Supposedly the last lynching that took place in South Carolina occurred on February 16, 1947 when a 24 year old black man, Willie Earle, was taken from his jail cell by a mob of white men and was beaten, stabbed and shot to death. 31 people, 31 white people, were charged with the crime of murder, many of them having signed confessions and 31 people, 31 white people, were all acquitted. No one was ever charged with the murder, the lynching of Willie Earle.
Lynchings were a “racial terror tool” used to control and victimize blacks and to enforce segregation and Jim Crow laws. Many African Americans, who were never accused of any crime, were tortured and murdered in front of picnicking spectators (including elected officials and prominent citizens) for bumping into a white person, or wearing their military uniforms after World War I, or not using the appropriate title when addressing a white person. The Equal Justice Initiative has documented 3,959 racial lynchings between 1877 and 1950. South Carolina, my home state, had 164 documented lynchings during the Jim Crow era. I am sure there have been thousands more over the course of 200 years that were simply overlooked, covered-up and buried in unmarked graves.
I called my junior Senator’s office Tuesday to ask a simple question of Tim Scott’s staff, what was their bosses reaction to Trump’s tweet; “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching” which was followed by Lindsey Graham, my senior Senator, not only acknowledging but agreeing with Trump’s analogy. I felt bad for the young lady answering the phone, stammering while attempting to craft a coherent reply. She landed on, “Sir, we haven’t heard from Senator Scott…..yet.” I said that I hoped Senator Scott, a southern black man, rebukes Trump strongly for his comment and that I was sure his family and his ancestors would hope so as well.
This is what Tim Scott went on the record with; “I wouldn’t use the word lynching. I would love for the House to take up unanimously passed lynching legislation in the Senate and do something with it as opposed to complaining simply about the president’s use of it.” He went on to say that he understood the comparison because “the impeachment process is the closest thing of a political death row trial, so I get his absolute rejection of the process.” I would suspect that Tim Scott’s great grandparents are rolling over in their graves. But this statement describes to the T what the Republican response to Trump has been since day one, we can’t defend his actions so we have to disrupt the process, including the Constitutional process and I don’t know which is sadder, Trump saying he is being lynched or the way he and the Republicans are taking a shit on the Constitution of the United States.
To say that I am disappointed in my two Senators would be an understatement. Ms. Lindsey Graham, the closest thing Trump has to a dog, isn’t that big of a surprise. It is brutally apparent that Trump has something very big on Ms. Graham. Certainly there is a lot speculation but whatever Trump showed or told her on the golf course two years ago has forced Ms. Graham to become Trump’s jailhouse bitch.
But I am really disappointed in Tim Scott. That all he could muster was, “I wouldn’t use the word lynching” is offending not only to me but to generations of black men, women and children who were terrorized then and even today by the white supremacy that Trump has embolden by his words, actions and lack thereof. Again, no one in the Republican Party can defend the actions of this psychopath not even a powerful black man like Tim Scott who is fortunate to be living in 2019 rather than 1919.