1916: Jesse Washington lynched after conviction

Listen Siblings, I come in peace,

“Knowledge is consciousness of reality. Reality is the sum of the laws that govern nature and of the causes from which they flow.”KMT Proverb

Heretofore admonishments of “Know Thyself” and “Study History” have been confusing for Africans in Occidental and Oriental societies.  History is mis-taught as names, dates, places and events, which to the credit of the uninterested is worthless individualism.  For instance, in the historical sense, who cares that Napoleon legitimized his assault on Haiti by explaining that Africans ought always be dependent on Europeans?  Isn’t Napoleon entitled to an opinion and an ill-pursuit in life?

In the incorrect-for-Original’s Occidental analysis, yes.  Yet, for the most part, we Originals buy into this fabricated definition and interpretation.  In fact, due to this mis-education, some of our genius historians noted our historic predilection of libations but limited writing of histories.  For this reason, should the ancestors will, a forthcoming post will be on “What is History?”  A short answer though is advanced from the above quotation from our temples.

History is the statement of the laws of the races (see Originalism, Occidentalism and Orientalism) and the causes of those laws.  In other words, Napoleon’s legitimization should be viewed in light of Occidentalism.  Occidentals hold an ideology of Tribalism.  Napoleon’s statements are then important in learning that Napoleon in the capacity of France, as well as England and Spain, regarded it necessary that the Occidental tribe remain dominant over Original people.

The lesson remains clear in 1916’s lynching of Jesse Washington.  An estimated 15,000 Occidentals were in attendance to watch Jesse Washington burn.  First they beat him, then castrated him, then burned him alive!  15,000 watched and on one postcard, an Occidental Joe Myers wrote,

“This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe [Myers].”

As a date, time, place and event, so what?  A man wrote his parents.  But as an article of evidence to the mindset of Occidentals it’s a gold mine.  There were thousands of lynchings.  But more importantly, today, there are over a billion Occidentals.  And there are billions of Orientals.  Their natures remain the same.

The African Blood Siblings has warned you.  Answer the call to create Prosperous, Independent African Communities.  For you see what they still do in Haiti, and you see what they still do in Somalia, and you see what they still do in Kenya, and the Congo, and America.  But you also see what we can do for ourselvesMAROON AND BUILD FOR SELF!  Write the ABS about helping to create an African Blood Siblings Community Center and distribute our flyer.  Uplift your area!  Subscribe, share, love.

1916: Jesse Washington lynched after conviction
By dogboy

Lynching is such a vile word. Likely taken from the name of Captain William Lynch of Virginia (circa 1780), the term for administering justice while dispensing with a trial had, by 1916, long since taken on its more common meaning of a white-on-black public killing.

But Jesse Washington‘s case defies this simple definition, straddling the line between state execution and an unrestrained populace. Washington’s brutal lynching at the hands of a white mob in Waco, Texas, on May 15, 1916, clearly fits the definition, and the particularly grisly details of his demise conjure all-too-familiar images of violent racism in the pre-Civil Rights South; but in another more disturbing way, Washington was effectively executed, his punishment carried out not by the state of Texas, but by the people themselves.

Jesse Washington’s charred corpse after the lynching.

Washington was born in 1899, a black farmhand who may or may not have been mentally retarded.* While his life is not well-documented, his death most certainly is. Washington was arrested on May 8 of that year for the rape and murder of Lucy Fryer, the 53-year old wife of a well-to-do cotton farmer. Fryer was found bludgeoned to death. Washington was spared for a week by the Waco sheriff, who successfully took him into custody before a pre-trial mob got their hands on him; Washington was then sent to Dallas for holding to prevent a local incident. To appease the mob, he was transferred back to Waco and tried for the crime just one week later.

It’s unclear whether Washington was guilty — evidence is scant and the trial lasted just one hour, but Washington appears to have had ample opportunity to perpetrate the act and is purported to have confessed — but his guilt or innocence in the matter was not on the mob’s mind. On May 15, the well-attended trial ended, and in four minutes, the jury reached its guilty verdict. Before the 17-year old could be sentenced, and with little or no resistance offered by any of the various legal entities in the courthouse, several hundred of the onlookers (some brandishing weapons) rushed Washington and carried him out the doors. Outside, a larger crowd waited to beat and castrate him. A chain was thrown around Washington’s neck, and he was dragged to the town square, where he met an immense crowd as well as the pile of dry goods boxes that was to be his end.

A Fred Gildersleeve image of the lynching of Jesse Washington.

By some estimates, up to 15,000 (mostly white, though not exclusively white) people watched the horrible events unfold; without question, Waco’s mayor as well as several other public officials watched from their second-story perch at town hall on one side of the square. Washington was tossed onto the boxes and coal oil was poured over him. The other end of the chain was thrown over what has become known as the Hanging Tree, and the fuel below Washington’s feet was set ablaze. Immersed in the flames, he attempted to climb the blisteringly hot chain multiple times, each time to be lowered back into the cauldron. It’s unclear how long Washington was alive, but the event lasted more than an hour, after which his fingers and teeth were claimed as souvenirs, his body parts were separated from the torso, and the remains of Washington were dumped in a bag so they might be dragged once more through the Waco streets.

Also watching from the mayor’s position was a cameraman who wanted to sell photographs of Washington’s charred corpse as postcards. Fred Gildersleeve snapped a series of images which would briefly make Waco the most shamefully famous city in the nation. Gildersleeve’s work paints a portrait of a town possessed by spite and uncontrolled rage: thousands of white spectators standing about the burning body of Washington from above, then hundreds of blacks gathered around his burned and brutalized remains from ground level. Others took pictures as well,
some more disturbing than others.

A complete and startlingly brutal account of this murder is given by Patricia Bernstein in her 2005 book The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP, which also tracks the increased viability of the NAACP in the wake of the slaying. What makes this case noteworthy for this column, though, is that Washington was found guilty prior to his lynching, and he would doubtless have received a state-supported death sentence. At the time, Texas law would have allowed for a public hanging; presumably, the spectacle surrounding Washington’s execution would have been just as significant (though not nearly as gruesome). Instead, vigilante justice was administered on the young farmhand, and his case because a linchpin for the Civil Rights movement. As with other lynchings of the time, no persons were charged in the incident, though it was obvious that there was significant planning involved and, from some of the images, that some form of self-appointed executioner actively participated in the deed.

Unlike a state-sponsored execution, though, Washington’s death raised the ire of the jury foreman, who harshly criticized the court for not protecting him. And because he was lynched, his cause was also taken up by several Northern papers, pushed into the national spotlight by NAACP secretary Royal Freeman Nash and Elisabeth Freeman.** Over 90 years later, the town of Waco is still dealing with the Waco Horror. The lynching has reared its head multiple times as many residents have pushed for a plaque to be erected on the site of the lynching, as one was for a distressingly large number of prior lynchings in Waco. Some in the town continue to resist, asserting that Washington’s guilt absolved the mob of responsibility for its act.

A postcard commemorating the lynching; written on the back: “This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Joe [Myers].”

Washington’s case raises two of the critical issues in the modern death penalty debate: culpability of the executioner (and witnesses), and cruelty of punishment. Nobody in the mob was prosecuted for the crime, and in the Waco of that day, it would have been unusual if someone had; today, we take little interest in the state executioner but would vociferously condemn such mob action. On a similar note, Washington’s death was barbaric and brutal, and few would argue that such an execution should be undertaken through legal channels, but recent Supreme Court cases have found it difficult to identify the meaning of “cruel and unusual punishment”. The debate continues in the United States, but these are two arguments, posed by Cesare Beccaria, that caused Leopold II to outlaw capital punishment in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1789, and cases like Washington’s suggest they should continue at the very least to give us pause today.

* Some accounts state simply that he was illiterate, and if this is the litmus test for mental retardation in the early 1900s, around 6 percent of the population fell into that category.

** Freeman worked tirelessly to drag information from Waco’s inhabitants, her actions likely sparking papers like the local Waco Times-Herald to quickly shut the door on the case; that paper officially apologized 90 years later for its and other newspapers’ roles in venerating the lynch mob.

To read of more executions on May 15 or related executions see the source: http://www.executedtoday.com/2008/05/15/1916-jesse-washington-lynched-after-conviction/

To read of past executions on the same day of the year:  http://www.executedtoday.com/

To see the website for the book “Without Sanctuary” which has photographic evidence of many lynchings: http://withoutsanctuary.org/

To read of Black women who were lynched in America (and our ancestor Henrietta Vinton Davis): http://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/black-women-who-were-lynched-in-america/

To read a list of the same topic in table form: http://henriettavintondavis.wordpress.com/2009/07/22/recorded/

13 thoughts on “1916: Jesse Washington lynched after conviction

  1. I remember seeing this photo and being horrified. Onitaset, did you see the many lynchings of our people with the massacre of Tulsa, OK? This image brings me right back to that time. Recently watched Black Wall Street again and it’s more potent the second time around. It’s a wonder, isn’t it? That these God Fearing people can charr a human …all with a smile and bring their kids to join in the “fun.”

    1. On the 23rd, I intend to release “Dialogue Five of Five on Race: Race Defined.” There it is spelled out why that inhumanity can be done so unquestionably. However, that display, that ceremonial death of an African, is an ancient habit of Europeans that only surprises us because we do not truly learn ancient European history.

      1. The “mob” is a terrible thing. These lynchings and “riots” were more like “a nation” rather than the mob. I mean “thousands of people”. I thought I had read everything, until I read a passage from David Walker’s Appeal. He recounted how Black female pregnant slaves, almost ready to give birth, were stripped naked and beaten until the baby fell out. This is in some people and apparently comes out when others are totally vulnerable. First and foremost a nation of people’s responsiblity is to protect themselves from being vulnerable. Nothing else really matters. I agree with the late great Brother Amos Wilson. “What does it matter if there are 400 Blacks listed in Forbes magazine as “successful”, when they still work at the white man’s pleasure.
        By the way, “Black Holocaust” is a site that gives an account of “accurate” Black history in America. In particular, read about the E. St. Louis riot. The White people carried out a campaign of such “debauchery” against the Africans that the government confiscated the report and pictures from Ida B. Wells and hid them away. Know your enemy.

      2. It is people like you–the informed, the diligent, the focused–which make success a given. Nkrumah said “Know your enemy” to our Siblings in Ghana: Ghana was politically liberated. You, myself, and the whole ABS community, are teaching all of our siblings to “Know our enemies:” all of our people, North, South, East, West will be politically, economically and culturally liberated. I’m grateful that we have brilliance like yours in our midst. You know that I am. Keep reading, keep writing, keep rallying–let’s build!

  2. Yel thoses, I saw this photo at African American Museum here in Dallas. I was with one of my best friends who happens to be Jewish. I don’t know why she was more emotional about i

  3. Sorry, can I please start over? I was saying that this photo is in the African American Museum here in Dallas. one of my best friends and I attended an exhibit where this very same photo was one of the pieces. my friend who is jewish was emotional. I expected to see these things. the holocoust museum is downtown in our city it’s just as jarring.

    1. A man can’t be judge of his neighbor’ intelligence. His own vital experience is never his neighbor’s.

      The European Jew is a complicated identity. It’s two-fold fabricated. The Jewish identity itself is questionable; but the European’s adoption of it is through conversion (despite that Jewish custom dismisses conversion and asserts a matrilineal heritage.) The watchword for research on conversion is “Khazar”

      Regardless, Judaism is an amalgamation of “Occidentalism” and “Orientalism;” as such it is tribal and contractual. Ergo, Jewish adoptees had an organization in Europe contrary to, yet above, the different European tribes. The European Jews, like many Orientalists, were enslavers among other things (in fact, it’s they who largely financed the slave trade that brought you and I here: [Read More Here] https://africanbloodsiblings.wordpress.com/2012/02/17/our-sacred-mission-by-dr-leonard-jeffries/). There were certain vices that European Jews exercised on European people. By the time of Hitler’s rise, in the heart of Germany, at least according to Hitler, European Jews had disproportionate ownership of businesses in Germany. Hence the outrage exacted against them.

      In our story, we are disproportionately dominated, but outrages are exacted against us. There’s a different moral equation. The basis of ethics is balance. But the balance here is indisputably more immoral. The premise of emotions is ethics. Ergo, your friend’s emotions may have taken into account this entire narrative (including the Jewish hand in the African slave trade.)

      That is, this narrative, compared against most others, is a grander injustice (ergo more emotional.) But if this is truly a close friend of yours, you should inquire of her how much she knows about her history and yours.

      It can be that our emotions are proportionate to our knowledge. Some are more moved when they know that African people were internationally benevolent yet reduced to being picked off by savages because of their ancestors’ actions. Largely, ours, who forgot our story, may not see it as so harsh as it is.

      Though I can not speak for another’s experience. I can only provide what I know. Look to this, Sister mary burrell:


      Thank you for posting,
      I encourage others to post too,
      I am grateful to respond to our people,

  4. This reminds me of the movie Rosewood which is hard to watch. white people don’t like to admit to these atrocitites. they say things like this were in the past, I didi’nt own slaves, I did’nt call people niggers and sit at the back of the bus why don’t you people just forget about this. I don’t think we should ever forget.

    1. We can not change the past, but it can teach us. Reread the proverb I put up there and the exposition I gave to the article. “History” is about the laws (nature) of the races.

      We need to learn their nature. They are tribal. That’s what’s learned. Remember what we learned in their schools. They did not want JFK because he was Catholic! That’s tribal to the extreme. And there’s more evidence of tribalism as you study them more deeply. For instance, every national sport represents a ‘state.’ But we get more tribal under them too. Hence our nationalism or celebration of certain sports alongside them.

      We are being instructed and we are obliged to instruct. “Tribalism” is the watchword for European thought. It’s ironic because it’s exactly what they said of us. Yet it’s so evident when you study them.

      To make it more clear: England and France fought a “100 year war.” That needs to be thought about.

      We need to learn nature from these memories; otherwise we’re not remembering anything. That’s what the ABS is attempting to teach. That’s why I ask people like you to help in making African Blood Siblings Community Centers. This is why tomorrow will be a brighter day.

      Thank you for writing,
      I want to hear from our whole race,
      We are all moral and need organization,

    2. They want YOU to forget about the racism, criminal slave trade, lynchings and so on. However, they do not want you to forget about 9/11, do they?

      1. They want Blacks to forget their horrific history, when secretly they long to return to this open racism. This is why when Blacks were being arrested and marched through the streets of Tulia Texas half naked, in the predawn “drug raid” in Tulia Texas, there were shouts from the onlooking White crowd to throw the niggers in prison because they were nothing but slaves anyway. Of course, the arrests were proven to be bogus, based on the “word” of a White racist informant.
        Actually, the war on drugs is one of the undercover methods used to continue slavery and the destruction of the Black community today, after the second Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. In fact, as seen in this video on The U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, the U.S. government, and the elite, including mass media that is owned by the elite are the major culprits that drive and profit from the “illegal” drug trade. Watch the following video starting from 51:00:


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