Left-wingers have spent the last few days attacking David Horowitz for challenging the Equal Justice Initiative and its efforts to foment anti-white racial hatred by presenting the odious practice of lynching as an exclusively white instrument of racial oppression and terror used against blacks. But history is rarely as clear-cut as radical leftist ideologues pretend.
Lynchings were carried out in an atmosphere of mass hysteria where enraged individuals acted to eliminate the perceived risk that a guilty person might go unpunished. If the black lynching victim was alleged to have wronged a white person, race-hatred and resentment could be – and in many cases, was – whipped up to a frenzy to ensure the atrocity was completed.
It cannot be denied that plenty of lynchings were carried out by black-hating racists to terrorize freed slaves from the Reconstruction through Jim Crow eras and reinforce racial segregation, but the notion that most lynchings were carried out by racist whites who randomly snatched black people off the streets and murdered them belongs in the trash with the current accusation that police have declared open season on unarmed black men. Many of those who were targeted in the past had the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Horowitz has been beaten up online for objecting to the Left’s cynical exploitation of a sad period in the nation’s past. Specifically, Horowitz contends that although race certainly played a role in many lynchings, this does not mean that race was necessarily always the primary motivating factor in extrajudicial executions of blacks. Saying this is not making excuses for lynch mobs. No one disputes that lynching was a disgusting and barbaric practice.
Research, as Horowitz has pointed out, reveals that not all victims of lynching were black and that those lynched typically were accused of serious crimes. In today’s racially charged environment where the slightest deviation from politically correct orthodoxy can lead to instant ostracism, it needs to be pointed out that Horowitz is not saying that all lynching victims were guilty of crimes or that they deserved what angry mobs did to them. The Sixth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee basic procedural fairness in criminal trials. Those protections were unjustly denied to the lynched.
It is heresy today to point out that almost a third of lynching victims were white, and that the practice originated as a form of rough frontier justice, conducted by mobs impatient with due process and with the slow progress of the legal system. Tuskegee University found in its study, “Lynching, Whites and Negroes, 1882 to 1968,” that among the 4,745 lynchings examined, 1,299 of the victims were white, while 3,466 were black. (In its earliest days in antebellum America, lynching didn’t even necessarily involve killing the victim. Vigilantes would beat, whip, or tar-and-feather their targets for perceived social transgressions.)
But the Left doesn’t let mere facts get in the way of its narrative. Keeping the bad guys uniformly white and racist and the victims black and innocent in the history books is all-important to these people. Doing so helps to sustain the ugly myth that America is a rotten country founded on racism and injustice.
The usual suspects in the racial-grievance industry wasted no time frantically attacking Horowitz.
Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, a leftist pressure group that George Soros has given $6.8 million to in recent years, ignored the historical facts Horowitz tweeted and accused him of revisionism.
Horowitz “spent the last few days creating a social media firestorm with a series of revisionist-history tweets about his view that the United States’ violent history of slavery and lynching doesn’t have anything to do with racism or ongoing problems of racial oppression,” PfAW research director Miranda Blue wrote hyperbolically.
The leftist hate group, Southern Poverty Law Center, smeared Horowitz, claiming that in his “revisionist take,” he was guilty of “downplaying the horrors that African Americans have suffered in this country.”
Racial ambulance chaser Nikole Hannah-Jones of the New York Times Magazine, slimed Horowitz as a white-supremacist.
“But also, this is the amazing thing about white supremacists and white supremacy[,]” she tweeted. “Everything can be bent to their will. White supremacists hold up white exceptionalism — particularly adherance [sic] to order and rule of law — as proof of their superiority.”
In an incoherent stream-of-consciousness rant, a pseudonymous writer at Wonkette screeched that Horowitz was a “Racist Whisperer” spewing “his pseudo intellectualized trash sonata.”
Horowitz got the attention of these left-wingers by weighing in April 8 on a discussion about slavery and abolitionist Frederick Douglass initiated on Twitter by Princeton scholar Robert P. George.
“Slavery was bad yes, but all the slaves in America were enslaved by blacks and white Americans freed them[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “That’s the first reality people need to wrap their heads around.” More than 350,000 Union soldiers, mostly whites, died in the Civil War, he added. They “paid with their lives to end slavery[,]” yet whites have been made to bear all the blame for an institution that existed for thousands of years in all societies.
To put things in historical perspective, John Perazzo has written “that in any given year nowadays, the number of black-on-black homicides that occur nationwide far exceeds the number of white-on-black lynchings that have taken place in all the years since the Civil War, combined.” [italics original]
Americans should be proud of their forefathers for killing off slavery, Horowitz tweeted.
“America inherited a slave system from the British and abolished [it] in little over a generation at a cost of more lives than all America’s other wars combined.”
But there is resistance to this truth coming from many across the nation who remain under the sway of an influential work of fiction that helped the Left by distorting history.
The largely ahistoric TV mini-series “Roots” from 1977 convinced Americans that whites traveled to the African continent and captured would-be slaves in large numbers, according to a University of Houston website. It is in fact true that Europeans did participate in “some slave raiding,” but “the majority of people who were transported to the Americas were enslaved by other Africans.”
What really got hateful left-wingers’ juices flowing was Horowitz’s tweet last Monday about a famous lynching. He posted an iconic photo from Aug. 7, 1930, of onlookers with the lifeless bodies of black lynching victims Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith hanging from a tree in Marion, Ind.
“These men were dragged from their jail cells unjustly[,]” Horowitz tweeted. “But they were guilty of a brutal rape and murder. The mob spared a third black with him when a white woman in the crowd said he was innocent[.]”
So at least in the Marion case, as horrible as it was, racism does not appear to be the sole motivating factor for the lynch mob. If it had been, there would have been no reason to spare the third black man. And if the two hanged men had been innocent there would have been no reason for the third man who served his time for being part of their crime and spent the rest of his life as a free man and civil rights activist to declare them guilty.
In the Twitter thread, Horowitz made the case that the abuse of history by the Google-sponsored Equal Justice Initiative and its leader Bryan Stevenson who believes that slavery never ended – “it just evolved” – is obviously designed to reinforce the racial assault on law enforcement and on white people generally.
“What I am actually concerned about is that the left – as usual – and with the backing of GOOGLE is distorting history to pour oil on our racial fires, which is bad for everyone, especially blacks[,]” Horowitz tweeted.
“Lynchings were bad and had racist dimensions but they weren’t mainly about whites yanking blacks off the streets and stringing them up,” he tweeted Monday last week in the first of several tweets spread out over several days.
The assertion may be eye-opening to many, but that’s only because the Left has been perverting history for decades. Many Americans don’t know any better because they haven’t been taught the truth.
It’s a dark chapter in our history but the last lynching was over 60 years ago. We should be celebrating that now, not nursing grievances of the past. How many of the tweeters who accuse me – falsely – of rejecting “due process” have protested the MeToo lynch mob that leaps from accusations to convictions & punishments?
To be clear at the risk of redundancy, even if it is true that many of these lynchings took the lives of individuals guilty of capital offenses, killing the lynching victims outside the formal legal system was still an injustice and ending the practice was one of the great victories of the civil rights movement.
Horowitz got involved in the Twitter brawl to expose what he called “the anti-white racism” of the leftist Equal Justice Initiative’s National Memorial for Peace and Justice that is opening to the public on April 26. The purpose of the memorial, which commemorates only black victims, is less about remembrance and more about propaganda and radical activism. It dredges up these terrible events from America’s distant past that are universally condemned today and uses them to inflame racial tensions for nakedly political purposes.
EJI freely admits this divisive political objective, billing the all-black memorial in Montgomery, Ala., as the first in the nation “dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.”
With the memorial, EJI is trying to reinforce the Obama-era narrative that a straight line can be drawn from slavery to Jim Crow to the “mass incarceration” of blacks EJI claims is happening because of something it calls the prison-industrial complex, a favorite anti-American conspiracy theory among radicals.
EJI states on its website:
Lynching created a fearful environment where racial subordination and segregation was maintained with limited resistance for decades. Most critically, lynching reinforced a legacy of racial inequality that has never been adequately addressed in America. The administration of criminal justice in particular is tangled with the history of lynching in profound and important ways that continue to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system.
All the dead Union soldiers from the Civil War who gave their lives to cleanse the nation of slavery would likely disagree that the “the legacy of racial inequality … has never been adequately addressed in America.” The success of black Americans in all fields of endeavor is proof that racial oppression is non-existent nowadays. The dishonest, anti-American claim by EJI, which has taken $5.6 million from George Soros’ philanthropies in recent years, that the “history of lynching” continues “to contaminate the integrity and fairness of the justice system” even today is a central complaint of the violent, racist Black Lives Matter movement.
No doubt many lynchings were intended as “racial terror lynchings,” to use a term of art employed by EJI, but not all lynchings were intended to instill terror beyond perhaps the usual deterrent effect that executions are supposed to have on society in general.
But Twitter is not a place for reasoned discussion, as Horowitz was reminded.
The conservative thinker was denounced as racist and pro-slavery in social media, the facts be damned.
My tweets on lynching attracted the attention of brain dead leftists who think that criticizing the racial exploitation of lynching is actually defending lynching & complained. So I got a warning from Twitter that posting facts is frowned upon – it’s “sensitive” material.
Horowitz explained to me that he continued tweeting “on the forbidden subject of lynching and white Americans’ contributions to black freedom.” He said he received “1,182,000 impressions and 300,000 people were on my feed at one point.”
After the initial warning from Twitter management, the company backed down, sending him this email instead of banning him:
We have received a complaint regarding your account, @horowitz39, for the following content.
Tweet ID: 983128409541754880
Tweet Text: Slavery was bad yes, but all the slaves in America were enslaved by blacks and white Americans freed them. That’s the first reality people need to wrap their heads around. [url]
We have investigated the reported content and could not identify any violations of the Twitter Rules (https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311) or applicable law. Accordingly, we have not taken any action at this time.
It is a small victory for free speech and truth and these days conservatives need to savor their victories.