by Joe Courter
On Oct. 24 the Matheson Museum presented a powerful new film “An Outrage,” a relatively short 34-minute documentary that explores the reality of lynching in the United States.
In interviews with family members and friends, and visits to actual locations, the film travels to Virginia, Texas, South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, and spans from 1898 to 1946, demonstrating that the murder of black citizens was a form of social control and intimidation, and often was accompanied by protracted torture and abuse. These killings were widely reported in the black press, but largely ignored in the more “mainstream” media.
In the discussion period after the film, Patricia Hilliard-Nunn spoke about the legacy of lynching in Florida (which had the highest per capita rate of lynching in the nation), zeroing in on the lynching of six people that took place in Newberry, Florida, just west of Gainesville in the early 1920s.
It was announced that there are efforts underway being led by Commissioner Robert Hutchinson to recognize and commemorate lynching victims in Alachua County. While that is good, the fact that the Dudley Farm, an Alachua County attraction, was the home of some of the perpetrators of the Newberry 6 lynching needs to be acknowledged. This will be a growing issue in our county in the years to come.
Exciting news was mentioned at the conclusion by co-directors Hannah Brown Ayers and Lance Warren. The Southern Poverty Law Center will be incorporating the film and a teaching guide into their “Teaching Tolerance” school curriculum, available to 500,000 teachers across the country.
More information about the film is at www.an-outrage.com.