Laura Nelson Black Like Water Shirt

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Laura Nelson Black Like Water Shirt

40.00

On May 2, 1911 George Loney, the Okemah’s deputy sheriff, along with three others entered the Nelson home while investigating the theft of a cow. In the chaotic situation Laura Nelson’s son L.D. shot the sheriff in the leg who eventually bled to death. Accounts of the shooting are contradictory with one source reporting the shot was a result of a fight over the Nelson’s home rifle. Both Laura and her son were charged with murder. The night before they were due to be arraigned, a group of men bounded Laura and her son at gunpoint. and forcibly took them to a bridge on the North Canadia River where Laura and her son were hanged in front of a large crowd. The scene was captured in a series of photographs by local pphotographer George Henry Farum. At the time lynching photographs like this one were turned into postcards and sold as souvenirs. 

Atlanta antiques collector James Allen later found the photo postcard of Laura hanged at a flea market. He writes, "Grief and a haunting unreality permeate this photo. The corpse of Laura Nelson retains an indissoluble femininity despite the horror inflicted on it. Specterlike, she seems to float – thistledown light and implausibly still."

There were at least 4743 recorded lynchings in the United States between 1888 and 1968. 3400 of those hanged were black. 

 

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