Sunday, June 17, 2012

'The Unknown Exoneree'

At the Dallas News, Diane Jennings and Selwyn Crawford have begun a fascinating series on an 1892 case in which a young black man was accused of rape, nearly lynched, then sentenced to death and later pardoned by Gov. James Hogg based on his innocence claims. "Although he did not match the victim's description and had an alibi," reported the News, "she picked him in a lineup." See 1892 newspaper accounts of the mob's attempt to lynch Isaac Bruce, and a timeline of the case.

Noted the reporters, "Across the United States, 1892 was the peak year for lynching, according to archives from the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. At least 230 people were murdered by mobs that year." Indeed, "Months after Isaac Bruce faced a lynch mob in Hillsboro, a crowd in Paris, Texas, watched vigilantes prepare a platform for Henry Smith, a black man accused of killing a 3-year-old white girl. Before he could be tried in 1893, he was tortured with hot irons, doused with oil and burned to death. The lynching drew a crowd of 10,000 people."

The eyewitness identification aspect gives the story modern currency, demonstrating that some contributing factors to injustice in the past - including racially charged injustices - remain with us long after the lynch mobs subsided. This is an historical example of cross-racial eyewitness identification where the suspect failed to match the original witness description, and in an era when whites and blacks mingled precious little: We've seen basically the same set of facts play out repeatedly among DNA exonerees, with faulty eyewitness identifications accounting for the majority of those exonerated by DNA. And though literal lynch mobs have become a thing of the past, the lynch-mob mentality continues to exist and pandering to it exacerbates the type of rush-to-judgment and tunnel-vision errors which have contributed to so many modern false convictions.


Anonymous said...

The lynch-mob mentality is alive and well in this God forsaken state.

ckikerintulia said...

Mob mentality is alive and well. Lynching takes a different form, and is cloaked in legality.

Anonymous said...

Now mobs of blacks attack whites.

Anonymous said...

I guess then turnabout is fair play, right 8:59?

Unknown said...

You are so right..

ckikerintulia said...

8:59, cite an instance. Since you used the plural "mobs" cite two instances. And since you said "now" make those instances contemporary.

Texasred said...

Ahhh...for the good ole'days when at least there was some open honesty to to our intrinsic brutality

RSO wife said...

There's a story that tells of three blind men who are walking along and stumble upon an elephant, and each one of them hits it at a different angle. The first one determines that it's a vine of some kind because he had hold of the tail. The second one bumps into a leg and immediately decides it's a very large tree. The third one, upon putting his hands on the elephant's truck, screams "Run for your life, it's a huge snake and is very dangerous." The moral of that story is that we all see things from different points of view and my "eye witness" testimony is incredibly different from yours.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Rev. Charles, there were several of incidents fitting that description last year that I'm sure is anon's referent. The right-wing press howled that this was some new, horrific trend but they turned out to be isolated cases. That said, to compare those incidents to 230 lynchings in 1892 beggars belief and shows incredible ignorance. It's truly no wonder such comments are ALWAYS made anonymously.

benbshaw said...

When I see the old footage of whites attacking the Freedom Riders in the South, I wonder how many of them are still alive and voting today.

Most of those who participated in those crimes never publicly owned up to what they did, except the man who had attacked Congressman John Lewis in the 1960s and later begged for and received his forgiveness.

The Nation of South Africa was wiser and more mature than our nation when it set up its Truth and Reconciliation Commission to heal what had been done under White Rule by calling for all parties to take personal responsibility for what they had done. Truth can heal, Denial allows hateful thoughts and behavior to be perpetuated.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was set up because Nelson Madela, who received his education in a Christian Mission School, had a vision of a multi- racial society where all races lived in Peace.

I'm afraid some of your anonymous posters on this blog are a product of the time you describe today. Or, their parents passed along their sins to their children.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, it's always a good idea to revisit 'past' wrongs as to possibly prevent repeating them. But in conjunction, black folks should always remember that whites also had and have no problem hanging white folks out to dry.

Today, I call upon the Dallas News, Diane Jennings and Selwyn Crawford specifically, to consider an article portraying when white crime victims knowingly & willingly falsely identify white suspects and the white detectives happily assist.

Ms. Jennings has copies of my HPD Police Incident Report, certified Case File & color Police Photo showing just that. A white 'mob' consisting of a; Judge, ADA, hired attorney, two court reporters, four robbery detectives and a crime victim. If she wished to report on modern day white mobs she has had the chance since 1999. Instead, she simply replied, Do you have anything earlier than 1984?, WTF? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The liberal media does everything it can to cover up and suppress these stories, but you can find out a little bit of what is happening by going to Google. Here are a few of these stories to start with. It is a dangerous trend despite denials by those who are in the cover-up business. Here are just a few, but check it out for yourself.

 Staten Island NYC, Black Mob Lays Seige to Home!
 She Asked’em to Pray; They Robbed and Killed Her in Cold Blood
 Black Mob Invades White Philadelphia Suburb Attacks Man in his own House
 Denver, Attacks by Blacks Against Whites Rage On
 6 Black Armed Robbers Terrorize Wealthy Connecticut Family!
 Organized Black Mobs Burn London and Rob White Londoners
 Organized Black mobs AMBUSH whites at Wisconsin State Fair

Anonymous said...

These cases of blacks attacking a white person are not in the media and no Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson makes a circus out of it. They happen and even your "right-winged" news media arent covering