that later became a famous song recorded by Billie Holiday.  [Black Past article]

American Lynching 3

1930

Jessie Daniel AmesLyn

November 20 Peace Love Art Activism

November 20, 1930: The Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching founded in Atlanta, Georgia by Jessie Daniel Ames, a white Texas-born woman active in suffrage and interracial reform movements. The ASWPL was comprised of middle and upper-class white women who objected to the lynching of African Americans.

Anti-Lynching Congress

November 25, 1930: a delegation from the Anti-Lynching Congress, which was meeting in Washington, D.C., delivered a protest to President Herbert Hoover, demanding that he take action to end the lynching of African-Americans. The group was led by Maurice W. Spencer, president of the National Equal Rights League and Race Congress. President Hoover did not respond.

Herbert Hoover was basically sympathetic to the needs of African-Americans in American society, but was not willing to expend any political capital on civil rights. He was very upset, for example, when Southern bigots protested when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover invited the wife of African-American Congressman Oscar DePriest to the White House for tea (along with all the other Congressional wives), on June 12, 1929. He responded by inviting Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee University, to the White House in a symbolic gesture.

American Lynching 3

1931

Raymond Gunn lynched

January 12, 1931:  authorities arrested Raymond Gunn, an African American man, after he was accused of killing a white schoolteacher.

Following his arrest, police took Gunn to jail in a neighboring county due to threats of lynching. Lynch mobs still formed and attempted to seize Gunn from jail, so officials transported him to another prison with reinforcement from firemen and a tank company of the Missouri National Guard.

On January 12, the morning of Gunn’s arraignment, a mob of about two thousand white men, women, and children gathered outside the courthouse. Despite the previous attacks, the local sheriff did not request assistance from the National Guard. With little resistance from local law enforcement, and sixty members of the National Guard at ease in an armory one block from the courthouse, Mr. Gunn was seized by the mob and burned on the roof of the schoolhouse. [EJI article]

Residents flee

January 14, 1931: black residents of Maryville, Missouri fled the town after the lynching of Raymond Gunn on January 12. More than 20 percent of Maryville’s black population fled the town in fear. Despite investigations initiated by state officials, no one was ever arrested or convicted of any crime related to the lynching of Raymond Gunn. [EJI article]

American Lynching 3

1933

Reuben Micou lynched

April 2, 1933: a mob of white men broke into the Winston County jail in Louisville, Mississippi to lynch a 65-year-old black man named Reuben Micou. Micou had been arrested after he was accused of getting into an altercation with a prominent local white man.

Micou’s body was found in a nearby churchyard, riddled with bullets and bearing injuries suggesting that Micou had been whipped. Seventeen white men were indicted and arrested for participating in the lynching, but in July 1933 the cases against the seventeen men were “indefinitely postponed.” No one was ever tried or convicted for Micou’s murder. [EJI story]

George Armwood lynched

October 18, 1933: a mob of at least 2000 white residents of Princess Anne, Maryland beat, hanged, dragged, and burned George Armwood to death. Armwood, reportedly known to be “feeble-minded,” had been accused of assaulting an 80-year-old woman who was also the mother of a local white policeman. Shortly after being arrested, Armwood was dragged out of the jail and an 18-year-old boy immediately cut off his ear with a butcher knife. The growing mob then beat George Armwood nearly to death and dragged him to a tree, where he was hanged. Afterward, the mob cut down his corpse, dragged it through the streets, hanged it again, and then staged a public burning. The New Journal and Guide reported that “[m]en, women and children, participated in the savage orgy.”

Armwood’s lynching sparked a national outcry and calls for prosecution of the lynchers, yet investigations at the county, state, and federal levels faced obstacles and delays. Inquiries following the lynching were marked by residents’ refusal to identify participants as well as mockery and intimidation of black witnesses. The American Civil Liberties Union, frustrated with the silence, began offering a $1000 reward to people willing to name leaders of the mob.

Even when finally presented with identifying evidence, the county prosecutor refused to act. When the Maryland Attorney General ordered troops to arrest eight named participants, white residents who supported the accused lynchers waged riots of protest. Four white men were ultimately tried for the lynching of George Armwood, and acquitted by all-white juries. [EJI article]

American Lynching 3

What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?

Follow by Email21
Facebook0
Facebook