"The Unwritten History": Alexander Gumby's African America

Gumby's Culture > Lynching


Scrapbook 65:
"Lynching and Race Riots, pt. 2,"
p. [83]

Gumby counted numerous poets as friends and collected poems on many themes. While one of his largest individual scrapbooks was devoted to poetry of all genres, Gumby also sometimes inserted thematically-related poems in his volumes that had nothing explicitly to do with poetry. This was the case with this leaf, which appeared in one of Gumby's two volumes devoted to racially-motivated violence. Amidst pages that largely featured news accounts of actual lynchings, the inclusion of such a page highlights the way that lynching's pervasive nature in the early twentieth-century United States established it as a cultural symbol even as its status as a gruesome reality waxed and waned. Gumby may have been inspired to add this page after coming across the clipping mounted on the middle-left of the page, which features a letter to the editor of the New York Amsterdam News seeking information about any poems "that deal exclusively with lynching as a theme." As this page indicates, Gumby was able to at least provide the basis of such a collection.


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