Readers Write: Lynching in America


African-American lynching will forever be a stain on America’s soul. However, others have been treated just as badly. Who knew?

This in The New York Times on March 3: “Latinos Were Lynched in West. Descendants Want It Known.” 

The article continued: “The lynching of thousands of men, women and children of Mexican descent from the mid-19 century until well into the 20th century… some victims were burned alive… in 1880 a man, his wife and teenage daughter were accused of bewitching their neighbors and were burned to death… on Jan. 28, 1918, 15 men and boys were seized and marched them to a bluff over looking the river and fatally shot them at close range…”  

And there is more.  I repeat: who knew?  No wonder the descendants want this info known to many more Americans.

Another “who knew” example: Google “Italian lynching”: “The Grisly Story of America’s Largest Lynching.” 

The article continued…”A mob of tens of thousands of angry men surrounded a New Orleans jail… by the time they were done, 11 men would be shot dead and mutilated… it was 1891… nearly 5,000 lynchings were recorded between 1892 and 1968… those killed in New Orleans were Italian Americans.

“Also, Sicilians were viewed by many Americans as culturally backward and racially suspect… because of their dark skin they were often treated with the same contempt as black people… (there is so much more info on how the Italians and Sicilians were treated it will blow your mind).

And what about the Chinese? Google “Chinese lynchings”:  “Chinese Massacre of 1871” — The Chinese massacre of 1871 was a race riot that occurred on October 24, 1871, in Los Angeles, Calif., when a mob of around 500 white and mestizo persons entered Chinatown and attacked, robbed and murdered Chinese residents… an estimated 17 to 20 Chinese immigrants were hanged by the mob in the course of the riot, but most had already been shot to death…

Based on all the above, I would hope that the African-American community would join forces with prominent Hispanic, Italian/Sicilian, Chinese and other interested parties to call for a memorial the size of the Vietnam Memorial be constructed and located in Arlington National Cemetery.


John Messina           

East Williston


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