Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Violation of Mary Turner

Sculpture of Mary Turner

As usual, I'm reading multiple books at a time. It's no great gift to do this. I like reading parts of a book, then laying it down to ponder what I've just read. It's not unusual for me to read just a paragraph and be stopped dead in my mental tracks.

This just happened as I picked up James Cone's The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I begin chapter 5. I read one paragraph. That is enough.

Cone writes:

"When a mob in Valdosta, Georgia, in 1918 failed to find Sidney Johnson, accused of murdering his boss, Hampton Smith, they decided to lynch another black man, Haynes Turner, who was known to dislike Smith. Turner's wife, Mary, who was eight months pregnant, protested vehemently and vowed to seek justice for her husband's lynching. The sheriff, in turn, arrested her and then gave her up to the mob. In the presence of a crowd that included women and children, Mary Turner "was stripped, hung upside down by the ankles, soaked with gasoline, and roastd to death. In the midst of this torment, a white man opened her swollen belly with a hunting knife and her infant fell to the ground and was stomped to death."" (Cone, 120)

Then, her body was riddled with bullets.

The Associated Press reported that Mary Turner had made "unwise remarks" about the execution of her husband, and that "the people, in their indignant mood, took exception to her remarks, as well as her attitude".[4]

This is objective evil.  

See here.

See Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching.

See inside your own heart.