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Lawrence Henry Beitler (1885 - 1960, 74 years) was a studio photographer who on August 7, 1930, took a photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, which has become an iconic representation of the history of the period. In 1982, 64-years later, James Cameron published A Time of Terror.
According to Alex Selwyn-Holmes' review of the book:
- Lynching photos were made into postcards to show off civic pride and white supremacy, but the tortured bodies and grotesquely happy crowds ended up angering and revolting as many as they scared. The photo sold thousands of copies, which Beitler stayed up for 10 days and nights printing them.
- Ironically, this photo which had become iconic image of lynchings was taken at Marion, Indiana, whereas most of the nearly 5,000 lynchings documented between Reconstruction and the late 1960s were perpetrated in the South. (Hangings, beatings and mutilations were called the sentence of “Judge Lynch.”) The photo was so iconic that it has been the inspiration for many poems, books and songs down the years, “Strange Fruit”[vague] by the Jewish poet Abel Meeropol (later sung by Billie Holiday[vague]) being the best example. Every time you hear Bob Dylan’s somewhat hard-to-listen-to Desolation Row, the first line you heard is “They’re selling postcards of the hanging”, inspired by the above photo.[vague]
- ""Find A Grave". Birth: Oct. 9, 1885. Death: Mar. 3, 1960. Spouse: Rachel E. Comer Beitler (1897 - 1978). Burial: Grant Memorial Park, Marion, Grant County, Indiana, USA. Plot: C 18" .
- "On a dark summer night in 1930, three young men were arrested. Two of the men were soon lynched. The third, James Cameron, with a noose around his neck and an angry mob of 10,000 whites calling for his blood, was spared. This is his story, told 64 years later with anger, insight, and reflection."--P.  of cover.
- "Alex Selwyn-Holme's artilce "Iconic Photos" Lynching of Young Blacks"
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