American Spectator: Sherrod’s Lynching Story is a Lie Because Rope Wasn’t Used
July 26, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The right-wing has been flummoxed by Shirley Sherrod’s inspirational life story of overcoming ugly Jim Crow racism waged against her family in the Deep South, by rising above her anger and helping poor white farmers. Andrew Brietbart and his fellow smear merchants failed in their dishonest attempt to portray Sherrod as a black racist. Fox News pundits then tried to smear her as a radical Marxist. Now, the right-wing is attacking this decent woman as a liar. Why? Because she said a relative was “lynched.” Was he lynched? Yes. But former Ronald Regan aide Jeffrey Lord writes in the American Spectator today, “Shirley Sherrod’s story in her now famous speech about the lynching of a relative is not true.” What does Lord base his character assassination on? It can’t possibly be a “lynching” because a rope wasn’t used, reasons Lord. Today, the blogosphere has been busy schooling the contemptible Lord on the definition of “lynching.” Hint: a rope isn’t needed. Three white cops beating a handcuffed black man to death with fists and a blackjack is a lynching.
Shirley Sherrod’s own father was murdered by a Klansmen who went unpunished. And a relative named Bobby Hall was beaten to death by a white sheriff named Claude Screws and two of his deputies, bent on revenge. The sheriff and his cohorts were convicted of violating Bobby Hall’s civil rights, but the case was dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court on technical grounds.
The Bobby Hall case was one of many lynchings in the South of black men at the time. The chilling details of the case were described by the Supreme Court case in 1945:
“The arrest was made late at night at Hall’s home on a warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a young negro about thirty years of age, was handcuffed and taken by car to the courthouse. As Hall alighted from the car at the courthouse square, the three petitioners began beating him with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. They claimed Hall had reached for a gun and had used insulting language as he alighted from the car. But after Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying. An ambulance was called, and Hall was removed to a hospital, where he died within the hour and without regaining consciousness. There was evidence that Screws held a grudge against Hall, and had threatened to “get” him.”
During Sherrod’s now famous speech on racism, she said “Claude Screws lynched a black man.”
Says Lord in his bizarre and hateful 4,000 word screed: “Shirley Sherrod’s story in her now famous speech about the lynching of a relative is not true. The veracity and credibility of the onetime Agriculture Department bureaucrat at the center of the explosive controversy between the NAACP and conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart is now directly under challenge. By nine Justices of the United States Supreme Court. All of them dead.”
Lord then asserts that since the Supreme Court case didn’t mention the word ‘lynching” it didn’t happen. And he goes on to accuse Sherrod of purposely using the word to “glamorize” her story:
“Anyone who has lived in the American South (as my family once did) and is familiar with American history knows well the dread behind stories of lynch mobs and the Klan. What difference is there between a savage murder by fist and blackjack — and by dangling rope? Obviously, in the practical sense, none. But in the heyday — a very long time — of the Klan, there were frequent (and failed) attempts to pass federal anti-lynching laws. None to pass federal “anti-black jack” or “anti-fisticuffs” laws. Lynching had a peculiar, one is tempted to say grotesque, solitary status as part of the romantic image of the Klan, of the crazed racist. The image stirred by the image of the noosed rope in the hands of a racist lynch mob was, to say the least, frighteningly chilling. Did Ms. Sherrod deliberately concoct this story in search of a piece of that ugly romance to add “glamour” to a family story that is gut-wrenchingly horrendous already?”
The definition of lynching has been pointed out to Lord today from many quarters:
The American Prospect’s Adam Serwer uncovered the language of a proposed anti-lynching bill describing the crime, as “an assemblage composed of three or more persons acting in concert for the purpose of depriving any person of his life without authority of law as a punishment for or to prevent the commission of some actual or supposed public offense.”
A 10-second Google search also reveals numerous other definitions of “lynching” that are not predicated on the use of a piece of rope.
Lord’s odious manifesto goes downhill from there. He tries for one more bite of the racist apple, by attempting to link Sherrod to racist Dixiecrats. Racism, the KKK and lynchings, are to be blamed on Democrats.
And Sherrod, as a progressive “racist” is comparable to “alcoholics and drug addicts,” writes Lord.
“Maybe she can even tell us why she stood up in front of the NAACP and said something that was completely, totally, untrue. There is no reason in the world this episode cannot move race relations forward. Ms. Sherrod seems like a good person. But as with alcoholics and drug addicts, those addicted to the potent political cocktail of the progressive racism variety need somehow to be able to summon the guts to stand up and say the problem is not with Fox News or Andrew Breitbart or Tea Parties or anyone else.”
Mr. Lord, you are a disgrace.