Her Husband Was Lynched – And Then They Came For Her

Via Flickr
Shonda Buchanan
August 31, 2020

Content Warning: The following story contains graphic imagery and descriptions of anti-Black violence that some may find triggering or disturbing.

They pushed her to the ground, spitting and yelling, indignant that she wanted her husband’s murderers brought to justice. She was human, like them, and pregnant – like some of their wives. Would they really hurt her? The Lord’s prayer spilled from her cracked lips.

In seconds, the rope was around her neck.

Mary Turner grasped her belly, praying good things into her child’s spirit as the gasoline drenched her. The flames that soon enveloped her felt like hot water. She screamed and screamed, her flesh peeling away. 

She imagined her unborn child’s face, its personality, its marriage to a good person. She smiled briefly at the thought that her child would never pick white people’s cotton. Then she felt the knife.

As she screamed in pain, the white man’s knife punctured her belly. Her baby dropped to the ground. The beastly mob stomped the fetus to death, then riddled Mary’s burned, lifeless body with bullets.

Shortly after Mary’s excruciating death, the NAACP created the first comprehensive report on lynching, which led to the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill.

Today the Mary Turner Project, started by her family, educates the world about her tragic lynching. We honor the righteous spirit of Mary Turner and her unborn child. Let her defiant legacy remind us to fight for a future without anti-Black violence!

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