Category Archives: History

Never Forget American Lynching

Never Forget American Lynching

19th Century America

Abraham Lincoln. Gettysburg  1863. “…we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain”

FDR about  December 7, 1941. A “…date that would live in infamy.

George W Bush. September 11. “…None of us will ever forget this day.”

Never Forget, but…

Sadly, too many Americans too easily forget other equally historic events. Even more sadly, too many Americans actually refuse and are angered when reminded of these other tragic American events.

Never Forget American Lynching

According to the NAACP, from 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States.  3,446 of those were blacks.

The Equal Justice Initiative states that the lynching of African Americans was terrorism, a widely supported campaign to enforce racial subordination and segregation. The EJI has published a well-documented report called Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror.

And among its many other works, the EJI posts a daily article about equal justice in America.

Those posts are the foundation of this blog piece.

It is not comfortable reading.

It is not a complete list.

Knights of the White Camelia

September 28, 1868: one of the worst outbreaks of violence during Reconstruction took place in Opelousas, La. The event started with three local members of the KKK-like Knights of the White Camelia beating newspaper editor Emerson Bentley, who had promoted voter registration and education for all. After some African Americans came to his rescue, bands of armed white mobs roamed the countryside and began killing. More than 200 African Americans and 30 whites died in the Opelousas Massacre, according to estimates. [Smithsonian story]

Never Forget American Lynching

1870s

Never Forget American Lynching

August 26, 1874: sixteen African American men were held in the Gibson County Jail in Trenton, Tennessee, transferred from Picketsville, a neighboring town where they’d been arrested and accused of shooting at two white men.

Around 2:00 a.m. that morning, 400 – 500 masked men, mounted on horses and armed with shot guns, demanded entrance to the Gibson County Jail. The men confronted the jailer and threatened to kill him if he did not relinquish the keys to the cell holding the men. After the jailer gave the leader of the mob the key, the members of the mob bound the men by their hands and led them out of the jail cell. The jailer would later testify that he soon heard a series of gun shots in the distance.

Upon investigation soon after the kidnapping, the jailer found six of the men lying along nearby Huntingdon Road – four were dead, their bodies “riddled with bullets.” Two of the men, found wounded but alive, later died before receiving medical attention. The bodies of the ten remaining men were later found at the bottom of a river about one mile from town.

Local white officials denounced the lynching and held an inquest that concluded the men were killed by “shots inflicted by guns in the hands of unknown parties.” The town mayor also expressed local whites’ fears that black people throughout the county were arming themselves in plans to exact retaliatory violence. Just one day after the mass murder of sixteen black men by hundreds of white men who remained unidentified and free, the mayor ordered police to take all guns belonging to Trenton’s black residents and threatened to shoot those who resisted.

August 30, 1874: Thomas Abney chose a guard of about twenty-five men, the prisoners and with guards began to walk toward Shreveport. That afternoon, still  twenty miles below Shreveport guards at the rear of the group spied forty or fifty heavily armed riders in hot pursuit.

The pursuers were led by a mysterious “Captain Jack”—his real name Dick Coleman—about whom almost nothing is known except that he liked to kill Republicans. Captain Jack’s gang overtook the train, crying out to the guards, “Clear the track,” or die with the prisoners. Dewees, Homer Twitchell, and Sheriff Edgerton died in the first hail of bullets. The lynch mob took Howell, Willis, and Holland prisoner, then executed them in cold blood. At no point did the guards make any effort to protect the prisoners.

South of Coushatta, whites seized a black leader named Levin Allen, broke his arms and legs, and burned him alive.

January 22, 1883: in 1876, Crockett County, Tennessee, Sheriff R. G. Harris and nineteen armed men had removed four African Americans, Robert Smith, William Overton, George Wells, Jr., and P.M. Wells, from the local jail and beat them, killing one.

Federal prosecutors brought criminal charges against Sheriff Harris and his accomplices under the Force Act of 1871, commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1871. Introduced by progressive Republicans to extend the protection of federal law to African Americans in states that refused to protect them from racial terror and violence, the act made it a federal crime for individuals to conspire for the purpose of depriving others of their right to the equal protection of the law.

On January 22, 1883, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Harris dismissed the indictments against the sheriff and his accomplices and declared that the Force Act was unconstitutional because the Fourteenth Amendment limited Congress to taking remedial steps against state action that violated the Fourteenth Amendment and applied only to acts by states, not to acts of individuals.

Harris dealt a devastating blow to congressional efforts to combat the widespread violence and terrorism targeting black Southerners during Reconstruction and left African Americans unprotected against lynching.

1887 – 1898

Never Forget American Lynching
Strikers lynched

November 1, 1887: thirty-seven Black striking Louisiana sugar workers are murdered when Louisiana militia, aided by bands of “prominent citizens,” shoot unarmed workers trying to get a dollar-per-day wage. Two strike leaders are lynched.

Walter Asbury lynched

August 18, 1889: a mob in Chatham County, Georgia lynched Walter Asbury after a young woman accused him of assaulting her.    Without any evidence linking him to the crime, the mob of 300 white men in the town of Pooler captured Mr. Asbury and took him to an open field. They hanged him next to a railroad track, 10 miles west of Savannah, and riddled his body with bullets. Before his lynching, newspapers reported that Mr. Asbury asked for time to pray and in the final moments, begged that word be sent to his wife.

In an effort to terrorize the Black community, his body was left hanging all day with a sign that read: “This is the way we protect our homes.”  [EJI article]

Orion “Owen” Anderson

November 8, 1889: group of 40 white men took 18-year-old black Orion “Owen” Anderson from jail in Leesburg, Virginia and lynched him. Anderson was alleged to have worn a sack on his head and frightened the daughter of a prominent white man on her walk to school.

Though there were no witnesses to the “incident” and the girl could not identify her “attacker,” Anderson was arrested after a sack was found near him. He was jailed under accusation of attempted assault, and later reports claimed he confessed.

The vigilante group all wore wore. They took Anderson from his cell, carried him to the freight depot of the Richmond & Danville Railroad, hanged him, and shot his body full of bullets.

Leesburg’s newspaper, the Mirror, reported the lynching on November 14th, calling it “a terrible warning,” and stating, “The fate of the self-confessed author of the outrage should serve as a terrible admonition to the violators of the law for the protection of female virtue.”

March 9, 1892: three young black men, Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell, and Henry Steward, had opened the People’s Grocery Company in Memphis, Tennessee. Located across the street from a white-owned grocery store that had been the local black community’s only option, the new business reduced the white store’s profits and threatened the racial order by forcing whites to compete economically with blacks.

A white mob formed, intent on using force to put the black grocery out of business, and the black grocers armed themselves for defense. When the mob attacked, shots were fired and three white men were wounded. Moss, McDowell, and Steward were arrested and sensational newspaper reports published the next day fanned the flames of racial outrage. On March 9, 1892, a white mob stormed the Memphis jail, seized all three men and brutally lynched them. No one was punished for the killings.

Ida B. Wells, a 29-year-old black schoolteacher and journalist living in Memphis, was a friend of the three murdered men and was deeply impacted by their deaths. She published an editorial urging local blacks to “save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons.” As a result, a white mob destroyed her office and printing press. The mob had intended to lynch her but she was visiting Philadelphia at the time. More than 6000 African Americans heeded her call. Ms. Wells would devote her entire life to documenting and challenging the injustice of lynching through research, writing, speaking, and activism.

Isaac Brandon lynched

April 6, 1892: a mob of at least 80 white men broke into the jail in Charles City, Virginia, removed Isaac Brandon, a Black man, from his cell, ignoring the pleas of his young son, and lynched him on the courthouse lawn.

A few days prior, several white women alleged that a Black man had broken into their home and tried to assault them. When news of this event spread, suspicion quickly turned to Brandon. Allegations against Black people were rarely subject to scrutiny.

Isaac was promptly arrested and brought to the jail. Although no evidence linked him or his young son—whose name is not recorded in contemporary newspapers—to the alleged crime, both of them were arrested and held for several days in the jail.

On the evening of April 6, a mob of at least 80 white men arrived at the home of the sheriff and shared their plan to lynch Mr. Brandon. Although he was armed and charged with protecting those in his custody, the sheriff failed to protect Mr. Brandon or his son from the mob’s actions and the mob successfully broke through the jailhouse door without incident.

Mr. Brandon and his young son pleaded with the mob not to carry out the lynching as Mr. Brandon maintained his innocence, stating to the mob: “You are going to hang an innocent man.” Mr. Brandon’s young son clung to his father as the mob bound Mr. Brandon’s hands before his son was forced back into the jail cell as the mob took his father away. The mob hanged Mr. Brandon to a tree on the courthouse lawn.

Mr. Brandon’s body was left hanging outside the courthouse until the next morning, and contemporary accounts noted that members of the Black community were forced to bear witness to Mr. Brandon’s body in the town square. [EJI article]

Henry & Ephraim Grizzard lynched

April 27, 1892: two white girls reported that black men had assaulted them. Four or five black men were quickly arrested and taken to jail, including Ephraim Grizzard, and his brothers Henry and John. On this date, a mob seized and lynched Henry Grizzard.

April 30, 1892: a white mob lynched an African American man named Ephraim Grizzard in Nashville, Tennessee, just days after the lynching of his brother, Henry. In the middle of the afternoon, the unmasked mob dragged Ephraim Grizzard from the Nashville jail, stripped him naked, beat and stabbed him severely, and then hanged him from the Woodland Street Bridge. As Grizzard’s corpse swayed in the air, members of the mob riddled his body with bullets. Thousands of spectators viewed the brutal scene as Mr. Grizzard’s mutilated body was reportedly left on display for almost ninety minutes.

No one was held accountable for either of the brothers’ deaths. [We Remember Nashville article]

 Burrell Jones lynched

October 13, 1892: a large white lynch mob killed Burrell Jones, Moses Jones, Jim Packard, and an unidentified fourth victim – all young black men – outside Monroeville, Alabama. News reports from the time vary greatly in listing the young men’s names and ages, but several reports indicate that the eldest of the four was nineteen years old, and that at least one of the others may have been as young as fifteen.

A couple of days before the lynchings, a white farmer and his daughter were murdered and their home set on fire. In the aftermath, nearly a dozen African American men and boys were arrested, jailed, and accused of committing or being an accomplice to the crime.

After law enforcement officials were able to coerce one of the accused into giving a “confession” that implicated three others, all four young men were declared suspects.

Once news of the “confession” spread, a mob of white men from Monroeville and surrounding communities went to the jail and demanded a lynching. In response, law enforcement officials handed the four young black men over to the mob. The mob took them just outside the city, near a bridge over Flat Creek, and hanged and shot all four young men to death. According to various news reports, the corpses “were cut down as soon as life was extinct and the bodies torn to pieces by the maddened mob,” then piled in “a large heap” and burned.

Henry Smith lynched

Never Forget American Lynching

February 1, 1893: accused of raping and murdering a four-year-old girl, a posse hunted down Henry Smith was hunted down by a posse.

When returned to town, the local citizens proudly announced they would burn him alive. That boast was reported in news stories which traveled by telegraph and appeared in newspapers from coast to coast.

The killing of Smith was carefully orchestrated. On February 1, 1893, the townspeople constructed a large wooden platform near the center of town. And in view of thousands of spectators, Smith was tortured with hot irons for nearly an hour before being soaked with kerosene and set ablaze.

The extreme nature of Smith’s killing, and a celebratory parade that preceded it, received attention which included an extensive front-page account in the New York Times. And the noted anti-lynching journalist Ida B. Wells wrote about the Smith lynching in her landmark book, The Red Record.

“Never in the history of civilization has any Christian people stooped to such shocking brutality and indescribable barbarism as that which characterized the people of Paris, Texas, and adjacent communities on the first of February, 1893.”

Photographs of the torture and burning of Smith were taken and were later sold as prints and postcards. And according to some accounts, his agonized screams were recorded on a  primitive graphophone and later played before audiences as images of his killing were projected on a screen. [ThoughtCo story]

Sam Bush lynched

June 3, 1893: a mob lynched a Black man named Sam Bush (had allegedly sexually assaulted a white woman) on the courthouse lawn in Decatur, Illinois. About 500 white people had descended upon the jail and 25 unmasked white men broke into the jail. Although multiple jailers were on duty and charged with protecting the men and women in their custody, they neglected to use any type of force to ward off the mob, who, for 20 minutes, sought to break down Mr. Bush’s jail cell door with hammers and chisels.

By the time Bush was brought outside, 1,500 white people had gathered in front of a telegraph post directly in front of the courthouse lawn to lynch him. In the final moments of Bush’s life, he knelt to pray and, according to newspapers, called “on Jesus to come and take his soul and forgive the men who were murdering him.” The mob then stripped Mr. Bush of his clothes, forced him atop a car, and hanged him.

Following the lynching, members of the mob distributed pieces of the rope used to hang Mr. Bush to the crowd as “souvenirs”—among those in the crowd were doctors, lawyers, and at least one minister. [EJI article]

Seay J. Miller lynched

July 7, 1893: a crowd of over 5,000 white people lynched a Black man named Seay J. Miller in Bardwell, Kentucky, for allegedly killing Mary and Ruby Ray, two young white girls, despite ample evidence of his innocence.

Statements from Mr. Miller’s wife and from law enfocement witnesses indicated that Mr. Miller was not even in Kentucky on the date the girls were killed, and multiple eyewitnesses identified the Ray girls’ killer as a white man. Even John Ray, the girls’ father, was unconvinced of Mr. Miller’s guilt. Frank Gordon was the sole witness who implicated Mr. Miller, but he originally told police that the person he saw was a white man—as did other witnesses. Mr. Gordon changed his statement only after the county sheriff threatened to charge him as an accomplice if he did not do so. This same sheriff handed Mr. Miller over to a crowd of thousands of white citizens to be lynched.

Around 3 pm, the heavily-armed mob hanged Mr. Miller from a telephone pole, shot hundreds of bullets into his body, then left his corpse hanging from the pole for hours. Afterward, white people cut off his fingers, toes, and ears as “souvenirs,” and then burned Mr. Miller’s body in a public fire.  [EJI article]

Bob Hudson killed

October 9, 1893: according to reports, in Weakley County, Tennessee the wife of a Bob Hudson, both African-American, had filed charges of assault and battery against a white man, who was subsequently arrested and fined

On this date, ten masked white men dragged Mrs. Hudson from her home and whipped her severely. When Bob Hudson ran to his wife’s defense, the mob shot and killed him. Including Bob Hudson, at least five African American victims of racial terror lynching were killed in Weakley County, Tennessee, between 1877 and 1950. [EJI story]

Interracial Couple lynched

January 12, 1896: a mob of twenty men gathered around the home of Patrick and Charlotte “Lottie” Morris in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, and set it ablaze. Mr. Morris, a white railroad hand, and his wife, a black woman, had garnered the ill will of the community “on account of their difference in color” as well as their operation of a gathering place and hotel for black people.

The mob first attempted to burn down the Morris’ home at 11:00 that night, but Mr. Morris discovered the fire and extinguished it. By midnight, the mob set a fire that could not be controlled. When the couple attempted to escape the flames through the front door of their home they were met with a barrage of gunfire. Mrs. Morris was shot and killed at the doorstep while Mr. Morris was maimed by a shot to his leg.

The Morris’ twelve-year-old son witnessed the events and escaped through the back door of the home. As the boy ran for safety, the mob shot into the darkness after him but missed. Patrick Morris Jr. spent the night hiding underneath a nearby home in the neighborhood.

The next morning, community members found that much of the Morris’s home had been destroyed by the fire. Mr. and Mrs. Morris’s charred remains were found on their bed inside the home. A coroner’s examination revealed that one of the bodies had been decapitated, though it was unclear whether this act was carried out before or after death. Charlotte Morris was sixty-eight years old and Patrick Morris was fifty-eight years old. [Black Then article]

Sidney Randolph lynched
Randolph, as depicted by the Evening Star

July 4, 1896: Sidney Randolph, a native of Georgia in his mid-twenties, was lynched in Rockville, Maryland on July 4, 1896 by an officially-unidentified group of white men from Montgomery County. The full story of Sidney Randolph’s murder was connected to the mystery involving an axe-wielding attack on the Buxton family of Gaithersburg in May of that same year, and the subsequent death of the youngest child, Sadie Buxton. Though professional detectives were brought in from both Washington and Baltimore to investigate the case, local residents of Gaithersburg took it upon themselves to find and/or create circumstantial evidence implicating Sidney Randolph, a stranger to the area who had no motive and consistently maintained his innocence. Removed to the jail in Baltimore to avoid an immediate lynching, Randolph survived repeated interrogations while imprisoned from May 25 until July 4, when a masked mob of white men dragged him from his cell in the Rockville jail, brutally beat him, and hanged him from a tree just outside of town along Route 355. His murderers were never identified or brought to justice for this crime. [Montgomery History article]

William Wardley Lynched

December 7, 1896: William Wardley, a Black man, was lynched by an armed mob of white Irondale residents. That day, Mr. Wardley, along with two companions, attempted to purchase apples from a local grocery store. The merchant refused to accept Mr. Wardley’s money because he assumed it was counterfeit..

Based on this accusation, a mob that included a local minister and a police constable pursued Mr. Wardley and his companions before fatally shooting Mr. Wardley. His body was later found along a railroad track a little over a mile outside of town. His two companions survived.

After the lynching of Mr. Wardley, the U.S. Treasury Department investigated the counterfeit claim and proved the money was real. However, the Treasury Department’s report did not mention Mr. Wardley’s death, and white residents continued to maintain the false counterfeit claim to justify the mob’s violent actions. The local press, sympathetic to the mob, reported that Mr. Wardley caused his own death to avoid capture by the authorities. No one was ever held accountable for William Wardley’s lynching. [EJI article]

Frazier Baker

February 22, 1898: Frazier Baker, an African American who had recently been appointed postmaster of Lake City, S.C., and his infant daughter, Julia, were killed and his wife and three other daughters were maimed for life when a lynch mob set after them. Citizens of the small town of 500 residents set fire to the post office, where the Bakers lived, and shot them as they ran out.

John Henry James

Never Forget American Lynching

July 12, 1898: a Black man named John Henry James was lynched near Charlottesville, Virginia after being falsely accused of assaulting a white woman. Although at least 150 unmasked white men were involved in the lynching – and the police chief and county sheriff were present when Mr. James was lynched – no one was ever held accountable for his killing. Mr. James’s lynching was later celebrated by several hundred more white people who gathered to see his body as it was left hanging for hours. [EJI article]

Never Forget American Lynching

1897 – 1898

Charles Lewis Lynched

December 10, 1897: in Lawrence County, Mississippi a white family was found murdered. A surviving 5-year-old child claimed a black man did it. Officials brought several black male “suspects” before her and she identified one — a man named Charles Lewis — as the perpetrator. A mob of hundreds immediately formed and lynched Lewis.

Although early accounts alleged only one perpetrator, the white community was unsatisfied to lynch only one man, and continued to “investigate” the white family’s murders.

December 15, 1897: a group of 30 white men approached a group of black men, including an acquaintance of Charles Lewis and coerced him into saying that a man named Tom Waller had also been involved in the crime. Though another man in the group insisted this was not true, the unsubstantiated allegation was enough to seal Mr. Waller’s fate.

Soon after he was taken into custody, a growing mob of 400 people seized Waller from law enforcement and conducted a “sham trial”; newspapers reported that several men “held court under a tree,” where Waller was interrogated as a rope was placed around his neck. Some men reportedly suggested that the “trial” be delayed a week because the “evidence” was so scant, but the rest of mob rejected that idea and instead insisted that Waller be lynched that night.

Newspapers later explained that the mob preferred to lynch Mr. Waller immediately because waiting “meant standing guard all night in the cold, and most of those present did not relish this at all.”

As the hundreds of white men in the mob grew “hungry,” press accounts described, “a wagon load of provisions” including fish and lobster was brought forward and everyone “indulged in a hearty supper” before continuing their deadly plan.

The mob ultimately hanged Tom Waller on the night of December 15th, on the same hill where Mr. Lewis had been lynched five days earlier, and left his body hanging until 10am the next morning.

Frazier Baker Lynched

February 22, 1898: Frazier Baker, an African American who had recently been appointed postmaster of Lake City, S.C., and his infant daughter, Julia, were killed and his wife and three other daughters were maimed for life when a lynch mob set after them. Citizens of the small town of 500 residents set fire to the post office, where the Bakers lived, and shot them as they ran out. [Black Past article]

Four Lynched

August 10, 1898: a white mob seized Will Sanders, Rilla Weaver, Dennis Ricord, and Manse Castle from a jail in Clarendon, Arkansas, and lynched them before they could stand trial.

A few weeks prior, a white woman named Erneze Orr allegedly hired the four to kill her husband, John T. Orr. After the four were arrested for this alleged offense, a mob of white community members quickly formed—and on three separate occasions, the mob convened at the jail intent on lynching them. Despite these repeated threats, officers refused to move the group to a safer location as they awaited trial.

On August 10, the white mob stormed the jail a final time. Rather than protecting the people in his custody, the sheriff turned the jail keys over to the mob. Newspapers reported that he had been persuaded to open the jail doors and let the mob enter “by their earnestness.”

Mrs. Orr, the white woman who allegedly orchestrated her husband’s murder, was also being held at the jail. She reportedly poisoned herself shortly before the mob’s arrival. Though contemporary reports note that she was still alive when the mob stormed the jail, the mob left her and took only the four Black people from the jail.

The mob hung Mr. Sanders, Ms. Weaver, Mr. Ricord, and Mr. Castle from the tramway of a nearby sawmill with signs affixed to them that read “This is the penalty for murder and rape.” Their bodies were then left on display for hours to terrorize the entire Black community. [EJI article]

Never Forget American Lynching

1899

Sam Hose lynched

April 23, 1899: Sam Hose had been employed by a wealthy white man named Alfred Cranford in Newnan, Georgia. Cranford owed Hose money but refused to pay him and as arguments escalated between the two men, Cranford bought a gun and threatened Hose. When Cranford was killed soon after, Hose was accused of killing the white man and assaulting his wife.

A $500 reward was posted for Hose’s capture and hundreds of white residents launched what was described as the “largest manhunt in the state’s history.” Local newspapers published sensationalized accounts of the allegations against Hose, dehumanizing him and reinforcing dangerous racial stereotypes of Black men as predators.

He was captured and because Governor Candler had ordered out the troops, the mob decided that the execution needed to take place immediately and within minutes, Sam Hose was hanging from a tree. Hose’s execution was extremely brutal. He initially refused to confess, but after his ears were cut from his head, he claimed responsibility for the crimes. The Atlanta Constitution reported that 2000 witnesses watched as he was burned alive and his body cut and mutilated. Peculiarly, the man responsible for dousing Hose’s body and clothes in kerosene was a stranger from the North, who was reported as saying that, though he did not know how people from his part of the country would respond to this, he felt the need to avenge the terrible crimes that had been committed. Even Hose’s bones were taken from the scene as souvenirs.

Lije Strickland and Albert Sewell lynched

April 24, 1899: at some point during his lynching, Sam Hose (see above) was said to have implicated Lije Strickland, a preacher, in the murder. That same night, the same mob fell upon Rev. Strickland and despite pleas and explanations from the plantation owner Major Thomas who repeatedly vouched for Strickland’s innocence, a crowd took Strickland. Despite Thomas’s repeated pleadings and insistence of his innocence from Strickland himself, he was murdered.

The Detroit Evening News reported, “The body of Lige Strickland, the negro who was implicated in the Cranford murder by Sam Hose, was found this morning swinging to the limb of a persimmon tree…. Before death was allowed to end the sufferings of the Negro, his ears were cut off and the small finger of his left hand was severed at the second joint. One of these trophies was in Palmetto to-day. On the chest of the Negro was a scrap of blood-stained paper, attached with an ordinary pin. On one side this paper contained the following: “We must protect our Ladies.”

The same day, the crowd also sought out and lynched an Albert Sewell, a Black man, who had reportedly voiced a negative view of the Hose and Strickland lynchings.  [Times-Herald article]

Mitchell Daniel lynched

April 27, 1899:  a Black man named Mitchell Daniel was lynched by a white mob in Lee County, Georgia, for “talking too much” about the brutal lynching of Sam Hose four days earlier.

As a Black community leader, Daniel reportedly spoke out against the injustice of lynching and denounced Hose’s fate. This soon made him a target.

And on April 27 Mitchell Daniel’s dead body was discovered on the side of a Lee County, Georgia, road—riddled with bullets. Sparse local news reports attributed the lynching to Mr. Daniel’s white neighbors, but no one was ever held accountable for his death.

Day of Fasting

June 4, 1899: the Afro-American Council declared a national day of fasting to protest lynching and violence against African Americans.

Frank Embree lynched

July 22, 1899: a white mob abducted Frank Embree from officers transporting him to stand trial and lynched him in front of a crowd of over 1,000 onlookers in Fayette, Missouri.

About one month earlier, Frank Embree had been arrested and accused of assaulting a white girl. Though he was scheduled to stand trial on July 22, the town’s residents grew impatient and decided to take “justice” into their own hands by lynching Mr. Embree instead.

According to newspaper accounts, the mob attacked officers transporting Embree, seized him, and loaded him into a wagon, then drove him to the site of the alleged assault. Once there, Mr. Embree’s captors immediately tried to extract a confession by stripping him naked and whipping him in front of the assembled crowd, but he steadfastly maintained his innocence despite this abuse. After withstanding more than one hundred lashes to his body, Embree began screaming and told the men that he would confess. Rather than plead for his life, Embree begged his attackers to stop the torture and kill him swiftly. Covered in blood from the whipping, with no courtroom or legal system in sight, Embree offered a confession to the waiting lynch mob and was immediately hanged from a tree.

Never Forget American Lynching

For subsequent chronologies, see…

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

On December 22, 1922 a girl was born in Chicago.  The parents, Irish-Catholic and conservative in their views, named their baby Mary Jane. They had no irony in mind, but it would turn out to be exactly that.

Mary Jane Rathburn grew up in Minneapolis and attended a Catholic grammar school. As was the case in many schools during the 30s, teachers physically punished recalcitrant students.  The problem with caning a recalcitrant student is they might fight back.

Mary Jane did. Mary Jane left school. Mary Jane left home. Mary Jane became a waitress, a job that would be her primary one for most of her life. At least the primary one if someone asked her, “So what do you do for a living?”

Mary Jane was far more than a waitress.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

Early activism

She campaigned for the right of miners to form unions. In the late 1940s, she worked as an activist promoting abortion rights for Minneapolis women.

In between, during World War II and living in San Francisco, she married, had a baby in 1955, and named her Peggy. Divorced, Mary Jane  and Peggy moved to Reno, Nevada. In  1974, a drunk driver hit and killed Peggy.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

San Francisco again

Mary Jane moved back to San Francisco.

In 1974 she met fellow activist Dennis Peron at Cafe Flore. They shared a joint.

Cafe Flore was in the Castro district, a largely gay area of San Francisco. During the war, the armed services dishonorably discharged soldiers found to be gay and many of those discharges took place at the port of San Francisco. Many stayed.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

Becoming Brownie Mary

In  the late 1970s Mary Jane began to supplement her income by baking brownies. She decided that adding marijuana to her brownies would make them what she described as “magically delicious.”

Mary Jane was not the first to use cannabis as an ingredient. Humans had been using it for centuries. Most famously in the west was the Alice B Toklas’s fudge recipe that was included in her 1954 cookbook.

In 1981 the law caught up with Mary.  It raided her apartment and hauled away “35 lbs of margarine, 50 lbs of flour and sugar, 22 dozen eggs, 21,000 sq ft of plastic wrap, and 20 lbs of high-grade cannabis.”

Mary was upset they said it was margarine. She said she only used the best butter.

In order to pay for her legal defense, she sold her belongings – including the kitchen table.

A judge sentenced her to 500 hours of community service which she willingly completed by working at a hospital with young men who were dying of the yet-unnamed AIDS.

For the rest of her life she continued to minister to AIDS patients and providing for some relief by bringing her increasingly famous brownies. She bought nearly all the ingredients with her own money. Somehow, the marijuana appeared for free from generous growers.

Two other arrests occurred, but her reputation of assistance led to a lenient sentence. The last charge was dropped.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

Medical Marijuana

As the AIDS crisis grew and the use of cannabis demonstrated its  obvious and effective analgesic properties, Brownie Mary became increasingly involved in the Proposition P campaign to recommend its legalization for medicinal use in San Francisco in 1991.  She received a standing ovation at its hearings.

The proposition passed overwhelmingly but not until 1996’s passage of Proposition 215 was the recommendation legalized.

In 2008 the medical marijuana group “Americans for Safe Access” estimated that California had more than 200,000 doctor-qualified medical cannabis users.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

 San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

In 1992 San Francisco declared a ‘Brownie Mary Day’  to honor her work with dying patients in the AIDS ward. 5,000 people rallied in her praise.

That same year, she and Dennis Peron founded the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club. The Buyers Club was meant to provide a place for safe distribution of medical cannabis to people with cancer, AIDS,  and other diseases. Akin somewhat to the Prohibition speakeasies of the 1920s, the product was illegal and raids regular.

Just weeks before the Prop 215 vote, police arrested Dennis Peron.

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

Disabilities catch up

By the mid-1990s, arthritic knees forced her to retire but she continued to bake and support positive marijuana legislation.

A Marijuana dot com article said, “Her sympathies were always with the underdog, the poor, the busted and the downtrodden,” John Entwistle Jr., a former legalization advocate and longtime friend of Rathbun, told Marijuana.com. “One could see that she had overcome tremendous difficulties in her own life and that created a natural empathy and sense of compassion for others that was tangible and sincere.”

Brownie Mary  died of a heart attack at age 76 on April 10, 1999.

On April 17, 300 people, including her friend, district attorney Terence Hallinan, attended a candlelight vigil held in her honor in the Castro.

Hallinan told a crowd of several hundred people gathered at her memorial that she was a hero who will “one day be remembered as the Florence Nightingale of the medical marijuana movement.”

Friend and partner activist Dennis Peron said, “I figure right now she’s making a deal with God: If you let me in, I’ll make you a dozen brownies on the house.’ ”

Activist Brownie Mary Jane

President Trump Wall

President Trump Wall

I will make Mexico pay…

June 16, 2015: Donald Trump announced his campaign for the presidency and first mentioned his idea to build a southern border wall.

I will build a great wall ― and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me ―and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.

Throughout his campaign, Trump regularly used a call and response with his crowds to reinforce his promise to build a wall and vilified immigrants from Mexico and Central and South America.

President Trump Wall

It’s not a fence…

August 25, 2015: Candidate Trump tweeted: Jeb Bush just talked about my border proposal to build a “fence.” It’s not a fence, Jeb, it’s a WALL, and there’s a BIG difference!

April 1, 2016: Candidate Trump tweeted: We must build a great wall between Mexico and the United States!

Aug. 31, 2016 — Candidate Trump met in Mexico City with Pena Nieto. The subject of who will pay for the border wall did not come up. At a news conference following their meeting, Pena Nieto said the bilateral relationship should be based on mutual respect.

September 1, 2016: Candidate Trump tweeted: Mexico will pay for the wall – 100%! #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #ImWithYou

November 10, 2016:  two days after the election Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani stated in a CNN interview that President-elect Trump doesn’t need the support of Congress to build the wall; he can simply accomplish it through executive order. He also maintained that large portions of the wall have already been approved:

“The wall is going to take a while. Obviously he’s going to build it. It’s a campaign promise. He’s not going to break a campaign promise..he can do it by executive order by just reprogramming money within the, within the immigration service…And not only that, they have actually approved a wall for certain portions of the border that hasn’t even been built yet. So you could take a year building that out, with what has been approved.”

President Trump Wall

A fence would be OK…

November 13, 2016: Trump appeared on 60 MinutesHe said a fence would be OK, too.

STAHL (60 Minutes): You’re— you know, they are talking about a fence in the Republican Congress, would you accept a fence?

TRUMP: For certain areas I would, but certain areas, a wall is more appropriate. I’m very good at this, it’s called construction…there could be some fencing. 

January 11, 2017: after repeating many times that Mexico would pay for the wall and in what would turn out to be the first of many contentious press conferences, President Trump clarified that Mexico might not be paying the upfront costs for the wall after all.

I want to get the wall started. I don’t want to wait a year and a half until I make my deal with Mexico. They will reimburse us for the cost of the wall, whether it’s a tax or whether it’s a payment. Probably less likely that it’s a payment.”

President Trump Wall

Mexico will pay back later…

January 6, 2017: President Trump tweeted: The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later!

January 24, 2017: President Trump tweeted: Big day planned on NATIONAL SECURITY tomorrow. Among many other things, we will build the wall!

January 25, 2017:President Trump issued an executive order entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements“. It declared:

In accordance with existing law, including the Secure Fence Act and IIRIRA, take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border;

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto then responded in an official address. He stated:

I am dismayed by and condemn the decision made by the United States to continue building a wall that for many years, far from uniting us, has divided us. Mexico does not believe in walls. I have said it again and again: Mexico will not pay for any wall.

January 26, 2017: Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, cancelled his scheduled meeting with President Donald J. Trump in Washington the following week, rejecting the visit after Trump ordered a border wall between the two nations.

President Trump Wall

Cost questioned

February 6, 2017: some Republican lawmakers  expressed skepticism that the border wall was worth the price tag and asked that Trump offer off-sets for the cost.

Texas Senator, John Cornyn said: “I have concerns about spending un-offset money, which adds to the debt, period. I don’t think we’re just going to be able to solve border security with a physical barrier because people can come under, around it and through it.”

February 9, 2017: a leaked report from the Department of Homeland Security put the cost of building the wall (and fencing) at around three times as much as Trump originally estimated, $21 billion in total, and estimates that construction would take at least three years to complete. The report did not take into account “major physical barriers, like mountains, in areas where it would not be feasible to build.”

February 24, 2017: via the website FedBizOpps.gov the federal government posted their intention to request proposals from construction companies on March 6 to build the wall. The posting read:

The Dept. of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intends on issuing a solicitation in electronic format on or about March 6, 2017 for the design and build of several prototype wall structures in the vicinity of the United States border with Mexico. The procurement will be conducted in two phases, the first requiring vendors to submit a concept paper of their prototype(s) by March 10, 2017, which will result in the evaluation and down select of offerors by March 20, 2017. The second phase will require the down select of phase 1 offerors to submit proposals in response to the full RFP by March 24, 2017, which will include price. Multiple awards are contemplated by mid-April for this effort. An option for additional miles may be included in each contract award.

The deadline was eventually delayed until April 4.

President Trump Wall

A Great Wall…

February 28, 2016: In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump declared:

We must restore integrity and the rule of law to our borders…For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.

March 16, 2017: President Trump unveiled his budget blueprint for 2018, which included $2.6 billion for the wall. In the spending outline for the Department of Homeland Security it read:

The President’s 2018 Budget…Secures the borders of the United States by investing $2.6 billion in high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology, including funding to plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border

He also requests $1.5 billion to be added to spending for the current fiscal year. The administration began to that the funding for the wall be tied to the spending bills aimed at preventing government shutdown at the end of April.

President Trump Wall

A solar wall…

June 21, 2017: Trump told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, “We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself and this way Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right? Is that good?

The solar wall idea was later abandoned.

President Trump Wall

President Trump Wall

A see-thru wall…

July 12, 2017: Trump added a new component to the wall: it had to be see-through. And, for the first time, he proposed a “steel wall with openings.”

One of the things with the wall is you need transparency. You have to be able to see through it,” Trump told reporters on Air Force One. “So it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what’s on the other side of the wall.

“When they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don’t see them – they hit you on the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It’s over.

January 11, 2018: Trump explained to The Wall Street Journal that border officials told him “they need see-through” and indicated a concrete wall might be the wrong thing because of that.

We need a form of fence or window,” Trump said.

If you have a wall this thick and it’s solid concrete from ground to 32 feet high, which is a high wall, much higher than people planned. You go 32 feet up and you don’t know who’s over here,” he explained. “If you don’t know who’s there, you’ve got a problem.”

He also said the wall did not need to run the course of the entire border because of natural barriers. But he also insisted “the wall’s identical” to what he promised on the campaign trail.

January 18, 2018:  Trump tweeted in response to a Washington Post report that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had said “a concrete wall from sea to shining sea” was not going to happen and that Trump’s campaign promises about the wall were “uninformed.”

President Trump Wall

A perfecto wall…

March 13, 2018: President Trump reviewed eight prototypes  for the wall in San Diego during a visit to the border.

All of the designs were concrete, but only one included the see-through component Trump said was necessary. He also repeated the need for a tall wall, comparing some migrants to “professional mountain climbers.”

We want to make it perfecto,” he said of the wall.

President Trump Wall

Proud to shut down the government…

December 11, 2018: President Trump Meeting with Democratic Leaders. President Trump said he would be proud to “shut down the government for border security” in an Oval Office exchange with  then House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The leaders went back and forth over border security, building the wall, and the congressional support and votes needed to pass funding legislation on this issue.  [full transcript of meeting]

 

December 21, 2018: President Trump shared a design of a tall fence on Twitter, which he referred to as a “Steel Slat Barrier.”

“Totally effective while at the same time beautiful!” he said.

President Trump Wall

Partial shutdown commences

December 22, 2018: with Democratic leaders refusing to provide funds for President Trump’s wall project and President Trump refusing to negotiate to  a budget compromise, a partial shutdown of the federal government began.

President Trump Wall

December 25, 2018: President Trump said, “”I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country.”

December 31, 2018: “An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media,” President Trump tweeted ahead of New Year’s Eve. “Some areas will be all concrete but the experts at Border Patrol prefer a Wall that is see through (thereby making it possible to see what is happening on both sides). Makes sense to me!”

The president was evidently reacting to a Los Angeles Times interview in which Kelly said, “To be honest, it’s not a wall.”

“The president still says ‘wall’ – oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it,” Kelly told the Times.

President Trump Wall

The Wall is coming

President Trump Wall

January 5, 2019: with Trump and the Democratic leadership remaining adamant in their positions on building a wall, in a tweet President Trump referenced the popular Game of Thrones slogan, Winter Is Coming, with “The Wall is Coming,” with a picture of himself over the wall.

January 6, 2019:President Trump tweeted, “”We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger & less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.”

January 8, 2019: President Trump made a national address  on the escalating controversy over U.S.-Mexico border wall funding, which was continued to cause a partial federal government shutdown.

January 9, 2019: President Trump stormed out of a White House meeting with congressional leaders after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would not fund a border wall even if he agreed to reopen the government, escalating a confrontation that has shuttered large portions of the government for 19 days and counting.

Democrats emerged from the meeting in the White House Situation Room declaring that the president had thrown a “temper tantrum” and slammed his hands on the table before leaving with an abrupt “bye-bye.” Republicans disputed the hand slam and blamed Democratic intransigence for prolonging the standoff.

January 10, 2019: as the government shutdown neared the end of its third week and with no additional negotiations scheduled with congressional leaders, President Trump left Washington to visit the southern border.

In brief remarks to reporters Trump left open the possibility of declaring a state of emergency, which could allow him to bypass Congress to fund the wall.

President Trump Wall

Let’s Make a Deal

January 19, 2019: President Trump announced that he would extend deportation protections for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion in funding for a wall along the border with Mexico.

The president said he would extend the legal status of those facing deportation and support bipartisan legislation that would allow some immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children, known as Dreamers, to keep their work permits and be protected from deportation for three more years if they were revoked.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of his remarks that she considered his proposal a “nonstarter,” in part because it offered no permanent pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.

President Trump Wall

No Deal

January 25, 2019: Trump agreed to reopen the federal government for three weeks while negotiations continued over how to secure the nation’s southwestern border, backing down after a monthlong standoff failed to force Democrats to give him billions of dollars for his long-promised wall.

February 2019

New Mexico Troop withdrawal

February 5, 2019: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico ordered the withdrawal of the majority of the state’s National Guard troops from the U.S. border with Mexico, in a move that challenges President Trump’s description of a security crisis.

Grisham announced the partial withdrawal shortly before Trump’s State of the Union address. Her Republican predecessor deployed National Guard troops to the border in April 2018 at Trump’s suggestion, and 118 remained there before Tuesday’s reversal.

“New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.

At the same time, the governor said a small contingent — around a dozen guardsmen — will remain in the southwestern corner of the state to assist with humanitarian needs in a remote corridor for cross-border immigration. She also mobilized state police to assist local law enforcement.

California Troop withdrawal

February 11, 2019: Gov. Gavin Newsom of California ordered the withdrawal of nearly 400 of his state’s National Guard troops from deployment along the border with Mexico and assigned them to other duties.

The step to rescind state authorization for the border deployment was a sharp rebuke of President Trump’s continued warnings that undocumented migrants present a national security risk to the United States.

Under a “general order,”110 California National Guard troops would be redirected to support the state’s central fire agency, Cal Fire, and another 100 will work on statewide “intelligence operations” aimed at international criminal drug gangs.

“National Emergency”

February 15, 2019: President Trump declared a national emergency on the border with Mexico in order to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him to build a wall there, transforming a highly charged policy dispute into a confrontation over the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.

Trying to regain momentum after losing a grinding two-month battle with lawmakers over funding the wall, Mr. Trump asserted that the flow of drugs, criminals and illegal immigrants from Mexico constituted a profound threat to national security that justified unilateral action.

“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or the other,” he said in a televised statement in the Rose Garden barely 13 hours after Congress passed a spending measure without the money he had sought. “It’s an invasion,” he added. “We have an invasion of drugs and criminals coming into our country.”

Emergency challenged

February 18, 2019: a coalition of 16 states challenged President Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argued that the president did not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it was Congress that controls spending. [Read the full lawsuit here.]

House votes to overturn emergency

February 26, 2019: the House voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the Mexican border, with just 13 Republicans joining Democrats to try to block his effort to divert funding to a border wall without congressional approval.

House Republican leaders kept defections low after feverishly working to assuage concerns among rank-and-file members about protecting congressional powers and about the precedent that Trump could be setting for Democratic presidents to use for their own purposes.

March 2019

“Shoot them in the legs”

In March 2019: at an Oval Office meeting, President Trump ordered advisors to shut down the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico — by noon the next day.

The advisers feared the president’s edict would trap American tourists in Mexico, strand children at schools on both sides of the border and create an economic meltdown in two countries.

Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him. [NYT article]

Money for the Wall

March 10, 2019: President Trump requested $8.6 billion in the annual budget proposal for a border wall. He also asked Congress for another $3.6 billion to replenish military construction funds he had diverted to begin work on the wall by declaring a national emergency, for a total of $12.2 billion.

Senate votes to overturn emergency

March 14, 2019: the Senate easily voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to what lawmakers in both parties deemed executive overreach by a president determined to build his border wall over Congress’s objections.

The 59-41 vote on the House-passed measure set up the first veto of Trump’s presidency. It was not overwhelming enough to override Mr. Trump’s promised veto, but Congress has now voted to block a presidential emergency declaration for the first time — and on one of the core promises that animated Mr. Trump’s political rise, the vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

Never before has a president asked for funding, Congress has not provided it, and the president then has used the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to spend the money anyway,” Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, said. “The problem with this is that after a Revolutionary War against a king, our nation’s founders gave to Congress the power to approve all spending so that the president would not have too much power. This check on the executive is a crucial source of our freedom.”

Veto

March 15, 2019: as he had said he would, President Trump vetoed the bill denying his declaration of a national emergency.

No override

March 26, 2019: the House failed to overturn President Trump’s veto, leaving the declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border intact despite the bipartisan passage of a resolution attempting to nullify the president’s circumvention of Congress to fund his border wall.

The 248-to-181 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to kill the national emergency declaration.

Litigation stops funds

US District Court

May 24, 2019: Judge Haywood Gilliam of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted a preliminary injunction that prevented the Trump administration from redirecting funds under the national emergency declaration issued on February 15.

Gilliam, who is overseeing a pair of lawsuits over border wall financing, ruled that the administration’s efforts likely overstepped the president’s statutory authority.

The injunction applied specifically to some of the money the administration intended to allocate from other agencies, and it limited wall construction projects in El Paso, Tex., and Yuma, Ariz.

The ruling quoted from a Fox News interview with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, in which he said that the wall “is going to get built, with or without Congress.”

US Appeals Court

July 3, 2019: the Ninth Circuit federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld a block on President Trump’s attempt to use $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to construct a wall along the southwestern border.

The divided three-judge panel agreed with a lower court’s decision that ruled the Trump administration did not have the authority to reallocate the funds without congressional approval. The administration immediately appealed.

Two of the three judges on the panel affirmed that the administration could not build the barriers during future challenges.

“We conclude that it is best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction.”

Supreme Court

July 26, 2019:  the Supreme Court gave President Trump a victory in his fight for a wall along the Mexican border by allowing the administration to begin using $2.5 billion in Pentagon money for the construction.

In a 5-to-4 ruling, the court overturned an appellate decision and said that the administration could tap the money while litigation over the matter proceeds. But that will most likely take many months or longer, allowing Mr. Trump to move ahead before the case returns to the Supreme Court after further proceedings in the appeals court.

President Trump Wall

Second Veto

October 15, 2019: President Trump issued his second veto against legislation seeking to end his national emergency at the southwestern border, rejecting bipartisan objections to his efforts to obtain funds for a border wall.

His veto returned the resolution to Congress where it was unlikely to garner the two-thirds majority needed there to override the veto.

The announcement came exactly seven months after Trump had issued the first veto of his presidency against a nearly identical resolution that would have terminated the national emergency. He declared the emergency earlier this year after Congress declined to designate money for his border wall; he has sought to allocated funds from other government agencies to the southwestern border.

Trump, announcing the veto, noted that he had vetoed the earlier measure “because it was a dangerous resolution that would undermine United States sovereignty and threaten the lives and safety of countless Americans.” [NYT article]

From Facebook page of Ticio Escobar November 1, 2019. Día de los muertos. Frontera México Estados Unidos
Cutting through the wall

President Trump Wall

November 2, 2019: according to the Washington Post, smugglers were using a commercial saw to cut through newly built sections of the president’s wall— which is made of steel bollards that are partially filled with concrete.

The tool can cut through the wall’s steel and concrete in minutes when fitted with the appropriate blades, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have said. After cutting the steel bollards, smugglers have taken to returning them to their original positions in hope of reusing the passage without being detected by border officials.

Agents mended the breach, however, repaired sections are still targeted by smugglers, as it was easier to cut through the welded metal than to make new cuts. And the repair policy had also been targeted by smugglers who attempt to fool agents into believing a severed bollard has been fixed by applying putty to the site of the cut. [VOX story]

Funding Wall limited

December 10, 2019: Judge David Briones of the US District Court for the Western District of Texas said  that the administration cannot use military construction funds to build additional barriers on the southern border.

The ruling was a setback for the administration, which has sought to shore up money for the President’s signature campaign promise of a border wall, and marks yet another high-profile blow the courts have dealt Trump on key issues, including his immigration policies and his fight to not turn his tax returns over to Congress. It targeted only one set of Pentagon funds, however, leaving in place the money the Supreme Court allowed to be used earlier this year. [CNN article]

President Trump Wall

2020

Court allows Wall funding

January 8, 2020: in a 2-1 ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the Trump administration to use a certain set of Defense Department funds for the construction of the border wall after a lower court blocked the administration from dipping into them on December 10.

The ruling marked a victory for President Donald Trump, who had sought to shore up funds for his signature border wall. The money was separate from other funds that the Supreme Court allowed to be used last year on July 26, 2019. The case was still ongoing.

Wall’s cost

January 19 2020: based on a status report that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is overseeing wall construction, had released, on this date, NPR reported that the pricetag for President Trump’s border wall had topped $11 billion — or nearly $20 million a mile — and would become the most expensive wall of its kind anywhere in the world. $11 billion had been identified since Trump took office to construct 576 miles of a new “border wall system.”

President Trump Wall
Source: Customs and Border Protection Credit: Sean McMinn/NPR
Native American burial site desecrated 

February 7, 2020: CBS News reported that US border contractors had begun “controlled blasting” at a sacred burial grounds where members of the Tohono O’odham Nation buried their ancestors to make way for President Donald Trump’s US-Mexico border wall

The site is located inside Arizona’s Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on land adjacent to the Tohono O’odham Nation. Archaeologists touring the site before construction said they found human remains dating back 10,000 years.

“The construction contractor has begun controlled blasting, in preparation for new border wall system construction, within the Roosevelt Reservation at Monument Mountain in the US Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector,” the US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

President Trump Wall

June 23, 2020: the NY Times reported that President Trump traveled to Yuma, Arizona with a renewed anti-immigrant appeal, bragging about the progress his administration has made in constructing a “big, beautiful wall.”

“My administration has done more than any administration in history to secure our southern border,” Mr. Trump boasted, citing the completion of about 220 miles of what he called a “powerful new” wall on the border. “It’s the most powerful and comprehensive border wall structure anywhere in the world.”

Border and immigration officials lauded his “leadership and determination” and repeatedly thanked the president for what Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, called “220 new miles of wall system that gives us an enhanced capability that we never had.”

In fact, all but three of the 216 miles of border wall constructed by the Trump administration are essentially much larger replacements of existing, dilapidated fences or vehicle barriers — a fact that Mr. Trump and his immigration advisers routinely dismiss.

President Trump Wall

Judicial Setback

October 9, 2020: the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that President Trumps use of emergency powers to allocate millions of dollars in funding for the construction of a southern border wall was illegal, the latest blow to the Trump administration’s effort to limit immigration.

In the 2-1 decision, the court upheld a December 2019 district court summary judgment in favor of a request from the advocacy groups the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition against Defense Secretary Mark Esper, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and “all persons acting under their direction … from using military construction funds appropriated for other purposes to build a border wall.” [The Hill article]

President Trump Wall

Last stand

January 12, 2021: a week before the end of his term, President Trump traveled to Alamo, Texas, near the border, to mark the completion of more than 450 miles of the border wall.

The wall, which Trump repeatedly cited over the last four years as an accomplishment, cost US taxpayers — not Mexico — billions and became emblematic of the President’s restrictionist immigration policies, which largely sealed the US off from immigrants and refugees.

During a brief speech near the wall, Trump listed off a series of those policies, citing them as accomplishments and calling them “historic.”

Many of the policies rolled out over the last four years were unprecedented, including requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico until their immigration court date in the US and swiftly removing migrants arriving at the southern border under a public health order. Immigrant advocates and lawyers had challenged the policies in court, arguing that they put migrants in harm’s way. [CNN article]

President Trump Wall

Trump Exits; Biden Enters

January 20, 2021: President Biden halted construction of President Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The order included an “immediate termination” of the national emergency declaration that had allowed the Trump administration to redirect billions of dollars to the wall. It said the administration would begin “a close review” of the legality of the effort to divert federal money to fund the wall. [NYT article]

President Trump Wall