Today the country celebrates Martin Luther King’s birthday, but I want to take readers back to the 1920’s on the Eastern Shore of Maryland by re-running a part of my biography of my father:
While my mother’s family owned land, my father’s did not.
Roy Skinner was a carpenter and handyman of many skills, if his tools (including a cove molding device) in the basement are any indication, but often a farmer.
One of the family’s tenant farms (in high school) was next to my mother’s.
The closest high school to the family farm was in Sudlersville, where both my mother and father attended high school.
When my father was undergoing lung cancer treatment in Washington, we drove over to the Eastern Shore.
As we went past one road at a bend in the highway between Centerville and Church Hill with a run down building that appeared to have been a store on the west side of the intersection, Dad told me he used to live down it. Is is south of Clannihan Shop (I think) Road. Dad said he knew Mr. Clannihan for whom it was named after.
I see from the map that it is called White Marsh Road.
He told of walking down the dirt road with his father. I gathered he was over ten but not in high school yet. That would have put it in the late 1920’s, since he was born in 1916.
“What’s that?” he asked, as he saw a crowd of men up ahead.
“Don’t look at them. Just keep on walking,” his father said.
It was a lynching.
The road on which my father lived had both whites and blacks.
When I contacted Maryland state officials they said no lynchings had taken place in Maryland since 1900. I suggested that a lynching in Queen Anne’s County in the late 1920’s would not have made the Queen Anne’s County Record.
It’s not exactly something the powers-that-be would want recorded.
But my father had died, so I couldn’t produce the eye witness and the lynching trackers in Maryland apparently didn’t believe me.