Black History Month: The Lynching Of Frank Embree Sends A Strong Message To Black Men

by spicyray
3 mins read

 

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he story of Frank Embree is fascinating, sad, and a cautionary tale for black men in general.  While in 2021, black men who enter romantic relationships with white women do not have to fear the repercussions, such as being beaten to death. However, there’s always the running theme about what consequences might arise by either being in a romantic relationship with them or being accused of certain crimes despite the black man claiming his innocence.

According to history, on June 17, 1899, an African American man riding a horse supposedly attacked a 14-year-old white girl and sexually assaulted her as she walked to a friend’s home. Embree had been accused and arrested, and was scheduled to stand trial on July 22, 1899.  But before the trial, the town’s residents felt justice was taking too slow, so to speed up matters, they took action. While police officers were transporting Embree to stand trial, a white mob ambushed the officers and took control of Embree, and brought him to the site where the assault on the 14-year-old took place.

In front of a crowd of over 1,000 spectators in Fayette, Missouri, Embree suffered the humiliation of being handcuffed, stripped naked, and forced to confess to the crime.  As part of his punishment, he was hit with a bullwhip 103 times, in addition to receiving 50 more slashings.

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“Seeing that he would die anyway, Frank confessed to the crime and pleaded not to be burned to death, and also requested his parents be told about his death,” wrote writer Elizabeth Ofoshuah Johnson.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper mentioned the lynching. However, what was not reported was the claim that he was castrated and forced to eat his penis while being shot several times as he hung from an oak tree.

“Images of his lynching and hanging were made into postcards for the white community to celebrate his death,” wrote Johnson.  “Before his hanging, Frank was allowed to pray. The 19-year-old boy prayed for his life and to be accepted into heaven, and also prayed for his family and friends…

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch took out an editorial that read: “His fate is a fair warning to all others who would commit such hellish crimes. The citizens of Howard County will not tolerate such. The negro was given no more than he deserved. Let others beware.”

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