Public hanging comment prompts series on lynchings in Mississippi
“The 'L' Work: Lynching in Mississippi" is the first session on the impact of the killings in the state from the mid 19th century through today
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The term “public hanging,” used during the November Senate race, has created a state-wide discussion regarding lynchings.
“The 'L' Word: Lynching in Mississippi," hosted at the Smith Robertson Museum in Jackson, began Monday and is the first session on the impact of the killings in the state from the mid 19th century through today.
Frank conversations about the history of lynchings in Mississippi garnered public comments about how the hangings began, the economic impact of the hangings and the environment of fear created to establish white supremacy.
“So often now-a-days, these lynchings are deemed suicide,” said Nicholas Collins of Jackson. The insurance broker attended the session and believes information on lynchings is needed today more than ever.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same, in that, it’s something that needs to be brought out,” said Collins. “It’s a dark secret of America. It’s a dark secret of Mississippi, and I just feel like we need to get it out and move forward.”
Jackson State University Associate Professor Dr. Robert Luckett gave the historical background and context in which lynching developed.
“The history of this, that supports systems of power to this day, was created intentionally," said Luckett. "And because of that, because it’s created in that racism and white supremacy, it can also be recreated. It is learned, which means it can be re-learned and it can be re-taught.”
Organizers said the lynching series arose from people wanting to know the history of public hangings following the comments made by Senator Cindy Hyde Smith.
Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center manager Charlene Thompson wrote her thesis for her Master’s on lynchings in 2014.
“We’re going to go further into discussions and get more in-depth in terms of lynching and how it has truly impacted the Mississippi community itself, and talk about the different concepts and views that people have actually lived with, and grown up with, and how it makes us divided,” said Thompson.
The next session will be held January 7th and will include information on female lynchings.
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