The Strangest Fruit: Forgotten Black-On-Black Lynchings in America 1835-1935
J. Mitchell, author
In a July, 2009 interview, the first African American President of the United States, Barack Obama, expressed the significance of remembering slavery when he said, "I think it's important that the way we think about it, the way it's taught, is not one in which there's simply a victim and a victimizer, and that's the end of the story." Similar to slavery, lynching should not be forgotten or remembered solely from the perspective of racist Whites victimizing African Americans. The general history of lynch mob violence in America has been well documented over the last century. During this time many scholars have rightfully focused on the thousands of African American victims that were brutally tortured and killed by white mobs, as they represent the majority of lynching casualties. Regrettably, there is another segment to this tragic part of American history. Blacks were not only lynched by White mobs-they were also victims of mobs composed entirely of people of their own race. The Kingsport (Tennessee) Times appropriately acknowledged in 1921, "In the South the Negro is generally, not always, the victim. Sometimes the mob is composed of Negroes, bent on direct action against one of its own race. The thought in mind is apart from racial antagonisms."Historians of mob violence have often concentrated on racial, social, or economically motivated factors as the basis for lynching, but there is also the universal "human" element involved in mob violence, hence the term "popular justice," which is not entirely based on race or racism. It is crucial to include Black lynch mobs in the American lynching historiography, as their inclusion warrants and demands that lynching be analyzed from various historical perspectives. This is not a book about Whites lynching African Americans. Furthermore, this book is not about racism or racists. Within these pages the reader will find the most comprehensive compilation of newspaper accounts detailing same race (Black-on-Black) lynchings ever compiled and published. Over 400 press reports are presented from a variety of newspapers including: Republican, Democrat, African American, White, conservative, radical, large, and small.