This area has been going through a period of reflection and reassessment in the past few years about its rather dark racist history — well some folks in these parts are frantically resisting any reflection and reassessment, but they are the usual suspects who are always on the wrong side of history.
This interview with, Patricia Bernstein, the author of one of the two recent books that looked at this issue was interviewed by the Waco Trib and, though much too brief a discussion, it does reveal quite a lot about local attitudes and in/action on the matter.
[…] it’s pretty amazing it took this long to get the whole story told and somebody didn’t do it sooner. One of the sources I used was a master’s thesis written at Baylor University in the 1970s by a gentleman whose aunt actually witnessed the Jesse Washington lynching. He had been interested in it ever since he heard her story, and his professors tried to discourage him from writing the thesis because they thought it was too negative and too inflammatory and they just didn’t see the point. But I think this is a story that long needed to be told, not just because it is an atrocity but also because of the heroism involved.
We also learn that a screenplay is being written from the book, which I would love to see be produced into a film. It would be a great vehicle for an actress to portray a relatively unknown heroine, suffragist Elisabeth Freeman and bring more attention to her life of activism. Freeman’s anti-lynching organizing with the NAACP is described here.