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The Last Living Survivor of The Lynching of John Hartfield Speaks

The news spread around town like a 5 alarm fire.  Finally, the man named as John Hartfield had been caught and would be given a public execution for the crime of having a relationship with a white woman.

actual postcard souvenir from the lynching of John Hartfield

The newspaper ran the headline “John Hartfield will be lynched by Ellsville mob at 5’clock this afternoon.”  Excluded from the article was any cry for a trial or due diligence… just that Mr. Hartfield would be turned over to the citizens and burned alive.  The post carried the details of the execution as if it were a party invitation.  The Governor at the time, said he was powerless to do anything because white folks were flocking in by the thousands to attend the public murder…men, women and children.  It was a family event.

A real Pick-a-nigga spectacle.

The people were told that John Hatfield had raped this woman, because what white woman in her right mind would lie with a Black man willingly?

HartfieldheadlineAfter John was hung by the neck, riddled with bullets, burned alive, and then had his lifeless body drug by horse in the street for people to spit on and throw things at… the Black people of the town cowered in fear and terror for their own lives.

John Hartsfield’s best friend, Kirkland, who was also implicated by association, barely missed the same fate as his friend.  He got his family the hell out of town on the first thing smoking as soon as word got out that his friend and his white lady love had been discovered.  Kirkland, begged Hartsfield not to go back to town.. to forget that white woman..death wasn’t worth it.

But what John didn’t know is that love don’t conquer all.  He went back. The moment he was captured, beaten and taken to jail …the realization sunk in.  The newspapers, in their glee, reported “Negro jerky and sullen as burning hour approaches“.

Many Black people left and never returned to that town.  The ones that stayed lived under terror the likes that has never been experienced by any American captured by al-Qaeda.

actual postcard souvenir from the lynching of John HartfieldThe last survivor of the fateful occurrence, Ms. Mamie Kirkland (the daughter of Hartfield’s best friend), was recently interviewed about the terror and horror of that time and particularly that day. To read about it is one thing.. but to hear the testimony from someone who remembers the terror exacted upon Black Americans by fellow white Americans is chilling to the core.

Slavery and the resulting terror attacks will forever stain the consciousness of this country… and it should.  It is also fair warning about what humans are capable of doing to each other just because of a skin color or religion.

We remind you of these real events to prevent us from falling back into old ways, to keep our guard up and to raise the bar on our human expectation.



  • Every white bastard will pay for what they did. I/we will never forget or forgive them. This hate that their hate has produced will be passed on for generations, and in the end….We will win.

    • This comment is disgusting and ignorant. If this is what you truly believe, you are no better than the uneducated, uncultured, unevolved bacteria that participated in the lynching of John Hartfield, or any other human for that matter.

      To judge, hate, persecute, or harm a fellow human because of an aesthetic is highest order of ignorance possible. Race is scientifically invalid. Race is a social construct. To perpetuate the idea of race is to empower your real enemy, the system and the corrupt people behind it. The wealthy “elite” of this world want the common people, you and I, to break ourselves into groups. They laugh at you as you blindly fight with the only thing that can help you bring them down, your brothers and sisters in humanity.

      We can only overcome this evil by understanding, as a united people, that this media/corporation/government-reinforced system is actively in place and then turning to your fellow people, no matter the shade of skin or cultural-upbringing, for help in the fight against it.

      • Aaron you are correct and I’m so happy that you got it, but we first must band together and acknowledge that this evil that happen has generated theses feelings. It has not been that long ago. And the descendants of slave are still suffering the repercussions’, of this holocaust! My great grandmothers father was a slave he died, in 1966 at 106 years old! He was 9 or 10 years old when Slaves were randomly set free! And yes common white folk that were poor and non educated, non slave holders were being used and manipulated, but they had a choice and a conscious that sadly many chose not to hark or listen to. Why? Because they thought and bought the lie that they were better because they dumb asses were not niggas, but only poor white trash which they unwillingly can’t seem to understand that the “evil elite” hate them just has much. So I get it. Thus someone needs to pay and who needs to, is our government and institutions and corporations that used free labor and death and torture and terroristic tactics, and from families that benefited from such that are still living off the proceeds as well as companies that are still in operation to this day! Lets not forget European Kingdoms and governments, the French, the Dutch ship builders, and all that allowed wrong doing for profit. I call for Restitution and reparations! It will never be enough! But you have to go to the root!

  • First of all, APOLOGIZE for the ignorance of your forefathers. Before you start to tell us to forgive and forget. We endured years of whites insanity!!!!!!!

    • I understand your rage and anger, but Aaron is right. We have to understand the power of the mass manipulation and psychology that went behind what the “super” rich did. It was pure evil. Watch the movie Free State of Jones. It has never been about skin, but about money and profit. Like the Italians say, it was business. They set up a systematic way for them to embezzle and cheat people, to build and steal an entire land for both it’s land and resources. They used slave labor to yield it, and build it. Greedy low down dogs and they used skin color to depict status and class to add insult to injury. The tyranny of evil men! They are still doing it, to this day! More subtle, but just as lethal but this time it’s all of us working everyday on jobs that pay you less and them a little bit more then what you are worth. My company profited 75 billion dollars last year and I have not had a raise, in 4 years… See what I’m saying. AIG who is a company that made profit off the slave trade, and in my opinion should not have been bailed out! They did not need it any way, but again they made money off us slaves taxes during the bail outs! The New York stock exchange traded slaves, and our banking system too, they even repossessed humans beings! They gave loans on collateral off slaves like equipment and livestock. So you see it’s about money. His forefathers (maybe some) were not ignorant, but strategic and used everyone that were ignorant to their tricks, to meet a selfish greedy goal. What I think Aaron and many others refuse to accept is they have and still have a practiced privilege that we don’t have, in this country that they don’t even think about that was promised to them, if they helped the elite and by doing so they would receive more scraps and more full meals from the table then anyone. It’s amazing how automatically intuitive it is for them and they don’t even grasp it until you hit them over the head with it.

      • Hi Queen,
        First, thank you for your first, supportive reply. Seccond, I certainly am not one to refuse accepting that certain people have a priveledge over others. I get that and I am disgusted by it. My point to Sydney, to Lala, and to anyone else, is to understand that by perpetuating this ignorant anger (thought I undertstand the impetus for it) is to empower the elite that holds us ALL down. Some more than others OF COURSE, but that’s how they keep us divided. I cannot “apologize” for the ignorance of people I have never met or align with, nor should anyone expect that. It’s wasted energy. We should all be angry at the system created long ago and for those of us who understand that race is a social contruct built from many deplorable events throughout history, we have to band together. We must avoid rhetoric and action that perpetuates the scientifically invalid notion of race, or the elite keep winning.

  • And to Lalageria,
    Nobody, certainly not me, has told you to “forgive and forget”. You should NEVER forgive or forget. You should, however, measure your responses based on properly comprehending what you’ve read.

  • White America has already apologized. I’m tired of automatically having any statement I make being categorized as racist and living a bigoted privileged life because I am white. It is the same unfair generalization made by assuming any race inherently possesses a certain characteristic. It’s no different than classifying all blacks as intellectually inferior to whites. You already made the premise race is socially constructed and therefore lacking natural structure, but yet your perspective is based on one solely of race. Why do all the arguments for your side have a double standard that cant be applied in either direction? It seems to me, “black america” suffers from the same unfounded toxic racist hate you say is prevalent in “white” society. In the story of human history, we all started at the same point, ground zero, even. Why did European society so quickly eclipse African, Asian, and other cultures? You can’t blame politics or social constructs. Whatever skills possessed by both parties, Europe dominated and conquered. If anyone else was equally intelligent or strong, why did this happen? Stop crying for attention as does a child and get on with your life, don’t you have anything better to live for than fighting for something you claim can never be righted? My father taught me how not to be a sore loser. You don’t act a fool, complain, whine, and lash out at the other side, you show your strength by holding it together and fighting another day to win. You show your people to be sore losers, weak and truly embodying the traits you fight so hard to deny. You can cry eternally, it won’t change that whites historically are generally superior.

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