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Hannibal

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into forcing them to discard their culture, language, and even names, which was often accomplished by working them nearly to death. If this failed to do the trick, there was also the bullwhip used to flog those who refused to submit. Pregnant women were not exempt from this form of torture: a hole would be dug to accommodate her belly, then she would lie prone on the ground for her beating. Masters sometimes made pretty slave girls and women into their personal prostitutes. About thirty percent of slaves died in the first three years from this process, an even greater number than the usual fifteen to twenty percent who died during the voyage. The majority of broken slaves stayed that way.
One section of the museum is forbidden to children under sixteen unless they are accompanied by an adult, guardian, or teacher. What could be even more heinous than the sights found in the slave ship? The gruesome history of lynching in the United States. Out of respect I did not take photos here. Lynching was used in both the North and South as a terror weapon to keep the African-American population submissive, and it went beyond a simple hanging. Often genitals were cut off, and it became so normalized in parts of Dixie, women and children sometimes gathered to watch.
Although President Harry Truman pushed for an federal anti-lynching law while in office, Congress never passed one then or since. Had it, the U.S. government could have prosecuted perpetrators if a state failed to do so. Probably the biggest reason lynching ended was the murder of Emmett Till in 1955. The massive publicity at the resulting murder trial made lynching so morally reprehensible that most Americans no longer wanted anything to do with it. The last known lynching of an African-American in the United States occurred in 1998 when three white supremacists chained James Byrd to the back of a truck and dragged him to death.
Mark Strecker’s Historical Perspective copyright © 2019 by Mark Strecker. Website design by Mark Strecker.

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