He boarded the northbound train in Baltimore dressed as a sailor. He carried questionable identification documents, and some travel money given him by the woman he soon would marry.
The words were meant to be spoken, not sung. It was supposed to be a speech honoring Abraham Lincoln—born nine decades earlier, assassinated half a century later, yet still revered at Stanton Normal High School in Jacksonville, Florida, where the principal was a son of the city, James Weldon Johnson.
The question of slavery, and whether and when it should end, divided America from its inception, and eventually moved the nation toward Civil War. The dispute reached a peak on Dec. 20, 1860, when South Carolina passed the first Ordinance of Secession from the Union. South Carolina’s secession was followed by the secession of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, and the threat of secession by Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, according to the Library of Congress. Those 11 states formed the Confederate States of America.
In March 1904, three men — two Black, one white — gathered on a houseboat on the White River in Arkansas, a tributary to the Mississippi, for an evening of gambling. An argument left the white man injured, setting off a week of racial terror that included a roundup of dozens of Black residents and the lynching of 13.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It began with questions about why almost all the faces on the wall of honor in the journalism building at the University of Maryland’s flagship campus were of white men.
The long, gruesome history of lynchings in the U.S. is usually understood through the deaths of Black Americans, who for centuries fell victim to extralegal violence.