Just Kiddin’, Eldrick

By Michael-Louis Ingram
Updated: January 22, 2008

On the evening of May 8, 1916, Lucy Fryer, the wife of a big cotton farmer, was found bludgeoned to death in the doorway of her seed house. A Black man, Jesse Washington, who was illiterate and considered to be “feeble-minded”, confessed to the murder.

After being found guilty by an all-white jury, a crowd of 2,000 men seized Washington, chained him, beat him and dragged him to the town square, where he was burned.

His fingers were amputated for souvenirs and his fingernails taken for keepsakes. Finally all that was left was a charred torso, but Washington’s body parts were put in a bag so they could be dragged through downtown.

– A written account of the murder of 17-year-old Jesse Washington, who was lynched in Waco, Texas.

PHILADELPHIA — Some fun, huh, Kelly?

Wow — didn’t even have to take him into the alley where few could see; let’s get everyone involved and make it a civic event.

Oh, and by the way, Kel — I forgot to mention Washington was strung up next to City Hall on the town’s “Hanging Tree” and burned as 15,000 people watched.

I know, I know — it’s just a joke, right? We should just get over it…

I guess it’s a good thing you play golf and make a lotta cash, Mr. Woods. After all, you and Kelly are friends. Saying “Bye, baby” to your friend would be no big deal…

When 14 -year-old Emmett Till left a store in Money, Mississippi in 1955, he supposedly said “Bye, baby” to a white woman in the store. Till, visiting from Chicago, would later be dragged from his great-uncle’s home in the middle of the night where he was lynched; beaten, then shot then thrown in a river,weighted down with a huge fan and tied to his neck with barbed wire.

But like you said, Eldrick — she apologized and that should be the end of it.

Have you ever seen anyone lynched, Kel? I find it interesting with all the crap that’s come from this, no one is ever reminded about the images connected — for lack of a better word — with lynching.

Because if they did, a stupid woman like you would never think to toss the word up in the first place; unless, of course, she meant it.

In May of 1918, in Brooks County, Georgia, Mary Turner, eight-months pregnant, became one of the most gruesome cases of lynching, racism and lawlessness in the United States. Responding to her husband’s lynching, which supposedly involved his complicity with the murder of a white man, papers reported that Turner’s statement about her husband’s lynching being “unjust” “only inflamed” the white mob which had already claimed eight Black lives. Descriptions of Mary Turner’s lynching are some of the hardest writings to stomach.

“The mob tied her ankles together and hung her to a tree head down and gasoline from automobiles was poured over her. Turner’s clothing was burned off of her body. A member of the mob produced a sharp knife and her stomach was laid open; her unborn child fell to the ground.

Hundreds of bullets were then fired into Turner until she was barely recognizable as a human being. Both Turner and her child were buried about ten feet from the tree, the grave marked by a whiskey bottle with a cigar placed in the neck.”

“Mary Turner was pregnant and was hung by her feet. Gasoline was thrown on her clothing and it was set on fire. Her body was cut open and her infant fell to the ground with a little cry, to be crushed to death by the heel of one of the white men present. The mother’s body was then riddled with bullets.”

The white residents of Valdosta, Georgia decided to teach her a lesson for being uppity enough to be vocal about her pain. A mob found her tied her upside down to a tree, doused her with gasoline and burned her alive. One of the crowd members took a knife and split her belly open letting the baby fall out.

Another member of the crowd smashed the baby’s head with his foot. Then the crowd took out their guns and filled the burning body of Mary Turner with bullets. The Associated Press wrote that Mary Turner had made unwise remarks about the execution of her husband.

“…a man stepped forward with a pocketknife and ripped open her abdomen in a crude Caesarean operation. ‘Out tumbled the prematurely born child,’” White wrote. “‘Two feeble cries it gave – and received for the answer the heel of a stalwart man, as life was ground out of the tiny form.

– From “Killing Them By The Wholesale” By Christopher Meyers.

Please tell me where the humor is in that, Kelly. Eldrick. Somebody.

Maybe it’s just a “golf thing” and we don’t understand, bro — please, elucidate…

According to the website Ask.com, George Henry White, the last former slave to serve in Congress and the only African American in the House of Representatives at that time, proposed a bill in January, 1901 that would have made lynching of American citizens a federal crime.

White argued that any person participating actively in or acting as an accessory in a lynching should be convicted of treason. White pointed out that lynching was being used by white mobs in the Deep South to terrorize African Americans.

He illustrated this by showing that of the 109 people lynched in 1899, 87 were African Americans. Despite White’s passionate plea, the bill was easily defeated.

Treason? That’s some deep shit, son. But of course, so is selling golf apparel — Swoosh!

But hey, you’re an athlete — and a damn good one, too. I always root for you because where I come from, whenever Black men were in the sporting arena, it was only sport to those in control; it’s never been about just sport to people subjected to ongoing, systematic racism.

And all the car and razor blade commercials won’t ever change that shit.

Now before you say I’m hating, hear me out. You’re supposed to provide for you and yours; but with great power comes great responsibility. You may not want it, but you have it — and if you had put this shit in check from jump street, it still wouldn’t be smoldering now.

Think about how the media got stupid in implying Dennis Rodman was grandstanding because he paid funeral expenses for a man who had been lynched…

In Jasper, Texas, Ronald King, father of murderer John William King wrote a letter to the media as prosecutors were considering a death penalty case against his son James Byrd, a Black man who was dragged to death by King and two others by chains from their pickup truck.

“It hurts me deeply to know that a boy I raised and considered to be the most loved boy I knew could find it in himself to take a life,” the elder King wrote. “Again, I want to say I’m sorry.”

Sounds like he’s having fun, doesn’t it? Never mind that Rodman knew the area and his humanity got pissed on.

That’s why this ain’t no fucking joke, bro.

Kelly, girl — If you can find something funny in suggesting to have lynch a popular or unpopular Black anything that strives for excellence in whatever their endeavor, please share with us. Maybe we’re missing the joke here.

Perhaps Nick Faldo, your co-anchor could tell us. Could be it’s another aspect of learning how to play the game…

The practice of whipping and “necklacing”political opponents evolved in the 1980s during South Africa’s apartheid era. Necklacing was a term used to describe the torture and execution of victims by igniting a rubber, kerosene-filled, tire that has been forced around the victim’s body.

Maybe that’s why South Africans got nervous when Winnie Mandela didn’t have a problem with the practice. Guess it wasn’t so funny when what came around went around…

I know, I know — you’re saying, well that’s politics, not sports.

Yeah, like there’s a difference.

According to the Intelligence Project, produced and published quarterly by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), there are 844 hate groups active in the United States as of 2006.

And even though Kelly Girl went to Duke, her stupidity ain’t just a Southern thang; SPLC points out there are more documented hate groups in New Jersey than there are in North Carolina; or, for that matter, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Talk about sharing the love. I guess more people got the joke better than I realized. My bad.

Maybe Kelly Girl saw “Birth Of A Nation” and thought that was the way to go. On the other hand, that flick came out way before the words “Knight Rider” became synonymous with a souped-up talking car.

In the end, hey, we’re all human and we all make mistakes. Have you, Mr. Woods? I mean aside from hitting the drink on that freaky 17th hole (you know where I’m talking about on the Tour there).

Well, I have, too. And as I consider my personal penance while watching you sell Buicks on Martin Luther King’s birthday, you can to say to yourself, “I’ve discussed it with Kelly, and, well, it’s over.”

Hey — I’m just kiddin’. Pay no attention to that cat with the rope around his neck.