An accurate count of the number of African Americans killed by white racists is incalculable. Research is still underway on the Cold Cases, the unsolved murders from the Civil Rights era. But there are a few victims in recent memory whose names we can call and make them resonate beyond the grave and remind us of the senseless crimes that took their precious lives.
Thomas Moss, Calvin McDowell and William “Henry” Stewart were all lynched in Memphis on March 9, 1892, and were victims of racial terror because their grocery store was more profitable than white-owned stores. They were actually shot and killed after struggling with a lynch mob.
Addie Mae Collins, 14; Cynthia Wesley, 14; Carole Robertson, 14; and Carol Denise McNair all were killed Sunday, September 15, 1963, at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham by a bomb planted and denoted by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
On June 15, 2015, a white terrorist entered the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and mercilessly killed nine remarkable members of the church during a prayer meeting. The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Susie Jackson, 87; Ethel Lance, 70; the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, 59; Tywanza Sanders, 26; the Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., 74; Myra Thompson, 59; and the state senator and the church’s pastor Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41.
On May 14, a white supremacist shot and killed 10 people in the Tops Market and wounded three others. The victims are: Ruth Whitfield, 86; Roberta Drury, 32; Aaron Salter, 55; Heyward Patterson, 67; Pearl Young, 77; Geraldine Talley, 62; Celestine Chaney, 65; Katherine Massey, 72; Margus Morrison, 52; Andre Mackneil, 53.