The lynching of abe smith and tom shipp

The Lynching of Abe Smith and Tom Shipp: A Photo Essay The image of The Lynching of Abe Smith and Tom Shipp is one of 2 African American men who havebeen severely beaten and hung from a tree by a White lynch mob. The 2 African Americans clothes have been tattered and one has lost both of his shoes. The lynch mob appears to consist of all men except for one woman whose face you see in the foreground.
This photo is very powerful, and gives a voice to the discrimination that African American’s faced during the early 20th century. The photo also reeks of the hatred that many felt towards African Americans and exposes the lengths that some would go to in order to eliminate the object of their hatred. The abolition of slavery created a new dilemma for African Americans. While they may have technically been free, they were still considered a second class citizen by many, especially in the South and some Midwestern states. Lynching’s were common practice as a method of dealing with those African Americans who had ” stepped out of their place”. No one was safe from the terror that lynch mob produced, and they didn’t discriminate based on age or sex. Women, children, and men all were probable candidates for being lynched if it suited the desires or the needs of the lynch mob. These individuals were generally hung from trees to be made examples for the rest of the African American community. The message was heeded and returned fear rather than respect from African Americans towards their White counterparts.
This particular lynching occurred in response to the death of a White community member and the alleged rape of his girlfriend. Rather than allowing the law to render justice on the 2 African American men accused of the crime, some of the White community members in Marion, IN decided to render their own swift and brutal justice that summer evening in 1930. Rather than await a trial, the townspeople became the judge, jury and executioner that night. This photo could have been taken by anyone within that community, such as a lawyer, a farmer, a banker or even a housewife. The focus of the photograph is very clear, which leads me to believe that the photographer to great effort to capture every detail in its entirety. It is also clear that there is no shame in the actions being portrayed through the photo, as the photographer takes care to include not only the mutilated bodies of the African American men, but the smiling, proud faces of those who came to watch and those who actually committed the beating and hanging. The people depicted in this photo illustrate the destructive nature of man and how his hatred can fuel the upmost acts of evil.
This photo reminds me of how thin the line can be when dealing with anger, misunderstanding or hatred of another person based on characteristics that he or she cannot control. It also reminds me that in order to overcome issues such as racism and bigotry, we must continue to learn about one another, and never believe that one race is better than another. We all have something to offer as individuals and as members of particular ethnic groups. We must take pride in our differences and our similarities and work diligently to mend broken bridges in regards to race relations.