American Spectator Writer Says Sherrod Is Wrong About Her Relative's Lynching: He Was Only Murdered By a White Mob
In a despicable piece of purported journalism, American Spectator contributor Jeffrey Lord, a former political director for Ronald Reagan, accuses Shirley Sherrod of being untruthful about the lynching of her relative, Bobby Hall, in the 1940s. Turns out that Hall was merely delivered by a local sheriff to a white mob outside a courthouse -- for allegedly stealing a tire -- which then beat him to death with a blackjack. If Jeffrey Lord was an honest broker, he could use a dictionary to find that one need not have been hanged in order to have been lynched. Here's how Dictionary.com defines the verb "lynch":
lynch–verb (used with object)to put to death, esp. by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.
The operative terms are "mob action" and "without legal authority". Hanging is optional.
Lord's complaint is based on the speech that Sherrod gave to a chapter of the NAACP in March, the one that Andrew Breitbart excerpted to make it sound like something else, the one that got Shirley Sherrod fired, on false charges of racism, from her job at the USDA.
Here's what Lord says about Sherrod's assertion that her kinsman, Bobby Hall, had been lynched in the 1940s:
Plain as day, Ms. Sherrod says that Bobby Hall, a Sherrod relative, was lynched. As she puts it, describing the actions of the 1940s-era Sheriff Claude Screws: "Claude Screws lynched a black man." This is not true. It did not happen.
To prove his point, Lord goes to the opinion delivered by the Supreme Court against Sheriff Claude Screws.
The case, Screws vs. the U.S. Government, as she accurately says in the next two paragraphs, made it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Which, with the agreement of all nine Justices of the day -- which is to say May 7, 1945 -- stated the facts of the killing of Bobby Hall this way:
Sounds like a lynching to me. And if Clarence Thomas's definition holds, it looks as if Jeffrey Lord is aiming to subject Shirley Sherrod to a high-tech lynching of her character. Why, you may ask, do people such as Lord find Shirley Sherrod so troubling? Well, not only was one of their own found to have used dirty tricks to try to destroy a woman who has worked to build bridges between blacks and whites, but her own personal history, from the murder of her father to the lynching of Bobby Hall, holds the truth of the horrors endured by black Southerners. I've long believed that the main motivation for racial segregation is the fact that black people know what white people have done to them. As long as white people don't have to deal with black people, we don't have to confront the horrors of that history. And some would like to keep it that way.The arrest was made late at night at Hall's home on a warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a young negro about thirty years of age, was handcuffed and taken by car to the courthouse. As Hall alighted from the car at the courthouse square, the three petitioners began beating him with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. They claimed Hall had reached for a gun and had used insulting language as he alighted from the car. But after Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying. An ambulance was called, and Hall was removed to a hospital, where he died within the hour and without regaining consciousness. There was evidence that Screws held a grudge against Hall, and had threatened to "get" him.