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250 Deep

February 17 was a memorable day for many in Columbia, SC. On this day in year 1900—thirty-seven years after the Emancipation Proclamation—a nineteen-year-old African American was accused of outraging a lady of Caucasian descent. A group of 250 people immediately assembled to take the law into their own hands to bring about vengeance upon the lad after he fled. After the posse tracked him down fifty miles away, he was caught by a farmer who released the young man for $100 (the inflation equivalent of $3,114.07 in 2021). After the group agreed to execute the teenager in the early morning, the following is reported from the Washington Times:

A clothesline was obtained, one end swung over an oak limb, and the other fastened to Burt’s neck. He was then ordered to climb the tree and get out on the limb. This the negro did without hesitation. He was then shot from the limb. The rope broke, and, as Burt was not dead, he was again hoisted up and then shot to pieces.[1]

As we consider these stories let us always keep in mind the trauma, negative impact of displaced group economics, and lack of human value, that has been placed upon a specific people group on the soil of our nation. May these featured chronicles lead us to not repeat this history again.

[1] Ralph Ginzburg, 100 Years of Lynchings (Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1988), 30.

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