Free Essay on Modern American History - Lynching in the South

Published: 2022-09-26
Free Essay on Modern American History - Lynching in the South
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Punishment American history
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 992 words
9 min read

Racial prejudice has been a common vice in the past. This vice mainly affected the black people as they were seen as the lesser community while the white people tended to see themselves as the mightier group. They thus thought that they deserved better facilities and treatment than their black counterparts. With this notion in mind, they set aside their facilities and left the others for the blacks (Derrick). They then took very stringent measures to avoid interactions with black people. This essay looks at analyses case studies of previous events using several sample questions.

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The first case study is a video that highlights the killing of three men Will Stewart, Calvin McDowell, and Thomas Moss. The three men were killed because they had opened a grocery store which was in direct competition to another grocery store that was owned by white people. Opening their store meant that the reduction in the market of the white-owned store. The white people went ahead to try and ask the authorities to close the shop to no avail. The white people then went ahead and approached the store with guns which in turn caused the black owners to retaliate. They shot back and injured a deputy. Upon realizing this, the black people stopped firing, and the police came and arrested them and threw about 30 of them in jail. The news spread about the revolt and later that day, the three businessmen were taken from their cells and killed by a mob who were not punished. The judge defended the killers and allowed them to go free despite their hideous act. It is also believed that the judge was one of the lynches.

Idah B wells wrote about the incidence and urged the people to leave and expressed their worries upon the accusation by the white people. The black people moved away to Kansas and Oklahoma which meant that the businesses that were owned by the whites were at risk of lacking customers. Ida also organized a boycott to those who remained in Memphis against the use of the transport methods that were used in the locality (Wilbourn).


The incident of the killing of the three businessmen by the white people shows how strained the relationship between the black and the white people was during this age. It was horrible that the white people were treated as senior to their black counterparts. They were allowed to access ammunition and given the privileges in the courts of law. The black people were also denied justice regarding the law and could only move away upon the oppression. This is bad for the relationship between the people. The white people also practice a lot of hatred for the black people. The mob murder is one of the incidences which shows this. Calvin is shot in his clenched fists upon holding one of the guns that belonged to the lynchers. Thomas Moss pleaded with them but to no avail. It is also believed that those who should have been the tools to help the people get justice were also perpetrators of the act. This is evident when the Criminal court judge is involved in the murder of the three black people (Wells). These incidences show how disadvantaged the black people were. They were oppressed and treated as lesser humans who were not allowed to get involved in fair competition with the white people.


The reason for the Mob murder of the three businessmen was that they had started a black revolt against the white people. This had, in turn, led the whites into fighting back by killing them. The fact that it was the white people who had attacked the grocery store armed was not taken into consideration. The white people are the ones who approached the store wielding ammunition. The negroes then acted in self-defense but ended up hurting a deputy. The result was the arrest of the people who were in the neighborhood. The newspaper highlights the cruel way in which the three men were killed despite their pleas to be allowed to live for the sake of their families and children. The article also described the cruel nature of the lynchers who did not even bother to hide their actions. They did not consider the pain that the individuals went through but only their interest in proving their superiority.


During this time, the black people were limited for options. The law did not favor them as they were deemed to be less important than white people. They were not allowed to oppose the rules that favored the white people, and their opinion did not matter. They had the option to move away from the oppressive society but had no opportunity to modify society without proving that they were not equal to the white people. They were only recognized when the migration led to the drop in the businesses that the white people owned. This is because the white people could no longer benefit from the negroes.

It was not possible for the black people to stand up against the oppression they were facing. They did not have the means to oppose the current form of government (Brewer and Heitzeg, 635). The whites made the law of the land and did not allow the black people to go against them. This is especially seen in the ruling that the judge made against the perpetrators of the murder.

Works Cited

Brewer, Rose M., and Nancy A. Heitzeg. "The racialization of crime and punishment: Criminal justice, color-blind racism, and the political economy of the prison industrial complex." American Behavioral Scientist 51.5 (2008): 625-644.

Bell, Derrick A. "Race, Racism American Law 6e." (1980).

Wilbourn, Shunta. "Ida B. Wells And The Memphis Moss Murders". Youtube, 2015, Accessed 5 Nov 2018.

Wells-Barnett, Ida B. On lynchings. Courier Corporation, 2014.

Wells, Ida B., and Alfreda M. Duster. "Crusade for justice." Chicago (1970).

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