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A White Man's Journey Into Black History

 



© Copyright, 2008-NOW The Freeman Institute. All rights reserved. Nothing on this page may be used without explicit written permission.
Note: Reproduction of any kind, including cutting and pasting, is strictly prohibited. 

Willie Lynch Speech



 

 

   The following is courtesy of The Freeman Institute and has been credited to William Lynch, a White slave owner, who reportedly made the speech on the banks of the James River in 1712. Some readers may have a problem with this, but we substituted the word "BLACK" for the degrading word that was used in the speech. This speech and additional material is on this web site not to state an opinion or to give offense to anyone, but to augment Black Studies materials available to electronic researchers. 

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The Freeman Institute Foundation -- Developing Black History galleries designed to
educate and inspire young people in selected cities internationally (collection).

   According to an essay appearing in "Brother Man- The Odyssey of Black Men in America- An Anthology" Lynch was a British slave owner in the West Indies who came to the United States to tell American slave owners how to keep their slaves under control. It is believed that the term "lynching" is derived from Lynch's name. 

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   "Gentlemen, I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods of control of slaves.

   Ancient Rome would envy us if my program were implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish. I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of woods as crosses for standing human bodies along its highways in great numbers you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

   I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing a valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed.

   Gentlemen, you know what your problems are: I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them. In my bag here, I have a fool proof method for controlling your Black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 hundred years. My method is simple. Any member of your family or your oversee r can use it.

   I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves: and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences, and think about them. 

   On top of my list is "Age", but it is there only because it starts with an "A": the second is "Color" or shade, there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations, status on plantation, attitude of owners, whether the slave live in the valley, on hill, East, West, North, South, have fine hair, coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences.
 

   I shall give you an outline of action-but before that I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust and envy is stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration.

   The Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self re-fueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Don't forget you must pitch the old Black male vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female. You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us. 

   Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. If used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.  Thank you, gentlemen."



Click to learn more about Dr. Freeman's even-handed definition and critique of BOTH Afrocentrism AND Eurocentrism. He introduces the concept of Truthcentrism.

 


We found a web site that said Willie Lynch never existed. It said there are no historical
records of him or the book he wrote. Because we are "Truth centric" if anyone can
give us some facts, we would be most grateful.

Email us with any corroborated information

Also, we will publish any information on this page that intelligently addresses the "Willie Lynch" subject.

"I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if
they had known they were slaves."
    
-- Harriet Tubman

 

Below are the "unvarnished" responses from people who
have reviewed this page about the Willie Lynch speech


 

    -- My name is Paisley Demby. I happened upon your website and did some research on the speech and this is what I came up with:

   "There's been quite a bit of hubbub recently over the origin of the word "lynch". We addressed this word some time ago, in Issue 11, where we stated that the word derives from the name of one [Captain] William Lynch (1742 - 1820), who made a name for himself by forming a vigilante group to uphold order in his town. The earliest reference to Captain Lynch being the namesake of the word lynch comes from A. Ellicott, in 1811, who wrote "Captain Lynch just mentioned was the author of the Lynch laws so well known and so frequently carried into effect some years ago in the southern States in violation of every principle of justice and jurisprudence" (from A. Ellicott by V. Mathews, 1908).

   Apparently, Captain Lynch's vigilante tribunal was first convened some time between 1776 and 1780. The true identity of the Lynch who gave his name to the English verb is not so much in question now as are the details of his life. There is a speech attributed to William Lynch which has been circulated on the internet and elsewhere, and which even Louis Farrakhan referred to at the Million Man March of October 16, 1995.

   By quoting extensively from the "Willie Lynch" speech, Mr. Farrakhan inspired the birth of a new term, Willie Lynch Syndrome, based on Lynch's supposed speech, which is reproduced in its entirety above": Source: http://www.takeourword.com/Issue060.html

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   The provenance of this speech has been the subject of much scholarly (and not-so-scholarly) debate. We wish to add $0.02 to the discussion, and allow us to say that we believe very strongly that this speech is a ridiculous fake, written in the 1990s (there's no record of it being circulated before 1993).

   First, the writer of this speech has made hardly any attempt to use the writing/speech style of the early 18th century.

   Second, the author was not at all successful at steering clear of very specific anachronisms. We'll name only the most glaring word-choice errors: fool-proof, used in the speech, actually dates from only 1902. The noun program is not used in the sense found in this speech until the 1830s. Self-refueling is an utter anachronism, as the term refueling did not arise until the early 20th century. Use of installed when referring to something other than a person did not first occur until the mid-19th century. Moreover, attitude did not refer to anything other than a physical position until the mid-19th century.

   Third, a speaker would hardly need to so carefully identify the date and place of his speech, nor would he be likely to refer to King James as "our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish", unless he were a person of the 1990s making a clumsy attempt at writing a fake speech from the early 18th century. We cannot imagine why the writer introduces the theme of "James... our illustrious king" unless it is merely to emphasize that this took place in colonial times. Only someone creating a fake would need to try to establish a date for the speech within the fake itself. And, by the way, James was long-dead by 1712, the monarch of that era being Queen Anne. 

   Finally, there is no evidence that a William Lynch from a "modest plantation" in the West Indies ever existed. There is, however, plenty of evidence for the existence of Captain William Lynch of Pittsylvania, Virginia, whom we have identified as the probable source of the verb lynch, and who was born fifty years after the date given in the speech above.

   There are other obvious characteristics of the speech which render it a 20th-century creation. Some of these are discussed at a web site devoted to the subject and created by Anne Taylor, collection development librarian at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. By the way, Ms. Taylor seems to be one of the first to have posted the speech on the internet.

   She obtained it from the publisher of a free publication in St. Louis, The St. Louis Black Pages, dated 1994 but published in 1993. This is the earliest reference we've been able to find to the Willie Lynch speech in print. We think it's time to send Willie Lynch's speech to the urban legends department. For information on another attempt to revise history using etymology, see our discussion of the origin of the word picnic
Regards,  Paisley Demby, with email contact information above...

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    -- Please do not fall into the trap ("once again") of searching whether Willie Lynch ever existed or not. If we need whatever proof of what happened in the past, all we have to do is look at ourselves right now and the condition within which we are.      God bless, Marjorie Aime

2
Fox News Channel segment about the Freeman Institute
Black History Collection showcased at United Nations
"Transatlantic Slave Trade" exhibit (NY)

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    -- From Debra Cloud -- I would like to throw a few questions regarding the Willie Lynch speech into the ballpark.

   Why would a person be invited from the West Indies to Virginia just to deliver an 8-paragraph speech? Back then, such a voyage would have been too strenuous and expensive for this, especially from an unknown person, especially when letter-writing was still the main form of long-distance communication? Of course, Lynch could have been in Virginia on business just before being spontaneously invited to speak. Still, if there had been a William Lynch whose word was so valued that he should deliver such a short speech in person rather than in writing, then certainly his speech would have been reprinted and commented upon in the local newspapers.

   Also, he claims to want to give an "outline of action," yet no such plan is clearly given. It seems that a person who travels from the West Indies to Virginia for a speech would have elaborated more.

   Thirdly, in paragraph 6, the author writes that "distrust is stronger than trust," yet only 5 sentences later, contradicts himself, saying, "it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us." Such a big contradiction would be expected from someone whose audience is listening intently for detailed information about specific steps in maintaining its livelihood through better control of his property. Why the switch in subjects from 3rd to 2nd person? Why not mention at least 2 or 3 methods of using dark-skinned slaves against light-skinned ones, and vice versa? Contradiction and lack of detail make me leery of any claims that this "speech" is not a hoax.

   Furthermore, the obvious stab at the sore points in African-American psyche, such as gender and facial feature issues, makes me believe it was written for a contemporary audience, since "female vs. ... male and ... male vs. ... female." would not have been so major a societal issue amongst slaves in 1712 in the United States.

   I would have been stirred by these paragraphs, had they been honestly presented as a statement of opinion about how some slaveholders helped - purposely or inadvertently - to hurt the black community, regardless of the slavery itself.

   But now I, as a member of the African-American community, feel betrayed by someone who has the audacity to present such unbelievable, falsely disillusioned, undocumented speech as accurate and enlightening on a day during which our community wanted to display and confirm its hope, pride, enlightenment and strength.   Sincerely,  Debra Cloud Kirchenstr. 8 D-82327 Tutzing GERMANY


Rosetta Stone Replica Project
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    -- I am also from Germany and I read the "Willie Lynch Speech" and I know about the discussions, whether W. L lived and held this speech. About the speech, I do not know. But even when he did not hold such a speech - when this speech is only fictional, the history is real and terrible and the spirit of a Willie Lynch is still alive all around the world. This speech, whenever it was written, it doesn't matter. The speech exists and expresses the feelings of many "superior" people, regardless their color, race, sex, age. And that should be shocking enough. 

   That I found in a German Dictioniary (Wahrig, Deutsches Wörterbuch, 1986) I translate the explanation into English for you, first the German original text: lynchen: ungesetzlich richten und töten (engl. nach dem Namen des Richters William Lynch in Virginia, der 1780 eigenmächtige Rechtsprechung ausübte) 

   in English: to lynch: illegal judgment and killing (english derives from the name of the judge William Lynch in Virginia, who, without any authorization, performed jurisdiction in the year 1780.   Yours, Christine

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   -- "Willie Lynch" is a fabrication. No evidence of there being such a person has been discovered. The "speech" is a modern fabrication, it has become an urban myth. The truth is bad enough. We don't need ugly myths to perpetuate the ugly legacy of slavery. Jack

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   --- The "Willie Lynch" legend is probably the most controversial piece of supposed unproven literature to African-Americans. I am a black man that lives within the truth and reality that was proposed through that strategic "fictional" speech. Who cares if it is or isn't true? It only shows a conclusion of a "beginning" in theory. I read the speech initially with anger (obviously), but in the end, I saw the speech as a way to open my eyes as a young male to change my thinking toward my race and my fellow man. True enough, I see that anger could be concluded at the thought of some person writing something like this, but what is it really doing? Making me want to kill another brother. No.

   But it does set up some psychological/ emotional change in me to want to make things right with my people today. African- American people need to see that despite the theories that the Willie Lynch writing may have, they do paint a very accurate ! picture of what could have and probably was said by some slave owner at some point and time. Whites (especially in America) also need to see that their heritage was not this squeaky clean, I came from across seas and made a humble living without the use of slave labor mentality. The speech is (and I think in theory) was produced to open eyes. I wouldn't be surprised if a black man wrote it.     Daialogue DiCaprio 
 

What would motivate a White man
to be interested in Black History?
< Click on image for brief response.

The Freeman Institute
Black History Collection.
< Click on image

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    -- Mistake! You should NOT have changed ANY words on the Willie Lynch letter. The whole point of having it, is to let people who haven't read it feel what the man was saying. By taking words out trying not to offend someone, you take away the impact of what the thought process was during that time. Besides YOU are not offending anyone...Willie Lynch was the author. Lets preserve the truth...the full truth.

   If you are trying to let people FEEL the impact of someone's words...now matter how much you think it's meaningless...you don't SOFTEN ANY of it! It's not about offending someone...YOU didn't write it. So you aren't putting yourself in the position of being a foul person. For someone who has never seen any slavery films or watched any documentaries on the subject...they need to know just how FOUL it was back then. WE were not referred to as BLACK! It needs to be known just how bad a time in this country it was for US...so we NEVER head back in that direction. So you know...I'm a college grad and I never heard that word until I was almost out of high school. I remember watching Roots in the late 70's.

   You are doing a DIS SERVICE by trying to soften it up changing the word "nigger". BLACK is NOT the word used. I don't see how you don't understand that. That's almost like changing things in the dictionary because you don't want to offend anyone. So many Caucasians in this country are in a rush to cover up what happened or to find other terminology's to refer to what was most foul! We were even referred to as less than a man in the constitution. Heck I also remember reading some VERY foul statements from the great Abe Lincoln about Blacks. Do you see what I mean???. 

   You seem to forget...there are kids that don't know where we come from and what the mood was like. The last thing you do is try and soften things up. They need to know exactly how it was. I'm not trying to blast you...but this is a very big problem in our country. People act like those kind of words were never spoken. You shouldn't have to feel bad about it if you don't personally feel that way. Otherwise...leave the word Nigger in. It is a reality. People weren't walking around back then being courteous to blacks. You know it and I know it. Lets keep things in perspective. There are kids that go around calling each other nigga and nigger. THEY are the ones I'm talking about. They use these words without realizing where it comes from and the feeling it was meant to instill. Aside from all of that...be well      bfrank

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    -- I think that the Willie Lynch theory was used to control the slaves in America. This "Willie Lynch" mentality is still being played out by African Americans today.

   I think that many Whites still use these measures to keep African Americans in a distrustful, distructive mindset.

   I would like to see our schools start to deprogram African Americans. We should start with early childhood education. I think that this way of thinking among Blacks must be addressed, and that it should be reversed.

   Some people say that they don't believe a Willie Lynch existed. Well, I don't know if the actual person existed, but I am certain that this type of deliberate brainwashing did exist, because it, and drugs has almost destroyed the African American race in this country.    Pat Mc Allister

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    -- I write this response with love. I read the "Willie Lynch Speech", the information regarding its authenticity and the e-mailed comments from others who read it. I was more disturbed by the emails than by the actual speech. How can we question the validity of authenticating accounts of our own history? To suggest that we - as a people - should be buoyed in any way by a false/flawed, patronizing "historical" account is insulting!! 

   There are traceable (i.e. documented) historical accounts from which we can learn our history if we choose to look for them. There are Black scholars who have devoted a significant portion of their lives to collecting verifiable information for us all. Their work deserves our attention - not to mention our gratitude and respect.

   Relying on schools and dubious historical accounts to educate children actually falls within the tradition of the "Willie Lynch School of Thought". Too often we make the mistake of expecting schools and media to raise our children and teach them their history - despite repeated proof that this will never be done to our satisfaction, if it is done at all. 

   If the story was written as a representation of what slavery has done to us, then it should have been presented as such. Hence - if the validity of the story is debatable, that should always be stated up account. Nobody needed to teach early European Americans how to oppress. They left their homelands to flee oppression and fully understood it by the time they reached these shores.

   Do not sell yourselves or your children short! Don't set a plate of slop at your dinner table and claim it's a delicacy, just admit that you're too lazy to cook. Lies and inaccuracies (where present) do not an education make.          Much Love, Odge

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    -- Unfortunately for the black racists who take nourishment from this clumsy fraud, the first people to be "lynched" were white conservatives. Specifically, they were English Tories working in the American colonies to undermine the revolution. One Charles Lynch presided over extralegal "courts" at which these unfortunates were sent to their doom, giving birth to the phrase "Lynch law" and, ultimately, "lynching."  This is surely the most pathetic and ridiculous fraud of its kind since the "Protocol of the Elders of Zion."      Cordially, Kevin Williamson


Dr. Freeman's
Latest Book
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    -- I have seen the speech, with exact duplication of the text, in a number of places. This alone is somewhat suspicious, as very few speeches of this type seem to have been recorded verbatim at the time unless the text was also written in a document such as a letter, a handbill, or in a newspaper.

   Also, the text is anachronistic. The other information accompanying the speech in reference to "William Lynch" is flawed. The speech is attributed to William Lynch, but the given date is 1712. I think, over time, two men named Lynch have become confused.

   Indeed, the second Lynch may not have existed. The first, Charles Lynch, lived in the 18th century in Virginia. He and his neighbors terrorized Tories, plundering their property. Eventually his name apparently became associated with physical
violence against people (often whipping or tarring and feathering), hence the earliest references I can find to the term "lynching", which seems to have evolved from the phrase "lynch law". The second Lynch, William, purportedly was a vigilante who lived in the 19th century. This "Willie Lynch" is the reference used, for example, during the Million Man March.

   There has been much debate about this, some of it scholarly, some of it unencumbered by empiricism. I'm including a link (below) to a more scholarly exchange on this subject. If someone has more definitive information, I would also appreciate receiving it. We are about to use this "speech" as the basis for a social studies lesson on investigating primary and secondary sources and propaganda.
Thanks, Ava 

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    -- The Willie Lynch (will-he-lynch) letter is a hoax. The term 'lynch' is derived from a Virginia judge named Lynch because he loved to hang people who appeared before his court. By the way, where is the James River? The so-called Willie Lynch' has no genealogy or history or biographical history. As Goebbels noted: Tell a big enough lie, people will believe it. That is the Willie Lynch story, a big fat lie.  Walter Dean

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    -- Any idiot could see at a glance that the "Lynch" material is a modern day hoax. Does it sound like it was written by a person in 1712? No, it sounds like it was written by some affirmative action candidate plagiarizing something out of a white man's library. Helen Hall

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    -- The Willie Lynch doctrine, rather written by Willie Lynch or not, describes measures taken by institutions to control African Americans. This doctrine may or may not have been written during the 1700's. However, its use is evident throughout history ...e.g. welfare in the 60's...Gangster Rap Music..90's... the Judicial Oversight Demonstration Initiative in 2000. All of these initiatives involve social engineering designed to foster distrust, envy and conflict within the Black Community by making illusions real...Is not this the essence of the Willie Lynch doctrine? Email

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    -- I graduated from Memphis State University in 1960 with a double major in English and French and a minor in history with enough hours in American History to have declared it as a third major. Among the courses I studied were courses in Social and Intellectual History and History of the Old South. I was not raised to be a racist. I supported the Civil rights movement of the 60's, and I believe in the equality of men of all colors.

   I first saw the speech credited to Willie Lynch yesterday. Not only did the language fail to ring true, the attitude failed to match the attitude of the times. My immediate reaction to the document was to get online to look for a connection between Willie Lynch and urban legends because having such a speech from someone's vivid imagination presented as true or a representative of the times promotes racism. If future generations are given details of Jeffry Dammer's crimes as representative of 20th century American life, they will believe that we, their ancestors, were cannibals. Jane

     
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    -- I have doubts about the authenticity of the Willie Lynch letter based on semantics alone, after reviewing the arguments given by Spellman College Professor, Dr. William Jelani Cobb -- Interesting direct quotes:

  • Considering the limited number of extant sources from 18th century, if this speech had been “discovered” it would’ve been the subject of incessant historical panels, scholarly articles and debates. It would literally be a career-making find. But the letter was never “discovered,” but rather it “appeared” – bypassing the official historical circuits and making its way via internet directly into the canon of American racial conspiratoria.
     
  • In the first paragraph, he promises that “Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented,” but the word “program” did not enter the English language with this connotation until 1837 – at the time of this speech it was used to reference a written notice for theater events.
     
  • Two paragraphs later he says that he will “give an outline of action,” for slave-holders; the word “out-line” had appeared only 50 years earlier and was an artistic term meaning a sketch – it didn’t convey it’s present meaning until 1759.
     
  • Even more damning is his use of the terms “indoctrination” and “self-refueling” in the next sentence. The first word didn’t carry it current connotation until 1832; the second didn’t even enter the language until 1811 -- a century after the purported date of Lynch’s speech. More obviously, Lynch uses the word “Black,” with an upper-case “B” to describe African Americans more than two centuries before the word came to be applied as a common ethnic identifier. (Webmaster note -- We substituted the word "N*****" for "Black".)
    -- Dwayne Brown
Copy of speech (2003) by Dr. William Jelani Cobb

   -- I long ago stopped listening to sentences that begin with "The problem with black people is," or end with "and that's why black people can't get ahead now," which partly explains my initial indifference to the now-famous William Lynch Speech.

The letter was never "discovered." It just showed up on the Internet one day.

In the few years since the speech on how to train slaves first appeared, it has been cited by countless college students and a black member of the House of Representatives, along the way becoming the essential verbal footnote in barbershop analysis of what's wrong with black people. The rapper Talib Kweli laments on the song "Know That," "blacks are dyin'/how to make a slave/by Willie Lynch is still applyin'," and one professor at a Midwestern university made the speech required reading for her class. Of late, the frequency of its citations seems to be increasing — at least three people have asked me about it in the last month.

   According to the speech's preface, Master Lynch was concerned enough with the fortunes of his slave-holding brethren in the American colonies to present a lecture on the bank of the James River, explaining how to keep unruly servants disunited. The old, he argued, should be pitted against the young, the dark against the light, the male against the female and so on. Such disunifying tactics "will control the slaves for at least 300 years," he guaranteed. And that, it seems, is why black people can't get ahead now.

There are many problems with this document — not the least of which is the fact that it is absolutely fake.

   As a historian, I am generally skeptical of smoking guns. Historical work, like forensic science, isn't some flashy field — it depends on the painstaking aggregation of facts that lead researchers to the most likely explanation, but rarely the only one. Slavery was an incredibly complex set of social, economic and legal relations that literally boiled down to black and white. But given the variation in size of farms, number of enslaved workers, region, crops grown, law, gender-ratios, religion and local economy, it is unlikely that a single letter could explain slave policy for at least 151 years of the institution and its ramifications down to the present day.

   Considering the limited number of extant sources from 18th century, if this speech had been "discovered," it would've been the subject of incessant historical panels, scholarly articles and debates. It would literally be a career-making find. But the letter was never "discovered." Rather, it simply "appeared" on the Internet — bypassing the official historical circuits and making its way directly into the canon of American racial conspiratoria.

   On a more practical level, the speech is filled with references that are questionable if not completely inaccurate. Lynch makes reference to an invitation reaching him on his "modest plantation in the West Indies." While this is theoretically possible — the plantation system was well established in the Caribbean by 1712 — most plantation owners were absentees who chose to remain in the colonizing country while the day-to-day affairs of their holdings were run by hired managers and overseers.

   But even assuming that Mr. Lynch was an exception to this practice, much of the text of his "speech" remains anachronistic. Lynch makes consistent reference to "slaves" — which again is possible, though it is far more likely people during this era would refer to persons in bondage simply as "Negroes." In the first paragraph, he promises that "Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented," but the word "program" did not enter the English language with this connotation until 1837 — at the time of this speech it was used only to reference a written notice for theater events.

   Two paragraphs later he says that he will "give an outline of action," for slave-holders; the word "out-line" had appeared only 50 years earlier and at that time was only used as an artistic term meaning a sketch — it didn't convey its present meaning until 1759. Even more damning is his use of the terms "indoctrination" and "self-refueling" in the next sentence. The first word didn't carry it current connotation until 1832; the second didn't even enter the language until 1811 — a century after the purported date of Lynch's speech. More obviously, Lynch uses the word "Black," with an upper-case "B," to describe African Americans more than two centuries before the word came to be applied as a common ethnic identifier.

   In some popular citations, Lynch has also been — inexplicably — credited with the term "lynching," which would be odd since the speech promises to provide slave-holders with non-violent techniques that will save them the expense of killing valuable, if unruly, property. This inaccuracy points to a more basic problem in understanding American history: the violence directed at black people in America was exceptional in the regard that it was racialized and used to reinforce political and social subordination, but it was not unique. Early America was incredibly violent in general — stemming in part from the endemic violence in British society and partly from the violence that tends to be associated with frontier societies.

   For most of its history, lynching was a non-racial phenomenon — in fact, it most often directed at white people. The term "Lynch law" was derived from the mob violence directed at Tories, or British loyalists, just after the American Revolution. While there is disagreement about the precise origins of the term — some associate it with Charles Lynch, a Revolution-era Justice-of-the-Peace who imprisoned Tories, others see it as the legacy of an armed militia founded near the Lynche River or the militia captain named Lynch who created judicial tribunals in Virginia in 1776 — there is no reference to the term earlier than 1768, more than half a century after the date given for the speech.

   Given the sparse judicial resources (judges were forced to travel from town-to-town hearing cases, which is where we get the term "judicial circuit") and the frequency of property crimes in the early republic, lynching was often seen as a form of community justice. Not until the 1880s, after the end of Reconstruction, did "lynching" become associated with African Americans; gradually the number of blacks lynched each year surpassed the number of whites until it became almost exclusively directed at black people late in the century. (Nevertheless, between 1882 and 1944, Tuskegee University recorded 3,417 lynchings with black victims -- and 1291 lynchings with white ones.)

   The Willie Lynch speech would seem to give a quick-and-easy explanation of the roots of our much-lamented "black disunity." You could make similar arguments about the lingering effects of a real historical document like the 1845 tract, "Religious Instruction of Negroes" — written by a proslavery Presbyterian minister — or the British practice of mixing different African ethnicities on slave ships in order to make communication — and therefore rebellion — more difficult. But this too is questionable — it presumes that whites, or any other diverse group, do not face divisive gender issues, generation gaps and class distinctions.

   Willie Lynch offers no explanation for the white pro-lifer who guns down a white abortion-provider or white-on-white domestic violence. He does not explain political conflicts among different Latino groups or crime in Asian communities. Unity is not the same as unanimity and in the end, black people are no more disunited than any other group of people — and a lot more united than we give ourselves credit for.

-- William Jelani Cobb is a professor of history at Spelman College.

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To learn more about seminar -- Diversity: The Value of Mutual Respect

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    -- My name is Andrew Levi.  I am from Africa.  I do totally find the behavior of black people in America to be way different from the African people and I have been wondering why??  Why do we hate each other so much,  Why do we feel bad when we see a brother rising up, why are we still being enemies to ourselves even after being tortured and mistreated by the whites and why can't we come together in this post slavery and post segregation American and help ourselves.  Why are we so divided and yet we look a like and speak the same language.

I don't think we should  be discussing how authentic is Willie Lynch's speech  but we should ask ourselves  is it true.  And yeah it's true.  Look at our selves, we can't even help our kids go to school get education and have better future yet education is free  and so many college funds for those who can't afford.   We are the minority race and yet we have the largest number  inmates in our jails (although some are innocent) and most crimes are committed against our own people.   We tend to blame everything on racism" true sometimes" but we are our own failures. 

   Our minds are locked up.  We have been brainwashed and I believe in Willie Lynch's theory.  If we can't stand up and open our minds trust me we gonna  be in this kind of state for hundreds of years.  So brothers and Sisters lets rise up and fight this demon in our minds; Drugs, rape, murder and all other iniquities.  Let free our mind and let the descendants of Willie Lynch know that we ain'  gonna be slaves forever.   We can be free but most important free from our inner selves.

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    -- My name is Sederick Wright. I  have been reading the comments on your site. First of all there should be no room for negativity when commenting on this subject. Whether or not he existed or not is trivial, just like the credentials of the people writing these statements of disbelief. Well I believe in GOD but there are plenty who disbelieve based on never seeing or touching HIM. But to say that HE (GOD or Willie) does not exist is insanity. If you don't know for sure, please don't tell me one thing or the other. As a 26 year old African American I am searching to find truth in my life. But bickering is what I found.

   A bunch of people around the globe arguing over when the speech was given, did he sail here or not......Man I am only trying to get us to come together. But now we have made this become an inspiration of arguing and further disagreement. Which the date of the speech, his name,  origin.....we are still to distrusting of what we can't see or touch to realize the true intention of posting this.....We refer to slavery and the injustice of prejudice in our homes, yet the rich African Americans are not at all trying to ban together to help the less fortunate. So the term of against one another is apparent.

   Before the letter surfaced I could see the effects of slavery and prejudice whether between white and blacks, blacks and blacks , or blacks and other races who choose to stereotype blacks in a so-called intelligent society. So whether you can put the blame on one person or many the moral is the same. We are the only race that came to the united states under slavery. All other races may have been mistreated or killed of by the millions for the cultivation of the U.S. but they were not the "property of another person."

   Besides the biggest problem is that most blacks are not receiving the proper training or do not wish to receive it because they idolize being a THUG. Most will not connect to the internet to read any of this. What are all the people on the page doing with their knowledge to actually help the black culture? "I'm so smart and intelligent" is this the moral of the writings .... to show  their intelligence....it is still the spirit of "I am better than you or smarter than you"....There is a web site for the Klan.....the negative forces are so well organized. But we can't live in the same neighborhood or house with each other.
 

   I am truly hurt that the Asians have a rich and beautiful culture that is appreciated by the world. The Dutch, the French, the Arabs, the Latin's all have a culture from 1000's of years of intelligence, but to explain to my children that our the world wide image of black culture is based on the negativity of HIP HOP. Where are the scholars so my children can watch positive black images on TV.

   Why are the rich (not wealthy) African Americans not utilizing their resources to establish better conditions for the communities that keep producing children under ignorance and poverty. These are the questions to ask not whether Willie lynch told the slave owners how to do this. Belief in anything is hard for this race.

   Let me tell another about this and they will automatically not believe. Why is this....because they barely see the positive in life and most blacks consider each other stupid or will bully or insult an intelligent black. Now when that student succeeds he or she has all reasons to "Leave them all behind". We have embraced the negativity and there are to many having children under that frame of mind. Give the athletes and entertainers millions but kill their civil rights leaders. And because a few of us are getting paid. We are so happy now. 

   Tell me where there is a college for blacks to train us for free.....No way of attaining a way of feeding our children....So everyone is about money and the pursuit of it....No people training young blacks to be mechanics or scientists for the betterment of our culture...Pay for everything even though WE know you don't have any money. Oh but there are plenty to teach  us how drink, smoke, and pull a trigger. So argue over how we are going to help each other.

   To argue about Willie whether he lived here or anywhere or over dates and words used profited no one. So i see the intelligent blacks with PhD's trying to fight for the title of who is right.....when we are all wrong as long as our people continue to fight amongst ourselves. So the spirit of Willie or "ignorance " is still real and crushing us. Thank you for reading.

 


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Here is what is stated in the American Heritage Dictionary about Willie Lynch
 


Dr. Freeman being interviewed on Canadian TV

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Dr. Freeman discussing a painting from his collection at a
US Department of Justice Black History Month event
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A photo of the huge area in the main hall near the United Nations visitor's entrance
at the United Nation's "Transatlantic Slave Trade" exhibit in NYC (16 March - 30 April, 2011).
20 documents & artifacts from The Freeman Institute Black History Collection were showcased.
More items from the Collection are exhibited behind the walls.


Dr. Freeman at the United Nations "Transatlantic Slave Trade" Exhibit.
Twenty documents & artifacts from The Freeman Institute Black History Collection included.

 

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