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America’s ‘angriest’ theologian faces lynching tree
A crowd gathers in Marion, Indiana, in 1930 to witness a lynching. This photograph inspired the poem and song “Strange Fruit.”
April 21st, 2012
10:00 PM ET

America’s ‘angriest’ theologian faces lynching tree

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - When he was boy growing up in rural Arkansas, James Cone would often stand at his window at night, looking for a sign that his father was still alive.

Cone had reason to worry. He lived in a small, segregated town in the age of Jim Crow. And his father, Charlie Cone, was a marked man.

Charlie Cone wouldn’t answer to any white man who called him “boy.” He only worked for himself, he told his sons, because a black man couldn’t work for a white man and keep his manhood at the same time.

Once, when he was warned that a lynch mob was coming to run him out of his home, he grabbed a shotgun and waited, saying, “Let them come, because some of them will die with me.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

James Cone knew the risks his father took. So when his father didn’t come home at his usual time in the evenings, he’d stand sentry, looking for the lights from his father’s pickup truck.

“I had heard too much about white people killing black people,” Cone recalled. “When my father would finally make it home safely, I would run and jump into his arms, happy as I could be.”

Cone takes on a theological giant

Cone left his hometown of Bearden, Arkansas, and became one of the world’s most influential theologians. But the memories of his father and lynch mobs never left him. Those memories shaped his controversial theology, and they saturate his recent memoir, “The Cross and the Lynching Tree.”

Cone, who once called himself “the angriest theologian in America,” is still angry. His book is not just a memoir of growing up in the Jim Crow era; it’s a blistering takedown of white churches, and one of America’s greatest theologians, Reinhold Niebuhr - a colossal figure often cited by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Today, Niebuhr’s importance is acknowledged by both liberal and conservative Christian leaders. President Obama once called him one of his favorite philosophers. Niebuhr, the author of classics such as “The Irony of American History,” died in 1971 after a lifetime of political activism.

Cone, however, said neither Niebuhr nor any other famous white pastor at the time spoke out against the most brutal manifestation of white racism in the 20th century America: lynching.

Between 1880 and 1940, Cone says, an estimated 5,000 black men and women were lynched. Their murders were often treated as festive affairs. Women and children cut off the ears of lynching victims as souvenirs. People mailed postcards of lynchings. One postcard of a charred lynching victim read, “This is the barbeque we had last night.”

But Niebuhr said nothing about lynching, little about segregation, and once turned down King’s request to sign a petition calling on the president to protect black children integrating Southern schools, Cone said.

Niebuhr’s decision not to speak out against lynching encouraged other white theologians and ministers to follow suit, Cone said, because Niebuhr was considered the nation’s greatest theologian.

“White theologians didn’t say anything about lynching,” Cone said from his office at Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he teaches a course on Niebuhr. “I tried to find a white theologian who addressed it in a sustained way. No one did it.”

Cone’s criticism of Niebuhr baffles at least one well-known Niebuhr scholar. Charles Lemert, author of “Why Niebuhr Matters,” said King often cited Niebuhr as an inspiration. He said he’d never heard that Niebuhr rejected a petition request from King. “It would be so remote from everything the man was.”

Lemert said Niebuhr had established a long record of speaking out against racism, beginning when he became a pastor in Detroit. Niebuhr may not have spoken out against lynching and other forms of racism later on because of another reason, Lemert said.

“He had a debilitating stroke in 1951,” Lemert said. “By the time the civil rights movement was full blown, he was retired and getting ill.”

Why Cone is angry

Cone has spent much of his career condemning the white church for saying little about slavery or racial justice. Yet his pugnacious reputation doesn’t jibe with his appearance. He is a slight man with a boyish face, cinnamon complexion and dimples. He has a high-pitched voice that drips with the Southern inflections of his native Arkansas.

Cone first gained attention in 1969 with the release of “Black Theology and Black Power,” a book he wrote after urban race riots and King’s assassination.

That book took theology out of academia and placed it on the still-smoldering streets. He became known as the father of “black liberation theology.” He said God was black (he meant it figuratively) because God was closest to those who were oppressed and despised - black people in America.

Cone said his passion for justice comes from growing up in the black church.

Cone blended the racial pride of the black power movement with an emphasis on social justice that had been a part of the black church since enslaved Africans first read the Bible. Jesus' primary message, he said, wasn't about getting people to heaven, but liberating people here and now from oppression - racial, economic and spiritual.

Cone said he was tired of white theologians writing about an otherworldly theology while cities burned and blacks were murdered by racists.

“I felt like I was the angriest black theologian in America,” he once wrote in his book “Risks of Faith.” “I had to speak out.”

Cone inspired some and angered others.

Critics say he developed a divisive, racist theology that describes God as black and whites as evil. They say he’s stuck in the '60s and never abandoned the bitterness of growing up in segregation.

Supporters say Cone exposed the hypocrisy of white churches and gave voice to helpless, poor and oppressed Christians in places as far away as China and Latin America.

The Rev. James Ellis III, an author who has been both critical and supportive of Cone, says before Cone, theology was interpreted through a white male perspective.

Cone has inspired not only blacks but also women and other racial minorities to enter seminaries and the pulpit, he says.

“Whether you agree with Cone or not, he’s definitely someone you need to deal with,” said Ellis, author of “OnThaGrindCuzin: The School Daze of Being ‘Incognegro’ in 1619.”

“He takes the gloves off and gets down to the nitty-gritty.”

Jonathan Walton, an assistant professor of African American Religious Studies at Harvard University, said listening to Cone is like “listening to a Hebrew prophet.”

For many people, Walton says, Cone “exposed that the God that they were worshiping was more consistent with the Pharaoh in Egypt than the Hebrew children.”

Cone said people still misunderstand his theology. He said he does not believe that whites are more sinful than others.

“God made us all as brothers and sisters,” he said. “I’m mad when people don’t treat others as brothers and sisters. I’m concerned about the suffering of all people, not just black people. If anybody is being treated unjustly, I’m with them.”

Singing about the ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’

Cone said his passion for justice comes from growing up in the black church. In his recent memoir, he describes how blacks relied on music and faith to deal with the cruelty of segregation.

On Saturday nights, he said, blacks in his hometown would go to juke joints with names like Sam’s Place to hear blues songs like “Hoochie Coochie Man.” On Sunday mornings, some of the same people would go to church to sing spirituals like “Lord, I Want to be a Christian in My Heart.”

Church comforted Cone, but it also made him ask questions.

“My thing was, if the white churches are Christian, how come they segregate us? And if God is God, why is He letting us suffer?”

The cross, he said, helped him find some answers. He said many white Christians “spiritualize” the cross, seeing it as a penalty Jesus had to pay for mankind’s sins.

But black Christians, starting with the slaves who took up the Bible, also viewed the cross as a way to cope with suffering.

Blacks looking at the images of lynching victims took heart from Jesus’ suffering on the cross and his resurrection, Cone said.

He writes:

“Black Christians believed that just knowing that Jesus went through an experience of suffering in a manner similar to theirs gave them faith that God was with them, even in suffering on lynching trees just as God was present with Jesus in suffering on the cross.”

Cone also talked about his personal suffering in his memoir.

He writes about his wife, Sandra, who died of cancer in 1983. He saw her on the night she died. He said they were joking and laughing as she chided him for not leaving her hospital room to get rest.

He finally did leave, but she died at 3 that morning. Thinking about the cross helped him grieve, he said.

“God talked me through that,” he said, his voice softening. “You look suffering right in you eye and say, ‘You may get me, but you’re not going to have the last word.’ ”

Cone also talks about his parents, Charlie and Lucy, who inspired him and his two brothers. Charlie was a woodcutter who encouraged his wife to return to school, where she eventually earned a college degree.

“I didn’t grow up with a lot of fear,” he said. “I just thought my mother and father would protect me.”

One of Cone’s fears today, though, is that the contemporary black church is losing its distinctive theology. He said there’s less talk about justice and more talk about prosperity.

“You go to almost any black church today, and you don’t hear spirituals anymore,” he said. “What you hear is this happy, ‘I’m prosperous’ kind of stuff. I’m not for that. You don’t come to church to be entertained. You come to wrestle with your spirit.”

Cone may still be angry, but he’s also mellowed. He’s tempered some of the voltage from the language he used in his earlier books. And he’s accepted criticism from some black women theologians who said he didn’t include the perspective of black women in his works.

Yet thoughts of his childhood and his parents never seem far off. In his books and lectures, he returns once again to them, especially when people compliment him for his boldness. In one essay, Cone wrote:

“At most, what I say and do are just dim reflections of what my parents taught and lived.”

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bible • Black issues • Books • Christianity • Church • Crime • Culture wars • Persecution • Prejudice • Race

soundoff (2,563 Responses)
  1. Rainer Braendlein

    There are conflicts between different religions, for example there is a tension between Islam and Christianity.

    Of course, the doctrines of Islam and Christianity are contradictory. Yet, nevertheless a true Christian should love his Muslim neighbour (workmate, classmate, next-door neighbour, etc.) independent from his Muslim belief, just because he is a human being.

    There is something in us, an ugly germ, which always seeks to stress the distinctions, in oder to have a reason to despise the neighbour: black/white; German/Jewish, Christian/Muslim; rich/poor; etc.. The same bad germ, which takes different religion as reason for hate, takes a different color, race, nationality or social status as reason for hate.

    Hence, the problem are not the distinctions between us, but our hateful nature, which is not ready to love the neighbour with his own personality.

    Why should we love our neighbour at all?

    God is love (regard the sweet animals, which he created). We are happy, if God's love flows through us. We can promote each others life by the gifts, which God has given us. If someone uses his gifts, in order to promote the health of his neighbour, God's love flows through him and he becomes happy. Our different characters are actually a big chance for us. We can complement each other.

    The problem is only that, even if we understand that love is good, we are slaves of our bad angry, hateful nature, which is connected with our body.

    Hence, we need deliverance. By sacramental baptism and faith we can receive Christ's nature of love, which overcomes our natural nature of hate. Get baptized or remember infant baptism.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • pntkl

      Much more faith, without the political aspect. Well put. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."

      April 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • pntkl

      To clarify, for baptism, which is a ceremonial washing: if you feel compelled, do so realizing the infant is only symbolically washed. They are of need, for it, before our Father. The age of cognizance is one to each own. It is then, that the ceremony can be bonded to your choice path.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @pntkl

      Mind a little again about the matter of infant baptism.

      I fully understand you. For a long time I was an opponent of infant baptism too, but now I am an adherent of infant baptism.

      Why?

      We have to realize that faith is not a matter of reason, but is caused by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can cause the faith independent from the age of the person (John the baptist became a believer in the womb of his mother Elisabeth, when he still was an embryo).

      It is only important that infant baptism gets only practised in a sphere of faith (pious pastor, parents and congregation).

      A church, which does not practice discipleship or pious life in Christ, mocks God by infant baptism. Infant baptism is not a magical or mechanical act. It only works, when the Spirit is present.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • pntkl

      Bear witness, to the Spirit of Truth, a gift left to those that open it, and found with Rainer, a Child of God.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  2. Virginia

    I agree with Ms. Sharon, there definitely needs to be more dialogue. As a woman who is black and was a child/ teenager in t he turbulent 60's and 70's in polarized Detroit, I pride myself on my view of people in a humanitarian manner. My parents grew up in that early era (Mama was 96 when she died in 2005) and she often spoke of the "night riders " ( pre KKK vigilante groups) in her native Georgia and still remembered witnessing a neighbor being "tarred and feathered and hung " for speaking to a white woman. Something she never forgot. Her generation seemed to think that was just "the way it was" although they owned their own land but eventually sold it and migrated north to seek a better life. Between watching the Detroit riots @ 7-8- yrs old and seeing Vietnam on TV, I still developed a everybody is equal in God's eyes mentality because of my faith and , as Cone said, the spiritual emphasis of the Black church. Just because there is a black prez and strides have been made, we should keep the conversation open and not only talk about it but live it. Stop saying how many"black" friends you have or how you like your "white " co-workers but start thinking you like "so and so" or you work with "so and so" regardless of race. WE as a prople, need to stop perpatrating our own sterotypes of race and start thinking about the big picture. After all, by 2050, mixed race people are projected to be the majority!

    April 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  3. 7Pillars

    "Stop living in the past" orders the pompous one – you know, the one who lectures everyone on how important American History is regarding the Founding Fathers and how that past is always with us and helps define us as a Nation?

    Funny how this haughty know-it-all never asks or 'respectfully requests', but always seems to Order you to "Stop living in the past". Funny how this bombastic genius has all the answers, but never explains how only certain American History 'must never be forgotten' and is part-and-parcel of who we are.

    I wonder why it's so important for the self-righteous ones to ignore everything else and focus on 'how everyone is living in the past and should let it go' when commenting on an article whose message includes "Lynching is Terrible". And why is it so important to use that Command Mode tone of voice?

    Patronizing? Condescending? There are plenty of examples of both (and a lot worse). Interesting choices that say more about them than they seem to be aware...

    April 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Peace Lilly

      I live by this simple qualifier: I only look to the past to see the mistakes that need not be repeated. Other than that, the past is over and done with. We can't change it nor should we forget those that suffered before us. But it would be a mockery of those that did suffer if we allowed their suffering to perpetuate something so nasty as hate. I know, firsthand, that forgiveness of those that wrong me enriches my life. It allows me to let go of negative feelings and look at the world in a better light. I cannot possibly, in any way, relive what those that were wronged in the past went through. How can we? So why let it rule our present and future? All people, regardless of heritage, are guilty of not doing enough to end the love affair we seem to have with hate.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Kay

      If you want "pompous" and "condescending", you might want to try reading your *own* words. You seem to have gotten both of them down to a fine art.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  4. SciGuy

    If there were so many lynchings, why, in the dozens of times I've seen pics of lynchings, this is the only one I've seen?

    April 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Ok, grammar is hosed, but you get my point.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • pntkl

      It was still illegal, even if sanctioned by a conglomerate of local communities. The brutal truth is, a lot of people have a fascination with watching someone else die. A good number of attendees are also so-called anchors of the community; priests, teachers, and lawyers even. While pictures may have been developed, for a lot of murders; there also is no limit on prosecuting them. Even beyond this world.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      You should pre-face:Riddle me this.;)

      April 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      BECAUSE THEY ARE OBSCENE – are you suggesting there were not as many as everyone says?

      April 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      ***
      BECAUSE THEY ARE OBSCENE – are you suggesting there were not as many as everyone says?

      April 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Kay

      Here's a hint...Google "lynching" and click 'Images' as your choice of search. You will see more photos of more lynchings than you ever wanted to.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Mitch

    Due process is always desirable, but a rational person wouldn't assume that the two hanged men in the photo were automatically innocent.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • 7Pillars

      That is one of the more unreasonable statements on this page, which is chock full of unreasonable statements. If you are reasonable at all and you know American History of that time, you can only conclude one thing and you'd have a 99.98% of being correct.

      That's a nice way of saying that your comment is pretty ignorant.

      April 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  6. lilyq

    It's too bad CNN stokes the race fire every chance they get.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Narrow minded people ,that say,"stoke the race fire",stoke the race fire!

      April 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  7. DAVID

    this man is filled with anti-white hatered.as long as we have people like him,anti-black people as well,our country will always be divided.he preaches hatred to black people& im sure thats how he has made his living.sir,you have hated all your life in the name of GOD.why dont you take a real good look at yourself.you have used your education (IN MY OPINION) totally in a dark way.GOD forgive you for spewing anger to your followers

    April 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • J

      He tells the truth and you call it hatred?

      Hatred is lynching a man and gathering the family/town together to watch...laughing and carrying on.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Steve

      The crimes committed by the lynchees must have been abominable for the crowd to demonstrate that much hatred.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Yes, J, it's sooo much better to drag a PhD to death behind her car because she was fighting for the life of her new-born, right?

      April 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  8. Vumba

    We all know it happend...It was wrong but WHY pound it in the ground. We have to move on even the black President said that, why don't people listen to that part of his speech?

    April 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • J

      It's called history. If we don't remember, we won't remember.

      We still talk about the Holocaust. We still talk about WWII.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • lilyq

      Because it is more profitable to perpetuate than to move forward.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  9. NeutralityAct

    The good reverend Cone wants the white churches to be more politically active from the pulpit and is angry because the congregations are only politically active in the voting booth. Sorry, pal. The pulpit in the church is for one thing, your pulpit is for something else; racial divide, I guess.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • J

      Let's see, since Obama started running, what have we heard spewing from the so-called "Christian" right: racist rants, hate, lies...

      April 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Steve

      I can't recall any explicitly "racist" talk from the religious right.

      Anything conservative whites have to say will always be deemed "racist" by default by the loony, illiberal left.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • J

      He says he's a Christian; they say he's a Muslim.

      He isn't a Muslim but they act like all Muslims are terrorists.

      That is like saying that all whites are part of the KKK.

      They make all sorts of anti-African-American comments/"jokes".

      And then they go to church...pious.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  10. Jolene

    Thank God for giving us the Buddha! He sacrificed His son in vain.

    April 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  11. SciGuy

    This statement by Cone reveals that he does not understand the biblical gospel: " Jesus' primary message, he said, wasn't about getting people to heaven, but liberating people here and now from oppression – racial, economic and spiritual." The scriptures say this: "you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

    April 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • Kay

      If you can pick and choose your verses, so can he. However, you might want to actually focus on what Jesus himself said if you want to talk about what Jesus said, not what others said *about* him.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  12. MIKE JONES

    JESUS IS LORD AND SAVIOR AND SEEK HIM AND KNOW THE TRUTH.
    Do Not Get Fooled By The MOBS EVIL ACTIONS Not All WHITE PEOPLE AGREE With
    This EVIL ACTION. John BROWN A WHITE MAN IN THE SOUTH WAS A GOD SENT LIKE ANGEL
    FOR BLACKS AND FREEDOM BACK DURING SLAVERY. I HAVE WHITE BrOTHERS IN CHRIST JESUS WHO
    IS VERY HURT FROM THIS. People Do Not Be Fooled From The DEVILS WORK There Evil Black People
    Out There Who Will Shoot You Just As Quick As A Evil White Person Would Want To Hang You.
    Thats Why You Have To Seek JESUS And With Your Actions And Faith Bring Lost People To The LOVING CHRIST.
    COLOR HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EVIL. WE FIGHT AGAINST DEMONIC SPIRITS

    April 22, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • SciGuy

      John brown was a crazed murderer, and a servant of his father the devil.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • NeutralityAct

      You're a nut case.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Mike Douglas

      John Brown was a saint.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  13. pntkl

    To Whom It May Concern,

    As a servant of those in need of faith, I write to you having been charged by our Father in heaven, with the delivery of a warning. Where once born like a child, eagerly accepting lowliness, now like an adult, the faith in His Son bears burdens intended. By way of suppression, in formative years past, a wall was formed and made strong. It was built tall and wide, spanning great lengths, in either direction.

    This barrier was built when it seemed as if without it, there could be no survival. Each side held onto an inverse monochromatic view of the other; both limiting love for another, covetous brothers, using division as cover. Evenhandedly, my Father does protest it's existence, in the slightest. Yet, it stands firm, displaying no uncertain loss of fidelity.

    Each is responsible, however much one does accuse the other. They both are accused, by the Host of heaven. His call is certain: the old Army marches with the Son, to tear down this wall. Of each color, His Son does wear. This march should not scare, the weight made so much lighter to bear. In-between where it stood; it is there those found faithful are found fair. In pair, no power of theirs, does he care. Like a wild mare, in equal measure, He will be found there.

    Cordially Yours,
    Terrance James Wood "T.J."

    April 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Kay

      Huh????

      April 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • pntkl

        If you have to ask, my response will be equally puzzling: "What man has written, man may read, But God fills every root and seed, With cryptic words, to strangely set For mortal to decipher yet." – Charles Dalmon

        April 30, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  14. trollin

    Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u! Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u! Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u! Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u! Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u! Jig-a-booo. Jig-a-booo. I lynch u!

    April 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • mikstov33

      What the heck are you afraid of? Never mind idiots should be lynched too

      April 22, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  15. Booosko

    Cone ia a liar and sensationalist.

    The fact that his father wasn't lynched proves him wrong. He's a paranoid.

    Most od the lynch victims WERE criminals.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • pntkl

      You signed their death warrant or incited the mobs? Who were the criminals? For who made you God or Redeemer? You stand faithless, before the Father.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • J

      Criminals by whose standards? Were they lynching whites for the same crimes? Were they taking away bodyparts as souvenirs? Were they making the death of another human being a fun viewing event?

      I'd call that sick and pure evil.

      Justice isn't justice if the one administering the so-called justice already has a preconceived bias against the individual.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • mikstov33

      Most who were lynched by mobs were only accused of crimes,not tried and convicted in court.Happened in the old west too.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • John

      I love how CNN will publish a sympathetic and "balanced" piece on a black racist. Imagine them doing a piece on some blatantly racist white guy who was always on about God being white. Enjoy your daily race baiting.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • John

      J, yes, that sort of thing has gone on throughout history during public executions, whether it was whites watching other whites die in medieval England or in some war zone or at a lynching (yes, about 1/3 of those lynched were whites). Unfortunately, this is a dark part of human nature.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Kay

      Actuallly, approximately about 1/3 of blacks who were lynched were falsely accused and not guilty of anything, while most of the rest were not guilty of a crime for which the punishment was death. Heck, one mother was lynched simply because she tried to stop a mob from lynching her son.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  16. MIKE JONES

    NOFEAR-----BLACKS DID BUILD THERE OWN COMMUNITIES AND THEY BURNED THEM DOWN

    April 22, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • momoya

      "their"

      April 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  17. FGZ

    Very few lynchings were in response to civil rights activities. Most – by far – were mob/vigilante justice against those accused (and likely guilty) of serious crimes. Granted, these people were denied due process protections, but they were not attacked because they were speaking out against racism, they were attacked because they were believed to have committed violent crimes.

    About 2/3 of those lynched were black, 1/3 white, and a very small number some other race. Looking at current and historical crime rates of blacks and whites, this would seem about right. Talking about the rare case of lynching for purely racist reasons, then looking at the number of people lynched (which implies that all were lynched purely for racist reasons) is dishonest. Very much like looking at a single white-on-black murder, then using the total number of blacks murdered in a given year to imply that most/all were victims of racism.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • pntkl

      A lie, no matter how well the defense thereof is written–it is a lie, nonetheless.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Kay

      No...NOT "likely guilty". Almost no blacks were lynched either for a crime they were guilty of *or* for a crime for which the death penalty was even a possible punishment.

      Can't you folks spend 5 minutes doing a little research before jumping to nasty conclusions that support lynchings???

      April 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  18. nofear

    the blacks should, and some already have, withdraw their contribution to and participation in the blood-suckers' system and build their own JUST community. racism is rooted in stupidity, for which there is no known cure. preaching and fighting is futile.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • pntkl

      Racism will exist just as long as there is a barrier, which is perception thereof, between a divide. In part, the divide exists from language such as, "the blacks." This has nothing to do with political correctness. It has everything to do with your spirit, for how your thoughts and others' are made manifest. It is wrong and comes with a warning: loose it quickly.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • J-Man

      Not sure what you are saying. If you are saying black should stop paying taxes, the percentage that do is pretty small. When you consider the large percentage that is in jail and the huge percentage that don't make enough money to be taxed you probably end up with less than 10% of all blacks that pay federal income tax. That would be an interesting study that the government should do.

      April 22, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • mikstov33

      Complete with drive-by shootings,drug dealers,and blue and red color coded caste system?

      April 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  19. MIKE JONES

    THATS WHY I SEEK THE TRUE LOVE OF JESUS AND KNOW EVERY WHITE PERSON IS NOT EVIL LIKE THESE ANIMALS. AND YES YOU HAVE BLACK EVIL ACTING ANIMALS ALSO.
    SEE I KNOW THE TRUTH AND THATS JESUS CHRIST.
    NOT ALL WHITE PEOPLE EVIL LIKE THIS.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  20. MIKE JONES

    THIS IS NOT THE JESUS I FOLLOW THOUGH---------–THESE OR HELL BOUND HYPOCRITES

    MAN HOW CAN ONE BE THIS EVIL---------–WHAT MAKES A PERSON SO EVIL IS IT POSIBLE
    IS THATS WHY IT WAS EASY FOR OUR LEADERS TO GO AND MURDER PEOPLE IN IRAQ AND
    CALL IT A WAR.

    April 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Leona

      You are right. This is not God. The way they are acting today makes me feel if they could do this again, they would. I am basing this on the things they are saying about the president. I am not to far from it because I am black too. I know exactly how the republicans feel about us. If it is not white, it is not right so they think.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • pntkl

      You can take a second, to that, Mike. Thank you.

      April 22, 2012 at 11:59 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.