HOW TO CONTROL NEGROES – “SKIN COLOR, AGE, AND GENDER REFERENCES” – MAKING IT A “HOAX” ?

The reputed narrator, William Lynch, identifies himself as the master of a “modest plantation” in the British West Indies who has been summoned to the Virginia Colony by local slaveowners to advise them on problems they have been having in managing their slaves. He briefly notes that their current violent method of handling unruly slaves – lynching, though the term is not used – is inefficient and counterproductive. Instead, he suggests that they adopt his method, which consists of exploiting differences such as age and skin color in order to pit slaves against each other. This method, he assures his hosts, will “control the slaves for at least 300 hundred [sic] years.”[1] Some online versions of the text attach introductions, such as a foreword attributed to Frederick Douglass, or citations falsely giving Lynch’s name as the source of the word “lynching”.[2]
The text of the speech has been published since at least 1970.[2] It appeared on the internet as early as 1993, when a reference librarian at the University of Missouri–St. Louis posted the document on the library’s Gopher server.[4] The librarian later revealed that she had obtained the document from the publisher of a local newspaper, The St. Louis Black Pages, in which the narrative had recently appeared.[4] Though eventually convinced the document was a forgery, the librarian elected to leave it on the Gopher server, as she believed that “even as an inauthentic document, it says something about the former and current state of African America”, but added a warning about its provenance.[4]
The text contains numerous anachronisms, including words and phrases such as “refueling” and “fool proof” which were not in use until the early 20th century.[3]Additionally, historian Roy Rosenzweig notes that the divisions emphasized in the text – skin color, age, and gender – are distinctly 20th-century in nature, and make little sense in an 18th-century context.[2] As such, historians such as Rosenzweig and William Jelani Cobb of Spelman College regard the William Lynch speech as a hoax.[2][3]
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About Harold L Carter

Bachelor of Science, Columbia University Masters degree, Ohio State University Undergraduate National Officer, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Eastern Asst Vice President, when a student at Columbia University Profile Photograph: Mom & Me, when I was a graduate student
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