Republican senator in Mississippi wants to bring back public hangings

Sen. Charles Younger via Mississippi State Senate

One week after a video emerged of Mississippi Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith defending lynching, another White Republican has come forward with a defense for lynching.

According to Mississippi Today, Sen. Charles Younger shared his thoughts on lynching after a rally for Hyde-Smith. Younger argued with the publication that public hangings could be a crime deterrent.

“Public hanging was an execution style,” Younger said. “It wasn’t lynching – it was a public hanging where it had to pass through the courts and it wasn’t a color or a race issue. It was just a means of punishment. And, frankly, if it was back again I think it would deter a lot of crimes.”

Younger attempted to justify his statement by saying that Democrats would have agreed to a public hanging of Dylann Roof, the White teen terrorist who killed nine Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

In the state of Mississippi, hanging was used as a form of legal execution until 1940. The state legally executed 257 people from 1804 until 1940. Out of that number, 200 people were Black, according to a study done by the University of South Alabama. From 1882-1968, Mississippi had the most lynchings in America with 581.

Two weeks ago, a video emerged of Hyde-Smith saying that she would attend a public hanging.

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row,” Hyde-Smith said during a campaign stop in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Following her comments, Hyde-Smith faced backlash and was denounced by several of her supporters. Walmart asked for Hyde-Smith to return $4K in campaign donations.

Before a debate with her opponent Mike Espy on Nov. 20, 2018, Hyde-Smith apologized. “For anyone who was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements,” she said.

Espy fired back at Hyde-Smith by saying, “No one twisted it. It came out of your mouth. It has caused our state harm. It has rejuvenated stereotypes that we don’t need.”

Hyde-Smith defeated Espy in the race for U.S. Senate.

 

A.R. Shaw
A.R. Shaw

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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