Since May 27th, 7 black people have been found hanging from trees in this country. Malcolm Harsh and Robert Fuller were found in California found 10 days apart and within 50 miles away from each other. One man was found hanging by a USB cord. A woman, who has not been identified was found in Georgia. The latest victim was found hanging on Monday morning in Long Island, NY. In all 7 cases, the police have quickly labeled them as suicides. If it were not for social media, I would never have heard about any of these deaths because the media is not covering them.
America has a sordid past with lynchings. After the abolishment of slavery and during the Jim Crow Era, thousands of black men, women, and children were murdered and hung from trees. These murders became known as lynchings. White people took such delight in these violent displays that postcards of lynchings were sent around this country like people send postcards from their vacations. Lynchings have historically been done to intimidate black people and instill fear. In many cases, the deceased was clearly murdered, but the police and the coroners labeled them as suicides to protect the white people who were murderers.
As the police are labeling these deaths as suicides, we have been in the middle of global protests against racism and police brutality against black people. And if we are to believe the police, suddenly black men and women felt the urge to kill themselves in public places? None of these deaths occurred in a home, they all occurred in places where they would be seen and discovered. Black people are 60 times less likely to kill themselves as white people. When we do, the preferred method is not hanging it’s by firearm.
This country has a history of labeling the deaths of black men and women as suicides to cover up the fact that their deaths were caused by white mobs. In 1935, a young Black man named Ab Farmer was lynched in a schoolyard. He had been shot multiple times, the lynching was advertised in advance, and reporters came to document his execution. The coroner ruled this a suicide. It’s not enough to murder us, but you then lie directly to our faces and pretend that the truth is not staring back at us in black and white.
Some have argued that that the coronavirus has made things worse for people of color and has caused a spike in suicides. This is plausible, but life has been hard for us and we still are less likely to kill ourselves than white people whose life isn’t as hard for. So, it’s a bit of a stretch to think that in less than 4 weeks, 7 black people all decided to hang themselves from trees because life suddenly became hard.
As more people have been taking to the streets to defend black lives, it makes sense in a country with a history as ours that lynchings would increase. Obviously, no one is going to come forward and admit guilt because they would be arrested for murder. Congress was about to pass a bill to make lynching a federal crime(finally), but it has since stalled because Republican Senator Paul Rand from Kentucky believes that the bill is too broad.
I posted something about these lynchings on my IG stories, and someone who is not black really had the nerve to slide in and debate me about how suicide rates are increasing and about how we cannot think with our hearts, but with our heads. I had to remind them that as black people, every death that we see or hear about we feel with our hearts. Some of the families of these victims have come forward to demand justice for their loved ones. They know that they did not die by their own hands and again unless we fight for transparency there is none.
After viewing video evidence, Malcolm Harsh’s family agreed with the findings that he died by suicide. We are still waiting on the definitive proof of the other six victims. If concrete evidence comes out that every single one of these deaths was suicide, I will take down this post and apologize, however, I believe that these deaths are modern-day lynchings.