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Observations: A Lynching in Dover?

Saturday night I was at a dinner party when a guest at the table brought up the subject of black men being lynched in Dover.  A lawyer at the table deflected the question saying he only knew what he heard on the radio.  Two seats away I just nodded and went back to my meal.  He was referencing some discussions on my radio program about the subject.


Let’s remind readers police in Dover and Delaware’s Attorney General don’t believe anyone was lynched in Silver Lake Park.  The death of a black man there last May is labeled a suicide.  An attack on a black man in September is being discounted because the man making the allegation he was attacked apparently is “known to police.”  Additionally many of the academics and community activists charging there is a cover-up have long histories of grievances and perceived slights.


Media attention is scant and a diner at Saturday’s party asked where Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were?  The lack of attention from the media pastors may provide an answer to the overall story, however.


A few thoughts on the matter before ruling out the fears as paranoia and one being the man assaulted in September claims he knew his attackers.  He even provided an address where he believes they reside.  The people backing his argument claim the alleged attackers are recent migrants to Delaware from Texas.  The argument is the men came east to set up a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, which wouldn’t be illegal but if it’s true could buttress arguments about lynching and attempted lynching. 


Since I was first approached about this story I’ve been told there was a second suicide of a black man at Dover’s Silver Lake Park over the course of the last couple of years.  Here’s the thing, I’ve been in broadcast media a very long time and suicides (unless dramatic or involving a public official) aren’t reported because of worries of encouraging copycat behavior.  I also know suicide is generally something that takes place in a basement, attic or behind a garage door.  Rarely do black men, white men or women of various ethnicities decide to hang themselves in public parks.  As for the man who survived the September attack I’m sure there is an argument being made if he hadn’t been out late at night then he wouldn’t have found trouble.  The official explanation is the attack is unrelated to race because, well, you know, if he was out late then maybe he was engaging in illegal business and other motives for the attack exist.  Of course, I wouldn’t imagine a lynching would take place in broad daylight on the streets of any state capital.  It would likely happen under cover of darkness.


Our state attorney general is the son of a sitting Vice President of the United States and the younger Mr. Biden is mum on these subjects.  His father once said Delaware had been a slave state.  I think it was once the case for all states and colonies. 


As for my thoughts, have black men recently been lynched in Dover?  I don’t know.  I do know there is just enough of a possibility Attorney General “Beau” Biden could calm the situation with a few words and a public pronouncement no such evidence exists of racially motivated homicides a few blocks away from Legislative Hall.  Silence can be deafening. 


Category: Opinion-Commentary


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