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Letters to the Editor of the Spartanburg Herald  February 1947

Willie Earl Lynching                   Feb. 18, 1947

Dear Editor,

The lynching of Willie Earl near Pickens, South Carolina, Feb. 17, is another tragic argument for a national law against such  acts of barbaric lawlessness.  There would have been such a law passed long ago had it not been for the influence of the congressmen from the South.  Is it not high time for us to instruct our congressmen to pass a law making lynching a national offense?  There is no justification for such a crime.  It is the civic duty of every person, family, church, school, and civic body, and every town, county and state government to ask our congressmen to support a bill that will make the punishment of lynching a national responsibility. 

The lynching is another horrible example of how race prejudice warps and debases the attitudes, ideas, and deeds of those who are infected by it.  It reflects the sad failure of our homes, churches, schools and community governments to indoctrinate the people with the spirit of the fatherhood of god and the brotherhood of man.  We have let race prejudice rob us of the spirit of democracy and justice.  We are unworthy of self-government if we continue to poison the minds of our youth with a racial attitude that imposes upon them a disrespect for law and man.

The law of democracy and the Spirit of God Almighty demand that we abolish the political parties and the "Jim Crow" laws that foster a superiority complex among white people which robs the Negroes of their inalienable rights, and steals from the white people the virtues of civilization.

A human society that will tolerate lynching is unfit to survive.  It cannot, and will not endure.

John B. Isom
Pastor Saxon Baptist   Church

(From The Spartanburg Journal. Do not  have the exact date)

Of What Are Lynchers Made?

Dear Editor:

In a recent editorial on lynching you suggested that it is time for all of us to give some thought as to how lynchers are made.  You called our attention to the fact that some of the lynchers on trial in Greenville had not gone very far in school, and intimated that they were among those neglected by our religious institutions.  On the basis of such facts you led us to conclude that lynchers are the by product of a society that fails to provide educational and religious training.

I am convinced that there are ample facts to justify such a conclusion.  On the others hand, there seems to be facts enough to prove that the unschooled and unchurched do not make fist class lynchers without the immoral influence of people who have had formal educational and religious training.

In looking for the defects in a society that makes lynchers we cannot overlook the influence of educated and church going lawyers, who are cheap enough to play upon the race prejudice of the unschooled.  Neither can we count as naught the influence of some educated and church going politicians, who are selfish enough to seek the votes of the uneducated by cultivating racial intolerance, and by posing as defenders of a false and ungodly racial pride.  Nor should we forget the influence of some educated and church supporting industrialists who are greedy enough to try to prevent their workers from joining a labor union by appealing to their race prejudice. 

Without the immoral influence of the educated and churched who consider it economically, politically or socially profitable for them to ignore, or condone, the conditions and traditions that make for ignorance and race prejudice, it is doubtful if the illiterate would have the leadership and courage to stage a lynching. 


John B. Isom
Pastor of the Saxon Baptist Church

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