Monday, January 19, 2009

The Photo of Michael Donald 19, hanging from a tree and the Story - Lynched by Ku Klux Klan, 1981, Mobile Alabama

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The Photo of Michael Donald, Black Boy 19, hanging from a tree and the Story. Lynched by Ku Klux Klan, 1981, Mobile Alabama
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Wikipedia
The Lynching of Michael Donald, 19 years, in Mobile, Alabama, 1981

Some excerpts :

The same night other Klan members burnt a three-foot cross on the Mobile County courthouse lawn, Bennie Hays' son, Henry Hays (age 26), and James Knowles (age 17) drove around Mobile looking for a victim. They spotted Michael Donald walking home from getting his sister a pack of cigarettes. They attacked him and beat him with a tree limb before slitting his throat and hanging him from a tree across the street from Hays' house. [2]

Local police first stated that Donald had been killed as part of a drug deal gone wrong, despite his mother's insistence that he had not been involved in drugs. Beulah Mae Donald then contacted Jesse Jackson, who organized a protest march in the city and demanded police answers.[1]

The FBI became involved, partly at the urging of Michael and Thomas Figures, local activists. Two and a half years later, Henry Hays and James Knowles were arrested. Bennie Hays was also indicted in Donald's murder but died before his trial began.
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29 comments:

  1. rest in heaven mike

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  2. It is frustrating that white america knows little to nothing about events that face people of color everyday

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  3. I lived in Mobile AL during the time that Micheal Donald, was killed. I can tell you that it took all that our community had to refrain from acting out with violence.

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  4. I just watched the episode on NatGeo and saw what the Klan did to this young man. They are ignorant and just want someone to blame for their misfortunes. Most looked uneducated and poor. Sad group of people.

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  5. Hi my name is Carolyn. I am a white female who lives in Montgomery, AL. and I moved here from KY about 5 years ago. My mother was born and raised here and as I was growing up she would tell me and my siblings about the conflict here between whites and blacks when she was a young girl. She always taught us to love and respect everyone, no matter what color their skin. I'm 41 years old now, taking night classes to become an RN. The college I attend had a culture diversity day today and I went to gain some credit for clinicals. I truly left a changed person because the guest speaker spoke about Mr. Michael Donald and how these two monsters murdered him in cold blood. I couldn't believe that something like this happened to this young man who was only 7 years older than me. I couldn't believe that I had never heard the story. People like these two men are ignorant and evil. God bless Mrs. Donald. I lost my son two years ago in a hunting accident, I know her loss, but I can't imagine losing my son to the hands of murderers. I will keep you in my prayers Mrs. Donald.

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  6. Carolyn :

    That is a very beautiful story of your life and your family and friends.

    Many greetings to your mother, that is a very wonderful person, ...

    I also pray for you and me and all of us.


    Vicente

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  7. My father was a police officer in Mobile, AL when this happened. The body was found in the neighborhood of my elementary achool. I remember my father coming home with a haunted look on his face that day. A sad day, for certain...

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  8. I clearly remember this day in Mobile,Al... i was 9yrs of age at the time... we live in Toulminville area of Mobile... This was a sad day for us all during that tme... my dad came over and sat us down and said he never wanted to see us done that way. We drove pass the sceen and it was sad and i still talk about it to my son and friends... There are people here on the Easr coast never heard about this historical and ignorant event

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  9. I live no where near Mobile, AL but we are talking about how people were treated then and what they did to Mr. Donald was the worst thing someone could do. And we talked about how the law to stop lynching was passed in 2005.... I mean come on 2005, Ida B. Wells wanted to get that bill passed when lynching started and just got passed 6/7 years ago!! Thats so stupid... And I feel Mrs. Donald's pain because my great grand-daddy was Lynched by protecting a black man and he was sheriff. R.I.P Michael Donald

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  10. My name is Michael Donald. I have never been told of this story, but i do feel the pain!! I live in Sandusky Ohio. About as far north as u can get in my area without being in Canada. I have had my own problems with racists up here. In 1989, my brother Frank Donald was murdeded by the car of an enraged white man. I think of this everyday, but could not let the ignorance and hatred get the best of me. Today, i am 40 and proud to say that i have 5 bi-racial children with the youngest being lil Mike. I will make them aware of this sad sad story...

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  11. Thanks Michael for writing this moving note.

    It makes me sad to know that your father was murdered. I am glad that you have the company of five children.

    I am sure that the future is better.

    take care of yourself

    Your friend

    Vicente

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  12. I live in Mobile, Alabama. Michael Donald was my my friend and I remember that night as if it were yesterday. It sadden me when I think about that day.I think of the time that led up to Mike's tragic end. I wish it would have been me instead of him.Mike had so much life to live and share. I remember this time well.I fine myself wondering why we had to struggle and be tragically killed for no reason.I would hope that we all learn from this wasteful and tasteless form of hate crime. I hope America will turn from its evil ways.

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  13. Dear friend from Mobile, Alabama

    Sorry for your loss of an excellent friend.

    I hope that things will continue changing for better times.

    Vicente

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  14. My name is Roland and I wrote the original police report on the Michael Donald hanging. My partner and I found a young black male hanging from a tree at about 6:20 am on hearndon ave mobile al. My report was truthfull and named kkk members names. The report was handed over directly into the hands of the F.b.I. not mobile police. Been looking over my shoulder ever since.

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    1. I pray God continue to bless u

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  15. Thanks Roland Vega for your information.

    This should not be forgotten, so that we can work for a more peaceful world.

    Vicente

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  16. you just have to wonder what in their great mind would lead them to this. I am Kris, a 13 year old doing a report on the KKK and to know that people would have any reason to take another mans life is just sad

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  17. Good Point Kris, I agree with you.

    Good Luck with your studies. Have a Nice Week.

    Vicente

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  18. I was graduating from Hampton High School in 1982 when I first heard about the lynching/beating/killing of Sir Michael Donald in Mobile,Alabama. It's ironic that both my parents were born and raised in Mobile. I remember seeing an article in the Jet Magazine informing America of this horrible crime against this young may by the KKK. Mind you people this was NOT LONG AGO. My parents informed me as to why they vowed not to live in Mobile, AL as adults nor did they want to raise their children in Mobile, AL. Well guess what? I now live in good old Mobile and not much has changed. They still have that good old boy mentality. Trust me when I say not much has changed in the South. I read a book called "Like Trees Walking" for those of you who are interested in reading a little more about Sir Michael Donald.

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    1. Micheal Donald, I PRAY that your memory will live on because the good old southern boys live in the white house. (the kkk club still lives)hOWEVER, PRAY FOR THEM BECAUSE THEIR HEART IS LIKE RED J E L L O. (MADE OF MAN INGREDIENTS AND NOT OF GOD FLUIDS (THEY ARE SATAN'S CHILDREN'S READ YOUR BIBLE) THIS IS THE DAY THAT GOD HAS MADE LET YOU AND I BE GLAD IN IT, THANKS BE TO GOD.

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  19. This story has moved me. I just happen to come across this looking for a micheal donald. Everyone that stated a comment in here, I will say my prayers for and for a change.

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  20. I am from mobile and it just saddens me that my city is the place of the last known lynching in america.

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  21. It's truly unfortunate, but Mr. Donald's was NOT the last lynching in America!
    Mr. James Byrd, of Jasper,Texas was dragged behind a pickup truck in 1998, and his dismembered body was left behind by white supremacists murderers in that town. Thankfully the evildoers were caught, tried and convicted for their crime. And, don't get me started on Trayvon Martin, murdered at point blank range for "walking while black" in Sanford, Florida in 2011. No justice, no peace! When will it end? When will white people get over their inferiority complexes and learn to live and LET LIVE?!

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I am a white woman and do not feel or have any inferiority complexes toward any race. We all bleed red... My heart breaks for what Mr. Donald wrongly suffered! I don't understand why people hate! Please don't categorize all white people into the one categorize.

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  22. It's sad to say that i was just 11 years old when i watched him hanging from the tree on our way to school on the school bus and the bus driver told us to turns your heads but i still looked i got home from school and told my mom and she didn't believe me until she seen the judgement for 25 million i think like 10- 20 years later and the reason that i'm posting this now is because i was laying in the bed and it came to me as if he was talking to me i new Michael he went to school with my older brothers and sisters.RIP MICHAEL

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  23. I just watched the story behind the kkk and learned about Mr.Donald's murder.This was one,like so many others that I had never heard of.I was born 5 months after his murder in 81. I am shocked and in tears.

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  24. My sister lived in the house where micheal was hung in the front yard. The house has now burned down but the tree still stands. And they also changed the name of the street from herndon ave to micheal donald after all these years.

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    1. I was talking about this tree six months ago. I wanted it cut down. We all need to do something to make sure this happens.

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  25. My name is Megan and I am a white female from the state of Tennessee. Mine is a state with a long legacy of KKK and similar branch hate groups. I love my state, but I hate its past. Michael Donald was murdered 6 days before my 1st birthday. I don't know how I am just now hearing his story. My heart broke as I watched a late night television program on it. I know that hate groups still exist, some in my very own county, but I am appalled that a murder, with all the hallmarks of the 1960s civil unrest, took place so recently and I have heard nothing about it. I knew very little about the disgusting murders and assaults that took place in Greensboro, North Carolina until I took steps to educate myself about it! That is what I am going to do in this case as well, but my question is, "Why are we not taught about this in U.S. History classes?" I mean, if we don't accept and confront our past, aren't we doomed to repeat it? R.I.P. Michael Donald and all of the others who had their lives extinguished due to unjustified hatred. May your lives be given the respect and meaning they deserve.

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