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. Jim

    Lynchings attributed by the Klan:
    1890-1899 1,111
    1900-1909 791
    1910-1919 569
    1920-1929 281
    1930-1939 119
    1940-1949 31
    1950-1959 6
    1960-1969 3
    These statistics show that lynchings were exceedingly rare when compared to the size of black population. When compared to black infant death as a result of malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea it pales in comparison. Keep your eyes on the REAL prize.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • marc

      And that is not accurate.wrote by whites.LOL And you think they kept accurate records?

      April 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Susie

      What they might also publish is a list of other people lynched during these times. Lynching was quite common for all races.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • miller

      one is too many

      May 9, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  2. Truthsayer

    What does cone think of modern day lynchings such as the virtual lynching of George Zimmerman, the groups of blacks targeting whites for assault in Michigan (not reported by CNN), the beating, stripping and robbing of a white man last month in Baltimore by a gang of blacks while hoards of blacks watched, many many other examples recently. So -wallow in your hate over ancient history, there is plenty of hate to go around.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Liz

      CNN hasn't reported the recent violent black flash mob attacks on whites in Minneapolis. Police will be proposing an 8 p.m. curfew. Of course white children will be punished by the new curfew.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • dave

      Yo yo! I love to rap and dats no lie, I gave up dem dix and started chasin da pie! No more polishin and waxin dem knobs...from now on I be done with da corn cobs. Its just da box dat turns me on....every day of da month even if dey got pons! I pump da cooochie till it be so sore...my strap-on sausage be dusty no more! So that's my rhyme and u gotta be stoked, I just want da chiks and be done with the blokes!! See ya!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  3. Liz

    Sometimes you rob and kill people and walk away, other times you end up hanging from a tree.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • dave

      sometimes you come across a raci st POS on the internet and just have to point it out how much it must suc k that their worldview is DOG shiite and they'll burn in he ll for it...

      April 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      Right on, sister! What those stirring the racial pot do not wish to do, is to examine the incredible numbers of WHITES who were lynched by OTHER WHITES during these same years, for much the same reasons. Such an honest examination would forever end much of this political bickering over the so-called wrongs which were supposedly dis-proportionately aimed at Blacks.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • dave

      I am a fudge packin ho-mo that luvs to take monster sized jig-abooo schlongs right up da ol keister!!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • dave

      I am a neo-Christian pillow biter and I judge people but don't like to be judged!! I am going to heaven cuz I butt slam my buddies till they be walkin bowlegged for a week!!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Michele

      Watch yourself Liz. No good will come from hate-filled words.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Liz

      Hey Michelle, you a lez-bo too? Guessin I can pump your plump rump with a massive strap-on jig-abooo meat stik!! Bend over baby. Time to get worked!!!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  4. Plain Ol' Dreamer

    Is it really fair? Remembrances that is! How often does one need to be face-slapped before wanting to return the favor? The base roots of socialized constructivisms do tend one to never forgive that which needs to be shelved! For Christ's sake let go and just live one's life as one sees fit to so do without being manipulated and corn-holed by social slanderings of the media frenzied numb chuckers!

    April 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  5. fritz

    I remember that photo clearly because I grew up in Marion in grammas' house. Mom was born in Kokomo, Dad in Anderson and me in Decatur. It sucks to know that lynching craaape by white christian folks actually happened where I lived. Another reason I'm no christian. These people nearly wiped out my Mom's relatives in the Miami tribe. No need to go into what these christian folks did to my dad's relatives over the centuries. My Dad is Jewish and the christians can shove it where the sun don't shine.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  6. jim

    As a "white" I am saddened that such events occurred in American history, and we should learn about them so that they don't happen again, but we must move forward and confront the challenges of our times.

    April 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"....and we should learn about them so that they don't happen again,"

      Well, folks have lynched throughout history.... it was horrible then...what makes you think that history will not repeat itself again.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • jim

      Of course, it could happen again. And that's why people of all colors will confront racists of all colors. I think we should not worry too much about what MIGHT happen, and we should focus more on what IS happening.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Jim. Next time it might not be color. Might be cause of multiple factors. Could be a Atheist, could be a Faithful.. Society does not have that much of a obstacle to repeat this type of behavior.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • jim

      Then let me rephrase. Good people must confront bad people. We must tackle the challenges as they appear, and acknowledge good deeds when they occur.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • marc

      Well said Jim.Need more people like you.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • TruthBTold

      The "challenges of our time" are not so different from what this man talks about. Yes, we've exchanged the KKK for police brutality and George Zimmermans, but racism and undue prejudices, still, exist and they continue to impact both the black community and other minorities in a detrimental way.

      Needless to say, our parents have passed down to us the hope of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and a place called "hell" ; a just reward for those who take comfort in stereotypes, racism, injustice, and other abuses. In the meantime, God showed us, they did it to Him and HE LIVES; even as they are dead men walking, but not for long.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Susie

    When will people realize that the media love to perpetuate the idea of racial hatred and discrimination which is really minimal compared to other problems in society. This is how they sell newspapers and advertizing. The same with universities, the more they can convince people that the world is falling apart, the more grant money they can get from the govt. These people make Elmer Gantry look like a saint.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • kenny

      you're part of the problem, my guess is you have some relatives in that picture above... it makes me sick and disgusted that i served this country for the likes of you...

      April 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Michele

      Wrong, wrong, wrong Susie. Racial bias and all forms of discrimination are prime underlying reasons for the ills of today's society. YOU may not SEE it or EXPERIENCE it (aren't you lucky) but to close your eyes to it does not make it not exist. There is a class war brewing and one reason for it is that the minorities are not able to fulfill their socio-economic dreams simply due to the bias that exists. America doesn't like our hair, our clothing, our history (the true stories, not the filtered history of grade-school books) therefore it refuses to hire, refuses to house, refuses to honor our Rights. Wake up, Susie.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  8. WDinDallas

    Well, this is a black culture issue now. Not RACISM. We provided a preferential option (noting his Black Liberation Theology) with free money, food and healthcare. A few generations later the blacks are huddled in urban masses on welfare and food stamps, smoking crack, not going to school, having children out of wedlock (for the government money) and have the audacity to call it our fault.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • ed

      so a few hundred years of slavery, and another 100 of oppression, murder and whatever else you RAC ists did, and lets call it even since the last 50 yrs or so we kinda FEEL bad about it so well toss you some crums so stfu already??? wow... just wow... u are one sick, pathetic, disgusting raci st POS..

      April 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • JackFlash

      Right – as if you didn't type your message on the computer you bought with your disability check between hits of crystal meth.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Ed-you could be back in Africa where slavery is still practiced.

      Fix your culture problems.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • JackFlash

      Hey WDinDallas – I KNOW for a FACT that ALL red state whites never finished school and l spend their days frying their brains with Oxycontin or meth while watching the big screen TVs they buy with their gummint checks (when they aren't bonking their cousins). When are you going to fix that culture problem?

      April 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Trying to send the yankees home every day.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  9. guest

    The image of above photo sickens me to see people seemed to have a good time at the men's deaths–that's just down right terrible.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Liz

      I think they should have had a trial, but it was kind of stupid as a black boys to be out robbing and shooting white people in the 1930's.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • IceT

      Liz, is it ever "smart" to be out robbing and shooting anyone anytime?

      April 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  10. doubleR

    Way to go, CNN. Display a photo from the 1930's to continue on your crusade to continually remind everyone how evil and racist whites are.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • LeRoy Feist

      We don't need CNN to remind us how racist whites are. They do a great job of that all by themselves. Can you say "Tea Baggers"? OOPS! I mean, "Tea Party". LOL

      April 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Truthteller

    Why do many Whites refuse to look back at US history just 50-80 years ago when it comes to racial injustice. However, they are always so glad cite Lincoln and Washington, etc (more than 200 years back).... Could this be simple DENIAL – The other races will never truly trust Whites, if all they choose to remember are the good historical moments. The other races will NEVER forget the evils and injustices their forefathers had to endure – this is a defense mechanism to ensure that history is never repeated. So to the really honest Whites – the silent majority (and I do have quite a few White friends who are transparent about their total history), please drown out these History-Deniers and Apologists; so that we as a whole can truly move on as a nation.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Susie

      I know what you mean. I still hate the Catholics in France after the way they treated my Huguenot ancestors. (<-Sarcasm) Blaming people today for what was done by other people in the past is bigotry.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • 50 year old white guy

      Truthteller... it's not that we don't want to hear it, it's that we've already heard it, understand it and are not passing it on to our children. You can only hear something so many times after you already know it before it becomes (hate to say it) white noise. Also, there is more to history than just the recent past. All races have thier good and bad histories, my forefathers had to endure slavery, racism and hardships as well.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Truthteller, as a African American in some ways I disagree in that while folks like you want whites to take acceptance of images such as this we as African Americans are more likely to be killed, robbed by one of our own TODAY than a gang of white Americans.

      While we are all focused on Tavon Martin case how many of our sons and daughters have been by others of our sons and daughters?

      April 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Keefster

      "not passing it on?" I beg to differ, my friend. The "denial" is passed on with mother's milk. As is the whole "change the channel" mentality. "Oh, that's so, um, I don't know.... HISTORY!" "Haven't 'they' heard? Why can't they get OVER it? We're so, like, you know, 'color-blind' and stuff now!!" That guy getting run down in the parking lot? An ABERRATION, surely! Stuff happens, guys. Buncha kids, just horsin' around, you know. Next thing you know....And besides...just what was that guy DOING there, anyway, right?

      April 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • 50 year old white guy

      You OK there Keefster? You point to a few unacceptable instances and lay blame to all. Your post is very telling as to what you pass on to your children.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Tex Gritter

      I don't think that you will ever move on, either individualy or as a Nation. You liberal blacks are way too busy putting the blame on descendants of white slaveholders, who have NEVER owned anyone. All will blow wide open one of these days when CNN or other big media manage to hit the right/wrong chord that sends everything into a downward spiral and totally out of control. I think maybe that is what CNN is actually gunning for, anyway. God save America!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  12. Claudine Chinetti


    My eyes are open and what I see is hateful, cruel, low and reeking of sewage. Man's greatest need is "self esteem". No one can win in the picture above. It is lose/lose!

    April 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Claudine Chinetti

      Well, ofcourse, that is if the photo had been a KKK hanging for the pure stupidity of it....

      You know on the other hand, out west, they did hang people for crimes committed.

      I don't know it is the whole point, this doesn't give us the information. It is just thrown out there. They could use the photo and well, I am sorry.....it just "stinks".

      April 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  13. earnest T Bass

    I thought Black history month was last month. Dis Boy be confused. Outa orda.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  14. forreal01

    One would expect that African-Americans having witnessed such atrocities toward them would have the most empathy toward ill treatment of minorities, but the contrary is the case. African-Americans have the most hatred towards the LGBT community. I guess that's just the way thing are. By nature, humans are predators, always willing to prance on the "weak."

    April 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • couldn't resist!

      If anyone is "prancing" on the weak, it's the LGBT community.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • forreal01

      @couldn't resist! There we go again, always defensive.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Liz

      Look what the nazis did to the jews, yet it doesn't stop them from committing atrocities against the Palestinians.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • forreal01

      @Liz, that's why I wrote that humans are predators, by nature.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Susie

      The Israeli's arent commiting atrocities against the Palistinians. No matter how many times you say it, you cant turn self defense into a crime against humanity.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • lee

      African Americans don't have hatred toward LGBT it is just that the lifestyle that they live goes against the belief system that are taught. It seems to me that people are jumping on the band wagon in support of the lifestyle the our creator said is an abomination. I believe that the lifestyle is unacceptable not the human being. I for one believe that everything produces after it's kind what can a man and a man produce or a woman and woman produce nothing but immorality and it goes against nature. I know what I am saying is unpopular but it is the truth.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Lilith

      lee ... I hate to be the one to tell you this but a Man and a Woman produce LGBT children.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Liz

      They hate the LGBT, but loves them some down low.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • forreal01

      @Lee, wasn't the bible one of the sources used by whites during the segregation era? Religion is the opium of the masses!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mighty

      Ben black is not a life style. There is nothing you can do about been black. IF they do not believe in your life style suck it up and move on. Mental!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  15. marc

    This will never happen again.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  16. Religious sects

    Seems very appropriate that this article combines racism and religion ... two things that future history will show as an embarasment to humanity.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed


      April 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Susie

      Long after you have gone to the worms, God will still be in charge and people will know their Savior. Just ask Nietzsche.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Religious sects

      But Sus, I can't since both Nietzsche and God are dead.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Susie

      God isn't dead, I just talked to him. He told me to tell you that if you promise to listen this time, He will talk to you.

      April 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Religious sects

      Sus, can't quite tell if you're being sarcastic. If you are, LOL .... if you're not, LOL!!

      April 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Susie

      Now I see why God doesnt talk to you. He doesn't like mockers.

      April 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  17. earnest T Bass

    What about 2019 and the end to white rule? Whats this about?

    April 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Liz

      White rule ended in 1964.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  18. Ray

    To read more about this incident shown in the photos read this:


    "Cameron has stated in interviews that Shipp and Smith had, in fact, started to rob a white man, who was later found shot."

    April 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Claudine Chinetti

      I did actually wonder the reason for the hanging, since out west in the old days, they had hangings, like we used to have electric chairs in Texas.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Liz

      So CNN, what's your point here. If you rob a and shoot a man, you'll be hanged? I'm confused.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ray

      CNN needs to check out Cone's stories before just publishing them at face value. CNN needs to dig a little harder sometimes. Perhaps if CNN had dug a litte harder they could have found the photos of Zimmerman's bleeding head to post along with those photos of 9 year old Travon Martin.

      Were innocent blacks, and some blacks who had committed petty offenses, lynched in the past? Yes!!!! Was this right? No!!!!

      But for CNN to imply that every black who was ever lynched was innocent, or just because they were black, is just plain wrong.

      And it wasn't only blacks who were getting lynched in those days. See the link below for a story about a Nebraska farm hand who killed his employer in 1907, and was then dealt with by the local farmers....


      April 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  19. marc

    Why do whites think that if you dont talk about race it will go away?If you do talk about race?Then it is racist.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Pedro

      Because actions speak louder than words? Constantly bringing it up sure doesn't seem to be working.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      @Pedro..To constantly bring up a subject,discuss it and slowly,painfully try to find a solution,is exactly how IT WORKS.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Pedro

      I agree wrong, but it doesn't seem to be working. The news media keeps bringing it up & it only seems to make it worse. My point was that our actions should speak for us. Don't perpetuate racism in your daily life, reject it when you see it & I believe our actions will make it go away.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Susie

      Actually a recent study showed that after 4 years of constant public university indoctrination about race, people were much less likely to want to improve race relations. It is a culture of blame and angrily blaming people today for the sins of past generations only turns out to be another form of bigotry.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Well, this is a culture issue now. Not RACISM. We provided a preferential option (noting his Black Liberation Theology) with free money, food and healthcare. A few generations later the blacks are huddled in urban masses on welfare and food stamps, smoking crack, not going to school, having children out of wedlock (for the government money) and have the audacity to call it our fault.

      April 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Bo

    I do not believe there is one person in this country that does not believe that there has been a lot of racial discrimination in this country. It is only the ignorant section of our society, both black and white, (or others) that are discriminatory.
    Discrimination of the Muslims is a little different. Although the vast majority are good citizens there are the few that are dangerous, but it seems that the Muslims themselves will do little to root out these dangerous people. Thus, none can be trusted. This is not racial. (Does this sound a little like the RCC hierarchy?) The one positive thing that I can say is: there are some really attractive Muslim women.

    April 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
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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.