Lynching of Jesse Washington – Wikipedia

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a significant number of lynchings occurred in the Southeastern United States, primarily of African Americans in the states of Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas. Between 1890 and 1920, about 3,000 African Americans were killed by lynch mobs, usually after whites were the victims of crimes purportedly committed by blacks. Supporters of lynching justified the practice as a way to assert dominance over African Americans, to whom they attributed a criminal nature.[1] Lynching also provided a sense of white solidarity in a culture with changing demographics and power structures.[2] Although lynching was tolerated by much of southern society, opponents of the practice emerged, including some religious leaders and the nascent National Association for the Advancement of Colored People NAACP.[1]In 1916, Waco, Texas, was a prosperous city with a population of more than 30,000. After it became associated with crime in the 19th century, community leaders sought to change its reputation, sending delegations across the U.S. to promote it as an idyllic locale. By the 1910s, Waco’s economy had become strong and the city had gained a pious reputation.[3] A black middle class had emerged in the area, along with two black colleges.[4] In the mid-1910s, blacks comprised about twenty percent of the Waco population.[5] In her 2006 study of lynching, journalist Patricia Bernstein describes the city as then having a “thin veneer” of peace and respectability.[6] Racial tension was present in the city: local newspapers often emphasized crimes committed by African Americans, and Sank Majors, a black man, was hanged from a bridge near downtown Waco in 1905.[4] A small number of anti-lynching activists lived in the area, including the president of Waco’s Baylor University.[7] In 1916, several factors led to an increase in local racism, including the screening of The Birth of a Nation, a movie that promoted white supremacy and glorified the Ku Klux Klan, and the sale of photographs of a recently lynched black man in Temple, Texas.[4]

 

via Lynching of Jesse Washington – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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