All that talk, however, of that imagined idyllic past when Biblical morality was given due deference and Christians had a respected place in the public square is haunted by the Sunday when churchgoers came back from a place called Old Troutman Field with bits of Sam Hose's chopped-up body.Silliman has a wrenching reminder on his blog to be cautious with our nostalgia. No matter how cynical or pessimistic you wish to be about the state of the country, "going back" is neither possible nor should it be, ultimately, desirable.
Because this was America, a Christian country, the Sunday crowd that killed Sam Hose was coming from church. More than 500 came from nearby Newnan. Hundreds came from Palmetto, a city slightly to the north. Word of the in-progress lynching reached Atlanta right as people were leaving their morning worship services. According to historian Philip Dray, the news sparked "a mad rush of worshippers to the train station seeking the swiftest possible passage" to the lynching.Lord, have mercy.
If you have time and attention--and if you can stand to--please read the whole thing. It is detailed and unsparing and brutal and horrifying. It's almost unbearable and hard even to believe that it happened.