I decided to blog about Frank Embree for my first Black History Month post for the year 2019. The story of Frank Embree is gut-wrenching, but it is a story that must be told.
Warning ⚠: This post contains graphic details and images that some may find disturbing. Viewer and reader discretion is strongly advised.
Frank Embree was a 19 year old Black teen who was falsely accused of raping a 14 year old White girl in Fayette, Missouri in 1899. On his way to Mexico, Frank was captured by a White racist mob (numbered over a thousand) and stripped naked. They thought by stripping him naked, the humiliation would make Frank confess, but it didn’t.
Because Frank refused many times to admit to this false crime, he was whipped severely with a bull whip. The crowd had hoped that the whipping would make him confess, but it didn’t. Witnesses recounted that as the whip tore into his flesh, Frank never winced or cried once after receiving 103 lashes. This made the White racist mob even more angry. A few times he fell due to exhaustion, but Frank still did not confess.
After receiving almost 50 more lashes, Frank couldn’t take it any more and finally confessed to a crime he didn’t commit. Knowing that his death was imminent, Frank asked not to be burned alive. He also asked that the dime in his pocket be given to his father and his revolver to his mother.
As Frank was led to an oak tree, he was allowed to pray before he was hanged. His lifeless, bloody and badly whipped body hung for hours before he was eventually cut down. His father never received the dime in his pocket nor did his mother receive his revolver.
The newspapers would go on to lie about Frank’s age, his character, the account of the events that unfolded and often misspelled his name in an effort to make the actions of that White racist mob justified.
Imagine, for a moment, being whipped and eventually lynched for a crime you didn’t commit. Can you even begin to envision all the emotions and dreadful thoughts that ran through Frank’s mind and body during this ordeal? Yet, millions of Black people, mainly Black men, suffered the same cruel and unjust fate for many years.
Let me be clear on one thing: The stories I have shared and will continue to share isn’t just Black History, it is HISTORY. Period!
Until next time…