The Man Who Exposed Lynch Mobs By Hiding In Plain Sight

Civil Rights March on Washington
Shonda Buchanan
August 27, 2020

The train chugged towards Little Rock at an excruciatingly slow pace. Surrounded by white faces, Walter White knew his life was hanging by a thread.

If the vicious monsters found him, he would be brutally executed. His next moves were crucial.

Everyone in the NAACP knew White was undercover, investigating lynchings in the Jim Crow South. His blue eyes and blond hair helped him fade into whiteness like a ghost. 

He’d been a secret weapon in the fight to expose lynchings – but someone had found him out!

Was it Edward Young Clarke, the Atlanta-based KKK Grandmaster who Walter had duped into thinking he was white? Clarke even invited Walter to JOIN the terrorist group! 

But then rumors about an infiltrator started spreading. He had to escape – fast.

He did – and everything he received from the KKK, he gave to the U.S. Department of Justice. His reporting helped create the NAACP’s “Thirty Years of Lynching in the U.S.” report, which fueled the first anti-lynching legislation.  

 

Without Walter’s dangerous journey, we may never have known the truth about the 3,224 Black people murdered between 1889 and 1918. 

He risked his life to expose injustice, reminding us that either by covert subterfuge, direct political action, voting, or any other means necessary, we MUST continue fighting for Black lives and Black liberation!

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