In 2015 Iya Marilyn Kai Jewett began planning the 2nd Sacred Libation Ceremony honoring the 154 African-American women who were lynched in America. She asked me to contribute the events that led to us knowing about the women for an article she was working on for publication. Below is an updated version of those events.
The story starts at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C. It was the early 1990s. Four of us: Bridget, Nilajah, Reggie and myself were there that day because Bridget and Nilajah were preparing for the Rites of Passage ceremony for the Eye of Ra African Sorority and Fraternity. At some point Bridgett got separated from us. Whe she came back she had copies of the pamphlet by Dr. Daniel Meaders entitled “Black Women Who Were Lynched In America” for each of us. The pamphlet was a copy of a copy of a copy. The image of Laura Nelson on the front was barely legible.
Before then, I believed lynching was punishment for the crime of rape. The pamphlet contained the names of eight Black women who were lynched in America.
While working on the Livication project to place a marker at the grave of African-American Actress, Elocutionist, Dramatic Reader and UNIA International Organizer under Marcus Garvey Henrietta Vinton Davis, I realized there was a link between her and Black women who were lynched: they had no markers on their graves. I posted a transcript of Dr. Meaders’ pamphlet to the Henrietta Vinton Davis blog.
The post began to get noticed. The thought occurred there may be even more women who had been lynched. I sought them out. After finding the names of eight more women simply by reviewing the same sources as Dr. Meaders, I updated the original post. The recognition it gained motivated me to continue the search. That is what led to the list of 154 names of African American women documented to have been lynched in America. Stranger fruit : the lynching of balck [sic] women : the cases of Rosa Jefferson and Marie Scott by Maria
I felt it was important to post the names because, they deserved recognition. I realized there were others who were curious as to whether Black women had been lynched in America. This is a process of growth. Interacting with Kai let me know the Egun/Ndiichie/ancestors are reaching out to us. They are calling us to use them in the struggle for the triumph of the right. As you read this they are spreading confusion over the advocates of might. The Egun/ancestors/Ndiichie are doing this to let the advocates of might know righteousness is mightier than sin. They are using us to let them to know might is only selfishness and can not, ought not, win. We are here now doing this work because the ancestors/Ndiichie/Egun endowed us with faith and grace and courage to endure.
After the post began to receive further attention, I decided to look for more African American women who had been lynched in America. Lo and behold I found a dissertation by
Going to Philadelphia to participate in the first Sacred Libation Ceremony was not a choice, it was destiny. Since that day, a number of events have
taken place. It has come to my attention melanin, the aromatic
biopolymer and organic semiconductor that makes Black people black is
worth $300 a gram more than gold. It seems knowing that would not
have been possible before the ceremony. The sacred libation ceremony
opened me spiritually to view life from a whole new perspective.
Knowing melanin is worth $395 a gram more than gold is at this very second creating a quantum shift in awareness, perception and power at all
levels of existence. It is happening because we heeded the call of the ancestors to engage in a process to condition us spiritually for the
work that needs being done.