I Came To Bear Witness To A Lynching: Part 3: Rockville, MD. 1/2
Thirty-eight black men that we know about have been lynched in Maryland. Many of these men were murdered without any fanfare. Their bodies were disposed of in paupers' cementaries or unmarked graves.
There were no homegoing ceremonies. The families did not make the pilgrimage to reclaim the bodies of their loved ones. Black people’s movement was restricted even more than it is now. Their ability to communicate was restricted. These black bodies and the people who loved them meant very little to the white authorities. Minimal, if any, effort was made to connect the bodies to their loved ones.
This biggest lie perpetuated by white supremacy about lynchings is that they were one-off impulsive acts of violence committed by poor, uneducated, drunk white men. We are made to believe that lynchings were isolated events that did not reflect the collective mores of the members of the town or city where they took place. This is a falsehood
Lynchings were communal affairs. These acts of brazen racial terror were done in the open and not concealed by the cover of night. The only reason many lynchings took place at night was because participants had to finish work and then travel to the site where the victim was being held. The truth is many lynchings took place under the warmth of the sun.
These white domestic terrorist were so unconcerned about the consequences of their actions they would pose with the annihilated black body and commemorate the lynching on a postcard. This became the societal norm, and in 1908, the Post Officer General banned these postcards.
The sites of destruction of black bodies have been concealed from us. We pass by these locals of unspeakable acts of racial hatred and have no conscious idea of what happened here. Some of us who are more attuned to the world around us might feel the discord in the air, but for the most part, we are oblivious — by design.
We are alive, and they are deceased, and the job of remembrance is our somber burden. We must speak about these grave acts of racial terror and hatred. We must describe them for what they were: lynchings. We must talk about the victims and give them the dignity that was not afforded to them in their final moments of life.