A Lynching on the South Side
edited: Sunday, August 11, 2002
By Kimberley J. Wilson
Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2002
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The author examines the aftermath of the deaths of two Chicago men at the hands of a mob.
“Lynch”…..to be put to death by mob action without legal sanction.
Did you hear about Jack Moore and Anthony Stuckey? They were lynched in Chicago early this August. A mob of about 20 to 30 people accused them, judged them and executed them. If you haven’t heard about the terrible fate of these two black men I wouldn’t be surprised. You see, the mob who killed Jack Moore and his friend, Anthony Stuckey was made up of black men and this crime happened in a working class black neighborhood. Black on black crime just doesn’t excite the media.
Jack Moore’s mother died recently and he hired a rental truck to move her furniture. Stuckey came along to help with the move. While driving through a South-Side Chicago neighborhood the van suddenly went out of control, ran up onto a sidewalk and crashed into three young women who were sitting on the steps of a house. This is horrible but what happened next is inexcusable. A mob gathered and dragged both Moore, who was driving, and Stuckey from the van and beat them to death. They were kicked, jumped on, punched and hit with bricks, stones and even a slab of concrete. Jack Moore was 62 years old. Anthony Stuckey was 49.
According to the autopsy that was performed on the body, Moore was drunk at the time of the accident. At 62 he should’ve known better. His action was criminal and caused pain, suffering and the death of one the young women, Shani Lawrence who was just 26. Moore should’ve been arrested and after a legal trial, jailed. A public lynching was not the answer.
Over 100 people gathered and watched as two men were murdered in the street. Witnesses were initially reluctant to come forward but thanks to anonymous tips the police have arrested seven men whose ages range from 16 to 57. Most of the men have criminal backgrounds and are said to be gang members. Two are related to the victims and one, the youngest, is the grandson of Jeff Fort, who once ran Chicago’s infamous gang, the Blackstone Rangers. That’s seven out of what witnesses say was over 20 men. Will these others be arrested or will they be allowed to fade into the background?
If Moore and Stuckey had been beaten to death by white people this story would be all over the news. Civil rights leaders would be preening before the cameras and someone would surely be taking notes for an upcoming book; but instead, because this is a black on black crime the response has been little more than an embarrassed sigh. We are told that this neighborhood is under pressure due to a lack of jobs and unchecked crime. One minister publicly blamed rap music for the crime. Had the criminals in this story all been teens I might be tempted to listen to his argument, but what excuse do the killers who were over the age of 30 have?
Except for Al Sharpton, who is running for president, not one national black figure has made so much as a condemning comment about this vicious act. The community and the media as well as our “black leaders” sent a message, whether they know it or not, with their mild and excuse laden response to this crime. They said to the world that black life isn’t really important. They said it’s okay—or at least somewhat understandable-- for black criminals to prey on black victims.
I reject that.
The young and not so young men who are robbing, raping, killing and intimidating black people in their own neighborhoods are not misunderstood victims, they are criminals. It’s time stop coddling and making up weak excuses for them.
Jack Moore and Anthony Stuckey may not have been saints, they may not have been rich, or entertaining or any of the things society says makes a person important, but they were human beings and they were lynched—in a black neighborhood and by black men. In the name of pride, decency, and community we can not allow this to happen again.