Friday, September 10, 2010

Postcard of a Hanging

I got this from John Baker's blog under the above title. I was momentarily shocked when I saw the picture (see for yourself), the grim faces, the glazed looks, the bloody vulgarity, the butchery. Shocking! The blogpost goes thus:

"On the 15th June 1920, three black circus workers were attacked and lynched by a mob in Duluth, Minnesota. Rumors that six African Americans had raped a teenage girl gave rise to a mob of five to ten thousand locals.

"The circus workers were snatched from the police station and hung from their necks on a corner of the street. Pictures were taken and a postcard offered for sale."

What's more flabbergasting is that they made a postcard (with picture) of the incident and circulated it. Can anything be more bestial and degrading?

Later Bob Dylan wrote Desolation Row based on the incident which happened in his hometown 20 years before his birth. The song goes thus:

Desolation Row

They're selling postcards of the hanging

They're painting the passports brown

The beauty parlor is filled with sailors

The circus is in town

Here comes the blind commissioner

They've got him in a trance

One hand is tied to the tight-rope walker

The other is in his pants

And the riot squad they're restless

They need somewhere to go

As Lady and I look out tonight

From Desolation Row

It also states that a physical examination of the girl showed that she wasn't raped. A case of mob hysteria based on unconfirmed facts. Something like what happened in Gujarat?

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