When we celebrate Black History Month, we should also ensure that we don’t erase its ugly underbelly. Watching the television news shows this weekend as a host of Republican white supremacy supporters and insurrectionists got interviewed, and continued to spew lies, I was thinking about this portrait.
Do you know this family? My guess would be probably you don’t—because so much of Black folks’ history gets erased. We’ve seen photos of lynchings, many of which were celebrated and circulated on postcards, however we rarely get a glimpse of the survivors, who had to soldier on. This is one such portrait.
You see here the family of Frazier Baker, who was a Black schoolteacher in Lake City, South Carolina, appointed to be the town’s postmaster in 1897. White folks were mighty upset about his appointment. So they murdered him and his baby daughter, while attempting to kill his entire family. It is a miracle that the rest of his family pictured above, survived.