Waco Is Latest City to Make Amends for Lynch-Mob Past


Waco, Tex., is the latest city to try to make amends for long-ago racist lynchings, reports the Washington Post. On May 15, 1916, a black teenaged farmhand named Jesse Washington was seized, dragged through the streets, mutilated, burned alive and lynched outside City Hall before a cheering crowd of 15,000. The act of mob violence was so gruesome that it was dubbed the “Waco Horror.” Despite some opposition, a group of Waco residents and the city’s white business establishment have decided it is time to make amends not only for Washington’s lynching but also for “the history of mob violence in Central Texas.”

“The practice of lynching profoundly dehumanized not only victims of lynching, but also its perpetrators and acquiescent by-standers,” reads a resolution adopted this week by the city’s Lynching Issue Task Force. A city of 125,000 whose neighbor to the west is President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Waco has a current population that is half white and about a quarter black. “This is something that’s hung over my family for years,” said Nona Baker, a relative of a 20-year-old black man who was hanged by a white lynch mob from one of Waco’s bridges in 1905. “I would like to have had a little memorial service down at that bridge and maybe a plaque. But most of all, I would like an apology.”

Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/25/AR2006042502306.html

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