(Warning: the images contained in the first link could be considered too graphic; I know that my dad was unable to access it at work.)
This semester our history-the United States history-has been made painfully real. Things that should never have been forgotten are now not spoken of; a past that contained bloody secrets has been remembered as an era of glory.
This is a website dedicated to remembering the lynchings that took place in the United States for 100 years, starting with the end of the Civil War. Almost every state could boast a lynching, or, as it was also referred to, a "black barbecue". People made postcards of the pictures taken of the hanged black people, many of whom had been tortured with the aim of producing exquisite pain. It was a point of pride to have attended a lynching.
This is a video of Billie Holiday singing a poem that had been written about the black lynchings, called "Strange Fruit". This is the actual poem.
The United States was never made to fully face what it had done to the black race. While I do not believe that we should be held responsible for the actions of previous generations, neither do I think that the atrocities committed should be swept under the rug and put out of sight. As George Santayana said, "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
***If you have any reaction to the information presented, please feel free to leave a comment. When I mentioned to my professor of Civil War history that I was thinking of doing this post he expressed interest in knowing the reactions I got. I am aware that the American Civil War is still an issue that can provoke extreme emotion, so I would request that all responses be civil.