Honoring the lost

June 8th, 2019


“This column stands in honor of the countless thousands of men, women and children who are undocumented victims of racial terror and lynching.  While we have collected the names, dates, and stories for more than 4,000 racial terror lynchings inscribed in this memorial, the true number of victims is dramatically higher.  Many lynchings were unreported and never documented.  Although their names and stories may never be known, we remember and mourn all whose lives were lost during this tragic era of racial terror.”

Before starting this tour, I picked up the book, “How the United States Racializes Latinos: White Hegemony and Its Consequences” edited by Cobas, Duany and Feagin.  My hope was to learn American history not just from the struggle of African Americans in the Deep South, but to parallel that study with the story of Hispanics that lived in this country during the same era.

After visiting the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and commemorating African Americans that were brutally murdered by lynching, I was curious as to whether or not there were Hispanics lynched.   In chapter 4 of the aforementioned text, Carrigan and Webb document 597 lynchings of citizens of Mexican descent during the same era.   All over the United States there were thousands of men and women injured or killed in order to maintain the unjust social order that existed.  No person of color was exempt.  No white person attempting to help a person of color was exempt, only those who participated or those who remained silent.

I am grateful that we no longer face this particular type of cruelty, however there are unjust practices that are just as inhumane and just as complicit in maintaining the current social order.  As Christians we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Let us not participate in the injury of our neighbor with our silence.


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