Willie Lynch Letter Hoax Debunked

The Willie Lynch letter is supposedly a verbatim account of a speech that was given by a slave owner in 1712. It occurred along the banks of the James River and is reportedly about how other slave owners could control their property. According to the speech given by Lynch, the goal was to set the slaves up against one another. The letter was first printed in 1970, but made its rounds on the internet in the arly 1990s. Although it is purported to be an authentic accounting of slave ownership, the problem is that it is 100% a hoax.

There Are Two Primary Reasons Why This Is Fake

Although the Willie Lynch letter seems like it could be true on a first impression, the wording of the speech itself is quite fake. It uses 20th century speech patterns and words that wouldn’t have existed in the year 1712. The idea of something being “foolproof” or needing to “refuel” something just didn’t exist at the time. Steam engine development was in its great infancy. The best way to get from Point A to Point B was by horse. Refueling would mean giving your horse some hay.

Then there’s the actual division of people demographics that are included within the speech. The problem here is that items like skin color, gender, and even age were not considered as separated demographics back in the early 18th century. These are labels that were created in the 20th century to identify separation during the Civil Rights Movement and were reflections of the US Civil War – a war that wouldn’t take place for another 150 years.

When Was Willie Lynch Born?

What makes the speech plausible, at least at first glance, is the fact that there really was a Willie Lynch who proposed Lynch laws during the Revolutionary War. The only problem is that Lynch was born in 1742, a full 30 years after the speech was apparently given. In 1836, there was a theory put forth that the idea of a Lynch law was a hoax that was perpetrated by none other than Edgar Allen Poe.

How come so many people believe that this speech is 100% authentic? It is because it has been quoted by prominent leaders in specific movements, such as the Nation of Islam. Louis Farrakhan quoted from the speech during the Million Man March in 1995 and then reiterated his comments a decade later during an open letter for the Millions More Movement.

The original document has never been found. The man who wrote the original essays has reportedly confessed to their creation, and there is no evidence that this man ever existed in historical documents. Even the tactics themselves may or may not be real. The truth is that the Willie Lynch letter hoax relies on a certain level of historical ignorance of the reader in order to make it seem like fact. With information that is clearly false, there is no doubt that this is a hoax.