A Hundred Years After Her Lynching, Mary Turner’s Memorial Remains a Battleground

The Ways We Remember, Forget, and Erase the History of This Tragedy Is an Inescapable Part of Its Story

In Lowndes County, Georgia, by the side of State Road 122, stands a historical marker for “Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918.” The metal marker describes in plain language a May 1918 spree of mob violence. After a white farmer was murdered, the mob killed at least 11 African Americans.

Mary Turner, the marker’s named victim, was eight months pregnant. The mob targeted her because she spoke out against the lynching of her husband Hayes. A crowd of several hundred watched the men hang, burn, and shoot Turner, …

More In: race relations

Why Martin Luther King Had a 75 Percent Disapproval Rating in the Year of His Death

His Crusade to Confront Economic Injustice and the Vietnam War Angered Whites, While Younger Black Activists Had Lost Patience With His Nonviolent Tactics

According to an early 1968 Harris Poll, the man whose half-century of martyrdom we celebrate this week died with a public disapproval rating of nearly 75 percent, a figure shocking …

Unraveling a Forgotten Massacre in My Louisiana Hometown

A History Teacher Discovers a Racially Driven Rampage That Still Haunts His Students' Lives

On a chilly Louisiana afternoon in October 1868, Louis Wilson left the courthouse, where he’d testified in an ongoing case. Wilson was a freedman living in St. Bernard Parish, a …

When Bigoted Humor Isn’t Just a Joke

White Comedians Tiptoeing Around Racial Taboos Are Adding Insult to Injury

Over the last decade, I’ve studied the changing nature of race-talk among comedians, from the civil rights era to the present. Specifically, I’ve been interested in examining the use of …