Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) released the following statement to commemorate the 85th year since the lynching of Mr. Rubin Stacy in Broward County, and recognize Mayor Dale V.C. Holness‘ proclamation of July 19, 2020 as Rubin Stacy Remembrance Day.
“The lynching of Mr. Rubin Stacy on July 19, 1935 is a horrific stain on the history of South Florida and remains a tragedy in our community to this day. As we reflect on the modern-day lynchings we continue to bear witness to, including that of Ahmaud Arbery less than six months ago, one cannot help but recall the painfully long and traumatic history of lynching in this country. Between 1882 and 1968, 4,743 people were lynched in the United States. Nearly 75% of these victims were black.
“Lynching is a tragic, shameful, and racist act. There is simply no reason it should not already be a federal crime. For this reason, I urge the Senate to take up and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which the House passed three weeks ago, without delay. We have a duty to honor the demands of the American people for racial justice, reforms in policing, and to make lynching a federal crime once and for all, bringing justice and remembrance to over 4,000 victims of lynching, including Ahmaud Arbery, Emmett Till, Rubin Stacy, and so many others who we will never forget.
“On this day, we not only remember Mr. Rubin Stacy, whose life was tragically stolen outside of the justice system 85 years ago, and recognize the pain of his surviving family members, but also promise to honor his memory with action. Our nation is built on the fundamental promise of equal justice for all, and I am dedicated to continue the ongoing effort to fulfill that promise for all Americans.”
On July 16, 1935, an unidentified black man knocked on the door of the home of Marion Jones of Fort Lauderdale and asked for a drink of water. When she let him in, he threatened her with a small knife. On July 18th, Rubin Stacy, whose name appears in some accounts as Rueben Stacey, a tenant farmer, was seen ‘hiding’ in bushes by the road by a driver and reported as suspicious. Mr. Stacy was arrested by Constable W.D. Dougald of Deerfield Beach. The arrest took place after a foot chase in which Mr. Stacy fled while being shot at by Dougald. Mr. Stacy was considered guilty because he ran. He was arrested and turned over to Sheriff Walter Clark of the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Stacy denied having attacked Marion Jones. On July 19th, rather than using a police lineup, Sheriff Clark took Rubin Stacy to the home of Marion Jones. She received a $25 reward for identifying him as her attacker, as did the deputies who brought him to her house to be identified. Later, the car Mr. Stacy was being transported in was run off the road. According to police accounts, Mr. Stacy was taken from the car by a group of local men to a place close to the Jones’ home. The Sheriff reported it was there Mr. Stacy was shot and hung from a tree. There were no arrests made.
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.