It’s officially Black History Month and this means that across North America, we will hear the tried and true tales of many prominent children of the African Diaspora. There are, however, names that even the Black community to a large extent have forgotten. Perhaps it’s because some of these names reveal a history that at times seems too painful to confront, or perhaps it’s because we have invested so much in a gender based narrative of suffering that we have turned our back on the women who were lynched.
For far too long, race based violence is something that has been constructed as happening solely to Black men, though we know that women have been subjected to police violence, rape, and lynching. The names of these forgotten women have been glossed over to uplift Black masculinity, as the symbol of victimhood behind the crimes that we have suffered as a people, while black women have been constructed as ancillary victims through our relationships with Black men and boys.
Black life has always been cheap in a patriarchal white supremacist state but the lives of Black women have historically been universally devalued because, as women of colour, we occupy two marginalizations that interact to our detriment.
Lashawnda Crowe Storm is an Indianapolis artist and leader of The Lynch Quilt Project. Along with several other women, Lashawnda has taken a post card of the only surviving image to date of the lynching of a Black woman into a quilt.