Several years ago, we embarked on a vacation visit to family in Maryland and northern Virginia. Afterward, we decided to journey a little farther south to a nearby church conference that we had learned of while with family. Upon our departure from the conference, we took another detour straight across the spine of the Appellation Mountains in Virginia. Cresting the high peaks on I-81, we pulled off of the road at one of the picturesque observation plateaus overlooking the southern valley in the direction of Lynchburg.
My thoughts were drawn to the hypnotic splendor of the mountains filled green and plush with the romance of its name,”Virginia.” I looked across its seemingly untouched and majestic topography. My mind’s eye locked into a sobering truth of Lynchburg’s name. Lynchburg lies off in the distance below the canopy of foliage. A dichotomy was manifest with thoughts of atrocities, human suffering, and a history of evil amidst all of this beauty.
Lynchburg was named after Quaker, John Lynch. John’s brother, Charles, a judge, later started a revolutionary war practice of executing colonials who sided with the British. Due process was bypassed. Therefore, Lynch became judge, jury, and executioner. This practice was later called Lynch’s law, i.e Lynching.
Lynching means where two or more persons wilfully cause bodily injury or any act or series of acts of violence on any other person, or aiding, abetting such act/acts thereof, whether spontaneous or planned, on the basis of any actual or perceived protected characteristic;
Lynching had become a practice for keeping slaves obedient. In post-reconstruction Lynching was a mode of terrorism used to intimidate, blacks into political, social, and economic submission. By 1882 African Americans had surpassed all other groups lynched, which continued unto this day. There were 4440 documented racial terror Lynchings between 1877 and 1950.
A new thrust to end to this type of brutality came after the George Floyd Lynching in 2020. The Strange Fruit had seemingly been resolved with the passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act of 2022.
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15 KJV
Intimidation tactics in the abstract are alive and active in the three aforementioned ways
Political: Through the sweeping wave of voter suppression laws that affect black and brown people. These laws are buttressed by the Stolen Election Lie.
Social: from the time of reconstruction miscegenation (race mixing) was a big fear of many in the dominant culture. Racialist mentality said “protect our white women from those sex craved wild black men.” This added fuel to the segregationist and white supremacy culture that continues today. Finally, Mass Incarceration, which accomplishes two of the three objectives. It segregates African American males from the rest of society. Also, convicted felons can never vote even after serving their time and achieving rehabilitation.
Economic: Chattel slavery was the way to squeeze every drop of blood, sweat, and life itself from People of Color through exploitation for economic gain.
We have recently witnessed the overwhelming numbers of BIPOC that died from COVID 19. Social Determinants of Health is not a new thing. It has been identified and studied for years. Entire volumes of data have established this reality. African Americans and many other marginalized communities of color have paid with their lives for acceptance of this status quo,
In large part, being trapped in neglected, hazardous, impoverished, high-crime areas have only exasperated the situation. Another law was passed in 1968 (The Fair Housing Act). So why do we have Whitewashing and devaluated home values in majority African American neighborhoods?
The answer lies in these mechanisms of intimidation, psychological terror, and shorter lifespans due to health disparities have many common denominators. One thru line is the Algorithm. The data is fed into, interpreted, and disseminated according to the discretion of the institutions of the powerful. “
Economic intimidation is witnessed from being turned down for a car loan, lower credit scores, NFL Race Norming, to the type of medical attention and prognosis for people of color.
“An algorithm widely used in US hospitals to allocate health care to patients has been systematically discriminating against black people, a sweeping analysis has found.
The study, published in Science on 24 October, concluded that the Algorithm was less likely to refer black people than white people who were equally sick to programmes that aim to improve care for patients with complex medical needs. Hospitals and insurers use the Algorithm and others like it to help manage care for about 200 million people in the United States each year.” online source Heidi Ledford https://www.nature.com/
However, clumsy, the phrase “High Tech Lynching,” first made famous by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, brings nuance to the culture of Lynching. The greatest danger of the Strange Fruit is in its resilience. It feeds on exhausted and discouraged justice seekers, complacency, and indifference by the powerful and those in between.
Entering our second year, Three-Fifths’ continues to bring clarity from a spiritual place of restoration. We continue to reinvigorate the exhausted, encourage the discouraged, restore purpose to the complacent, concern to the indifferent, and always speak truth to the powerful.
By Kevin Robinson Founder/Editor-Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine