(CNN)The head of Maryland’s NAACP on Sunday lambasted Gov. Larry Hogan’s posthumous pardon of lynching victims as “political posturing,” criticizing the Republican governor for issuing a blanket pardon of dozens of the state’s Black victims even though many were never convicted of any crimes, but merely charged or accused of wrongdoing before they were killed.
The scathing criticism comes after Hogan on Saturday issued the blanket pardons for Howard Cooper, a 15-year-old Black child who was hanged from a sycamore tree after he was convicted of raping and assaulting a White woman, and 33 other victims of racial lynching in Maryland between 1854 and 1933.
According to a historical marker erected during Saturday’s news conference, Cooper faced an all-White jury, which reached a guilty verdict in under a minute despite the fact the victim did not testify she was raped. Cooper was killed before his attorneys had an opportunity to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The criticism also comes amid a racial reckoning stemming from recent deaths of Americans of color at the hands of police, reigniting a discussion around the country’s racist past that included lynching, violent and horrific murders of Black people at the hands of White people.
Willie Flowers, president of the NAACP Maryland State Conference, questioned the authenticity of Hogan’s posthumous pardons of lynching victims, including for many who were never convicted of crimes and were just charged or alleged to have committed crimes.
“This is just political posturing that nobody needs right now,” Flowers told CNN on Sunday. “If the governor’s going to do something, he should with his power as governor look at the many broken systems based on the same type of vitriol, contempt, hatred, that caused the murders of these gentlemen. Every system that has been broken, as the governor of Maryland, he alone can change all of it.”
He continued, “Celebrating himself by reminding people that lynchings happened is not the best thing you can do, it’s actually the least that he could do.”
Flowers also questioned the motives behind Hogan’s announcement. Some have suggested the term-limited Maryland governor could emerge as a GOP leader on the political stage for national office.
A spokesperson for Hogan did not respond to Flowers’ claims.
The Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and students at Loch Raven Technical Academy in Towson requested a pardon for C
Go To The SourceRead More