“Southern trees bear a strange fruit,Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root.
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees”
Lynching is not just a thing of the past, it is an ever-present reality of America.
Black people are lynched in a variety of ways by the system of white supremacy that infects the laws, hearts, and minds of America. However, out all the gruesome and grotesque ways caucasians have murdered black people in america, public hangings are the most notable form of lynching.
There has never been a time in American history where caucasians weren’t lynching, or heinously murdering innocent black people in public or in private. These are some cases within the last 10 years where a black person in America was found dead, hanging from a tree.
Robert Fuller (24) – Palmdale, California (2020)
(NPR.ORG,) – “A growing number of residents and officials in Los Angeles County are demanding answers in the death of a black man whose body was discovered hanging from a tree. Robert Fuller’s body was found early on Wednesday in Poncitlán Square park in Palmdale, Calif., a commuter city roughly an hour north of Los Angeles. The 24-year-old’s death was deemed a likely suicide based on preliminary findings, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. Fuller’s family and supporters are pushing back against the department’s assessment, saying Fuller’s death appears to be a lynching. It came 10 days after another black man was found hanging from a tree about 50 miles away in Victorville.”
Malcolm Harsch (38) – Victorville, California (2020)
(NBC LOS ANGELES) – “The San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday deputies are investigating the death of a Black man found dead hanging from a tree in Victorville after push back from his family. Investigators confirm Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree near a homeless encampment in Victorville on May 31. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department made the preliminary determination that his death was a suicide and said that no foul play was involved. However deputies say they are still investigating the case. Harsch’s relatives are doubtful he took his own life.”
Unidentified – Manhattan, New York (2020)
(REVOLT) – “A pedestrian walking through Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, New York early Tuesday morning (June 9) discovered a Black man hanging from a tree near the Hudson River, New York Daily News reports. Authorities have yet to release the identity of the man and reportedly believe it be a suicide. An autopsy will soon confirm his actual cause of death.”
UNIDENTIFIED – Spring, Texas (2020)
(NEWSWEEK) – “A black teenager has been found dead by hanging in the parking lot of a school in Texas, according to authorities. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said deputies found the teenager’s body in the parking lot of Ehrhardt Elementary School in Spring, Texas, located just north of Houston. “Based on security video, witnesses and other evidence, preliminary indications are the male hanged himself,” the sheriff’s office said on Twitter. “There are currently no signs of foul play,” it added.
Willie Andrew Jones Jr. (21) – Forest, Mississippi (2018)
(CBS NEWS) – “Federal and state agents are investigating the death of an African-American man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi. Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee said the death of the 21-year-old is consistent with suicide and there’s no evidence of a racially-motivated crime. Lee said witnesses said the man fought with his girlfriend and threatened to hang himself shortly before he was found dead near her home south of Forest on Feb. 8. The man’s family doesn’t believe he killed himself, and the NAACP in Mississippi wants a deeper investigation. The Clarion Ledger identified the man as Willie Andrew Jones Jr. His family contacted the local chapter of the NAACP just one day after the hanging, Mississippi NAACP President Charles Hampton told the newspaper.”
Michael George Smith Jr. (22) – Atlanta, Georgia (2016)
(WSBTV ATLANTA NEWS) – “The Fulton County Medical Examiner has released the official cause of death for the man found hanging in Piedmont Park. The report, obtained by Channel 2 Action News, states the official cause of death is asphyxiation by hanging, suicide is manner of death. According to the police report, an officer arrived at the park last Thursday morning in response to a call from a security officer who found a man hanging from a tree. Upon examining the body, police said it appeared an African-American man had tied a white rope to a thick branch of a tree and then around his neck and hanged himself. Immediately after the death, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed asked the FBI to investigate the hanging after social media fueled speculation about how the man died. According to the medical examiner, the victim has been identified as Michael George Smith Jr., 22, of New Jersey.”
Otis Byrd (54) – Port Gibson, Mississippi (2015)
(THE DAILY HERALD) – “They found the black man’s body hanging by a bedsheet from a locust tree. Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas called in everybody he could think of. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. The FBI. By late Friday, a day after the disturbing discovery, they had identified the man as Otis Byrd, a 54-year-old riverboat worker who had been missing for more than two weeks. What they didn’t have was the answer to the question on almost everyone’s mind: Was it a lynching? At a time when violence against African-Americans — some of it at the hands of the police — has become one of the nation’s most incendiary points of civic friction, reports of a black man dangling from a tree deep in the woods of rural Mississippi was bound to attract attention.”
Roosevelt Champion III (43) – Greensboro, Georgia (2015)
(NBC NEWS) – “A black man who’d recently been questioned in connection with the death of a white woman was found dead hanging from a tree Monday morning in rural Greensboro, Georgia, police said. Local and state investigators said there was nothing to immediately suggest foul play. Greensboro Police Chief Ossie Mapp told NBC News that a neighbor called 911 about 9 a.m. ET to report finding a body behind a house on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Police discovered the body of Roosevelt Champion III, 43, who Champion didn’t live at the address in Greensboro, in east-central Georgia between Athens and Augusta, Mapp said. Champion’s body was suspended by tie-down strap similar to those used to secure cargo on the roofs of vehicles, Mapp said.”