The lynching of young blacks [1930]

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This is a famous picture, taken in 1930, showing tho young black men accused of raping a white girl, hanged by a mob of 10,000 white men. The mob took them by force from the county jailhouse. Another black man was saved from lynching by the girl’s uncle who said he was innocent. Even if lynching photos were designed to boost white supremacy, the tortured bodies and grotesquely happy crowds ended up revolting many.

The lynching of young blacks

Photograp from: Brettman/Corbis

50 thoughts on “The lynching of young blacks [1930]

  1. I’ve seen this photograph over probably a thousand times. I still can not believe it. It breaks my heart to see this…

  2. My god… This is just so horrifying. Its really hard to think that something like this happened, but it looks like it did. I think this still reflects today though. Whites are normally obnoxious,racist pigs. Who get everything just because they are just white. Meanwhile the other people are having to do all the crap to do and if they don’t do it they get punished harshly.

  3. the fact isnt that they were accused of reaping that girl its that the people were told that it was the black men and so they beleived it…in many cases those black people didnt actually commit the crime but were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and so instead of acxcusing a white person and making thm look bad they would accuse a black person to once again humiliate them and teart then unjustly…at that time the southern Americans especially were still against black people being a part of their society and so they wanted to keep them as low as they could…so those men along with many other innosent black people were being accused of things they didnt do…

  4. i think that people are simple, we follow, it takes a few strong leaders, eg jesus if he existed, to make us beleive, the people in that photo arnt racist they are followers of the normallity of that time for their culture, women used to be 2nd class cos that was considered normal, these people arnt racist their followers, the people who lead are the racists and manipulative. but then are they as its all to do with the phycology, they might not fully understand what they are doing. listen it makes sense

  5. As an African American I believe what happen back then was horrible and I hope America have learned from its mistakes, no I hope the world has learned. We as a people must move on. I know it must be odd for me to say this, but it is how I feel. Let us not forget our on black Kings SOLD us for gold and wepons;it wasn’t just whites kidnaping us from the moher land.

    As for people today who are raceist that is there problem. Personly I thing because black can’t get over the past they think it is ok to blame white for the problem we face. It is our own fault we are being sent to prison, groping out of school, selling drug. Sometime I think black are just as raceist.

  6. what happened to use african americans back then was wrong
    and should of never been thouhgt of but now my brothas and sistas we rise… with our heads held high

  7. Maybe we do not want to remember our history….But in these pics, this is it. I have read the post here, and see people who want to bury their heads in the sand. Today, a noose is seen as just a noose, but it stands for a lot more. What happened to the people in the pictures is real, not make believe. It happened not so long ago. Some of the people in the pictures, alive of course, are still here today. One woman wrote that they were accused of rape and deserved it. PLEASE, in those days, a white accusing a black was an automatic death sentence. If she were raped, maybe she had a fantasy? Get the point!!!!!

    We all need to know the history of America, good and bad. We need to understand that this country has a dark past and that it needs to be revealed. Yes, I would rather live here than anywhere else in the world, but lets not sugar coat everything. We seem to forget that as a country, we have treated people here as lessor citizens. We are not perfect and have our flaws. It is okay to admit this and still be an American…….

  8. You ever wonder how many of the people in the picture are still alive today and how they feel about that incident now.

    All you soap box standers; step off and remember this was a crime. I’m almost certain white men were accused of rape back then and I wonder if they were lynched.

  9. The picture of the lynching is perhaps so famous because it speaks so loudly to the inhumanity then and now within the American pluralist system of government. While often uncritical people glibly dismiss lynching’s history, anecdotally relegating its consequences to a collective file-13, the guilt of these ritual, often arbitrary, murders remain so guilt-laden that few schoolrooms in America dare a discourse. Those reflecting life today, choosing to place their thoughts on a white supremacist footing, are in reality giving life to the lynching in this photo and thousands of others like it. Mass incarceration of blacks today, as lynching’s modern parallel, is not based on actual crimes committed, but rather on white police forces fraudulently “determining” the commission of crimes–it’s a matter of race and racism.

    In support of the outright racism of white police forces, in the very real business of manufacturing crime in order to satisfy the white sensibility of “law and order,” stands a white supremacist-dominated criminal justice system.

    A system so flawed, so tilted to injustice, that any justice rendered by it assumes the randomness of an accident. It is a system frequently described as “broken” by a majority of this nation’s jurists. Yet this system’s design continues unimproved, in fact, unchanged. Its central role is that of the social control of blacks and browns, and the few whites pejoratively termed, “trailer trash.” So singleminded is the system in punishing out-groups, that when there’s occasion of charges confronting well-off whites–leaving-an-accident scene, DUI’s, violation of probation, and cocaine possession charges confronting well-off whites, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan–despite legally mandated punishment, these offenders get to go home.

    Racism in the U.S. has always held an economic component to its justification. The major “white scholar,” William H Riker, writing in his mid-twentieth century book, “Federalism,” said that one could never overestimate the value (money-wise) to whites in being allowed to economically dominate through oppression black Americans–first in slavery, then later in economic peonage. He reasoned: here then lies the basis for today’s economic disparities, with all of their consequences, between the white community and the black community; it never was anything else.

  10. johney USA figure it out pal. The reason the jails are full of blacks is THEY COMMIT CRIMES! The reason more white people have jobs than blacks THEY WILL WORK, they aren’t a bunch of lazy assholes. Go live in Compton, or Detroit, or East St. Louis and the next time you get mugged by a black you’ll feel better knowing he was underpriveleged.

  11. Its amazing how some people want black people to get over slavery and the terrible things that came with it, but just as the pics reveal a bunch of middle age people in this photo in 1930 their children are running this country right now and was taught and raise by these people. Also their grandchildren are alive and well with many memories and stories from their grandparents we have a long way to go as americans and right now we no where near just and right

  12. Good and bad in all people all over the world, shame on those people in the photo, their legacy will forever be burned in the minds of all who view this terrifying image.

    America is great, and not so great, part of the reason we are “owed” all this money from other countries is because our civil engineers defrauded developing countries into borrowing more money than they coud ever pay back through false engineering reports to “modernize” their countries. The reasoning being when it came time for them to pay up, and they could not, we could extract their natural resources, set up companies with american workers, destroy their agrarian economies, build no schools or hospitals. Small areas of wealthy people surrounded by extreme filth and poverty, effectively making the people of the country worse off than before they made their “deal” with us. This is not new, other countries have done it too. We also send agricultural “aid” to other countries (in Arica) in the form of barges loaded with our banned pesticides.

    So let’s not hop on the band wagon and start waving our unfallible flags, lets just all make an effort to be informed and put an end to greed and hatred.

  13. This is so so sad cause all three black men sould of had a traule and i am glad that this dose not happen now but slavey is all over the world now so if you keep this sla

  14. And they do it with a smile on their face as if they’re at the movies. I wonder if they passed around popcorn? How sinister! How evil!

  15. omg i just cant image this ever happening this is something i would never think should be even a thought in someone’s mind 2 do 2 another person

  16. One more thought…the caption/paragraph states that these men were in jail for allegedly raping a woman. It does not sound like they were convicted yet, but I would have to say, if they were guilty of a crime like that…as a female, they deserved it. But, we will never know.

  17. I am so sick of people complaining about America. We are owed so much money and resources from other countries, if we cashed in, the world would be bankrupt. But, the second someone or some other country needs some help, who is the first country they look to for assistance? America! All these people talk about leaving and being ex-Americas…fine! Leave! Don’t let the (hopefully soon to be built) border hit your behind on the way out. Don’t stay and continue to whine. No one is holding you prisoner.

    I am a White female, and hate seeing this picture. It is sad that one human can treat another human like this. But, it is history. It cannot be changed. It can be remembered, so it doesn’t happen again. I know (research) that my family did not have slaves (we came over after the Civil War) – so I don’t appreciate the stereotypes that I condone this.

    Just to add one more comment…someone made a comment about minorties in jail. White people are in jail also…any citizen that breaks the law can be subject to jail time, regardless of color.

  18. Why cant we just stop with discussing that racismet hing, its with all the photo’ s the same… Cant people agree that this is sad. And No. Its in a different time, it isnt actual anymore, u cant compare this with today just like the most of the other photo’ s…
    So stop whining and just feel the feeling what that photo is giving you…

  19. If you think this photo is evil, you just have to think that we are only a generation or 2 from this evil instance of happy lynch mob. They must have taught their kids why this was needed and why this was correct.. and those kids will tell their kids how justice was swiftly given in good ole’ times..

    America lives in a superficial peace. Everything appears perfect from the surface. Just like in X-files or Twilight zone, all you need is to scratch the surface (i.e., talk to them for a couple of hours). Then you will hear all the biases and prejudices flowing..

  20. Funny how if you cut off an americans head in Iraq today…your cool.”
    Interesting. Nothing in that paragraph makes an ounce of sense.Maybe not to you but it makes sense to me white people are blamed for all the worlds evils which is out of order this happened over 70 years ago, show me whites doing this now.

  21. “Funny how if you cut off an americans head in Iraq today…your cool.”
    Interesting. Nothing in that paragraph makes an ounce of sense.

  22. The American people are not at fault in current affairs, its the system which is in turn perverting the people.

    @ #10 johnny USA, True America is a sick nation and I might be joining you soon as an ex-american. I just can’t decide if I should leave or stay in the USA and try to help change it.

  23. Funny how if you cut off an americans head in Iraq today…your cool. I a bunch of rednecks hung a black man 77 years ago…that makes American the devil. Everyone hates America until they need a hand out. Then we are the bestest country in the world. We are evil yet EVERYONE is trying to meve here…hell they bum rush the border to get in. But of course in the peace loving countries of North Korea, and places like Darfor there is no line to get in …hmmm wonder why that is. The best part about this country today is you can make wild remarks and assinine statements like johney USA or Souljahtrue and no one cuts your head off with a Machette. Welcome to america have a nice day.

  24. Americas foundation was built on deceit and murder today she has the same motive the only
    difference is appearance meaning today people are bitten with a smile whereas in the past we were bitten with a growl

  25. Its an image, its job is to provoke emotions and opinions, and of course most of them in this case will be racially centerd.
    but it is history, meant to be rememberd as a mistake and a tradjedy, not to draw up your views on todays society.

    if a picture has reference to different races in todays society feel free to comment, but reggie smith i feel what you said is not relevant



  28. Did Europeans inherit Neanderthal genes?

    Portuguese and American scientists claim they have found definite proof that Neanderthals and modern caucanoids (Homo sapiens) were in fact not separate species. Their conclusion is based on a recently found skeleton of a young boy with genetic traits of both types of humans, proving that they were capable of interbreeding.

  29. johney USA.
    Your statistics dont mean a thing.
    Just because the majority of unemployed and incarcerated americans arent white doesn’t make the whites responsible for their situation.
    Equality’s got to work both ways man.Dont think whites are the only racists out there.
    I know it seems that black people are the most affected but that doesnt make it any better to blame white america.

  30. Some Christians are good, some are bad, some Athiests are good, some are bad, some Americans are good, some (especially their politicians it seems) are bad. Not all Muslims are out to get you if you’re a Westerner, but some of them are. A lot of Japanese don’t eat whales and a lot of black people all over the world are well educated. How about we not rely on an out of date book written after the fact by too many people with too many bits missing to decide what is OK to do today. Like everything, it has its good points and bad, but it’s open to interpretation, and just like everything else, we seem to end up fighting over it. We all know what’s good, we all know what’s bad, unless you are a sociopath. We are all effected by ‘mob rule’ – look at Germany leading up to and during WWII – it’s easier to go with the flow. Just because some people went along with something at one stage, doesn’t mean they thought it was right, or that given slightly different circumstances they would have done the same thing again. Instead of using a picture like this to generalise and nitpick races, nationalities and religions, why don’t we all just agree that it was a bad thing to do, and let’s not do this kind of thing again, and encourage others not to do it as well. Maybe if we all put as much effort into helping out in situations like Darfour, Etheopia, all those kinds of places that really need our interference, the world would be a better place. And we’d all sleep a little easier at night. Unlikely though…we humans just like to moan and berate one another…I’m doing it now…

  31. Thats where people miss it. The Bible does not say that it was ok for slavery. Even with the hebrews, with the story of Moses, this was done so that God’s glory was shown in the end. They were freed. PLUS, JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE CALLS THEMSELVES A CHRISTIAN DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY ARE TRUELY FOLLOWING CHRIST AND WALKING IN HIS WAYS.

  32. Fascist murderers, what’s new? Americans still take nature’s prerogative and execute people today; nothing different.

  33. johney USA it´s right, wherever the people said, a lot of white USA citizen are racist because the status quo (we can see that in jails populations, ejecutions, and another bad examples)

  34. Mobs are dangerous things, whatever the colour.
    sigh – just because others do it too doesn’t make it any less wrong.

  35. This is ignorance at its best. Plain and simple. For those that claim the “Christianity breeds hate” card, I just want it to be known that its not just Christianity that allowed slavery, but Islam as well as other mainstream religions.

  36. First, your opinion is as valid as everyone else’s. However, it would hold more validity if you were more cautious with your spelling and grammar. I am not the grammar Nazi, but if a person wishes to make generalized inflammatory statements, then they should do so properly, otherwise the statement makes the presenter seem more silly and ignorant that the target of their flame!

    It is funny that America has always been an easy target for this type of blast. But what amazes me is that we still have such a high immigration rate (legal and illegal). If we are the ignorant racists that we are supposed to be in this modern time, then why are so many still interested in being here? If only the whites have jobs, then why are there so many Hispanics risking their lives to come here illegally?
    I equate the jail population more with education than race (at this point in time). What are the stats on high school drop out rates per race? How about illegal drug use in public school per race? What about teenaged pregnancy per race? These are all statistics that reflect the affect of INDIVIDUAL choices, not racial profiling.
    To deny racial inequality in the past would be ridiculous. Of course it existed…. but not just here in America. This has been a world wide issue for as long as man has tread on this planet. We have a long way to go before we reach Utopia.

  37. Americans are ignorant racists!!!

    Even today 85percent of the men in jail NON white. Also 99percent of the white have jobs and are rich whilst 98percent of all americans that are not white are POOR UNEMPLOYED victims that when they complain are put in jail.

    AMerica is a sick nation
    Regards from en ex US

  38. how tragic. and there shouldnt be any sarcastic remarks geared towards atheists. some of your founding fathers were atheists, deists and pantheists and they created the constitution which is the founding laws that give us freedom and equality today.

    its disgusting that these inhumanities happened and im sure a lot of christianity was involved in shaping the mentality of these individuals. dont blame the people, blame the deceit.

  39. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Worls Famous Photos

  40. @Jimmy

    Yeah, right. Lynchings were the Christians fault. Thank goodness we had all those liberal atheists who banded together to end slavery.

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