Where Was God?

April 9, 2017




We whites would like to forget about it. We would like to pretend it never happened. Nevertheless, one of the terrible truths about American history is that from approximately 1880 through 1960, white Americans lynched around 5,000 blacks in this country.[1] Most of the lynched people were men, but about 2% were women.[2] Usually lynching took place in the south—the state of Mississippi had more lynchings than any other state—but whites lynched blacks in almost every state, including New York, Minnesota, California, and our own state of Indiana.[3]

“Lynching” is a word that means killing someone without a legal trial. Lynching happens when a group of powerful people, in this case whites, decide to kill someone who has less power, in this case blacks. Lynching includes a wide range of awful acts such as stabbing, shooting, hanging, burning, whipping, and cutting off fingers, toes, or other body parts. For example, on August 7, 1930, whites in Marion, Indiana, lynched two black teenagers, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith. The two teenagers were charged with killing a white man, but before a trial could take place, a white mob broke into the jail, removed Shipp and Smith, and hanged them.[4]

[1] James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2011), 3.

[2] Cone, 122.

[3] Cone, 8-9.

[4] “Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_of_Thomas_Shipp_and_Abram_Smith, accessed April 5, 2017.

Bible References

  • Matthew 27:45 - 50