In the 1800s and 1900s, lynching were public demonstrations. It was not uncommon for people to travel by foot, by wagon or by train to view a lynching. Photographers were there to take photos. Some viewers brought picnic baskets. Others collected mementos in the form of body parts of the lynched victims.
Much like today, Americans viewed black men and women be killed in front of their very eyes. The media heralded the stories, but little was done about it. Many of the witnesses considered the lynchings, often conducted by vigilantes, to be acts of justice. My poem “Justice on Display” ponders this notion.
You can listen the poem here.
I invite you to listen to the poem a couple of times, reflect on its content and then answer the questions linked below. You can journal your answers privately or use them as conversation starters with your family and friends. Answer as few or as many of the questions as you would like.