21 AUGUST 1936, Page 3

The Negro's Status

We have too many national shortcomings of our own to be under any temptation to adopt a complacent attitude in commenting on characteristics of national life elsewhere. It is impossible, none the less, to read without profound revulsion of the scenes witnessed in a Kentucky township last Friday, when a crowd of ten thousand persons flocked from all parts of the State to watch the public execution of a negro sentenced for the murder of a white woman. One feature of what partook of the nature of a public festivity was that the woman-sheriff. Mrs. Florence ThOmpson, 42-year-old mother of four children, is in charge of the execution." The episode lends grim appositeness to the graphic description 'by an American writer on a later page of this issue of a lynching which she unintentionally witnessed in another Southern State. The problems created by the existence of white and black populations side by side must be recognised, and accounts of lynchings secure a prominence out of proportion to their number, but they remain, as almost all Americans except a minority of Southern whites acknowledge, a blot on American civilisation. So, hardly less, do public executions of negroes, which are far more demoralising than they can be deterrent.

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