In an interview published Wednesday at Parade Magazine, Oprah Winfrey claimed that “millions” were lynched over race. The Tuskegee Institute, however, put the number of lynchings between 1882 and 1968 at 4,743.
Winfrey made her comments in an interview discussing Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” a movie that chronicles one black man’s years of service in the White House. Winfrey plays the role of Gloria Gaines, the wife of Cecil Gaines, who served from Eisenhower through Reagan.
Parade spoke with Daniels, Winfrey and actor Forest Whitacker, who plays the role of Gaines.
All three responded to a question about using the “n-word.”
Whitaker said he doesn’t use the word and never did.
“It’s a word I used quite a bit, until Oprah sat me down and talked to me about its power,” Daniels said.
“You cannot be my friend and use that word around me. It shows my age, but I feel strongly about it. … I always think of the millions of people who heard that as their last word as they were hanging from a tree,” Winfrey said.
But statistics gleaned from the archives at the Tuskegee Institute shows Winfrey was off by quite a bit — and not all those lynched were black.
Of the 4,743 people lynched during that period, 1,297 were white.
A post at The Black Past, for example, tells the tale of the 1868 Opelousas Massacre, where some 150 black Republicans were killed by white Democrats, members of the white supremacist organization Knights of the White Camellia. An account at History Engine puts the number killed at somewhere between 200-300.
“A majority of newly freed African Americans strongly supported the Republican Party, angering prominent southern Democrats. The inability to accept racial equality led to the growth of white supremacist groups, the most noteworthy being the Ku Klux Klan. White radicals sought to silence African Americans and those who supported them through various scare tactics and physical violence, such was the case at Opelousas,” History Engine explained.
Winfrey told Parade that young people today know “diddly squat” about the civil rights movement. It would seem, however, that Winfrey needs to brush up on her own history.
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- Joy Behar shows ignorance of history, claims GOP not ‘black friendly’
- Jesse Jackson compares Madison to Selma and Gettysburg
- Political Correctness is destroying America
- Sean Hannity demands apology from Al Sharpton for overheated racial rhetoric
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