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Pieces of a Man

Chartered trains billowing plumes of smoke, carrying hundreds of white families across the state, poured into the small town of Paris, Texas. Dozens of professional photographers along with pie and pastry vendors from far and wide gathered for the grand jamboree. An entire economy was jolted into existence generated through recreation, travel, tourism, newspaper outlets, entrepreneurship, and an assortment of professional services like postcard companies created a spry confluence for an oligopolistic market. Nature lent a bucolic scenery that gave way to a quite winsomely manicured background coordinated for a specific event - the lynching of Henry Smith. A 16 year old black male.

Obstreperous crowds packed cheek by jowls as writers of the New York Sun observed; gathered in the tens of thousands, largely church goers, anticipated in jubilation the extrajudicial killing of the teen. Henry Smith, said by educators to have suffered from intellectual disabilities or to have been mentally handicapped, was accused of the rape and murder of a 3 year-old white girl, daughter of a local law enforcement officer, who had beaten him during an unlawful arrest a few weeks prior.

The accusation of rape was invariably the muse of these terroristic black male lynchings.

Apprehended and drug in after a seething nationwide manhunt, the stage was set February 1st 1893. After pieces of this young mans clothes were ripped off of his body by the clamorous, bloodthirsty white crowds who fought over them as memorabilia; the next phase began. Sprawled out and fastened to a platform assembled for torture that had (paradoxically) the word 'Justice' inscribed on it, "the child’s’ father, her brother and two uncles gathered about the Negro, to thrust hot irons into his quivering flesh" as documented by writers of the New York Sun. They plunged 325° to 400°F metal rods into Henry Smith as he lay fiendishly groaning. Death being the terminus, but exacting prolonged excruciation served as this spectacle of entertainment that wafted an atavistic, medieval euphoria through the throngs of white onlookers baying for blood.

Pieces of this young man’s body from feet, legs, and torso, were burned continuously by rolling the hot irons in an up-and-down motion along his body. Eyes burned out, with the hot irons being shoved down his throat, the crowd of white men, women, children, and toddlers cheered and begged for more. Eventually dying of asphyxiation from the smoke emanating from his blistered flesh; pieces of Henry Smith’s body; charred ears, nose, digits, etc. were cut off and squabbled over as souvenirs of requiem to pass down to their white posterities - pieces of a man.

The refabrication of this legacy of white racist mob violence produced the most unshielded and impuissant group in the United States of America, the black male; even before its official founding. Subject to extralegal abuse void of due process, opprobrious remarks, unfounded aspersions, put upon due to socially engineered vulnerability, and often portrayed as hyper-sexual. Casted as ontologically evil, politically and socially scapegoated, any ideas or initiatives with an eye towards self determination receives an omnidirectional undermining. Stigmatized through hundreds of years of labeling theory established by racist politicians, criminologists, and social scientists has made the slaughter of black males more benumbing and digestible. We were never considered thoroughgoing or whole men while being conscripted in academia as patriarchs basking in the warmth of male privilege by liberal feminists. What sweet privilege to be only 6% of the American population, yet close to 50% of the incarcerated.

While African Americans represent 40% of the homelessness rate, close to 30% are black males, notwithstanding a torrent of other educational and health abuses and statistical disparities that black males are susceptible to, which continue to go unaddressed and ignored. Black males in America are bounded in miseries left to shoulder on our own in despair. A life consigned to the mistreatment of other out-groups; even those who've recently migrated here to America. Rendered by white settler colonist in the 1600s as boys and treated at best as pieces of men.

Once the lenses are adjusted you'll find that these efforts rationalized such hermeneutics and warrants the unbarred reproach of the black males’ unpopular social or political position regardless of rung, station, or class. The burning bright red thread crocheted in America's garment, binding today's milieu to past wholesale killings of black males is glaring. Just like Henry Smith (1893), many others were victims of spectacle lynchings including Francis McIntosh (1836), John Tucker (1845), David Thomas (1854), and Sam Hose (1899), who in a fit of blood-curdling torture; had his nose, ears, and genitals severed off with knives while white mobs anxiously awaited as the pieces fell into their eager hands to serve as mementos gifted to family members on special occasions.

Today, the state sponsors and has now monopolized this violence with white, private terroristic flare ups here and there. Yet the lucrative marketplaces and cornucopia of businesses created around this social construct of dehumanizing or sub-humanizing black males, I'd advance, is somehow lost on or spackled over in writings of the ritualistic lynchings in America. The material prosperity and pleonexia of companies and industries driven by the horrific treatment of black males was simply too delicious for racist grifters, governmental agencies, corporations, and proponents of out-group hucksterism to not hitch their wagons to and receive emoluments from the tyrannized pieces of black males.

From carnivals, fairs, and circus vendors in the early 1900s in places like Omaha, Nebraska and St. Louis, Missouri that provided games such as 'Hit the Nigger Baby' where white children would throw baseballs as hard as they could at the craniums of black male toddlers, knocking them unconscious, to the photographers employed to capture and sell these images, to the present day so-called “activists" turned epicureans - Patriss Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, and other anti-black male misandrics in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement - who exsanguinated the names of black male bodies for private and federal pecuniary gains and political fodder, there are endless examples of the connected trestles upon which this shredding structure of black males sit.
  • 1870: The U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) was launched as a catalyst in preventing black men from the rise of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and its satanic thirst for lynching. However, now the DOJ provides the fuel for states around the country to incarcerate mainly black men. In the book 'Behind the Mask of Chilvalry' Nancy Maclean wrote about the rebranding and more evolved ways of lynching black men.

  • 1915: Birth of a Nation, noted as the first Hollywood blockbuster and most profitable film of its day was pathbreaking in securing reception of film as a serious medium. The future of the feature-length film industry was staked on an anti-black male propaganda campaign replete with misandric and stereotypical tropes that kicked-off the criminalization and sexual predation image of black males cinematically. These scenes continue to play out in news media across the world today.

  • 1959: Smithsonian Magazine reported that Emmy Award winning creator of The Twilight Zone, Rod Sterling, was inspired by the death and trial acquittal of the abducted and lynched 14 year old Emmitt Till. It's considered an American iconic anthology series that spawned refurbished versions and movies that have created a multitude of jobs and launched the careers of some of the biggest actors in American history.

  • 1968: 'The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968' allocates $400 million dollars to law enforcement agencies. Re-establishing the principle that men (i.e. black men) are accountable for what they do, criminals are accountable for crimes. As a result policy makers and legislators began to take a more punitive path and modified sentencing schemes focused on retribution over rehabilitation and crime prevention.

  • 1994: 'The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994' (commonly referred to as the 94' Crime Bill) becomes the most extensive crime legislation ever passed. A few points from the U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet highlight the extensive financial impacts of the Act.

    • Authorized $12.5 billion in incentive grants to expand correctional facilities with 50% earmarked for states with "truth-in-sentencing" laws scaling back parole

    • $9.7 billion dollars in funding for prisons

    • $6.1 billion dollars in prevention programs with significant input by police officers creating sinecures for police officers, secretaries, and contracts with their independent entrepreneur chums

    • $1.7 billion dollars in asylum reform and alien deportation

    • $1.8 billion dollars to reimburse states for incarceration of illegal aliens

    • Created jobs for over 100,000 new police officers generating millions of dollars in pensions and retirement

    • $100 million dollars for competitive grant programs to upgrade criminal history records Brady Act

    • $500 million authorized federal formula grant programs for state and local drug and task force efforts

The aforementioned snapshots of the spectacles that help forge the social identity of black men in America should never be forgotten when the topic and order of reparative justice is broached. Understanding the morbid egregore and occult rituals that germinated during the medieval period that whites in this country transported the tradition of, and continue to execute on largely black male bodies, deserves a deeper examination. The generationally wretched sick psychopathy that has settled in their minds produced this insouciant nature towards the injustice and suffering of black males.
To dispense such dread, black males must be considered as less than animals, or as David Livingstone Smith says, “made monsters.”
These rabidly racist and deranged people, for generations have never experienced an intervention. So to think that being a few generations removed, white behavior or thought differs today than yesteryear is pure meliorism. Motivation by the right demagogue and opportunity will summon the urges of what merely lies dormant. Contrarily, through intrepid investigations, we are exploring not only the goods sold from cottage industries at spectacle lynchings, but how small businesses and families of those businesses profited, grew, and expanded to the legacies that exist today. In a book I'm writing entitled 'Villainy and Culpability,' we unsheathe business ledgers from bookkeeping entries, family names and companies that existed in the fissures and interstices of America that have been overlooked by many historians. Serious approaches to redress must first start with scrutinizing each part of every system that made black males America's bête noire and served to carve us into 'jagged jigsaw pieces.’

It is of the utmost urgency that black men stop thinking in terms of "black" community regarding reparative solutions and start to prioritize ourselves as every other group does - a demographic purely for survival’s sake. First order of business is to reassemble and restore these pieces of men.

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3 Kommentare

28. Jan. 2023

One of the most thorough, thought provoking examinations of our past & present condition which a prescription for our future betterment

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22. Jan. 2023

I admire the thorough scholarship. Let’s reassemble together. Papa

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20. Jan. 2023

"What sweet privilege to be only 6% of the American population, yet close to 50% of the incarcerated."

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