Reasons for Lynching in “Deadly Amusements”

Reasons for Lynching in “Deadly Amusements”

Reasonsfor Lynching in “Deadly Amusements”

Thecruelty of the white southerners is the main theme in GraceElizabeth’s “Deadly Amusements.” Grace reveals cruelty throughlynching, which is perpetrated on the ex-slaves as a spectacle in thetime after slavery. Lynching was perpetrated to control the politicalactivity of ex-slaves by scaring them to inferiority, to create avigilante form of justice and to create amusement. The discussion andanalysis of the Deadly Amusements will illustrate the reasons forlynching by the white southerners towards the ex-slaves.

Lynchingwas perpetrated by the white southerners on the ex-slaves as a way ofcontrolling them and limiting their political activities. Mostimportantly, the southern whites intended to reduce the confidence ofthe ex-slaves by portraying the superiority of the white in thesociety. After the end of slavery, the African Americans had startedto fight and demand for basic human rights (Hale 200). This was inthe time of the Jim Craw laws that persisted despite the efforts byWilliam Du Bois to oppose them (200). They sought these rights inorder to be treated with humanity and considered as equals in theUnited States. Therefore, they had started gaining confidence in theefforts by activists like Du Bois.

Thelynching of Sam Hose was a case that showed the desire by the whitesoutherners to control the push by the black southerners by scaringtheir demand for equal rights (Hale 209). The lynching Sam Hose bythe white southerners was meant to communicate a message to theNegroes about their civil status. The lynching of Sam Hose was donein Georgia in 1899 was an isolated event because it was not done forthe sake of justice or amusement spectacle (Hale 209). The whitesoutherners lynched Sam Hose to show the Negroes that they had noright in the South and the law was not part of their protection. Thisis because they did this in a manner that sought to create fear. Thislynching was done by the mob specifically shows that they wanted toprove supremacy over black southerners, and that the rights of theblack southerners was not important (Hale 212).Anotherreason for the lynching of the ex-slaves by the white southerners wasto create a form of vigilante justice. The whites sought to create avigilante against any Negro that raised voices in demand for equalrights. The vigilante justice was done in a manner that did notfollow the law and was not sanctioned by the law. This was the mainrole of the mobs that took the task of burning the black southerners.The justice was a vigilante form of racially administered horror inthe name of punishment.Thelynching of Jesse Washington offers a perfect example of the lynchingfor the sake of creating a form of vigilante justice. JesseWashington was lynched in front of thousands of spectators whoobserved the whole event in 1916 (Hale 215). His lynching wasvigilante because the normal due process of the law such asprosecution, evidence and court judgment was not followed to provehim of guilty or not guilty. He was lynched after accusations ofraping and killing his employer’s wife Lucy Fryer (Hale 215). Hewas subsequently lynched in the city hall square of the Waco inTexas. This shows how ruthless the lynching was and proves that thelynching was done without normal justice systems but the vigilantemob justice.Anotherreason for lynching black southerners was to create amusement andentertainment for the white southerners. In their own weird ways, thewhite southerners found entertainment in the painful death of thewhites. For instance, the lynching of Claude Neal was done by themobs to create entertainment as he was tortured and lynched withoutany credible evidence (Hale 222). Claude Neal was lynched in Mariana,Florida in 1934 after accusations of raping and murdering LolaCannady, a white female. The lynching was done for amusement andentertainment because the perpetrators were holding him alive untilthey reached to the point of lynching, where spectators were many(Hale 223). The spectators prove that the lynching was aimed atcreating a sense of entertainment and amusement in the suffering of ablack person.Moreimportantly, the lynching of the black southerners was done in publicand with publicity for maximum entertainment. However, lynching wasdone in public to put the African Americans in their place (Hale202). This place they sought to put them was the inferior state ofbeing that the whites wanted the black southerners to believe andrespect. This was therefore a way of maintaining the status quo,where the whites were superior, and the blacks were inferior. ConclusionThecases of lynching of the black southerners show that the cruelty wasdone with specific purposes. The intentions of the white southernerswere mainly based on their desire of maintaining their superiorityover the African Americans. The lynching of the black southerners wasdone to create a form of vigilante justice for African Americans tofear. It was also done to control the political activities of theblack Americans by instilling a sense of inferiority and fear amongthem. Moreover, South Africans were lynched to create entertainmentfor the white southerners. This was the reason why Graze ElizabethHale labels the events of cruelty against the black southerners asdeadly amusements. WorkCited

Hale,Grace Elizabeth. DeadlyAmusements:Spectacle Lynchings and the Contradictions of Segregation as Culture”in Making Whiteness, New York: PantheonBooks1998,Print