Friday, March 20, 2015

Were Black Men Lynched in Mississippi and North Carolina?

Raw Story reports that:

Officials in Claiborne County, Mississippi confirmed on Thursday that a missing black resident’s body was found hanging from a tree, WLOX-TV reported.

Members of the local chapter of the NAACP had identified the man as 54-year-old Otis Byrd, who had been reported missing. According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Byrd was last seen being dropped off at a casino in Vicksburg by a friend earlier this month.

WJTV-TV reported that, according to state and FBI officials, Byrd was found “in the woods near Old Rodney Road,” about a half-mile away from his home, by officials from both the local sheriff’s office and state wildlife department.

Authorities are looking into the specific cause of Byrd’s death. The NAACP has subsequently asked the Justice Department to conduct its own investigation into the matter.

This story reminded me of something that I saw on Hidden Colors 3.  In that important documentary, Dr. Joy DeGruy stated that several black police officers approached her and told her about several dead African American men being found hanging. I wonder if Mr. Byrd's death is a part of a criminal pattern.

Not too long ago, activists called for an investigation of another hanging in North Carolina. As reported in the New York Times,
ATLANTA — The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Friday that it had joined the inquiry into the August death of a black teenager in North Carolina, where family members and their supporters have questioned the finding by the state authorities that he committed suicide.

A spokeswoman for the F.B.I., Shelley Lynch, said agents were “reviewing the investigation” that followed the Aug. 29 death of Lennon Lacy, 17, whose body was found hanging from a swing set in a trailer park in Bladen County, North Carolina.

Thomas G. Walker, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, requested the F.B.I.’s involvement, Ms. Lynch said in an email. A spokesman for Mr. Walker, Don Connelly, declined to comment beyond saying that federal officials agreed to review the case after Mr. Lacy’s family and the North Carolina chapter of the N.A.A.C.P. had asked them to intervene.
Both Mr. Lacy and Mr. Byrd died in southern states with a long history of lynching black people. Both men died under suspicious circumstances. Sadly, even in this age of Obama, I would not be surprised if these brothers were lynched. For now, I will not make any conclusions until the investigations are complete.

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