Tag Archives: Black History

American Lynching 3

American Lynching 3

1921 – 1933

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.

Wade Thomas lynched

December 26, 1920: Wade Thomas was a native of Jonesboro County, Arkansas. On Christmas night 1920, Thomas was armed with a pistol and was playing a game of craps with his neighborhood black friends. Police officer Elmer “Snookums” Ragland raided the game, and shots were fired. Ragland was killed and Thomas was injured. Thomas escaped to the next county but was arrested there and brought back to Jonesboro County.

A coroner’s jury  indicted Thomas for murder. Allegedly, Thomas confessed to killing Policeman Ragland, but claimed that he did not shoot until after he had been wounded twice.  An angry mob stormed the court and told the judge to leave unless he wanted to witness the lynching. After Thomas was taken from his jail cell, a noose was draped around his neck and he was led to a telephone pole and hung. [Black Then article]

Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Murderer Acquitted

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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]

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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]

John Carter lynched

May 4, 1927:  near Little Rock, Arkansas, two white women – Mrs. B.E. Stewart, age forty-five, and her daughter Glennie, seventeen – were driving a wagon on a rural road, heading toward Little Rock. According to their report a black man approached and assaulted them. Sheriff Mike Haynie organized a posse which found John Carter, a local black man.

Mob members took Carter to a telephone pole and hit him with a revolver. They told him to confess, and then to pray. Before he finished, someone put a rope around his neck and told him to climb on top of a car. When he couldn’t, he was pushed up. Someone drove the car out from under him and he swung in the air. A line of fifty men fired guns, striking Carter with more than two hundred bullets.

Despite a picture of the hanging body, with the crowd of 400+ visible in the background, none of the mob members admitted to being there. A report said Carter had been killed “by parties unknown in a mob.”3

The mob took Carter’s body to Little Rock to burn it. When they got to the city, they tied him to the car’s bumper and dragged him through the city for an hour. The mob eventually stopped at Ninth and Broadway, the center of the black business district. They poured gasoline and kerosene over Carter’s body. They piled on boxes, tree limbs, and pews from the nearby Bethel A.M.E. Church, and lit the fire. More white people hurried to the area. By that point the crowd was about seven thousand men, women, and children watching.

No one was ever charged or prosecuted for lynching John Carter. [Black Then article; ABHM article]

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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]

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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.

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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]

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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
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American Lynching 2

American Lynching 2

1900 – 1921

In my first post, Never Forget American Lynching, I gave an overview of lynching in the United States during the 19th century. This post will cover between 1900 and 1921.

As with the previous post, much of the information came from the Equal Justice Initiative‘s laborious research. Having said that, the article does not list every lynching from 1900 to 1921.

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George H White

January 20 Peace Love Activism

January 20, 1900: Black Congressman, George H White from North Carolina introduced the first bill in Congress to make lynching a federal crime to be prosecuted by federal courts; it died in committee, opposed by southern white Democrats.

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John Porter lynched

November 16, 1900: early in 1900 a black family, Preston Porter, Sr and his two sons, “John” and Arthur,  moved to the Limon, Colorado area to work on the railroad.

On November 8, a white girl named Louise Frost was found dead in Limon.  Newspapers reported that  the Porters had left Limon for Denver a few days after the girl was found dead. White authorities focused suspicions on them.

On November 12th, authorities arrested all three and took them to the Denver jail.  After four days, newspapers reported that sixteen-year-old Preston “John” Porter Jr had confessed to the crime “in order to save his father and brother from sharing the fate that he believes awaits him.”

Despite the Governor’s order that the risk of lynching was to great to return John to Limon, the Denver sheriff transported John there by train.

A mob of more than 300 white people from throughout Lincoln County awaited the train, removed Porter, and lynched him by chaining him to a railroad stake and burning him alive.

Newspapers described the lynching as follows:

John was said to have been reading a Bible and was allowed to pray before his lynching. When the flames reached his body, reports documented his screams for help as he writhed in pain, crying, “Oh my God, let me go men!…Please let me go. Oh, my God, my God!” When the ropes binding John to the stake had burned through, such that his body had fallen partially out of the fire, members of the mob threw additional kerosene oil over him and added wood to the fire. It was reported that John’s last words were “Oh, God, have mercy on these men, on the little girl and her father!”

No investigation into the lynching was conducted and the coroner concluded John died “at the hands of parties unknown.” [EJI article]

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Silas Ester lynched

October 31, 1901: authorities in Hadgenville, Kentucky had arrested Silas Ester accusing him of coercing a young boy to commit a crime. At approximately 2:00 am a lynch mob of more than 50 white men tightened a noose around the neck Esters’s neck and dragged him from the LaRue County Jail.

Police officers at the jail had surrendered the keys and made no effort to protect  Esters.

In an attempt to escape his fate, Mr. Esters slipped free and began to run away – but made it only 100 yards before his body was riddled with bullets. The mob then placed the rope noose around the neck of his corpse, dragged the lifeless body to the courthouse, and swung it from the top steps. No one was ever held accountable for the lynching of Silas Esters.

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Thomas Brown lynched

February 6, 1902: Thomas Brown, a 19-year-old black man, was seized from a jail cell and lynched on the lawn of the Jessamine County Courthouse in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Thomas had been arrested for an alleged assault on a white woman but never had the chance to stand trial.

A mob of 200 white men assembled at the jail and seized Thomas Brown from police. They then hung him from a tree in front of the county courthouse. Though news reports identified the young woman’s brother as a leader of the mob, no one was ever prosecuted for Thomas Brown’s murder and authorities concluded that he “met death by strangulation at the hands of parties unknown.” [EJI article]

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Luther Holbert & unidentified woman lynched

February 7, 1904: as hundreds of white people watched and cheered, a black man named Luther Holbert and an unidentified woman were tortured and killed in Doddsville, Mississippi, a Sunflower County town in the Mississippi Delta. Holbert was accused of shooting and killing James Eastland, a white landowner from a prominent, wealthy local family that owned a plantation where many of the area’s black laborers worked. After his shooting, James Eastland’s two brothers led the posse that captured Mr. Holbert and a black woman. Some news reports identified the woman as Mr. Holbert’s wife, but later research suggested she was not; her identity remains unknown.

According to an eyewitness account published in the Vicksburg, Mississippi, Evening Post, Luther Holbert and the unnamed black woman were tied to trees while their funeral pyres were prepared. They were then forced to hold out their hands and watch as their fingers were chopped off, one at a time, and distributed as souvenirs. Next, the same was done to their ears. Mr. Holbert was then beaten so badly that his skull was fractured and one of his eyes hung by a shred from the socket. The lynch mob next used a large corkscrew to bore into the arms, legs, and body of the two victims, pulling out large pieces of raw, quivering flesh. The victims reportedly did not cry out, and they were finally thrown on the fire and allowed to burn to death. The event was described as a festive atmosphere, in which the audience of 600 spectators enjoyed deviled eggs, lemonade, and whiskey. [EJI story]

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Horace Duncan, Fred Coker, and Will Allen lynched

April 14, 1906:  two innocent black men named Horace Duncan and Fred Coker (aka Jim Copeland) were abducted from the county jail by a white mob of several thousand participants and lynched in Springfield, Missouri.

The day before, a white woman reported that two African American men had assaulted her. Despite having “no evidence against them,” local police arrested  Duncan and Coker were “on suspicion.”

Local law enforcement did little to stop the mob from seizing the two men, though the officers were armed. When the mob dragged Duncan and Coker outside, the gathered crowd of nearly 3,000 angry white men, women, and children began shouting, “Hang them!” and “Burn them!”

Gottfried Tower

At the public square, the mob hanged both men from the railing of the Gottfried Tower, then set a fire underneath and watched as both corpses were reduced to ashes in the flames.

Continuing their rampage, the mob returned to the jail and proceeded to lynch another African American man—Will Allen.

Two days after the lynchings, the woman who reported being assaulted issued a statement that she was “positive” that [Mr. Coker and Mr. Duncan] “were not her assailants, and that she could identify her assailants if they were brought before her.”

Four white men were arrested and twenty-five warrants issued, but only one white man was tried and no one was ever convicted.  [EJI article]

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Eli Pigot lynched

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February 10, 1908: a mob of more than 2,000 white people in Brookhaven, Mississippi  lynched Eli Pigot, a black man, accused of assaulting a white woman.

According to news reports, police deputies and armed military guards transported Pigot from Jackson to Brookhaven to stand trial. Upon arrival in Brookhaven, the lynch mob briefly scuffled with the military guards before seizing him, kicking and beating him, and then hanging him from a telephone pole less than a hundred yards from the Lincoln County Courthouse. The mob then riddled Mr. Pigot’s corpse with bullets as it swung from the pole. [EJI article]

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Springfield Lynchings

Day 1

August 14, 1908: a race revolt broke out in the Illinois capital of Springfield. Angry over reports that a black man had sexually assaulted a white woman, a white mob wanted to take a recently arrested suspect from the city jail and kill him. They also wanted Joe James, an out-of-town black who was accused of killing a white railroad engineer, Clergy Ballard, a month earlier.

Late that afternoon, a crowd gathered in front of the jail in the city’s downtown and demanded that the police hand over the two men to them. But the police had secretly taken the prisoners out the back door into a waiting automobile and out of town to safety. When the crowd discovered that the prisoners were gone, they rioted. First they attacked and destroyed a restaurant owned by a wealthy white citizen, Harry Loper, who had provided the automobile that the sheriff used to get the two men out of harm’s way. The crowd completed its work by setting fire to the automobile, which was parked in front of the restaurant.

The rioters next methodically destroyed a small black business district downtown, breaking windows and doors, stealing or destroying merchandise, and wrecking furniture and equipment. The mob’s third and last effort that night was to destroy a nearby poor black neighborhood called the Badlands. Most blacks had fled the city, but as the mob swept through the area, they captured and lynched a black barber, Scott Burton, who had stayed behind to protect his home. [Black Past article]

Day 2

August 15, 1908: at nightfall white rioters regrouped downtown. The new mob marched west to the state arsenal, hoping to get at several hundred blacks who had taken refuge there, but they were driven off by state troops who charged the crowd with bayonets fixed to their rifles. The crowd then marched to a predominantly white, middle-class neighborhood and seized and hung an elderly wealthy black resident. After this second killing, enough troops arrived in the capital to prevent further mass attacks. Nonetheless, what the press called “guerilla-style” hit-and-run attacks against black residents continued through August and into September.

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NAACP formed

February 12, 1909: on the centennial of President Abraham Lincoln’s birth, African Americans signed a proclamation known as “The Call,” leading to the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The interracial group was created to safeguard civil, legal, economic, human and political rights of African Americans.

The appeal took place in response to continued lynchings and the 1908 race riot in Springfield, Ill. Sixty people, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Mary Church Terrell, signed the proclamation.

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Walter Johnson lynched

September 5, 1912: a white mob in Princeton, West Virginia lynched a black man named Walter Johnson.

After Mr. Johnson was accused of assaulting a white girl, sheriff’s officials anticipated a lynch mob would form and moved him from Bluefield to Princeton. When the move was discovered, an armed mob of white men came to Princeton and seized Mr. Johnson. The local judge urged the mob to let the court conduct a “speedy trial,” and the state governor warned a lynching should not be allowed — but the mob was determined.

After kidnapping Mr. Johnson from police custody, the enraged mob beat Mr. Johnson with clubs and rocks, strung him to a telegraph pole “in the presence of the judge, sheriff, and armed guards” and shot him with hundreds of bullets. Despite their purported efforts to dissuade the mob, police did not attempt to use force to save Mr. Johnson’s life, and the judge did not order any members of the lynch mob arrested.

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see  Jesse Washington for much more

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May 15, 1916: [From Equal Justice Initiative]: after an all-white jury convicted Jesse Washington of the murder of a white woman, he was taken from the courtroom and burned alive in front of a mob of 15,000.

When he was accused of killing his employer’s wife, seventeen-year-old Jesse Washington’ greatest fear was being brutally lynched – a common fate for black people accused of wrongdoing at that time, whether guilty or not. After he was promised protection against mob violence, Jesse, who suffered from intellectual disabilities, according to some reports, signed a statement confessing to the murder. On the morning of May 15, 1916, Washington was taken to court, convicted of murder, and sentenced to death in a matter of moments. Shortly before noon, spectators snatched him from the courtroom and dragged him outside, the “promise of protection” quickly forgotten.

The crowd that gathered to watch and/or participate in the brutal lynching grew to 15,000. Jesse Washington was chained to a car while members of the mob ripped off his clothes, cut off his ear, and castrated him. The angry mob dragged his body from the courthouse to City Hall and a fire was prepared while several assailants repeatedly stabbed him. When they tied Jesse Washington to the tree underneath the mayor’s window, the lynchers cut off his fingers to prevent him from trying to escape, then repeatedly lowered his lifeless body into the fire. At one point, a participant took a portion of Washington’s torso and dragged it through the streets of Waco. During the lynching, a professional photographer took photos which were later made into postcards.

Following news reports of the lynching, the NAACP hired a special investigator, Elizabeth Freeman. She was able to learn the names of the five mob leaders and also gathered evidence that local law enforcement had done nothing to prevent the lynching. Nevertheless, no one was ever prosecuted for their participation in the lynching of Jesse Washington.

After the lynching, the growing mob patrolled the town terrorizing other African Americans, threatening to lynch other black people they encountered – including those who attempted to cut down Mr. Johnson’s hanging corpse. Instead, the mob cut the dead body down, stripped off most of the clothing to keep as souvenirs, and then again hanged the corpse from the same pole.

According to press reports, authorities later acknowledged a growing possibility that Johnson had been wrongly identified and was innocent  of the alleged assault. Nevertheless, a grand jury convened to investigate the murder declined to return a single indictment, and no one was ever arrested or prosecuted for his lynching.

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Marie Scott lynched

March 31, 1914: a white lynch mob in Wagoner County, Oklahoma, seized a 17-year-old black teenaged girl named Marie Scott from the local jail, dragged her screaming from her cell, and hanged her from a nearby telephone pole. Days before, a young white man named Lemuel Pierce was stabbed to death while he and several other white men were in the city’s “colored section”; Marie was accused of being involved.

It is most likely that Scott (or her brother) was defending herself from a sexual assault by Pierce or others in the white group.  [EJI article]

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Silent protest

July 28, 1917: up to 10,000 African Americans silently paraded down New York City’s Fifth Avenue to protest lynchings in the South and race Revolts in the North. The NAACP and Harlem leaders organized the protest as the U.S. was going to fight “for democracy” in World War I. One parade banner read: “Mr. President, why not make America safe for democracy?” (HuffPost article)

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Leonidas C Dyer

April Peace Love Activism

In April 1918: Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer (R-Missouri) introduced an anti-lynching bill in the House of Representatives, based on a bill drafted by NAACP founder Albert E. Pillsbury in 1901. The bill called for the prosecution of lynchers in federal court. State officials who failed to protect lynching victims or prosecute lynchers could face five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The victim’s heirs could recover up to $10,000 from the county where the crime occurred. (Bio Guide dot Congress bio)

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Hayes Turner lynched

May 18, 1918: Hampton Smith was a farmer in Valdosta, Georgia. He often He found labor by paying fines and then forcing the person to work on his farm. He was notorious for abusing those workers. On May 16, someone killed him. A Sidney Johnson was a suspect. During the  manhunt for Johnson, at least 13 people were killed. Among those killed was Hayes Turner, who was seized from custody after his arrest on the morning of May 18, 1918, and lynched. [Black Then article]

Mary Turner Lynched

May 19, 1918: Mary Turner the 8-month pregnant wife of Hayes Turner,  publicly denounced her husband’s lynching the previous day. A mob hung her upside down from a tree, doused her in gasoline and motor oil, and set her on fire. While Turner was still alive, a member of the mob split her abdomen open with a knife. Her unborn child fell on the ground, where it cried before it was stomped on and crushed. Finally, Turner’s body was riddled with hundreds of bullets. Mary Turner and her child were cut down and buried near the tree. A whiskey bottle marked the grave. No charges were ever brought against the known or suspected participants in these crimes. [Miami Herald article]

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Lynchings protest

July 29, 1918: in response to the increase of racially motivated killings (83 lynchings were recorded in 1918 alone), the National Liberty Congress of Colored Americans asked Congress to make lynching a federal crime. Despite attempts over the next several decades, anti-lynching legislation never passed. (Black In Time article)

Omaha, Nebraska race revolt

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September 28, 1919: a major race riot erupted in Omaha, Nebraska. A white mob of about 4,000 people lynched and burned the body of Willie Brown, an African-American who was being held in the county jail. The mayor of Omaha, who was white, was almost lynched by the mob, which set fire to the county courthouse.

The origin of the revolt lay in racial conflict in the extensive city stockyards and meat packing plants. (A similar conflict underlay the East St. Louis race revolt that began on July 2, 1917.)  Rumors that Willie Brown had raped a white woman spurred the lynching. Later reports by the police and U.S. Army investigators determined that the victim had not made a positive identification. The riot lasted for two days, and ended when over 1,200 federal troops arrived to restore order. Although martial law was not formally proclaimed, for all practical purposes it existed, with troops remaining in the city for several weeks. [Black Past article]

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Elaine, Arkansas lynchings

Day 1

September 30, 1919: Black farmers meet in Elaine, Ark., to establish the Progressive Farmers and Householders Union to fight for better pay and higher cotton prices.

White mobs descended on the black town destroying homes and businesses and attacking anyone in their path. Terrified black residents, including women, children, and the elderly, fled their homes and hid for their lives in nearby woods and fields. A responding federal troop regiment claimed only two black people were killed but many reports challenged the white soldiers’ credibility and accused them of participating in the massacre. Today, historians estimate hundreds of black people were killed in the massacre. .

When the violence was quelled, sixty-seven black people were arrested and charged with inciting violence, while dozens more faced other charges. No white attackers were prosecuted, but twelve black union members convicted of riot-related charges were sentenced to death. The NAACP represented the men on appeal and successfully obtained reversals of all of their death sentences.

Day 2

American Lynching 2

October 1, 1919: a race riot broke out in Elaine, Arkansas. Black sharecroppers were meeting in the local chapter of the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. Planters opposed their efforts to organize for better terms and the sharecroppers had been warned of trouble. A white man intent on arresting a black bootlegger approached the lookouts defending the meeting, and was shot. The planters formed a militia to attack the African-American farmers. In the ensuing riot they killed between 100 and 200 blacks, and five whites also died. [Black Past article]

American Lynching 2

Powell Green lynched

American Lynching 2

December 27, 1919: after a “prominent” white movie theater owner was shot and killed, authorities arrested 23-year-old African American veteran Powell Green for allegedly committing the crime. While policemen were moving Powell Green from the jail in Franklinton, North Carolina to the larger city of Raleigh, before he could be tried or mount a defense, a mob kidnapped and brutally killed him.

The mob tied Green to a car and dragged him for half a mile before shooting him with dozens of bullets and hanging his body

Newspaper sources suggest this was the case in the lynching of Powell Green; one witness reportedly testified that, though there were five officers in the police vehicle transporting Mr. Green, he was “taken from the car [by the mob] without the least trouble.”

Green’s corpse was found the next morning riddled with bullets and hanged from a small pine tree along a road two miles from Franklinton. According to press accounts, “souvenir hunters” cut buttons and pieces of clothing from the body and later cut down the tree to yield grotesque keepsakes.

American Lynching 2

Duluth, Minnesota lynching

June 15, 1920: a mob in Duluth, Minnesota attacked and lynched three African American circus workers. Rumors had circulated that six African Americans had raped and robbed a teenage girl. A physician’s examination subsequently found no evidence of rape or assault. [Minnesota Historical Society article]

American Lynching 2

White terrorist vigilantism 

American Lynching 2

October 5, 1920: four black men were killed in Macclenny, Florida, following the death of a prominent young white local farmer named John Harvey. According to news reports at the time, Harvey was shot and killed at a turpentine camp near MacClenny on October 4, 1920. The suspected shooter, a young black man named Jim Givens, fled immediately afterward and mobs of armed white men formed to pursue him. Givens’s brother and two other black men connected to him were questioned and jailed during the search, though there was no evidence or accusation that they had been involved in the killing of Harvey.

Those three men – Fulton Smith, Ray Field, and Ben Givens – were held in the Baker County Jail late into the night until, around 1:00 a.m. on October 5, a mob of about 50 white men overtook the jail and seized the men from their cells. The mob forced the men to the outskirts of town, where they were tied to trees and shot to death. A fourth lynching victim, Sam Duncan, was found shot to death nearby later in the day. Also with no alleged ties to the killing of John Harvey, Duncan was thought to be an unfortunate soul who had encountered a mob seeking Jim Givens and been killed simply for being a black man.

Three days later, the Chicago Defender, a Northern black newspaper, reported that most of the black community of Macclenny had deserted the area in fear of further violent attacks while whites posses continued to search for Jim Givens.  [EJI article]

American Lynching 2

Peons

April 5, 1921: although the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery, African Americans continued to be held as de facto slaves in systems of peonage, a form of debt bondage. “Peons” or indentured servants owed money to their “masters” and were forced to work off their debt, a process that took years. A federal law passed in 1867 prohibited peonage but the practice continued for decades throughout the South. It was notoriously difficult to prosecute those who violated the federal law and those who were prosecuted were often acquitted by sympathetic juries.

Fear of a peonage prosecution led to a brutal spree of murders in rural Georgia in 1921. John Williams, a local white plantation owner, held blacks on his farm against their will in horrific, slavery-like conditions. After federal investigators suspected that Williams was violating the peonage law, Williams decided to get rid of the “evidence” of his crime by killing eleven black men whom he had been working as peons. Williams’s trial began on April 5, 1921, and four days later he was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in prison several years later.

Following the murders by Williams and other local atrocities against black people, Georgia Governor Hugh Dorsey in 1921 released a pamphlet entitled “A Statement from Governor Hugh M. Dorsey as to the Negro in Georgia.” Dorsey had collected 135 cases of mistreatment of blacks in the previous two years, including lynchings, extensive peonage, and general hostility. Dorsey recommended several remedies, including compulsory education for both races; a state commission to investigate lynchings; and penalties for counties where lynchings occurred. Reflecting on the mob violence that had become common throughout the South, Dorsey wrote, “To me it seems that we stand indicted as a people before the world.”

In response, several officials denied the charges contained in the pamphlet and many Georgians called for Dorsey’s impeachment.

American Lynching 2

Tulsa Race Riot

American Lynching 2

May 31 and June 1, 1921: The Tulsa Race Riot was a large-scale racially motivated conflict in which whites attacked the Tulsa, Oklahoma black community of the Greenwood District, also known as ‘the Black Wall Street’ and the wealthiest African-American community in the United States, being burned to the ground. During the 16 hours of the assault, over 800 people were admitted to local hospitals with injuries, and more than 6,000 Greenwood residents were arrested and detained. An estimated 10,000 blacks were left homeless, and 35 city blocks composed of 1,256 residences were destroyed by fire.

American Lynching 2
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Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

July 18, 1918 – December 5, 2013

The following timeline is not intended on being a fully complete list of all the major events in Mandela’s life, but hopefully there are enough listed to give the reader a fuller appreciation of Mandela’s heroic life including the advent and end of apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Madiba clan

Rolihlahla Mandela was born into the Madiba clan in the village of Mvezo, in the Eastern Cape, on 18 July 1918. His mother was Nonqaphi Nosekeni and his father was Nkosi Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela, principal counselor to the Acting King of the Thembu people, Jongintaba Dalindyebo.

His primary school teacher gave Mandela the Christian name Nelson, as was the custom.

According to the Nelson Mandela dot org site:

He completed his Junior Certificate at Clarkebury Boarding Institute and went on to Healdtown, a Wesleyan secondary school of some repute, where he matriculated.

Mandela began his studies for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University College of Fort Hare but did not complete the degree there as he was expelled for joining in a student protest.

On his return to the Great Place at Mqhekezweni the King was furious and said if he didn’t return to Fort Hare he would arrange wives for him and his cousin Justice. They ran away to Johannesburg instead, arriving there in 1941. There he worked as a mine security officer and after meeting Walter Sisulu, an estate agent, he was introduced to Lazer Sidelsky. He then did his articles through a firm of attorneys – Witkin, Eidelman and Sidelsky.

He completed his BA through the University of South Africa and went back to Fort Hare for his graduation in 1943.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

ANC Youth League

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

On April 2, 1944,  Mandela and other activists formed the African National Congress Youth League after becoming disenchanted with the cautious approach of the older members of the African National Congress (The ANC had been formed on January 8, 1912)

The youth league’s formation marked the shift of the congress to a mass movement. But its manifesto, so charged with pan-African nationalism, offended some non-black sympathizers.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Apartheid

In 1948: the National Party took power in South Africa and set out to construct apartheid, a system of strict racial segregation and white domination.

Mandela began studying for an LLB, but he left the university without graduating. He had earned a two-year diploma in law which allowed him and Oliver Tambo, in August 1952, to open South Africa’s first black law practice.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Arrest

December 5, 1956: South African authorities arrested Nelson Mandela at his home and charged him with treason, along with 155 others who had called for a nonracial state in South Africa.

March 21, 1960: police fired on a demonstration in Sharpeville, killing 69 people and wounding 181. After the shooting, the South African government banned black political groups and gatherings and arrested thousands. The African National Congress was among the banned groups. Its members went underground and began to plan a campaign of direct attacks on the apartheid government.

The 1956 Treason Trial ended on March 29, 1961.  Mandela and his co-defendants were acquitted of treason. Fearing he would be arrested again, Mandela went underground.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Umkhonto we Sizwe

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

December 16, 1961: Mandela and other A.N.C. leaders formed a military wing called Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation. Mandela became the first commander in chief of the guerrilla army. He trained to fight, work to obtain weapons for the group, and came to be known as the Black Pimpernel, but he would never see combat.

January 11, 1962, using the adopted name David Motsamayi, Mandela secretly left South Africa. He traveled around Africa and visited England to gain support for the armed struggle. He received military training in Morocco and Ethiopia and returned to South Africa in July 1962.

August 5, 1962: Mandela was arrested after his returning to South Africa.  He was convicted of leaving the country illegally and ofincitement to strike, and sentenced to five years in prison.

November 6, 1962: the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 1761, which condemned Apartheid in South Africa and called on member-nations to boycott the country. The Resolution also set up a Special Committee against Apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Rivonia Trial

July 11, 1963: police raided a farm in Rivonia, outside Johannesburg, where the African National Congress had set up its headquarters. They find documents outlining the group’s plan for guerrilla warfare. Using the evidence found on the farm, the government charges Mandela and eight co-defendants with sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. The ensuing trial, which became known as the Rivonia trial, established Mandela’s central role in the struggle against apartheid.

October 9, 1963 Mandela joined 10 others on trial for sabotage.

April 20, 1964: Mandela delivered his famous “I am prepared to die” speech while on trial.

[exerpt] “Africans want to be paid a living wage. Africans want to perform work which they are capable of doing, and not work which the Government declares them to be capable of. We want to be allowed to live where we obtain work, and not be endorsed out of an area because we were not born there. We want to be allowed and not to be obliged to live in rented houses which we can never call our own. We want to be part of the general population, and not confined to living in our ghettoes. African men want to have their wives and children to live with them where they work, and not to be forced into an unnatural existence in men’s hostels. Our women want to be with their men folk and not to be left permanently widowed in the reserves. We want to be allowed out after eleven o’clock at night and not to be confined to our rooms like little children. We want to be allowed to travel in our own country and to seek work where we want to, where we want to and not where the Labour Bureau tells us to. We want a just share in the whole of South Africa; we want security and a stake in society.

Above all, My Lord, we want equal political rights, because without them our disabilities will be permanent. I know this sounds revolutionary to the whites in this country, because the majority of voters will be Africans. This makes the white man fear democracy.

But this fear cannot be allowed to stand in the way of the only solution which will guarantee racial harmony and freedom for all. It is not true that the enfranchisement of all will result in racial domination. Political division, based on colour, is entirely artificial and, when it disappears, so will the domination of one colour group by another. The ANC has spent half a century fighting against racialism. When it triumphs as it certainly must, it will not change that policy.

This then is what the ANC is fighting. Our struggle is a truly national one. It is a struggle of the African people, inspired by our own suffering and our own experience. It is a struggle for the right to live.

During my lifetime I have dedicated my life to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons will live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But, My Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” [full text]

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Convictions

On June 11 Mandela and seven others [Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Denis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni] were convicted and on June 12 they were sentenced to life in prison.

Mandela was sent to Robben Island prison, seven miles off the coast of Cape Town. He would spend the next 18 years there.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Continued protests

August 18, 1964: the International Olympic Committee barred South Africa from participating in the Summer Olympics due to the country’s Apartheid policy. The nation would not be reinstated until 1992.

June 16, 1976: tens of thousands of students take to the streets of Soweto to oppose the use of Afrikaans as the language of instruction in black schools. The police fire on the protesters, setting off months of violence that will leave more than 570 people dead. The uprising is considered a turning point in the history of black resistance to apartheid.

November 9, 1976: The United Nations General Assembly approved 10 resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa.

April 27, 1977: Anti-apartheid riots in Soweto, South Africa.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Steve Biko

August 18, 1977: In South Africa police arrested Steve Biko [headed the Black Consciousness Movement and was the country’s best known political dissident] and Peter Jones at Grahamstown.

August 31, 1977: Ian Smith, espousing racial segregation, won the Rhodesian general election with 80% of overwhelmingly white electorate’s vote.

September 11, 1977: a guard found Steve Biko semiconscious and foaming at the mouth. A doctor ordered him transported to a prison hospital in Pretoria.

September 12, 1977: Steven Biko died while in police custody. Police had driven him naked in a truck 700 miles to Pretoria where he died in a prison cell.

Peter Gabriel released the song Biko in 1980. Its success continued to keep the violence of South Africa’s apartheid system in the minds of many.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Mandela transferred

March 28, 1982: Mandela and four other A.N.C. leaders were transferred from Robben Island to Pollsmoor Prison in the suburbs of Cape Town. While many believe the move was intended to lessen the influence of the famous prisoners, government officials later say they wanted a way to open a discreet line of communication with the men.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Sun City

In 1985, activist and performer Steven Van Zandt and record producer Arthur Baker organized a protest against apartheid in South Africa.

Sun City was a place where the South African government had allowed entertainment that was banned in most of the country.

Van Zandt wrote a song called Sun City and invited many recording artists to participate in its recording. Some of those who participated were:  including Kool DJ Herc, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Ruben Blades, Bob Dylan, Pat Benatar, Herbie Hancock, Ringo Starr and his son Zak Starkey, Lou Reed, Run–D.M.C., Peter Gabriel, Bob Geldof, Clarence Clemons, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Darlene Love, Bobby Womack, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, The Fat Boys, Jackson Browne, Daryl Hannah, Peter Wolf, Bono, George Clinton, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Hall & Oates, Jimmy Cliff, Big Youth, Michael Monroe, Stiv Bators, Peter Garrett, Ron Carter, Ray Barretto, Gil Scott-Heron, Nona Hendryx, Kashif, Lotti Golden, Lakshminarayana Shankar and Joey Ramone.

They vowed never to perform at Sun City, because to do so would in their minds seem to be an acceptance of apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Bishop Tutu/PW Botha

October 16, 1984: South African activist Bishop Desmond Tutu awarded Nobel Peace Prize.

February 10, 1985: South Africa’s president, P. W. Botha, offered to free Mandela if he renounced violence. Mandela refused, saying the government must first dismantle apartheid.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

More killings

March 21, 1985: police in Langa, South Africa, opened fire on blacks marching to mark the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville shootings, killing at least 21 demonstrators.

April 15, 1985: South Africa ended its ban on interracial marriages.

July 20, 1985: P. W. Botha declares a state of emergency in 36 magisterial districts of South Africa amid growing civil unrest in black townships.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

State of Emergency

June 12, 1986: the South African government declared a nationwide state of emergency, granting itself sweeping powers, including authorization for the police to use force against protesters and to impose curfews. The decree bans the promotion of unlawful strikes, boycotts and protests and puts tight restrictions on the press. More than 1,000 activists are detained.

September 7, 1986: Desmond Tutu became the first Black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Reagan veto/override

September 26, 1986: President Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act. The law would have imposed sanctions against South Africa and stated five preconditions for lifting the sanctions that would essentially end the system of apartheid.

September 29, 1986: the House of Representatives voted to overrides the President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act.

October 2, 1986: the US Senate overrode President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act and the bill became a law.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Free Nelson Mandela Concert

June 11, 1988: the biggest charity rock concert since Live Aid three years earlier took place at London’s Wembley Stadium, to denounce South African apartheid. Among the performers were Sting, Stevie Wonder, Bryan Adams, George Michael, Whitney Houston and Dire Straits. Half the money raised went towards anti-apartheid activities in Britain, the rest was donated to children’s charities in southern Africa.

12 August 1988: Mandela was hospitalized with  tuberculosis. After more than three months in two hospitals he was transferred on December 7, 1988 to the Victor Verster Prison Farm, about 50 miles from Cape Town.

The South African government said he would not have to return to Pollsmoor Prison.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Easing

July 5, 1989: Mandela met informally with Mr. Botha at the presidential office in Cape Town. It is the first publicly acknowledged meeting between Mr. Mandela and a government official outside prison, and leads to speculation that he will soon be released. [NYT article]

August 15, 1989: F. W. de Klerk is sworn in as acting president of South Africa, replacing Mr. Botha. Saying the country is about to enter an era of change, Mr. de Klerk reaffirmed an earlier promise to phase out white rule.

October 15, 1989: the government freed eight of the country’s most prominent political prisoners, including Walter Sisulu, 77, a mentor to Mr. Mandela and his close friend, in a gesture that was widely seen as a trial run for Mandela’s release.

December 13, 1989: South African President F.W. de Klerk met for the first time with imprisoned African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, at de Klerk’s office in Cape Town.

February 2, 1990: South Africa President F.W. de Klerk  lifted the ban on the A.N.C. and several other political organizations, and lifted many of the restrictions put in place when the state of emergency was declared four years earlier. He promised that Mandela would be released shortly.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Release

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

February 11, 1990: Nelson Mandela, 71, released from Victor Verster Prison, near Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years behind bars. [NYT article}

June 10, 1990: the Central Intelligence Agency played an important role in the arrest in 1962 of Nelson Mandela. The intelligence service, using an agent inside the African National Congress, provided South African security officials with precise information about Mr. Mandela’s activities that enabled the police to arrest him. The report quoted an unidentified retired official who said that a senior C.I.A. officer told him shortly after Mr. Mandela’s arrest: ”We have turned Mandela over to the South African Security branch. We gave them every detail, what he would be wearing, the time of day, just where he would be.”

August 7, 1990: The A.N.C. announced that it ordered the immediate suspension of its guerrilla campaign against apartheid, which started in the early 1960s. While the war between the A.N.C. and the government had operated on a low level for years, the announcement was significant because it gave de Klerk political ammunition to use against the right-wing opposition to negotiations.

October 15, 1990: South Africa’s Separate Amenities Act, which had barred blacks from public facilities for decades, was scrapped.

June 17, 1991: South Africa repealed the Population Registration Act. Since its passage in 1950, the Act had required every South African to be racially classified at birth. These classifications, in turn, would determined the child’s social and political rights for the rest of his or her life in South Africa.

December 20, 1991: negotiations begin to prepare an interim constitution based on full political equality. de Klerk and Mandela traded recriminations, with de Klerk criticizing Mr. Mandela for not disbanding the A.N.C.’s inactive guerrilla operation and Mandela saying that the president “has very little idea of what democracy is.”

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

More killing

June 17, 1992: a mob descended on the black township of Boipatong, killing more than 40 people with guns, knives and axes. The A.N.C. contended that Zulu men and white police officers were responsible for the violence. (see June 23). The two sides do not return to negotiations until September.

June 23, 1992: the African National Congress announced that it was withdrawing from talks on the political future of South Africa until the white-controlled Government took steps to restore the trust shattered by the Boipatong massacre. The 90-member executive committee of the congress led by Nelson Mandela said it was halting the peace process, which seemed just a month ago to have brought South Africa to the brink of majority rule, because of what it called a systematic Government campaign to subvert democracy through violence.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Paul Simon

January 11, 1992: Paul Simon was the first major artist to tour South Africa after the end of the cultural boycott. [NYT article]

April 10. 1993: Chris Hani, a popular black leader of the South African Communist Party, was shot and killed by a white man. At least seven people were killed in clashes over the following days. Mandela appeared on national television and called for calm, urging a stronger commitment to negotiations, a contrast to the A.N.C.’s confrontational reaction to the massacre in Boipatong the year before.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Nobel Peace Prize

October 15, 1993: Mandela and FW de Klerk share the Nobel Peace Prize. The two men accept the award with the strained grace that characterized their relationship, and Mandela declined to repeat his much-quoted assessment of Mr. de Klerk as a man of integrity.

January 3, 1994: more than 7 million people received South African citizenship that had previously been denied under Apartheid policies.

April 27, 1994: general voting opened in the first election in South African history that included black participation. Despite months of violence leading up to the vote, not a single person was reported killed in election-related violence. When the voting concluded on April 29, the A.N.C. had won more than 62 percent of the vote, earning 252 of the 400 seats in Parliament’s National Assembly. Voters choes Mandela as president without opposition.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Presidency

May 10, 1994:  Mandela sworn in as president of South Africa, making a speech of shared patriotism that summons South Africans’ communal exhilaration in their land and their relief at being freed from the world’s disapproval.

June 24, 1995:  South Africa’s national rugby team, the Springboks, won the World Cup final. The team had been banned from international competition until 1992, and was long seen as a symbol of oppression by many black South Africans. Mr. Mandela’s call for blacks to support the team is hailed as a masterly move toward racial reconciliation. He congratulated the team while wearing a green Springboks jersey, in a stadium full of cheering white rugby fans.

November 1, 1995: South Africans voted in their first all-race local government elections, completing the destruction of the apartheid system.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Recriminations

October 30, 1996: saying many of Eugene de Kock’s actions had been cruel, calculated and without any sympathy for the victims Judge Willem van der Merwe sentenced the former head of a South African police assassination squad to two life sentences and more than 200 years in jail. (see below, January 30, 2015)

December 10, 1996: Mandela signed into law a new democratic constitution, completing the country’s transition from white-minority rule to a non-racial democracy.

January 28, 1997: four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Peaceful transfer

June 16, 1999: Thabo Mbeki inaugurated as Mandela’s successor as president of South Africa after another electoral victory for the A.N.C. After five years with Mr. Mandela at the helm, the country still faced serious problems of poverty and crime, but it had made the transition to democracy while maintaining widespread respect for the law and avoiding political revenge killings.

June 1, 2004: Mandela says he would severely reduce his public activities so he could spend his remaining years resting and writing. A month shy of 86, he was increasingly frail and had trouble walking.

December 8, 2012: Mandela was hospitalized for nearly 19 days, being treated for pneumonia and having an operation for gallstones.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela

Mandela’s death

December 5, 2013: Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died. He was 95. [NYT editorial]

January 30, 2015:  the South African government granted parole to Eugene de Kock, a death squad leader for the apartheid state, after two decades in jail. “In the interest of nation building and reconciliation, I have decided to place Mr. de Kock on parole,” said Justice Minister Michael Masutha.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit organization continues  to promote Mandela’s vision of freedom and equality for all.

Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela
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