Tennessee medical service investigator William Sewell was recently fired after he reportedly intimidated black people with a story about lynching.
Shun Mullins, an African-American, filed a complaint claiming that his mother died after a deputy fire chief refused to perform CPR because she was black and falsified medical reports, noted RawStory.com.
LEATHER FROM HUMAN SKIN
Printed in The Mercury, Saturday March 17, 1888
I remember that two or three years ago I incidentally referred to a prominent physician of this city wearing shoes made from the skin of negroes. He still adhered to that custom, insisting that the tanned hide of an African makes the most enduring and the most pliable leather known to man.
Only last week I met him upon the street with a brand new pair of shoes. I looked at his foot wear, as I always do - his pedal coverings have an irresistible fascination for me - and said, with a smile:
"Is the down trodden African still beneath your feet?" In the most matter of fact way, and without the shadow of a smile, he answered: " I suppose you mean to inquire if I still wear shoes made of the skin of a negro. I certainly do, and I don't propose changing in that respect until I find a leather that is softer and will last longer and present a better appearance. I have no sentiment about this matter. Were I a Southerner - in the American sense of the word - I might be accused of being actuated by a race prejudice. But I am a foreigner by birth, although now an American citizen by naturalization. I fought in the rebellion that the blacks might be freed. I would use a white man's skin for the same purpose if it were sufficiently thick, and if any' one has a desire to wear my epidermis upon his feet after I have drawn my last breath he has my ante mortem permission."
The doctor's shoes always exhibit a peculiarly rich lustrousness in their blackness. He assures me that they never hurt his feet. The new pair he was using when I last saw him emitted no creaking sound and appeared as comfortable as though they had been worn a month. Their predecessors, he told me, had been in constant use for eight months. He obtains the skins from the bodies of negroes which have been dissected in one of our big medical colleges. The best leather is obtained from the thighs. The soles are formed by placing several layers of leather together. The skin is prepared by a tanner at Womseldorf, 16 miles from Reading. The shoes are fashioned by a French shoemaker of this city, who knows nothing of the true character of the leather, but who often wonders at its exquisite smoothness, and says that it excels the finest French calf-skin.
I had no idea any of this took place and it is truly sick but perhaps having any of this returned to the families would only serve to traumatize them. They may not even know an ancestor went though one of these horrific acts. What good would it serve at this point?
It's interesting to me people freak out about stories like this yet in some places in Africa black tribes have been wearing human remains even eating humans for thousands of years. Of course there were no whites around, they ate their own black brothers and sisters. huh.. interesting.
reply to post by Spider879
Concerning the last link, there is a museum in Philadelphia that is filled with medical curiosity specimens. It is the Mutter Museum. It has medical books on display that are bound in human skin. They were owned by Dr. Joseph Leidy. I wonder if this is the same doctor that wore shoes made of human skin? The time frame is right, as he died in 1891.
I live about 10 miles from Womelsdorf, where the skin was tanned, according to your linked story.
In a lot of these cases the victims are known as are the perpetrators, lynchings was a very public affair often done as part of a family picnic
reply to post by Spider879
Yes - if they know the families of these victims and have parts of their relatives remains - give them back. If the people don't know - would need to run DNA, it may be best to just make a statement they have these things and they are disposing of them in a respectful manner - maybe inviting anyone who wants to have things checked to come forward.
I read some more on that alligator thing as we'll. The voice of that article found it abhorrent yet also said it was not a common practice. I don't know about that - advertisements out in the public for babies were prevalent enough. While it may not have been common to engage in, people were complicit on a large scale. Social systems should not be taken lightly - as even those who would have felt appalled reminded complicit through inaction. [/quote
Yes it seem it was localized in certain areas but the pop culture spin off was enormous those images followed through to Disney and finally petered out I guess sometime in the 60ts/ 70ts?? so when people hang a noose over a tree taunting African American kids on an opposing wrestling team and said it was all in jest lets be clear how not funny that jest is.
Ya know, i didn't find the question about if he had ever been in jail offensive at all. I live in New Orleans which is 80% black - most of those have been to jail in one form or another. It's common to ask such a question of a black person here ( from authority figures) because statistically blacks commit more crimes than whites. This is so well known. It gives the authority figure an idea of the type of person he's dealing with.
The ladies there present were wolves - one a young black woman and one a white bible belt conservative type - you KNOW they are gonna take offense to the story - i felt the odds were stacked against this fellow unnecessarily due to this. It's all hearsay because we don't have actual transcripts we could use to judge the mans intent - as he claims, he was just trying to agree with the plight of the poor and down trodden and he took it too far for which he's sorry. I see nothing here that says this man is lying yet.
reply to post by Spider879
I actually saw the image of a baby being chased by an alligator somewhere long ago - it was familiar so with your saying these were displayed as art I believe it. I had never heard of the saying "gator bait" before last night. Those sayings or mock lynchings are nothing to joke about - yet it's clear they aren't teaching the history of it enough to let young people know what it means if they are engaging in this stuff.
reply to post by Spider879
I read a bit about Dr. Leidy. He was born in Philadelphia, so he apparently isn't the Dr. cited in the 1888 newspaper account, as that Dr. was foreign born.
On a different subject of the thread....
I can't imagine a thinking person using a human infant as bait for an alligator. I can only hope that there is a special hell for someone like that.
Warning: extremely offensive/gross discussion to follow:
I'd have to say by this date it's likely if someone has a pre civil war era bit of amputational Americana, they don't know what it is. I've never heard of anyone having African-American boots on the mantle or the like, and I'd think I probably would have, living in Georgia during my formative years. God knows you heard about every other bit of Civil War memorabilia anyone had lying around.
On the other hand, there is something that's much more...contemporary. And that's bits of Vietnamese people. Not so long ago, during the Vietnam conflict, it was de rigueur amongst special operations forces, not the least of which was MACV-SOG, that you kept a necklace of people's former ears. There were a lot of guys that had ear collections. It got to the point that they finally put their foot down about that sort of thing, not that it stopped, although these days it's not as fashionable as it once was.
Now, you want to count Asian ear collections, I have two very close relatives that have enough ears to restore hearing to a third world country. And I know several more friends of mine who have ears from Somalia, Grenada and the like. I think if you had a joint forces ear/finger/other (I won't say) surrender of body part souvenirs, you could dwarf any Civil War era collection several hundred times over.
edit on 25-2-2014 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)