“I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream–I see an American nightmare.”
― Malcolm X
It’s abominable to think that the grandkids of the savages who did this walk around with racism ingrained in them. And to think that after centuries of unimaginable atrocities done to black Americans what with slavery and torture and rape and disgrace, there’s still a widespread attitude of denial and trivializing? Can you imagine Germans having this attitude towards Jews? And people till this day mock blacks for protesting racism by using terms like ‘you’re using the race card’. This is so fucking disgusting. Utterly and completely disgusting. People were putting Jesse’s pictures of his charred and mutilated body on post cards that people sent to relatives out of town – the nonchalance and normalcy in that action doesn’t go away just because the Jim Crow laws were overruled some 60 years ago.
A chain was placed around his neck and he was dragged toward city hall by a growing mob; on the way downtown, he was stripped, stabbed, and repeatedly beaten with blunt objects. By the time he arrived at city hall, a group had prepared wood for a bonfire next to a tree in front of the building.Washington, semiconscious and covered in blood, was doused with oil, hung from the tree by a chain, and then lowered to the ground. Members of the crowd cut off his fingers, toes, and genitals. The fire was lit and Washington was repeatedly raised and lowered into the flames until he burned to death. German scholar Manfred Berg posits that the executioners attempted to keep him alive to increase his suffering.Washington attempted to climb the chain, but was unable to, owing to his lack of fingers.The fire was extinguished after two hours, allowing bystanders to collect souvenirs from the site of the lynching, including Washington’s bones and links of the chain.One attendee kept part of Washington’s genitalia; a group of children snapped the teeth out of Washington’s head to sell as souvenirs. By the time that the fire was extinguished, parts of Washington’s arms and legs had been burned off and his torso and head were charred. His body was removed from the tree and dragged behind a horse throughout the town. Washington’s remains were transported to Robinson, where they were publicly displayed until a constable obtained the body late in the day and buried it.The lynching drew a large crowd, including the mayor and the chief of police, although lynching was illegal in Texas.Sheriff Fleming told his deputies not to stop the lynching, and no one was arrested after the event.Bernstein speculates that his actions were motivated by a desire to harshly deal with crime to help his candidacy for re-election that year. Mayor John Dollins may have also encouraged the mob owing to the belief that a lynching would be politically beneficial. The crowd numbered 15,000 at its peak.Telephones helped spread word of the lynching, allowing spectators to gather more quickly than was previously possible.Local media reported that “shouts of delight” were heard as Washington burned, although they noted that some attendees disapproved.The Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune maintained that a number of black Waco residents attended, a claim that historian Grace Hale of the University of Virginia sees as dubious.Waco residents, who likely had no connection with the rural Fryer family, comprised most of the crowd.Some people from nearby rural communities traveled to the city before the trial to witness the events.As the lynching occurred at midday, children from local schools walked downtown to observe, some climbing into trees for a better view. Many parents approved of their children’s attendance, hoping that the lynching would reinforce a belief in white supremacy.Some Texans saw participation in a lynching as a rite of passage for young men.