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Unformatted text preview: " 13,2005, the U.S. Senate passed a reso- "~llPOlogy for failing to pass anti-lynching (see http:/Avww.msnbc.msn.comJidJ 7/). American lynchings were horrific spectacles where mainly Black men (al- n St)me victims were Black women and rm as well as White men) were subjected atilation, torture, castration, and immo- nail before crowds of White onlookers, ing law enforcement, who took body '.< 1 .;' of the victims as well as picture post- ',:"X~'clW'dsas souvenirs of the event. These almost I'Y:;/r'ftuaI public executions were found to be "at 1,:,:the hands of persons unknown" since almost "I,";" one was prosecuted for these atrocities.-"," .This chapter takes us back to a 1922 debate between two American congressmen-Mr. Dyer from Illinois and Mr. Sumners from Texas. In his argument before the House of Representa- tives, Mr. Dyer attempts to debunk the gendered and racial characterization of lynching, often used to justify the crime as a fitting form of pub- lic and community retribution. Dyer strikes at the heart of the lynching argument-that it is a punishment of Black men for their rape of White women-stating that statistics gath- ered by the Tuskegee b1stitute and the NAACP determine this argument to be false. Mr. Sumners, on the other hand, appeals to the House via f\.vo separate fronts. He chal- lenges the anti-lynching bill by appealing to those who favored states' rights, arguing that such a law would allow the federal govem- ment undue powers. But his second argu- ment, perhaps, might have carried the most emotional weight. Here he dismisses the sta- tistical evidence discussed bv Dver and mocks Black activism as mere "agitaticm" by inferior stock. In fact, Sumners makes it eminently clear that Blacks as a group are inferior and unworthy of consideration, relegated. to tenth- class citizenship. Instead, Mr. Sumners paints vivid pictures in the minds ofhis fellow House members of"evil, " "brutish, "Black rapists and "chaste, " White "virginal" victims-appealing to the worst sort of racial, gendered stereo- types. In addition, in paternalistic tones, he emphasizes that White women epitomize and represent not only purity of body but also pu- rity of blood-women become the gendered embodiment of White racial purity in the face of gendered Black male bestiality. Mr. Dyer. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, my interest in this legislation comes from lynchings that have occurred in my own State. My special attention to this matter came five years ago when at the very doors of my home occurred one of the most disgraceful lynchings and riots known to civ- ilization. That occurred in the city of East St. Louis, Ill. I introduced a resolution at that time asking that the House of Representa- tives investigate that lynching and ascertain the cause and see if there was something we might do to make such disgraceful events scarce and impossible for the future. In that lynching and in that mob riot there were 100 and more people injured and killed-inno-...
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2009 for the course SOCY 1016 taught by Professor Mollborn during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.
- Spring '08