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A STUDY OF MOB ACTION IN THE SOUTH 



John R, Steelman 



A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the University 
of North Carolina in partial fulfillment of the 
requirements for the degree of Doctor of 
Philosophy in the Department of 
Sociology 




Chapel Hill, N. C, 
1928 



^■.. 



CONTENTS 
Chapter 



X. The Ivlan and the Mob 



Page 



I. Introduction 2 

II. Early History of I'ob Violence In the 

United States yy 

III. Border Lynchlno: and Anti-Slavery 

Agitation *. 2q 

IV. i;ob Violence and Reconstruction 54 

V. Lynchlngs: A Statistical Analysis 94 

VI . "/omen and ".rhite L:en L:>mched 13P 

VII. L'Tichings by States and by Coimties: 

The i:inor Lynching States' 161 

VIII. Lynchlngs by States and by Counties: 

The I.:ajor Lynching States 210 

IX. Case Studies of I..ob Action in the South . 282 



384 



Bibliography 423 



CHAPTER I 



INTRODUCTION 



Two points should be emphasized at the outset In 

this study of mob violence in the South --- the Importance of 

the general subject throughout the nation and special reasons 

why such a study relating particularly to the South should be 

made. Regarding the first, it must be said that the United 

States is, and has ever been, characteristically a lav/less 

nation. In all crimes of violence America is said to lead 

the v/orld. As Judge Tally of the covirt of General Sessions 

in New York, on inducting into office a nev/ jxirist, said: 

One of the things that you v/ill come to learn is 
that you have come on the bench of the greatest 
criminal court in the world ... at a time when this 
country is suffering under an indictment which 
proclaims it to be the most lawless on earth. 
You will find that the United States must plead 
guilty to that indie tment.l 

There are no less than ten thousand miirders annually 

in this country. Our homicide rate is about twelve times that 

of England. In 1923 there were 200 homicides in England and 



Tl Quoted in the New ^ork Herald Tribune . See Literary 
Digest Vol. 82, Serit. "13, 1924. p. 32, 



Wales combined, v/hlle In the United States there were more 
than 10,000, Statistics show that no other country meastir- 
ably approaches the United States in the jnurderous tendency 
of its people. If similar comparative figxires v/ere available 
as to crimes of burglary and robbery, it is thought that our 
excess over other nations in the matter of murders would fade 
into comparative insignificance. In 1921 there was 95 
robberies in England and Wales combined v/hile in New York, 
during the following year, there were l,445j and in Chicago, 
2,417, These are not our worst cities. Criminal statistics 
from several southern cities, as well as other facts which 
we shall note later, ' Indicate that at least in certain re- 
spects the South is the most lawless section of the country. 

There are other reasons 7/hy a study of mob violence 
relating particularly to the South is not Inopportune at this 
time. At present the South is more largely in the center of 
attention than any other section of the country. Like the 
West in days gone by it is that section of our country to 
which the eyes of many are turned, and where things are "going 
on" - where development of practically every type is taking 
place at hitherto unknovm strides. Today the South is recog- 
nized even beyond the country's borders as the new "Land of 
Opportunity", It has been referred to as "the last great un- 
developed section of the North Temperate Zone, its one place 
left for pioneering on a vast scale, "^ 

2« Acierica Discovers Dixie , by Clarence Poe, in Anerlcan Re ^ 
view of Revle\7S, April, 1926. pp. 371ff, 



To describe the economic development of this 
section during the Twentieth Century would be to reiterate 
a story told over and over again during the past decade. 
That this progress has been no less than phenomenal is recog- 
nized in all sections of the country. The story of the edu- 
cational progress of the South since 1900 is v/lthout parallel 
in the nation, even though much remains yet to be done. 

Unfortunately the otherwise bright picture of the 
South is marred by a form of lawlessness which, as it de- 
serves, brings criticism from not only other sections of the 
country, but from across the sea as v/ell, Nov/ mob violence - 
even lynching - is a national and not a sectional crime, but 
it is characteristically Southern and is becoming more so, 
While other sections of our country have little occasion for 
sharply criticising the South in this respect, possibly on 
the whole such criticism has been beneficial. It results 
partly from a long- established habit, and possibly in part 
from hurt national pride. It is true that the disruptive 
effects upon the individuals and communities where mob violence 
breaks out is not all that it costs. 

The horror and frequency of mob violence in the 
South often brings comments from beyond the bovmds of our 
coiintry that doubtless injure us as a nation, WTiether the 
South is in general more lawless than other parts of the 
country is beside the point: the fact that is is so consider- 
ed, and that there is enough truth in the accusation to bring 
it about is what counts so far as the South is a part of a 
nation desirous of being highly esteemed by others. It is true 



that, equally with and possibly even more than the phenomenal- 
ly high homicide rate of the country, southern mob violence is 
widely known and commented upon abroad more than any other form 
of American lawlessness. Irrespective of comparisons, this 
alone means that southern mob violence is a national and inter- 
sectional problem as well as a local menace. 

An English writer comments as follows: "Judged 
by the standards of Britain and the British colonies, the 
Southern 'ATaite man cannot be regarded as a law-abiding per- 
son," Such criticisms would come irrespective of the horror 
of specific cases of mob action in the South because it is so 
very different from the more common types. In order to imagine 
the askance with which a distinguished Hindoo recently listen- 
ed to the story of inter-racial progress in the South, one Y/ill 
have to remember that America is the only nation. Christian or 
heathen, v/here lynching is common, and that it is the only 
civilized country in the v/orld v/here men are burned alive. 
Not being satisfied with the assurance of progress which v/as 
showered upon him, he insisted upon more concrete evidence; 
whereupon he heard, but evidently did not fully understand, 
the follov/ing story: During the past year*^ less than twenty 
people were murdered by mobs. Two of these were v/hite, and 
only one was a woman. Of the total ntimber who met death at the 
hands of mobs, only two were burned to death, and one was burn- 
ed after being hanged and shot. No wonder the visitor from a 
country and a race that we sometimes "look down upon" could 

3. The year was 1925, ~~' 



not understand how such a situation as had been described to 
hira could possibly be considered hopeful. He had evidently 
come to the wrong place for information on inter-racial 
integration. 

Possibly he would have been more bewildered still 
had he been informed at the time that two men and a v/oman had 
just been lynched in South Carolina, and that this episode was 
"immediately follovired by a determined drive against Sunday 
golf in that community, backed by the governor of the state 
and the sheriff of the county," Of covirse, many golfers were 
arrested but no one was ever indicted for the lynching, al- 
tho\agh very soon afterwards the Governor knew by name the men 
who did the lynching,^ Such inconsistencies add to the criti- 
cism that is deservedly heaped upon the South, 

In German nev/spapers commenting upon V/oodrow V/ilson»s 
message against lynchings, it was stated that in America mob 
murders are common. The St, Louis Republic replied in an 
article under the caption, "America Pleads Guilty", The comic 
newspapers of Moscow have compared Africa and America as 
follows: The former is represented by a group of African 
cannibals seated around a fire waiting for a helmeted white man 
to be roasted, the picture being labeled, "In Barbarous Africa", 
Another picture represents a Negro burning at the stake, sur- 
rounded by a mob of gleeful whites, and is labelled, "In 
Cultured America", Says Arthur Ruhl: "This aspect of our 

4, W. W. Alexander, Have ;Ve Really Improved as to Lynching ? ~ 
article in the Christian Advocate, Dec. 50, 1927. pTlO, 



civilization, v/hich puzzles nearly all Eiiropeans, Is an easy 
target for satire, and every once in so often comes a cartoon 
of this sort or an editorial on "The Brute v;ith a Veneer of 
Civilization," 

An English author recently wrote to an American as 
follows: •••• "I may be permitted to express to opinion that 
your country has still something to do to make America safe for 
democracy and to insure the respect for constitutional methods." 
The occasion for this letter was the publicly announced and 
attended burning of Henry Lowery in j\rkansas in 1921, Comment- 
ing on the same case an editorial from Tokyo, Japan, maintain- 
ed that the creation of a strong public opinion tliroughout the 
world will be necessary in order that sufficient pressure may 
be brought to bear "on the American government to adopt 
effective measures at once so as to make it impossible for 
the American mobs to resort to these barbarous excesses,"^ 
In sharp criticism of the nation generally, the Review con- 
tinues: "Americans vociferously claim to be the champions of 
justice and hvunanity yet they do not hesitate to trample upon 
these very principles and perpetrate the foulest deed ever 
conceived ••*• It is an indelible stain on the name of 
America ..•• It goes to demonstrate the utter callousness of 
hearts of the American public." 

Unfortxmate as it may be, it is nevertheless in- 
evitable that foreign discussions of this subject be concerned 
with "America" and "Americans", Nations see one another as a 

5, Asian Review, May-June, 1921. 



whole and not by sections. Such criticism as v;e have noted 
is growing in volume. It is not complimentary, and doubtless 
does some harm. It seems to indicate, along with other facts 
to be noted subsequently, that mob violence, especially as 
manifested in the South is a problem of sufficient importance 
to merit a better xinder standing than our attention to it has 
yet brought forth. 

If the Japanese and the Europeans speak of America 
as a lynching nation and hold all Americans responsible, so 
are different sections within the nation referred to in little 
less sweeping terms. With all the means of commumication, it 
is very largely true that one section of the country does not 
know and understand what is going on in the other© The pre- 
valence of the fallacy of tiniversals, possibly as much as 
anything else would warrant any degree of effort that a better 
understanding of the causes and nature of mob action in the 
South might be better xmderstood. 

Again the time is ripe for any new light that may 
be thrown on the subject. This is true for at least two good 
reasons: Mob action in the South is, we have said, very 
largely an inter-racial matter. The first available statis- 
tics show that more white men than negroes were being lynched 
annually. Along with the increasing sectional concentration 
of mob violence as shown in Chapter V, there has been a steady 
concentration on the Negro race. Prom 1889 to 1918, 78 per 
cent of those lynched were negroes. From 1914 to 1918, 81.2 
per cent and from 1917 to 1928 practically 95 per cent of all 



8 



persons lynched were negroes,^ 

Henry W, Grady long ago pointed out a fact now 
more generally recognized as such. It Is up to the people of 
the South to settle the problem of the harmonious adjustment 
of the two races who do and must live here side by side. The 
Negro has gradually and increasingly interwoven himself into 
the fabric of southern life. It has been said that the long- 
est road ever traveled by a race in three hundred years v/as 
from Jungle in Africa to Highway in American civilization. 
The Am.erican Negro has made that journey, for now he is in 
the Highv/ay - as well as in the By-ways - of our life. He 
is found, even in the South, in practically every business 
and profession, 'Aliat is possibly more important still is the 
general recognition on the part of the more enlightened folk 
that Y/hatever makes for greater success on the part of the 
Negro, m.akes for greater v/ealth and happiness for the South 
as a whole. We are - regardless of the reticence v.dth which 
some would admit it - racially interdependent. This is not 
only true in matters economJ.c, and in matters of health and 
sanitation, but is coming to be so culturally as well. Each 
year brings added proof that the Negro has his contribution 
to make to the whole life of the South and the Nation, 

That the Negro is veritably - and adirdttedly - an 
indispensable part of our economic structure in the South Is 
shovm by an Incident v/hich at the same time indicates some- 

6. It is interesting to note further that 74 per cent of all 
whites Ijmched during the past decade met that fate in the 
South, 



thing of the nature of the problem of adjustment as yet to 

"be made complete. During the World War v/hen labor was scarce 

and wages high in the North, negroes started forth by the 

thousands. They wanted better wages, but even more than that 

they wanted justice before the law and better educational 

opportunities." Some of the southern states exerted great 

effort to see that the Negroes did not leave. First, "moral 

suasion", then force v;as employed to impede the movement 

northward. City ordinances required that labor agents pay as 

high as .'i[;1000 license fees. In Macon, Georgia, - the state 

which leads in lynchings - the City Cotmcil raised the license 

fee for labor agents to ;|^25,000. 

At Greenvile, Mississippi, trains were stopped. 
Negroes were dragged therefrom and others were pre- 
vented from boarding them. Strangers were searched 
for evidence that might convict them as labor agents, "7 

Whereas a generation ago It v/as only the few who 

realized the importance, or contemplated the ultimate solution, 

of the vast problem of racial adjustm.ent, today it may be said 

that all people of any appreciable degree of enlightenment are 

concerned about it, Rotighly it may be said that the beginning 

of the Centxxry marked a change in attitude on the part of an 

ever-increasing number of southern people. Before that time, 

and often since, inter-sectional accusations interspersed v/ith 

sharp enough epithets have been the principal contributions of 

the North and the South toward the problem of racial adjustment. 

It is true that this has been needed, and has been somewhat 

7. Negro Migration During the War , Preliminary Economic Studies 
of the V.ar, No. 16, Chapter IV, 



to 



10 

effective. Such "outside" organizations as the National 

Association for the Advancement of Colored People have on 

the whole done tremendously more good than harm. The only 

"harm" they are known to have done is that in a few instances 

they have afforded an excuse for trouble that apparently 

would have happened anyway, ° It is highly probable that the 

next generation of Southerners will m.ore appreciate this 

particular organization than has the present one. Together 

with many people of the South who have increased in number 

throughout the past generation, they have helped to bring 

before the general public a problem hitherto contemplated by 

the few. The result is that what once soxinded nev/ - almost 

as if it had fallen out of the skies - is today commonplace, 

even taken for granted, by a majority of the southern people. 

In 1906, Hon. V/illiam H. Fleming, said in Athens, Georgia:^ 

This much seems clear, beyond doubt, that the whites 
are going to stay in this Southland for all time, 
and so are the negroes,,. If, then, both races are 
to remain together, the plainly sensible thing for 
statesmen of this day to do is to devise the best 
modus Vivendi, or working plan, by which the great- 
est good can be accomplished for ourselves and our 
posterity. 

Today these v/ords would not bring nev/spaper comment 
and personal letters from all over the nation. Not so m.uch 
that they are not appropriate, or needed; they are too common- 
place for v/ide comment. Today no Southern Governor would make 
public announcement, to be carried in large headlines hours 

8, See Chapter VII, Gases No. 7, 10, ' 

9, Slavery and the Race Problem in the South , An address before 
the Alumni Society of the State University in Athens, 
Georgia, June 19, 1906, 



11 



in advance, that he is pov/erless to prevent a lynching. No 

Southern Congressman v/ould stand on the floor of the United 

States Senate today and say;-^^ 

Yes, we have stuffed ballot-boxes, and will stuff them 
again; we have cheated niggers in elections, and v/ill 
cheat them again; v/e have disfranchised niggers, and 
will disfranchise all we v/ant to; we have killed and 
lynched niggers and will kill and lynch others; we 
have bxorned niggers at the stalce and will burn others; 
a nigger has no right to live anyhow, unlesn a v/hite 
man wants him to live. If you don*t like it you can 
liimp it. 

There is not a southern state whose leaders would stand for 
that sort of "representation" at the National Capital. 

Once critics at the North ciirsed the South and 
praised the Negro, The South in t\irn cursed both the North 
and the Negro - the former for "butting in" and the latter 
largely as a matter of habit. The time when this was general- 
ly true is no more. There has come with the passing of the 
years a diminution of that type of "Americanism" which held, 
(1) that no issue can have two sides; (2) that if through 
some grave error of Nature or Man, in a single issue there 
are two sides, one of them must be eradicated. Today there is 
a large degree of sympathy and some understanding back and 
forth across the Mason-Dixon line. When there is an outbreak 
of mob violence in the North or South, neither objects to the 
criticism of the other, and generously adds its own. Since 
the beginning of the Century, and more especially during the 
past decade the nvunber of southern nev/spapers readily con- 

10. See J. E, WTiite, Thinking Y^liite about the Negro in tEe 
South , p. 124, quoting from a speech by a South Carolina 
Senator, 



12 
demnlng mob violence has grown steadily. The time Is £,one, 
consequently, when the tone of an editorial about southern 
lawlessness indicates the section, or even the state, from 
which it comes. 

Moreover, - and some have claimed this to be the 
last "tack in the coffin" of lynching - southern women in large 
groups have repudiated the idea that men are lynched for their 
protection. They have asked that more stringent law enforcement 
take the place of lawlessness in their name. Thus it would 
seem that the time has come when it no longer suffices for the 
North to call Southerners in general "dastardly murderers", and 
for the South to ansv/er through a Senator of the type qioted 
above. When public opinion in both sections is against mob 
^iolence, there must be some other reason than a murderous in- 
tent that is general for its ccntlnuatlon. It is with the hope 
of throwing some light on the problem thus raised that this 
study is made. The aim and purpose of the study is to picture 
the actual situation with regard to the characteristic type of 
mob action in the South, and to approach an explanation of its 
persistence in the Tv/entleth Century. 

Attitude and Method of Approach 

Irrespective of sectional lines those who today 
concern themselves v/ith the phenomena of mob action in the 
South are roughly divisible into two groups. First, there 
are those who are outraged at the situation, and who, upon 
hearing of some manifestation of mob violence, vociferously 
pronounce the whole state or section of the covintry in which 



13 

It occurs as being "rotten to the core". They then proceed 
to remedy matters by describing and lambasting in a general 
way large sectors of the whole population of the nation. The 
follOT/ing quotation is possibly a fairly representative state- 
ment from this group: "Let it be clearly known that the lyncher 
is a murderous dastard, trying to siailk behind a woman's petti- 
coats, to avoid being known as the vile thing he is. The 
statistics prove conclusively that the talk of protecting woman- 
hood by torturing and burning men at the stake is an insolent 
lie, and knovm to be such by those who most find it convenient 
to make use of the subterfuge.,.. This is an exhibition of 
Delev/are morality under the strain of race prejudice, "■'■-'■ If 
it be granted that every word of the statement is true, they 
contain little enlightenment for him who would either remedy 
or understand. From this group, as in the past we have 
generously received, in the future we may expect, a super- 
abundance of possibly well-meaning but ill-formed moral 
enthusiasm, and little else. 

Then, there are those - apparently much smaller in 
ntimber - who conceive of hiiman nature as being much the same 
everyv/here. They believe when a criminal outbtirst, such as an 
episode of violence, takes place that psychologically this is 
not different in nature from any other hvunan activity. All 
behavior is conceived as the response of the human organism 
to stimuli. This group asks such questions as this: In so 
far as every single reaction is the normal one, presumably 



11, Italics are mlneV 



14 

the only possible one in fact, for that particular organism 
to make In that particular situation; where there is mob 
action which is classed as abnormal and undesirable from the 
standpoint of present concepts of civilization, is it not 
because there are abnormal individual, cultural, social, 
political, economic or other conditions existing in the par- 
ticular Individuals and communities at the particular time 
in question? To approach the study in this attitude means 
that state-wide and sectional generalizations are important 
only as backgrounds for an analysis of the local situation 
involved in the particular episode of mob violence under 
consideration. The method of approach is, therefore, largely 
that of regional sociology with emphasis on the social-psy- 
chological. 

For those who believe in social guidance there Is 
hope in such a study for a worth-while contribution tov/ard 
attaining an insight into the proper nature of, hence the 
proper remedy for, a perplexing social problem. For those 
who follow the philosophy that "in the long run oxxr iincivi- 
lized propensities will be outgrown," but that "meanwhile there 
is no cure," there is yet hope of being able to look ahead and 
see whither, and at what rate, we are going. Indeed it is 
not the principal purpose here to discover and elaborate 
remedies. Rather the aim is to picture as accurately as possi- 
ble the actual situation with regard to mob violence in the 
South, especially as it persists in the Twentieth Century, 
Those more directly concerned with amelioration are continual- 
ly in need of information concerning the fvmdamental nature 
of the problem v/ith which they deal. There are, and 



U ,'iL- &• 



15 



lllLve long been, many whose concern it is to eradicate law- 
lessness from the cultural complex of the American people. 
There is an ever- enlarging group of those especially desirous 
that the type of lav/lessness exemplified in lynchings and 
floggings characteristic of the South shall cease to be. Yet 
among this group there are those who are not far removed 
from the Astronomer of the Middle Ages who kept an idiot in 
his observatory, hoping that by his inarticulate mutterings 
the secrets of science might be revealed. They hesitate, 
even falter, at the workings of the hxunan mind, v/hich through 
the ages has remained a mystery still. However, if we are 
to oinderstand human behavior we must approach it tlirotigh the 
mental and physical processes involved. 

The human behavior called mob violence is no 
exception. To linderstand this type of phenomena permits of 
no "revelations" such as the astronomer sought, V/e cannot 
longer expect, for example, to understand why men hang and 
burn one another, without setting oiirselves to the task of 
studying these men as reacting organisms in particular social 
and physical environments, •'•^ They are not "American" or 
"Southerners," or even "Georgians" and "Mississippians," 
They are particular Americans v/ith particular behavior- equip- 
ments coning from particular physical and cultiiral inherit- 
ances, reacting in specific situations to specific stimuli. 
It is thus that v;e get particular reactions, - floggings, 
mobbing, lynching, hanging, burning, etc, 

12, Cf« Hollingvvorth, Leta S., ^lie Psychology of Subnormal 

Children, p. 170'^ 



ti.-. 



16 



Approaching the task from the point of view in- 
dicated, it seems advisable to combine the historical, 
statistical and case study methods. Through the historical 
approach v/e may determine the type of situations conducive 
to the origin and perpetuation of mob violence. We may point 
out hov/ particular forms of this phenomena arose and hov/ they 
have persisted. Prom a detailed statistical analysis the 
extent, general nature and characteristics of mob action :nay 
be discovered, - facts hardly to be ascertained, otherwise. 
Moreover, it is from such an analysis that we may discover 
those particular sections of the South v/here mob action is 
so characteristic as to require more specific considerationo 
Having the historical and statistical data before us as a 
background, through the case-study method we may more speci- 
fically and concretely get at the nature and effects of 
particular mob episodes. 



17 



CHAPTER II 
EARLY HISTORY OF MOB VIOLENCE IN THE UNITED STATES 

The theory of the new historian holds true in all 
social phenomena, A thing is about what it is because of 
what it has been. Mob violence is not to be understood merely 
by a study of its Tv/entieth Century manifestations. It is 
one of the oldest, one of the most deeply rooted of all 
American practices. In a manner, as v/e shall see, this prac- 
tice 7/a3 eminently respectable in its origin. It is, possibly 
because of this fact, yet regarded by its adlierents not as in 
opposition to the established lav/s, but rather as a supple- 
ment to them - a species of common law which is as old as 
the country. Therefore, as a social and cultural background 
for a detailed consideration of mob violence in the South, 
it is important that we trace the history of this practice in 
the United States, 

Stories concerning the origin of the term "lynch- 
law" are numerous,-'- Although many of them are apparently 

1\ For many years "lynching" was a general term used as "mob 
violence" is used today. 



18 



pure fiction, at the same time they throw light on the history 
of the practices described and for that reason are worth re- 
lating here. Later we shall relate what seems to he the true 
story of the origin of the term. Meantime, in clironological 
order, we take up those which have been offered v/ith more or 
less evidence at different times. The oldest one of these 
comes from across the sea, 

James Pits-Stephen Lynch, Mayor and V/arden of Gal- 
way, Ireland, is said to have publicly hanged his ovm son 
in defiance of a mob bent upon rescuing him from the hands of 
the law. Various versions of this story are/be foiind. The 
substance of all of them is that the Mayor, who condemned 
Walter F, S, Lynch to death for the murder of the son of a 
Spanish friend, v/as determined that the law should take its 
course. The Mayor *s wife assembled her pov/erful kinsmen who 
were about to storm his house where the son was confined. 
Fearing that justice might be diverted, the Mayor took his 
son to a second story; "there he secured the end of a rope 
which had been previously fixed around the neck of his son, 
to an iron staple which projected from the wall, and, after 
taking from him a last embrace, he launched him into eterni- 
ty." It is pretty evident that this incident really happen- 
ed, and, although its connection v/ith extra-legal piinishment 
in this country is obscure, yet many people have given this 
as the true origin of "lynch-law". The window from which 
young Lynch is supposed to have hung is shown to the traveler 
today. Under it he reads: "This memorial of the stern and 
unbending justice of the ciiief -magistrate of the city, James 



19 

Pitz-Stephen Lynch, elected mayor A. D. 1493, who condemned 
and executed his ovra guilty son, Walter, on this spot, has 
been restored to its ancient site." It is said that there 
is contained in the minutes of the council books of Galway 
this entry: "James Lynch, mayor of Galway, hanged his own 
son out of the windoy/ for defrauding and killing strangers, 
v/ithout martial or common lav/, to show a good example to 
posterity," Concerning its connection with lynch-law in 
this country. Cutler discounts the Galway story stating tliat 
it may be dismissed with but little consideration. So far 
as v;e know the term lynch-law has always connoted a form of 
stumnary punishment without, or in opposition to, established 
law. On the other hand, it is pointed out, the Mayor of 
Galway was the legally constituted authority in whose court 
his son, presumably"" by a fair trial, was sentenced to hang. 
Thus the victim in this story was not "lynched", but was 
executed by a judge of the court. It would appear that the 
connection of the Galway story with lynch-law as we know it 
caine after the term had been coined. Although this story is 
told over and over again, its source is from Hardiman, the 
Galway annalist, who narrated it in proof of "the unsullied 

"2. Cf. Chambers Jouj'nal , January 1, 1916. p. 16, 

3, James E. Cutler, Lynch Law , p. 15, Cf. Hardiman* s History 
of Galway , Dublin, 1820. p. 70; London Spectator, April, 
13, 1889. Through the ''Miscellany of the Irish Archeo- 
logical Society", 1846, Vol. 1, pp. 44-80, in possession 
of Mr, Albert Matthews of Boston, the story can be traced 
back as far as the year 1674, 

4, Cf. H. C. Featherston, Green Bag , March, 1900, 12:150ff. 

5 , According to most of the accounts given of the affair. 



20 



honour, the strict adherence to truth, and love of impartial 
justice" which 7/as proverbially characteristic of Galway, 
Commenting on Hardiman's narrative, the editor of "Chambers 
Journal" has pointed out that his heart was more generous 
than his head was logical, "for what he calls 'an appalling 
instance of inflexible justice* occurred in opposition to 
the wishes of the townsfolk whose love of justice he 
praises,''^ It is doubtful that many of the early settlers 
in this country knew this story. "Lynch-law" did not become 
prevalent in Ireland. 

There is what is known as the "pirate story" of 
the origin of the name lynch-law. One named Lynch was sent 
from England to America about 1687 under a commission to 
suppress the growing evil of piracy. It is supposed that, 
due to the difficulty of complying v/ith the usual forms of 
law, this Judge Lynch "wgs empowered to proceed summarily 
against pirates", thus giving rise to the term lynch's law,''' 
Cutler considers this story - in so far as it accounts for 
the term lynch-law - as "equally fanciful and fictitious but 
less romantic" than the Galway story. He concludes as follows: 
"iffhatever the facts may be about the methods employed by this 
man Lynch to suppress piracy, there is no evidence to show 
that they were ever known as Lynch* s law, or had any connection 
whatever v/ith lynch-law." (page 16) At least there was a 

'6, Op, cit, p. 15. 

7. London Gazett e. No, 2319, '-February^ 1687; The American Cyclo- 
pedia (1875 edition), "Lynch Law ; A. G, Bradley, "The 
Origin in Lynch Law", Chambers Journal, May, 1915; Cutler, 
op, cit. p. 16. 



21 



man named Lynch who practiced "lynch-law" v/hether it was so 
called or not. The story represents the early practice rather 
than name of the practice, 

A Tory named Major Beard was hanged on Lynch Creek 
in Franklin Cotmty, North Carolina, in 1778, The name lynch- 
law has been ascribed to this incident. A false alarm to the 
effect that Tories were near is said to have caused the hang- 
ing to take place prematurely, before an intended court-martial. 
Afterward realizing the illegality of the hanging, it is re- 
lated that: 

The body was then taken down, the court reorganized, 
he v/as tried, condemned and re-hung by the neck 
until he was dead. The tree on which he was hung 
stood not far from Rocky Ford, on Lynch 's Creek; and 
it became a saying in Franklin, v/hen a person committ- 
ed an offence of magnitude, that 'he ought to be taken 
to Lynch Creek'; and so the v/ord ''Lynch law' became 
a fixture in the English Language, ^ 

There is also a Lynch Creek in South Carolina, 
Albert Matthews has found reason to believe that possibly it 
was here that lynch-law derived its name, Boston newspapers 
of 1768, dated Charlestown, South Carolina, indicate the ex- 
istence of "Regulators" at the time, and that they held meet- 
ings on Lynch Creek, One of their methods of punishment was 
by whipping. It is true that for many years this was called, 
along with other more severe forms of punishment, simply 
"lynching". 

In Niles' Register we find still another anecdote 
under the caption, "Origin of Lynch' s law",^^ It is rather 

8. John H. 7i/heeler, Reminiscences and Memories of North 
• Carolina , (1384) p. 172, 

9, The Nation , Dec. 4, 1902, 75:439ff, 
10, Vol. 48, August 8, 1835, p. 402. 



22 



Indefinite and in other ways apparently fictitious, but it 
throws light on the practice under considerationo The follow- 
ing occurrence, according to the writer, tooljC place "in vVash- 
ington County, Pennsylvanis, many years ago": A certain vai- 
popular man had been ordered to quit the coiraminity within 
twenty-four hours, V^hen he failed to comply, a small group 
of his neighbors went to his home, tried him "in due form, 
choosing one of their number, a farmer named Lynch, to be 
judge," This "judge" pronounced a sentence of three hiindred 
lashes "well laid on" and an extension of his time for twenty- 
four hours and then, if he should still be in the community, 
he was again to receive three hundred lashes, 

, The first part of the sentence was inflicted on 
the spot with such good intent as to render its 
repetition iinnecessary. The culprit m.ade off 
as fast as his lacerated limbs would permit him. 

Cutler points out that this was "merely an instance 
of recourse to summary procedure against an lonpopular indi- 
vidual", and tliat it may or may not have been known at that 
time as punishment by Lynches law. Evidence that it was known 
by this name is lacking. That the practice described was 
known in Penhsylvanis "many years ago" before 1835, is not to 
be doubtedo Let us turn now to a somewhat detailed considera- 
tion of what is known as the "Virginia story" of the origin 
of the term "Lynch-law", 

Tories and Desperadoes in Virginia 

The most generally accepted account of the origin 
of the term lynch-lav/ - an account for many years \inquestioned 



23 



on either side of the Atlantic - is that v/hich c enters about 
one Charles Lynch of Bedford County Virginia, -^-^ The story 
has reference to the kind of law administered by this Charles 
Lynch dtiring the latter part of the Revolutionary War, From 
the beginning there has been a considerable opposition to 
the movement for independence, and this was especially true 
in the mountainous sections of Virginia, In Bedford County 
where Lynch lived there v/as quite a number of Tories, At 
the time, also, this section of Virginia sheltered many 
desperadoes. Both Tories and Desperadoes harassed the Con- 
tinentals and plundered property v;ith impunity. Horse- 
stealing in particular was a lucrative practice due to the 
high prices paid by both armies for them. At the time, more- 
over, the inefficiency of the judiciary m.ade punishment al- 
most out of the question. The cottnty courts were merely 
examining coxirts in all felony cases, and the final coxirt for 
all cases sat at 7/illiamsburg,' more than one hundred mJ.les 
avmy. To take prisoners there was practically im.possible. 
Frequently while on the way with prisoners, officers v/ould 
be attacked by outlaws or captured by British troops. 

It was under these clrcvmiBtances that Charles Lynch 

11. Cutler, op. cit. (pp. 23ff J gives a full accoxint of thfs 

story, v/hich he takes from the following soTxrces: Julia 
Mayo Cabelle, Sketches and Recollections of Lynchburg , 
(1858), pp. 9-23, concerning the Lynch family of Virginia; 
Thos. V/. Page's article in the "Atlantic L'onthly", Dec, 
1901, (88:731ff), and an article in the Green Bag, March 
1900, (12:150ff) by H. C. Peatherston with information 
pertaining especially to Charles Lynch, 



r - 



. 1.1 



^±-^z. 



24 



conferred v/ith his neighbors as to v/hat might be done. The 
situation was beccinlng vmbearable. After some deliberation 
they decided to take matters into their own hands, to punish 
lawlessness of every kind and thereby to restore peace and 
security to the conmiunity. An organization with Mr, Lynch 
at the head was formed. Suspected persons were brought to 
his house where they were tried by an orderly court composed 
of Lynch as presiding justice, and his three neighbors, 
William Preston, Robert Adams, Jr., and James Calloway act- 
ing as associate justices. 

The procedure of this court is interesting v/hen 
noted in the light of more modern "lynching". It illustrates 
the "devolution" of the practice through the years that have 
passed. The accused was brought face to face v/ith his ac- 
cusers. He was permitted to hear the testimony against him, 
and to defend himself by calling witnesses in his behalf. 
If acquitted, as v/as often the case, he was allowed to go, 
not infrequently with apologies and reparation. If convicted, 
he was sentenced to receive thirty-nine lashes on the bare 
back; and, if found to be a Tory, he must either shout "Liberty 
Forever"! or else hang^ by the thumbs until he did so. The 
execution of the sentence always took place immediately upon 
conviction. Due possibly to Lynch' s u:uaker proclivities, or 
to his "native sense of humanity", the death penalty was 
never paid under the shadov/ of the famous old '.Valnut tree on 
Lynch 's lawn. Page cites evidence to show that "both custom 
and sentiment were violently opposed to visiting capital 



, ^^ ,.^. f-l-,. 



A.-r 



.ii'.' 



25 



punishnent upon the detected Tory conspirators," 

There is said to have been only tliree instances of 
capital punishment in Bedford County hetv/een the time of its 
organization and the Revolution, The first of these was a 
Negro slave, Hamilton, convicted of "Administering Poysonous 
Medicines to Ann Payne", his master *s v/ife. His value being 
determined by the court and paid to Payne, Hamilton was "hang- 
ed by the Neck till dead", after v/hich he was cut into quarters 
"and his quarters hung up at the Cross Roads. "-^^ 

Lynch v/as made a Colonel and v/as placed in command 
of a regiment of militia. Encouraged by the news of the 
invasion of Virginia by Cornwallis in 1780, the Bedford Tories 
formed a conspiracy to sieze the stores which Lynch had col- 
lected. News of the conspiracy, throvigh one of the Tories 
themselves, according to tradition, reached Lynch and he im- 
mediately had a number of them arrested. They were considered 
by Lynch as being guilty of treason against the Revolutionary 
government. It was true, of course, that the General Coiirt 
alone had jurisdiction in cases of treason, but Lynch v/as up 
against a practical difficulty. He v/as about to set out for 
the front; he could not afford to take the Tories alon^ on a 
rapid march, and felt it unsafe to turn them loose after 

> 

12, In proof of the contention that at this time race prejudice 
did not operate against the Negro in the matter of justice 
before the courts. Page states that during the sam.e year 
(1756), at the same place, "a negro v/as tried for miorder, 
another for poisoning, and a third for arson, and all were 
cleared." Cf, Cutler, op.cit. p. 31, 



;x 



26 



administering the usual thirty-nine lashes and extracting the 
xin^villing cry of "Liberty"] He therefore sentenced the whole 
group, including a former fellov/ justice on the county bench, 
to terms of imprisonment ranging from one to five years. 

After the close of the War there v/ere threats of 
prosecution on the part of some of those who had suffered this 
illegal sentence, whereupon Lynch brought the whole matter be- 
fore the Virginia Legislature in 1782, After much debate a 
law was passed, the substance of which is as follows: Although 
the measures taken by Lynch and his friends Preston, Adams and 
Galloway, "and other faithful citizens", may not have been 
strictly warranted by law, they had, by timely and effective 
measures, suppressed a conspiracy formed by "divers evil-dis- 
posed persons in the year one thousand seven hundred and 
eighty.., (who) did actually attempt to levy v/ar against the 
commonwealth." Their measures v/ere, therefore "justifiable 
from the imminence of the danger". It was enacted that these 
gentlemen "and all other persons v/hatsoever concerned in 
suppressing the conspiracy" be exhonerated,''-^ Page says that 
the lengthy debate in the Virginia Legislatvire about this 
bill "aroused the interest of the whole coimtry" and that "the 
proceedings in Bedford v/hich the legislatvire thus pronounced 
to be illegal, but justifiable, were imitated in other parts 
of the State, and came to be known by the name of Lyn^h^s law." 
NTimerous citations from as m.any books and articles v/ritten 

13» Quoted by Cutler, from Henlng's Statutes at Large , Vol, XI," 
pp. 134-135, 



5* i ' 



'-t:frf,(fr 



3V 






■•h or 



5i 



27 

within the next few years indicate this as the true source 

14 
of the expression "lynch-law". 

There is considerable evidence to show that the 
term lynch-lav/ was not in use, certainly not to any general 
extent, before this time. This, together with the fact that 
soon after the legislative enactment the term was in general 
use, largely discredits the Carolina stories given above. It 
is true, for example, that "regulating" was known in South 
Carolina in 1768, and doubtless meetings were held on Lynch 
Creek as per the nev/spaper announcement referred to above. 
But "regulating" began earlier than 1768 and far away from 
Lynch Creek in South Carolina, At least two years earlier 
the practice was in vogue in Granville, Orange, and Anson 
counties. North Carolina, In a general meeting held on 
April 4, 1768 the appelation of "mob" v/hich seems to have been 
adopted by themselves, was dropped by those who had been tak- 
ing part in the proceedings and the name of "Regulators" was 
formally adopted, 15 Moreover, v/hen the practice of "regulat- 
ing v;as introduced into South Carolina, apparently in the 
summer of 1767, it was not in the region of Lynch Creek, '-^-liere 
is little reason to suppose, therefore, that when regulating 
reached this region its name v/ould have been changed from 
"regulating" to "lynch-law". ^^ 

14. See the nxmerous and lengthy footnotes given by Cutler, 
op, cit, pp, 30-37, 

15. Cf. Cutler, p. 20; Alexander Gregg, History of the Old 
Cherav/s, (1867) p. 129; F. X, Maxin, 1II story o f North ' 
Carolina, (1812) Vol. II, pp. 228, 233; Hugh V/illiamson, 
History of North Carolina, (1812), Vol. II, pp. 128, 131, 

16. J, B. 0»Neal, The Annals of Newberry , (1859), pp, 78-79. 



an? 



owct 



^ r 



, . il. 



28 



Thirty-three years before he wrote the story cited 
above to show how "lynch-law" became a word of the English 
language by its use in Franklin County, North Carolina, 
Wheeler had written in his History of North Carolina an account 
of the hanging of "Captain Beard about 1778". While by the 
two accounts, as well as other facts, it is evident that the 
"Captain Beard" referred to is the same in both accounts, in 
the first v/ritten there is no reference v/hatevery to the term 
lynch-law. It would seem that this term had come into use 
before his second writing, at which time it was added to the 
account. It is very plausible that, after the Beard incident, 
the people of Franklin County, North Carolina, - at least some 
of them - used the expression *he ought to be taken to Lynch 
Creek', This, however, would not mean that "lynch-law" became 
"a fixture in the English language", 

Etymologically the concept involved has been traced 

much further back of any of the dates considered. To quote 

from Cutler: 

On its etymological side the word lynch has been 
traced to an old /Jiglo-Saxon verb »linch», mean- 
ing to beat severely with a pliable instrvunent, 
to chastise or to maltreat, which is said to have 
survived In this cognate meaning in America, as 
have many other v^fords and expressions long obsolete 
in Great Britain, 

While he maintains that there is no authority for this deri- 
vation, it v/ould seem that his statement to the effect that 
all evidence that "such an Anglo-Saxon verb ever existed" is 
wanting, is a bit extreme. ^"^ C. A. Brlsted, in an Essay on 

17, His supposition is based upon the fact that he failed to 
find the verb 'linch» or »linge» in either Bosv/orthls 
Dictionary of the Anglo-Saxon Language, or Stratmann's, 
Middle-English Dictionary, 



1 I 



yX 



29 



the English Language in America, says that 'Llnch' in 
"several of the northern- county dialects means to beat or 
maltreat. Lynch Law, then, would he simply equivalent to 
club-law. ""^^ He points out that the change of a letter may 
easily be accounted for by the fact that the name Lynch "is 
as common in some parts of America as In Ireland", Cutler 
quotes, to the disfavor of Bristed, the most significant 
statement made by him in this connection. After Bristed had 
ingeniously traced lynch-law back to the verb 'llnch'. Cutler 
points out, he then proceeded to remark that "if there ever 
was a phrase deemed particularly Trans-atlantic In origin, 
it Is that of 'Lynch Law' for siimmary and informal justice, "•'■^ 
It would seem that Bristed, being a linguist, was speaking of 
one thing while Cutler was concerned with another - and that 
both were right, except In so far as the latter denied that 
such a verb ever existed. From English versions of our sub- 
ject, it would seem beyond doubt that 'llnch* is an old term, 
and that it carries the connotation nov/ Inherent in it. Thus 
in "Chambers' Journal" quoted above, after a review of the 
"Galway story", the writer continues: 

7/e may suspect, I think with reason, the various 
American stories, which profess to derive the v/ord 
from some Judge Lynch, if we remember that there is 
a good English provincialism, 'to lynch', 'linse', 
or 'llnch', meaning 'to beat', and that the phrase 
'club-law' means much the same as 'lynch-law', 'To 
lynch' would not be the first English provincialism 
to s\irvlve amongst our American cousins with an 
extended meaning. 



18, Cambridge Essays, (1855), p. 60. 

19, Quoted by Cutler, Note, No, 2, p. 17, 



o r 



;J 



30 



There la, however, no direct evidence that the 
term lynch-law was used anywhere In the world before 1782, 
Copious private correspondence as well as many historical 
works give abtmdant evidence for the account nov; most 
generally accepted; that lynch-law came from Virginia and 

is directly connected with the actions of Charles Lynch and 

20 
his neighbors. 

It is quite clear that within the next thirty or 
forty years lynching - signifying any sort of summary punish- 
ment - was knov/n by that name over wide areas of the cotmtry. 
There are possibly two reasons for this quick spread of the 
term, both of which have already been clearly indicated. In 
the first place It seems well within the range of plausibility 
to grant that the Anglo-Saxon verb 'to linch* was a part of 
the mental equipment of early settlers in this country. There 
seem.s to be no reason why Brlsted should have traced the 
word fvirther back had its origin been American, Furthermore 
to doubt the North Carolina saying "he ought to be taken 
to Lynch Creek" is unv/arranted. It is true also that the 
"regulators" held meetings on Lynch Creek in South Carolina, 
Moreover, it is possible that many of the Irish in America 
knew the story of Galway, 'Alien, therefore, the term lynch- 
lav/ and lynching were used in Virginia after the legislative 
enactment v/hich was widely discussed, it Is very easy to 

20, Due apparently to a statement in Haydon's Dictionary of 
Dates (1860) to the effect that Lynch-lav/ derived its 
name after John Lynch who summarily punished fugitive 
slaves and criminals in the dismal swamp of N. C, seems 
to have become the accepted story in France. Cf . Revue 
de Devix Mondes , May, 1891, 



J. 



Ob; 



Jbi 



31 



understand how the word should have taken hold in these other 
sections. Wlnen we remember hov; the culture areas gradually 
extended out from each of the Atlantic states on tov/ard the 
West, It is not difficult to understand why by 1830 lynching 3 
were so called from every part of the country then inhabited 
by English, The other apparent reason for the rapid spread 
of the term under consideration is that the practice of which 
it was the name, was wide- spread. The early history of this 
practice which was later named lynch- law deserves a fuller 
treatment, to which we nov/ turn oijir attention. 

Early American Lynch- Law ; 

The origin of the term "lynch- law" does not mark 
the origin of the practice which it indicates. The latter 
might be traced back to the origin of courts, for since that 
time, in every country so far as v/e Icnow, there has been some 
sort of extra-legal punishment analogous to the American 
practice. The Vehmic courts of Germany in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries grev/ out of a necessity not wholly unlike 
that which brought the practice to America, "Cowper justice" 
and"Jedburg justice" originated on the early Scotch border 
where desperadoes are said to have been hanged without a trial. 
Cutler quotes from and Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish 
language that "in mockery of justice, assizes were held upon 
them after that they had suffered", (p. 8) There is an 
English proverb which runs as follows: "First hang and drav/, 
then hear the cause by Lidford law," In a dictionary of the 



Ttr^r 



32 



seventeenth century, LydTord law Is defined as "a certain 

Law whereby they first hang a Man and afterwards indite 

21 

him". Thus the Franklin County North Carolinians v/ho hang- 
ed Beard and tried him afterwards follov/ed an old precedent. 
All these expressions are so many different names 
that characterize the methods employed in various parts of 
other covmtries for executing popular justice. Like the 
Vehmlc tribunals in Germany, Lydford law and Halifax law in 
England, and Cowper Justice and Jedburg Justice in Scotland 
gradually gave way along with the more effective execution 
of established laws by the officials, ^^ While Cutler is 
doubtless correct in maintaining that lynch-lav/ as we know 
it cannot be traced back to these medieval practices, they 
were not originally as different in nature from our lynch- 
law as he suggests. He points out that "These practices 
differ from lynch-law in not dispensing v/lth all regular pro- 
ceedings", and that "the death penalty was not at first in- 
flicted under lynch-law". As for dispensing with regular 
proceedings, this was a later development; for all early 
references to sTxmmary punishment Indicate that the common 
practice was to hold a regular trial "in due form". True, 
lynching was once synonymous with whipping, but the Con- 
ditions out of which it came were not unlike those which 
occasioned Lydford law and Jedburg justice; and siimmary hang- 
ings, although not so called before 1782, had long been the 
practice in this country. To these practices immediately the 

^1, Qp-oted from The Nev/ World of A'or dSg or A Genera l English 

Dictionary . (1678, 4th. editlbnr* by Edward Phillips: 
22. Cutler, op. cit. p. 5, 6, 



riv 



, :« 



33 

term lynch-law was applied. The dictionary definitions of 

lynch-law during the first half of the nineteenth century 

indicate that it meant merely punishing without trial. In 

the latter half of the century hov/ever the term was taking 

on a more specific meaning, as is illustrated by the follo\v- 

ing definitions: 

To punish without the forms of law; specifically 
to hang by mob-law. (1885), (Cutler, p, 10), 

Lynch: To inflict punishment upon, especially 
death,, without the forms of law, as when a mob 
captures and hangs a suspected person, (1893), 
Cutler, p. 11), 

With the passing of time the operation of lynch-law became 

more severe, until by the end or soon after the Civil War it 

was practically synonymous with capital punishment by a mob.^*^ 

Since the Reconstruction period, therefore, the specific 

meaning of "lynching" has necessitated the use of the specific 

terms "flogging", "tarring and feathering", etc. for minor 

punishments by mobs. Mob-violence is now the more generall;!;ed 

term covering both categories, as well as such phenomena as 

strikes and race riots. 

In the earliest recorded act of mob-violence in 

the country Negroes played only a minor part. Two men, Bov/em 

and Morrill, killed ty/o Indians in 1753, v/ho v/ere accused of 

carrying off two Negroes the year before. The night before 

these men were to be tried for murder, - on March 20, 1754 - 

23, The term ''mob" which we shall discuss more at lenght in 
Chapter VIII^^ is very old. It is traced back to aljout 
1680, and is of latin origin. Its connotation is "mobile", 
"emotional", "rabble". Encyclopedia Brittanlca, 11th, ed. 
"Lynch Law", Vol, XVII, p. 169o 



34 

a mob broke open the jail and set them free, A reward 
offered by Governor Wentworth, as well as the great ex- 
citement aroused in the cormminity by the "outrage" failed 
to affect an apprehension and trial of the murderers, 

••In a short time they went openly about their 
business, vd.thout fear of molestation, and the 
men engaged in brealdng the jail at Portsmouth, . 
though well known, were never called to account, 
but, on the contrary, were considered as having 
performed a most meritorious act. In fact, some 
of the most substantial men in the country were 
engaged in the rescue., and the Government could 
not have made an arrest had they made the attempt, ^^ 

About the middle of December, 1763, there occurred 
what is claimed by some to have been the first instance of 
lynck-la^ff in this country. The Scotch-Irish who had settled 
around Paxtang, now Harrlsbxirg, Pennsylvania, had little 
patience with the Quaker government which treated with con- 
tempt their appeals for help in dealing with the Indians, 
The settlers of Lancaster and Cumberland counties, there- 
fore, formed themselves into several companies of Rangers for 
the purpose of patrolling the borders and giving protection 
to their families. Under the leadersMp of one Matthew Smith, 
the Rangers went out to an Indian settlement. One on the 
Rangers upon seeing an Indian whom he is said to have recog- 
nized as the murderer of his Mother, shot him down. Then the 
"Furious mob rushed into the cabins, and killed all the Indians 
whom they fovmd there, some six in number," 

"fe4. Quoted by Cutler from New Hampshire Provincial Papers , VI, 

262-266 in possession of Albert Matthews of Boston, 
25, Cutler, op, cit, p, 42, 



35 



Fourteen of the Indians escaped and fled to Lan- 
caster where they were lodged in jail for protection. Word 
was received by the men at Paxtang that an Indian who had 
nnirdered relatives of their number was among those in jail. 
Under the leadership of Lazarus Stewart about fifty of the 
Rangers on December 27, marched to Lancaster, broke open the 
the jail, and "v/ith the fury of a mob, massacred every Indian 

contained therein, man, v/oman, and child". There are other 

27 

instances of such summary dealings v/ith the Indians, but it 

seems that these were after all rather isolated incidents and 
that the practice of "sximmary justice" had a different origin. 

There is no sharp break in the counter-atrocities 
agf^inst Indians from the time of the arrival of the Europeans 
until after law courts had long been established. It is quite 
certain that before the earliest cases on record, which we 
have recited, there v/as a form of sujnmary justice called 
"regulating". This practice was found, not only out on the 
boarders, but also in the older and better organized commun- 
ities. The first record of this type of lynch-law is to be 
found in the December 18, 1752 copy of the New York Gazette, 
which intimates that the practice was not old enough to be 
well known at that time, "Regulars" are mentioned as giving 
most severe v/hippings to men who were kno'jTn to beat their 
wives. That these men were not following out the wishes of 
the community in general is indicated by the fact that they 

E6. Cf. C. A. Hanna: The Scotch-Irish , (1502) p. 60, 

27, Cf. W. H. Smith: The St Clair Papers , (1882) II, 351, 374, 

376, 396-97; Culler, op. cit. p. 45. 



36 



dressed themselves in women's clothes and painted their 

faces, ^® 

In the New Jersey Archives (1879) is found a copy 

of a letter dated December 7, 1753, written by one "Prudence 

Goodwife", After telling how her husband had beaten her, she 

says in part: 

My case being nois'd abroad, induced several generous 
young men to discipline him. These yoiing Persons do 
stile, or are stiled Regulators: and so they are 
with Propriety: for they have regulated my dear Hus- 
band, and the rest of the bad Ones hereabouts, that 
they are afraid of using such Barbarity, 

Mention is then made of certain men, presumably wife-beaters, 

who had been instrumental in, or had attempted to, "have those 

dear Regulators indicted", indicating that their actions were 

considered as lawlessness. 

Regulating was early practiced in North Carolina, ^^ 

The purpose was at first that of "regulating public grievances 

and abuses of power", and especially to resist extortionate 

exactions of government officials. Their chief method of 

pvmishing was by whipping. Not unlike later developments of 

"summary justice" however the "regulating spirit" spread, so 

that four or five years after the first recorded instances 

of "regulating" we find lawlessness in the extreme. In 

September, 1770, an attack was made upon superior court in 

session at Hillsboro, by about 150 Regulators. Several men 

who had incvirred their enmity received a severe whipping, and 



28, Cutler, op. cit, p, 46, 

29. C"f. H. Williamson: History of North Carolina (1812) II, 

S6^-3; 270-1. 
J. H. V^-heeler: History of North Carolina , (1851) ii, 306, 



es 



«•/■ r* 



37 



considerable property v/as destroyed. The leaders were later 
arrested. This broiight on more trouble between the law and 
the lawless, so that in 1771 Governor Tyson had to call out 
the militia. After a battle in which each side lost several 
men the Regulators were defeated and their organization broken 
up. At least for the time being, and forever so far as the 
"Regulators" were concerned, the law had won!» 



38 



CHAPTER III 

BORDER LYNCHING AND ANTI-SLAVERY AGITATION 

The frontier variety of lynching may he said to 
have originated in South Carolina,^ Before 1769 there were 
no courts of criminal and civil jurisdiction except "that 
which v/as holden in Charles- tov/n." As early as 1752 a need 
for better court procedure v/as felt,^ Failure to comprehend 
the real nature of "border conditions, and thereby ignoring 
this need, resulted in a decided opposition betv/een the 
frontiersmen and the Government, According to private corre- 
spondence, and to the South Carolina Gazette"^ "Regulation" 
in the case of horse theives and robbers seems to have become 
a regular and necessary practice by the year 1767 in the 
section around Pine Tree Hill,^ The outlaws are referred to 
as "The gang of Villains from. Virginia and North Carolina" who 

1, Cf. Alexander Gregg: History of the Old Chenaws (18671 

cinapter Vix, 

2. At this time an appeal of this nature was m.ade to the 
General Assembly, Loc. cit, 

3. May 26 and July 17, 1767. 

4, Now Camden, 



39 



Persisted in horse-stealing, robbery and other outrages 

"notwithstanding the late public examples made of several 

of them." 

The at present range in the Porks between Broad, 
Saludy, and Savannah Rivers. Two of the gang v/ere 
hanged last week at Savannah, Viz., Lundy Hart and 
Obadiah Greenage, Two others, James Ferguson and 
Jessie Hamberson, were killed v/hen these v;ere 
taken. 5 

That this was no isolated occasion is indicated by an address 

of the Governor to both Houses of the Assembly on November 

5, 1767. Speaking of the "unhappy situation in the Back 

Parts of the Country" he said: 

The means to suppress those licentious spirits 
that have so lately appeared in the distant parts 
of the Province, and, assuming the name of Regu- 
lators, have, in defiance of Government, and to 
the subversion of good order, legally tried, con- 
demned, and punished many persons, require an 
attentive deliberation. 6 

During the following year "ne?/ irregularities" on 

the part of the Regulators took place. "Seeming to despair 

of rooting out those desperate villains", they proceeded 

"to punish such offenders as they can catch", including "an 

infamous woman" who received corporal punishment.''' In the 

year 1769 seven new courts were established in the Interior, 

v/lth suitable jails and courthouses. "This marked the end of 

the Regulation movement in South Carolina. The condition of 

ftffairs v/hich had called it into existence had ceased to 

prevail and the practice of "regulating" was, therefore. 



5. Gregg, op. clt. p, 154. 

6. Gregg, op, clt. p. 136. 

7. Gregg, op. clt. p. 138. 



40 



discontinued* 8 

The practice of tarring and feathering, was 
"particularly characteristic" from around 1775 when the 
"Sons of Liberty" were active around Boston in stirring up 
resistance to the British Government, This method of 
punishment had been practiced several years before and no 
doubt was knov/n by the earlier immigrants before they came 
to America. H The more modern practice of stripping the 
clothes from a Negro suspect who is gazed at by women un- 
ashamed is not new. As an example of this and the fact that 
"a mob is a mob" irrespective of time or place we quote from 
the Boston Chronicle for October 26-30, 1769: 

Last Saturday evening a person suspected to be an in- 
former, was stripped naked , put in a Cart, where he 
was first tarred, then feathered, and in this condi- 
tion, carried through the principal streets of the 
tov/n, follov/ed by a great concouj?se of people. 

During the same year there were instances in which svimmary 
pvuaishment was resorted to in other cases than those of a 
political natTire,-^^ Before the outbreak of the Revolutionary 
Weir tarring and feathering was common throughout the Colonies^^^ 
Although the "Regulators" on the South Carolina borders had 
disbanded, in the year 1775 there was a "Secret Committee" in 
Charleston. Eairing that year they tarred and feathered un- 
popular men, of whom at least two were stripped of their 

8. Cutler, op, cit, p. 37; Gregg, op. cit. p. 151-2. 

9. Cutler, op. cit. note 1, p. 59, 

10. Cf. Boston Evening Post, Sept, 12, 1768 (1720, p. 3); Sept, 
19, 1768 (No. 1721, p. 3) 

11. Cf. Hakluyt's Voyages, Vol. II, p. 21; Cutler; p. 61. 

12. Cutler, pp. 67-69, 

13. Cutler, pp. 68-69, 



41 



clothes and carted throtigh the streets, ■'•^ During the next 
year- they burned a white man. "John Roberts, a dissenting 
minister, was seized on suspicion of being an enemy to the 
rights of America, when he was tarred and feathered; after 
which the populace, whose fury could not be appeased, erected 
a gibbet on v/liich they hanged him, and afterwards made a bon- 
fire, in which Roberts, together with the gibbet, was con- 
sumed to ashes. "-^^ 

Stumnary punishment - more than once approved by 
the Legislature - seems to have been very prevalent in 
Virginia from about 1779 to 1792.^^ T.^'hile evidence covering 
the period from then up to 1830 is mostly limited to notes 
made by travelers, there is little reason to believe that it 
suddenly ceased or even diminished after 1792, E. W, Gould 
gives good reasons for mob violence in the Mississippi Valley 
doiring this time. Pointing out that "no country known to 
civilization has been the theater and battlefield of more 
tragic events and bloodc\irdling incidents than has been this 
beautiful Valley of the Mississippi", he proceeds: 

Succeeding the treachery and massacres from the In- 
dians and the bloody battles that so often followed, 
encoviraged by the French and English authorities, 
came The OUTLAW, THE PIRATE, THE ESCAPED COIWICT, and 
the DESPERATE HIGffiVAYi^AN from all parts of the world. 

So vital a part of the background for later lawless- 
ness in this section, it seems justifiable to dwell at length on 

14. John Drayton: kemoirs of the American Revolution (182li, 
I, 273-274. Frank Moore: Diary of the Revolution (1875) 
pp. 90-91, Edward McCrady: South Carolina in the Revolu- 
tion (1175-1780) (1901), p. 2T. 

15. Frank Moore: Diary of the Revolution (1875) p. 359. 

16. Cutler pp. 71-76. 



cJl 



bl 






42 



this situation which inevitably led to extra-legal punish- 
ment. The case quoted below is only one of several, or 
possibly many, that could be quoted from the literature of 
the period between 1800 and 1830, We may well suppose that 
in the secrets of eternity are many others. 

The Crowds Nest 

In the year 1809 'Island number 94', or Stack 
Island, or, as it is sometimes called, 'Crov/»s Nest', 170 
miles above Natchez, was notorious for many years as a 
den for the rendezvous of horse thieves, counterfeiters, 
robbers and murderers. It v/as a small island in the middle 
of «Nine Mile Reach*. Prom thence they would sally forth, 
stop passing boats, murder the crew, or, if this seemed 
impracticable, would buy their horses, flotir, whiskey, 
etc., and pay for them. 

Their villanies became notorious, and several years 
pursuit by the civil officers of the lav/ failed to pro- 
duce any result in the way of punishment or eradication. 
But they were at length made to disappear by the appli- 
cation of lynch law, from several keel boat crews. The 
full history of this affair has never been ixnfolded, and 
perhaps never will be. But for terrible retribution and 
complete annihilation outside of any authorized decrees, 
it never had its equal in any administration of lynch 
law, the recitals of which cast so many shadov/s on the 
West and South, 



• fov;^.f>„ 



43 



The autuirin of 1809 had been marked by many 
atrocities on the part of the bandits of the "Crov/'s 
Nest". Several boats and their entire crews had dis- 
appeared at that point, and no traces of them could be 
found afterwards. The country around, and up and down 
the river, had been victimized and robbed in almost 
every conceivable form by depredators, whose movements 
could be traced satisfactorily toward the Crow»s nest. 
At one time it occurred that several keel boats were 
concentrated at the head of Nine Mile Reach, within 
speaking distance of each other, being detained by 
heavy contrary winds. 

The crews of these boats were well informed as 
to the villanies of those who harbored on the little 
island a few miles belov/ them. Many of them had friends 
and comrades on the boats that had been among missing 
oneso By what means it was brought about, or at whose 
suggestion or influence, it was never known. But one 
dark night, a few hours before daylight, eighty or 
ninety men from these wind-bound crafts, well armed, 
descended in their small boats to the Crow's Nest and 
surprised its occupants, whom they secured after a short 
encounter, in which two of the boatmen were wounded and 
several of the robbers killed. Nineteen men, a boy 
fifteen, and two women, were thus captured. Shortly 
after sunrise, the boy, on accovmt of his extreme youth, 
and the two women, were allowed to depart, V/hat was the 
punishment meted out to the men, whether shot or hanged. 



. I 



44 



wa3 never ascertained with any degree of certainty. 

None but the boy, the boatmen and the tv/o women, 
however, ever left the island alive, and by tv/elve 
o'clock noon, the crews were back to their boats, and, 
the wind having calmed the night before, they shoved 
out, and by svmset were far down the river and away 
from the scene of the indisputably just, althotigh un- 
lawful retribution. Two years afterward came the 
terrible earthquake, which, with the floods of 1811 
and »13, destroyed every vestige of the Crow's Nest, 
leaving nothing of it to be seen but a low sand-bar, 
and with it passed away from public sight and mind 

all signs of the bandits, their crimes, and the awful 

17 
doom that av/aited them. 

We know that the name and the practice of lynch- 

law were known and experienced as far Y/est as Indiana by 

18 
181S, Some time prior to that date an English traveler 

commented on the rapid development of society "in our new 

country" and pointed out that the Americans were "anxiously 

studious of mildness" In forming their laws} that only 

murder "of the first degree" called for the death penalty 

in any western state, and according to his belief the same 

was true of all States in the nation. Due to the fact that 

they had from the first been accustomed to rely on their 

own powers, he continued, " they siirrender with reluctance , 

17. E. W. Gould, Fifty Years on the y.lsslssippi , pp. 58-59, 
Nixon- Jones Ptg. Co., St. Louis, 1889, 

18, V/. Paiix, Memorable Days in America, London (1823) p. 304-5, 



..1 



45 



and only by halves, their right of defense against every 
aggression even to the laws which they themselves have 
constituted, " The v/riter pointed out that "savage and 
ferocious violence" was too common to be abhorred in the 
frontier states, but that such events v/ould hardly be 
tolerated in a more settled state like Kentucky, to which 
he proudly referred with the prediction that soon mob 
violence v/ould be only a matter of history in Illinois and 
Indiana, 

One of the most interesting points to be gained 
from Blaine's notes is that already in cases of prosecution 
of those involved in extra-legal punishment, juries "knov/lng 
the bad characters of the prosecutors" would give but trifling 

damages, which divided among so many, amounted to next to 

?1 
nothing for each individual. Concerning his conversation 

with some of the chief ones among the Regulators the 

narrator states: 

They very sensibly remarked that v/hen the country 
became more thickly settled, there would no longer 
be any necessity for any such proceedings, and that 
they should all be delighted at being able to obtain 
justice in a more formal manner. ^^ 

In general it may be said that the practices of 

"summary justice" which the English seem to have brought 

with them to America, practiced in Colonial and Revolutionary 

19, Indem, pp. 96-98, 

20, Somev/here In this section and before 1822, the practice of 
cutting off the ears of the culprit had arisen, 

21, Loc, cit. Although lawlessness in the form of extra-legal 
punishment was considered a necessity these men v/ere con- 
sistent in that they fined one another. This has not al- 
ways been the case since that day, 

22, An Excursion through the U. 3. and Canada, 1822-23. 
London 1824, pp, 233,6, 



46 



times, were then carried westward during the half century 
after the Revolution where they persisted by necessity and 
possibly grev; somewhat harsh for the same reason, ^"^ At 
least in some of the cases an orderly trial was held and no 
mob phenomena whatever were exhibited. According to Cutler's 
discussion of the subject it would appear, indeed, that there 
was generally more order in the extra-legal punishment on the 
border than in Nev/ England, and later in the other seaboard 
Provinces, v/here the necessity for such practices was certain- 
ly less tirgent, ' 

The subsequent history of lynch- lav/ in the West is 
a story of the working out of the principle early set forth 
by the Virginia Legislatxire when it declared that, under 
peculiar circumstances such as are often met when established 
law is weak, measures not strictly warranted by law may be 
justifiable from the immanence of the danger involved. We 
shall review more reasons ,jtill why this principle was the 
natviral and often the necessary salvation of the pioneers 
exposed to the vicissitudes of frontier life. First, hov/ever, 
we turn attention to a different and very important aspect 
of the history of lynch-lav/ in America, 

Anti-Slavery Agitation 

In the East, as we have noted, svramary practices, 
although not confined within the limits of political troubles, 

^^0 If a thief refused to quit the coirmunity after a v;hipping 

he was whipped again and his ears cut off, Blaine, pp. 233-6, 
24, Cutler, op, cit. Chapter III, 



j>S 



.. r_- 



ki'ii 



47 



seem largely to have grown out of then. After the Revo- 
lution there was little excuse for, and little evidence of, 
svunmary punishment in this section. In the more southern 
states, however, the frontier gave away slowly. The popu- 
lation spread out faster than it increased, so that well- 
organized and thickly populated communities - unattractive 
to depredators - v/ere more slov/ to develop. Almost before 
"regulation" had ceased and while lynching was a part of the 
culttire-complex in these regions, anti-slavery agitation 
began. Thus while lynch-lav; was moving westward, and before 
it had been forgotten on the seaboard, there arose an occasion 
for its revival. This revival was characterized by less 
reasoning and more emotionality - and, therefore, more heed- 
less and severe pixnishments. In September 1831, in North 

Carolina, "three ring leaders of the late diabolical con- 

fi 25 
spiracy v/ere executed at Onslow Court House ,■ The editor 

of the Liberator, as subsequent history indicates, was doubt- 
less justified in the follov/ing comment: "^Executed by the 
people*, doubtless means executed by a mob, on suspicion of 
guilt, without investigation or trial," That emotionality 
often had the upper hand - and that such being frequently 
the case in the South today is not altogether modern - is 
indicated by the follov/ing incidents: 

John Lamb of Georgia, in 1831, subscribed for 
Garrison's anti- slavery paper. He v/as violently taken from 
his house, tarred and feathered; then oil was poured on his 

25, Liberator, Nobem.ber 5, 1831, Vol, I, p. 180, 



48 



head and set on fire, after which he was ducked in the 

Pfi 
river and later whipped at a post, 

the 

In Petersburg, Virginia, a man was "lashed on/bare 
back" for saying, "that black men have, in the abstract, a 
right to their freedom," He was ordered to leave never to 
return under threat of being treated "v/orser". 

During this same memorable year the paranoid 

Negro preacher, Nat Turner, who had several years earlier 

decided to "call the attention of the civilized world to the 

conditions of his race", on a Stmday night, August 21, opened 

his fajnous insurrection. About sixty whites, men, v/omen and 

children, were slaughtered by this erratic but sincere Negro 

and his follov/ers, A letter to President Jackson from a 

committee of citizens of Southampton, dated August 29, gives 

some conception of hov/ the incident spread both fear and 

horror among the white people: ^° 

...So inhuman has been the butchery, so indis- 
criminate the carnage, that the tomahawk and 
scalping knife have now no horrors. Along 
the road traveled by our rebellious blacks, 
comprising a distance of something like twenty- 
seven miles, no white sovil lives to tell how 
fiend-like was their purpose,. , The excitement 
is so great that were the justices to pronounce 
a slave innocent, v/e fear a mob would be the 
consequence. 

Many of the slaves who had rebelled, as v/ell as 

some who were Innocent, were shot on sight. The heads of some 

of them were left up on poles for weeks as a dreadful warning 

26, Liberato r, Oct. 1, 1551 (1;15V), 

27, Liberator , Oct. 29, 1831 (1:174); Cutler, op. cit. p. 92, 

28, Quoted by W. S, Drewry, Slave Insurrections in Virginia, 

p. 84, 



OvS 



49 



to others who might contemplate rebellion. A negro woman 
who had attempted to kill a white woman was lynched. Ac- 
cording to Cutler, "It is said that some of the slaves 
suffered fearful torture, being burnt with red-hot irons 
and their bodies being horribly mutilated, before death 
came to their relief," Ttirner was tortured with pin-pricks, 
soundly whipped, and put in jail to await trial. Fifty- 
three negroes connected with the massacre were tried by the 
courts. Twenty of them were released, tv/elve were transport- 
ed, and seventeen executed. Turner and his associate-leaders 
were tried again in Superior Court, Turner and two others 
were executed. With one exception, all of those who were 
executed v/ere btiried in a "decent and becoming manner". The 
body of Nat Turner was delivered to the doctors, "who 
skinned it and made grease of the flesh." 

Possibly the total influence of this insurrection 
cannot yet be written. The general effect was to center 
attention on the slave question. To the North it brought a 
more pronounced conviction than ever as to the evils of 
slavery. To the South it brought intense excitement and fear. 
New plots were believed to exist in North Carolina. A rumor 
was spread, and for a while accepted, to the effect that 
Wilmington had been burned, half the inhabitants killed, and 
that "the negroes of several counties were on the march for 

■^•^^ Cutler, op. cit, p. 95, l-felvlaster. History of the People 
of the United States , Vol. VI, states that 55 white per- 
sons were killed, and, concerning the negroes, "A hundred 
are said to have been shot, 19 executed, p. 74, 



,r,2f. 



Qi 



^^S 



50 



Raleigh," Likewise, without the least foundation, a 
"plot" was discovered in Deleware and Maryland, While there 
is no evidence that Turner or any of his followers ever aaw 
a copy of the "liberator". Garrison and his publication were 
credited with instigating the massacre. Sharp debates over 
the question of slavery became more frequent; and prejudice 
against negroes, slave and free, grev/ more intense. For- 
getting important parts of the Constitution, some "gentlemen 
of the first respectability" at Columbia, South Carolina, 
formed themselves into a "Vigilance Association" and offered 
a rev/ard of fifteen hundred dollars "for the conviction of 
any white person found circulating the Liberator, Walker* a 
Appeal, or any other publication of seditious tendency," 

In North Carolina the Grand Jiiry brought an in- 
dictment against Garrison "for the circulation and publication 
of the 'Liberator' in the county in contravention to the act 
of the last General Assembly," According to a law of Georgia, 
a five thousand dollar reward was offered for the conviction 

of any one concerned with the circulation of "seditious" 

32 

literature. The Governor of Virginia credited the Nat 

Turner insurrection, "and the plots discovered elsewhere," 
to the "fanatics of some of our neighboring states", and call- 
ed for a revision of the laws "intended to preserve in due 

Z6m McMaster, loc, cit. p, 74, "*"" 

31, United States Gazette , Oct, 12. 1831; McMaster, op. cit. 15, 

32, Laws of Georgia , 1831, p. 255, Act approved on December 
15, 1831, 



J5 



IS. 



» • 



51 



subordination the slave population of our State," An act 
providing for the removal of free negroes was passed by the 
legislature. Pressure was brought to bear upon the officials 
of the states in which "incendiary literature" was being 
issued to stop it, A sharp cleavage between the pro and the 
anti slavery factions was drawn in the East, where negroes 
were treated with contempt. In Boston some of the Christian 
people were so overcome with rece prejudice that they expell- 
ed colored members from their churches, "^^ Thus along with 
the growing resentment between the two sections of the 
co^^ntry, prejudice became more general in both,"^"* 

The term "lynch-law" nov/ came into general use, 
and the practice spread far and wide. In the older states 
it was administered first to abolitionists, and then - true 
to the nature of mob violence - it spread out tmtil a stranger, 
for some offence "unknov/n to the inhabitants was tarred and 

feathered in true Yankee style, marched out of town and let 

35 
run," At the same time out on the borders from Vlcksburg 

to St. Louis, gamblers and robbers were being treated to 

lynch-law. A whipping with orders to move on generally made 

up the sentence. In Vicksbvtrg, in 1835, a group of gamblers 

refused to obey orders to quit the town. This resulted in 

an attack upon the gamblers in which a highly respected 

'3S. McMaater, op, cit. pp. 76-79. 

54, Chapter VIII gives some conception of how race prejudice in 

the South has persisted, being often the reason given for a 

lynching episode, 
35<. Q^oted by Cutler from the Liberator, Sept. 27, 1834. 



— ~e 



52 



citizen of the town was killed. Five of the gamblers were 
taken to the common gallows and hanged, their bodies being 
left suspended for twenty-four hours. About this time an 
Insurrection in Madison County, Ivlississippi, was suspected. 
As a result five white men and several negroes, "some ten 
or fifteen" were hanged without due process of law. In 
connection with the border conditions and methods of punish- 
ment, Ingraham makes a significant statement. In discussing 
the habit of the people "of improving upon the courts by 
taking the laws into their own hands," he says: "The want 
of a penitentiary ha^ had a tendency to keep this custom 
alive in this state longer than it would otherwise have 
existed. When an individual is guilty of any offence, which 
renders him amenable to the laws, he must either be acquitted 
altogether or suffer death. At this time eleven crimes 
were punishable by death in Mississippi, 

In May, 1835, two negroes murdered two children 
in Mobile, Alabama, "with such peculiar circiimstances of 
barbarity" that, althovigh a trial was given them in which 
"the Court pronounced the only sentence known to the law" 
they were immediately afterward burned. The Implication is 
that they had committed rape, "They were seized, taken to 
the place where they had perpetrated the act, and burned to 
death, "38 

In April of the next year a free mulatto killed 
a Deputy Sheriff in St, Louis, Missouri, while resisting 

915, J, H. Ingraham, The South-West , Vol. II, pp. 185-187, 

37. Cutler, op. cit. p. 101<, 

38. Liberator, July 4, 1835, (5:108); Cutler, p. 108, 



53 



arrest for helping a prisoner to escape. He was captured, 
locked in jail, and later taken from the jail by a mob who 
had threatened to tear it down if the officers did not 
give the mulatto up. He was conducted to the outskirts of 
the city by the "congregated thousands, seized upon and 
impelled by that mysterious, metaphysical, and almost elec- 
tric phrenzy," With a chain around his neck he was fasten- 
ed to a tree a few feet from the groxind. There he was 
"roasted alive". ^^ It became the duty of Judge Lawless - 
according to subsequent criticisms not incorrectly named - 
to bring the case of the burning before the Grand Jury, At 
that time he laid down a doctrine as old as Napoleon and one 
which functioned in countless instances since his day. Law- 
less said that a crime which if committed by one or two 
persons might properly bring the death sentence, could be 
perpetrated by a mob with impunity as an act "beyond the 
reach of human law," Attempts to curb the freedom of the 
press were no longer reserved for anti-slavery literatvire; 
an editor T;ho criticised the doctrine of Lawless had his 
printing office demolished, 40 

The St, Louis case is supposed to have been the 
occasion for Lincoln's oft-quoted speech on "The Perpetuation 
of our Political Institutions" in v/hich he gave an account 
of the general conditions of lawlessness over the whole 



39. Nlles Register, June 4, 1836, ^ 50: 234 J. 

40, After this the editor turned strongly an ti- slavery in 
attitude. For refusing to stop his publication which he 
had again set up in Alton, Illinois, he was killed on 
the night of November 7, 1837, after his press had three 
times been destroyed by mobs. 



f--, .1 r: 



C^.f. 



. i' 



54 



country, and expressed a fear that mob violence would 

destroy the government. After a long resume in which he 

dwelled especially upon the Mississippi and the St, Louis 

cases, Lincoln concluded:^ 

Such are the effects of mob law, and such are the 
scenes becoming more and more frequent in this 
land so lately famed for love of law and order, 
and the stories of which have even nov/ grown too 
familiar to attract anything more than an idle 
remark. 

Although it was not specifically confined to any 
section, nor inflicted for any particulsu? offense to the 
exclusion of others, by 1840 lynch-law was gradually becoming 
more characteristic of the South and West. In many parts of 
the latter the law was yet unable to care for the public 
order, so that thieves, gamblers and desperadoes were "lynch- 
ed",*^ In older communities, on the other hand, in the South 
and in parts of the 'West, lynch-law was resorted to in cases 
where there was strong feeling that the cotirts had not in- 
flicted p\inlshment in keeping with the crime; or, in cases 

"when from excitement the majority will not wait for the law 

II 43 
to act, but inflict punishment vi/ith their own hands. 

Thus, whereasonce lynch-law v/as practiced on the 
border settlements as a temporary method of suppressing law- 
lessness until civil regulations could be Effected, it had 
now turned upon the law which it proposed to protect. This 
was not always without legal penalty. In Brownsville, 

41» Quoted by Cutler from Abraham Lincoln, Works , Vol, I, 9-10. 
42, The term still connoted whipping, or tarring and feathering 

or both. '/Vhen the death penalty was exacted, it v/as always 

specifically stated. 
45. F, Murryat, Diary in America , (1839) Vol, I, pp. 232-233, 



■^:i v^MJi- 



zs.r '.'-'■-, ti 



<.^ 



eoft 



notl 






, .f-> 



55 



Tennessee, in 1835, a lynch court convicted one suspected 
of being a slave stealer, inflicted 500 lashes with a "cow- 
skin" and branded him on the cheek. A jury In the United 
States Circuit Court gave him a verdict of $2,000 and costs 
against five members of the lynching party, ^ Three years 
later two young men in Payette County, Tennessee, assisted 
others to ride a man on a rail, during which outrage he 
received fatal injuries. These gentlemen were fined fifty 
dollars each and sentenced to three month's imprisonment,^^ 
In Yazoo, Mississippi, a man was "severely lynched' , v/here- 
upon he prosecuted two of the mob in circuit court of the 
county and was awarded a total of $20,000 damages, ° 

Between 1840 and 1850 there seems to have been an 
increased tendency on the part of the people to take the law 
into their own hands, ^' The occasion in the South was general- 
ly one growing out of the abolition movement,, The negroes 
v/ere often unmercifully flogged, and for serious crimes put to 
death. Abolition propagandists from the North were frequent- 
ly lynched, generally by a severe whipping, and then ordered 
to depart northward. During the latter part of this decade 
especially the iiVestward movement was accompanied by such out- 
breaks of desperadism as to make extra-legal punishment in- 
evitable. 

Thus during the following decade, 1850 to 1860, 
under various names. Vigilance Committees functioned in the 

44. Liberator , Oct. 27, 1857, p, 174. ' 

45. Llbera to"r, Sept, 14, 1838, p. 146, 

46. Kiles Register , June 15, 1839, p. 256. 

47. Of. Evans, op. cit. p. 167; Ililes Register, 66:428, 320 
for lynchings in Texas and Florida, 



b.& 



56 



West from the Mississippi to California, "Each new western 
state, as it began to be settled, attracted thither villains 
of every dye, who kept the community in constant fear until 
it purged itself by the swift and sure executions of mob- 
ocracy or vigilance committees, "^^ The complete story of 
this decade cannot be written. In California alone, v/here, 
it is true, extra-legal "justice" became most necessary, 
Bancroft mentions by actual count over one thousand mxirders 
and hangings for the years 1850-52.49 According to the Dis- 
trict Attorney's Report there were 1200 murders between 
1850-1853 in San Francisco, and one case of legal pimish- 
ment,^^ In 1855 there were 538 homicides, with nine legal 
executions and forty-seven "informal ones". Between 1850- 
1856 there were some fourteen hundred murders in ^a.n 
Francisco alone, "and only three of the murderers hung 
xmder the law, and one of these was a friendless Mexican, ^^ 
Truly it was the Axigustan age of murder, Idaho, Montana, 
Oregon, Washington, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Nev; Mexico all 
had their horse thieves, robbers, murderers, - and their 
Popular Tribunals, floggings and hangings. If law is 

48, Popular Tribunals , Vol, I, p« 8, 

49, This large voluiae (I) is literally filled with case studies 
of murder and hangings, more than one per page throughout. 
It must be remembered too, that thes# T/ere gathered very 
largely from San Francisco alone, 

50, Bancroft, Vol, I, p. 131; Cf. New York Times, Aug, 10, 1919, 
quoting from the official records, 

51, Bancroft, op, cit, p, 749, After reading through tills 
vol\ime one is not so inclined to disagree with the author 

as near the beginning of the volume when he read the follow- 
ing: "Had Herod, for the sla\ighter of the Innocents, been 
brought before a San Francisco jury at that time he would 
have been acquitted, Judas Iscariot amongst the California 
Christians Y/ould have passed unscathed so long as any part 
of his thirty silver pieces remained with him," 



57 



"codified htunan sentiment", human sentiment in general was 
at what would now he called a lov/ level in these frontier 
territories. In June, 1860, in Carson City Nevada occurred 
an incident that well illustrates hov/ weak was the law out 
there where men who killed were many, while those who loved 
Justice and order were few, A Mexican v,fas accused of 
attempted robbery and murder by a German couple, a Mr. and 
Mrs. Hesse, The Mexican v/as arrested and examined before 
a judge, who held him to ansv/er before the court, Althoxigh 
the original charges were as stated above, during the 
examination the woman swore that the Mexican had made im- 
proper proposals to her. Her reputation was somewhat shady, 
"Yet when immediately upon the close of the examination Mrs, 
Hesse drew from under her shawl her cocked pistol, and plac- 
ing it against the head of the prisoner fired, causing his 
instant death, neither judge, sheriff, nor the people made 
any attempt to arrest her, but permitted her to return to 
her home in peace, as if she had committed a meritorious 
act,"^ In the year 1865 there v/ere at least one hundred 
and fifty homicides, and only two legal executions. It was 
with such a background as this that the later decades were 
ushered in; and no better explanation of the available 
statistics of the eighties and later are needed. Gold- 
diggers, forest-clearers, pralrie-ploughers out beyond the 
borderline of civilization do not find awaiting their 
arrival lav/, sheriffs, juries and penitentiaries. Neither 

Sg» Bancroft, Popular Trlb\xnals, Vol, I, p. 600, 



; '..^. 



58 



do these things come suddenly after their arrival; it 
takes many years, as history has shown. In 1887 Bancroft 
stated as follows: "I have given in this voliime many 
examples. , .but the half has not been told. It is safe to 
say that thus far in the history of these Pacific States 
far more has been done toward righting wrongs and administer- 
ing justice outside the pale of lav/ than within it." Lynch- 
law where there was no lawj lynch-law where men were left 
to protect themselves or to die. All quite different from 
the situation in the South during the decades under con- 
sideration. Let us turn again to this section and view the 
situation before the beginning of the Civil War. 

During the last decade before the V/ar lynching 
seems to have grown more and more common in the South. 
Lynch-law was no longer reserved solely for slave ins-ur- 
rectionists and abolitionists, as is shown by the follov/ing 
quotation from the "Western Herald" under the caption "Lynch 
Law in Virginia": "A man named William Hornbeck, living in 
Lewis County, Virginia, for alleged ill-treatment of his 
family was lynched by the yoiing men in the neighborhood, one 
night last week, - Stripped of his clothing, rode on a rail, 
m.ade to run through a briar patch, a stout paddle used to 
keep him going, and a coat of tar and feathers applied. "^^ 
This was in 1856. In the following year there was another 
instance of the degeneration of lynch-law, A great excite- 
ment was caused in Barton County, Missoxirl by "a set of 



55. Liberator , May 2. 1856. p. 72. 



59 



of lawless wretches" who, v/hlle pretending to be after a 
horse thief, "barbarously beat several men until their 
lives were despaired of, and when v/omen interf erred, some 
were badly beaten and others violated. , ,."^^ By 1860 it 
was not safe to be patriotic enough to "hurrah" for Lin- 
coln, especially if his nane was connected v/ith the 
abolitionists. For this crime two white men and a mulatto 
were arrested at "Mosley Hall" North Carolina, After a 
trial on the spot they were lynched by being whipped and 
having their heads shaved. ^^ 

In 1857 a vigilance comraittee in the "upper 
country" of Texas was busy "raking the country fore and 
aft and sv/inging every horse thief and murderer" to be 
fovmd, A traveler reported that he saw twelve bodies 
suspended from one tree and five from another. 56 This 
was so much of the border variety of extra-legal procedvire; 
but Texas was concerned v/ith slavery, and thus at this 
time had a double occasion for lynching. In the siJinmer of 
1860 it is said that twenty-four "insurrectionists" v/ere 
hanged,^" 

A natural outcome of the continuation of the 
abolition movement was an increasing frequency and severity 
of punishment of the Negroes,^" Only the economic value of 
the slave made him worth more hxunane consideration than the 
abolitionist, for whom no punishment was considered severe 

54. Liberator , Dec. 4, 1357. 

55. Liberator , Dec. 31, 1860, p. 211, 

56. Liberator , Oct. 2, 1857, Vol. 27:160. 

57. Liberator , Aug. 24, 1B60, p. 160. 

58. By the psychological process called "emotional transfer," 



60 



enough. The "Augustan age of murder" v;as not confined to 
California} it reigned at the same time in the South* Ac- 
cording to an editorial in the Liberator, December 19, 1856 
(p. 24): "A record of the cases of "Lynch Law* in the 
southern states reveals the startling fact, that within twenty- 
years, over three hundred white persons have been murdered 
upon the accusation - in most cases unsupported by legal 
proof- of carrying among slave-holders argvuiients addressed 
expressly to their own intellects and consciences, as to the 
morality and expediency of slavery," A study of the literature 
of the period would hardly permit one to doubt that these 
figures are overdrawn. They are probably conservative, for, 
although the "Liberator" made a record of every case possible, 
it is doubtless true that many lynchings by murder were not 
reported. 

There seems to have been a considerable amount of 
crime committed by Negroes after 1830,^^ Masters, overseers, 
and mistresses were murdered by slaves. During the first 
decade after the beginning of the abolition movement the law 
was ordinarily allowed to take its course; but as the move- 
ment grew, during the next twenty years this was less and 
less frequent. From 1830 to 1840 one free Negro and three 
slaves were legally executed for rape; and two slaves, for 
attempted rape. During the same period four Negroes were 
burned at the stake, - tv/o at Mobile, Alabama for murdering 



59. Cf, Cutler, op, cit, p, 124ff, 



61 

(possibly after committing rape upon) two children; the 
free mulatto, Mcintosh, at St. Louis for killing an officer; 
and a slave in Arkansas for murdering his master. There arc 
also during the period reports of sximmary punishment, not 
death, being administered to Negroes who induced white girls 
to run away v/ith them, or who lived with white women, ^® 
For the next decade, 1850-1860, the record is 
different. Forty-six Negroes paid the death penalty for 
murder. Twenty of this nximber were legally executed, and 
twenty- six were killed by mobs. Two of the latter were 
women, one for beating her mistress to death and the other 
for poisoning her master. Eight of the remaining twenty- 
four summary executions were by burning to death. For rape 
and attempted rape upon white women five were legally 
executed, and tv/elve were put to death by mobs. Four of 
these were burned at the stake, three of whom were charged 
with the double crime of rape and murder, "■*■ With the 
passing of the years under the abolition movement matters 
became worse generally, Negroes committed more crimes; and 
the whites, goaded by the abolitionist even more than by 
the negroes' crimes, tended more and more to tighten the 
reins on the slave; - to make his life unbearable, yet to 
lynch him if he did not bear it silently. The general 
situation in the slave states at the beginning of the Civil 
War is possibly fairly well described by the following letter, 

60, Cutler, loc. cit. p. 126, This was quite different from 
post-Civil vVar and Twentieth Century treatment of negroes 
in the South v/ho "cross the color line", 

61. Evans, op, cit. p. 157; Cutler, op, cit. pp. 126-127, 



.IB 



62 



dated August 23, 1860, Houston, Texas, and written to a 

friend in Hartford, Connecticut: 

Tell your abolition friends to go on and soon 
they v/ill have the pleasure of seeing the negro 
reduced to such a state of hopeless bondage that 
they may well pity them, I solemnly declare that 
today the negro is not as free as he was tv/o or 
five years ago; and v/hy? Simply because his mas- 
ter has been goaded to desperation by incendiary 
acts and speeches, Nov/ he fears the negro, and 
binds him dovm as you v/ould a savage animal,.,. 
And so it is all over the country. Men are hung 
every day by the decision of planters, lawyers 
judges, and ministers. It is not hot impetuous 
act, but cool, stern justice. It is the saving 
of wife and daughter, mother and sister from the 
hand of desecration. It is the stopping of scenes 
that would make the Druses and T^l^ks blush with 
shame, ^^ 

That this fear of the Negro was largely if not 

wholly unnecessary is indicated by subsequent history. The 

Negro had been drilled to obey his master; he knew little 

else and rebelled only when led, or at least influenced, by 

others. So generally was this true that during the entire 

period of the Civil War there is no record of a slave who 

attempted a rebellion, or who committed a crime against a 

white woman, ^'5 The records are silent as to the southern 

white man who feared going to war and leaving his wife and 

children with the slaves. During all those years they 

worked on and on feeding the army whose victory v/ould have 

6S. Quoted in the Liberator, Sept, 14, 1860, (30:146); and 
by Cutler, op. clt. pp, 121-122, 

63. Cf. Fleming, op. cit. Vol. I, p. 257; George R. Y/illiams, 
History of the iimerican Negro , Vol, II, p, 414; M, L, 
Avary, Dixie After the ',Var7 "p. 385, After a careful 
search the v/riter has been unable to find, even among the 
most rabid of the Negro's enemies, a single accuser in so 
far as this period is concerned. Doubtless there were a 
few cases of rape during the V/ar, but the utter silence 
of history on the point seems almost a mystery. 



« » * ^ 



63 



spelled their doom, and the v/ives and children of the men 
v/ho"^ held them in bondage. But before this test came, the 
minds of many of the Aliites of the South against the Negro 
as to afford an unpromising beginning for the long, perilous 
process of readjustment necessitated by its outcomco 



64 



CHAPTER IV 
MOB VIOLENCE AKD RECONSTRUCTION 

Reconstruction in the South is a long story, the 
more fully told the more enlightening on subsequent race 
relations. In this chapter we can do no more than give a 
general summary of the most salient factors of the period 
Yfhich had their bearing upon these relationships, Hov/ever 
honestly many Americans thought the Civil War would solve 
the race problem, it really created it. There was no "race 
problem" as we know it before emancipation. The two races 
lived side by side in an almost perfect state of accommo- 
dation under the master-slave regime. This condition of 
adjustment had taken long years. Now suddenly came a change 
in status, from master-slave to man-man, A readjustment on 
this basis would have been long and difficult enough under 
the best of conditions. Just how long and difficult we 
shall never know, for such conditions were not present or 
forth- coming. 

The South had failed in its attempt to set up a 
new Government. Civil law was only partially and imperfectly 



65 



re-established. The "carpet-bagger" - as imich a disgrace to 
the North as an irritant to the South - swarmed hither, with 
two results not fully to be measured as yet. First there 
was naturally a continuation and intensifying of the misunder- 
standings and hostility between the whites of the two sections, 
It is probable that the North had more friends in the South 
during the worst of the War than for many years af terv/ards,-^ 
Many of the "low- whites" were for the North and against 
slavery, in the abstract, but they v-ere more hostile to Negro 
soldiers, policeman, and congressman than were their former 
masters. They had always hated Negroes; now they hated them 
more, 2 They were against slavery because they were against 
the masters, and not because they liked or pitied the slaves. 
It was their understanding that the latter v/ould be sent out 
of the country and not to Congress,*-^ 

Secondly, there was a renev/ed and intensified 
fear of the Negro, v/hich resulted in greater hostility 
tov/ard him. The carpet-bagger" was not wholly responsible 
for this. It was also due to the unv/ise and inefficient 
Reconstruction policy of the Federal Congress, In response 
to southern laws that v/ould practically have re-enslaved 
the Negro, the Freedman's Bureau was established and the 
best citizens of the South v/ere disfranchised and disarmed,^ 



1, ^f . W, L, Fleming, Documentary History of Reconstruction , 

Vol. II, pp. 369-71). 

2, Senate Report on Labor and Capital, Testimony, Vol. IV, 

(1883) p. 38, 

3, Fleming, loc, cit. Vol. II, pp. 273,334, 337. 
Cf. M. S. Evans, op. cit, p. 47, 

4, Fleming, Vol. I, p. 90; Coutler, The Civil War and Read- 
justment in Kentucky , pp. 442ff. 



66 



Negro troops were stationed in South Carolina, Louisiana, 
Mississippi and Alabama.^ Negro militia regiments were 
organized in North and South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, 
Louisiana and Arkansas, and the "Radical" white militia in 
North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas proved even more 
objectionable.^ In Alabama "the Negro population was very- 
dense and Military posts were established at intervals of 
20 to 30 miles. ""7 In South Carolina in 1870 there v/ere 
fourteen thousand militia organized into fourteen regiments 
of one thousand Negroes each.^ 

The Freednien's Bureau 

The need for the Freedmen's Bureau cannot be dis- 
puted; the good it accomplished, however, was soon forgotten, 
possibly but not necessarily because of the harm it did, 9 
For it would have been objectionable under any circumstances; 
it was outside "interference" - the thing which the Southern 
man had fought against, 10 The occasion for the creation of 
the Bureau was the very evident intention of the Southern 
Legislatures to make the Negro a slave again. The most 
stringent lav/s had been enacted against the ex-slave before 

5, Fleming, Vol. I, pp. 47-49, 

6, Fleming, Vol. II, p. 34. 

7, Fleming, op. cit. Vol. I, p. 443, 

8, Fleming, op. cit. Vol. II, p. 76; Cf. Senate Doc. No. 39 
the Congress, 1 session, p. 21, Schiirz's report to the 
President on Southern labor conditions, 

9, "As soon as the Freedmen's Bureau v/as organized, it fed 
to the limit of its supplies the needy whites as well 

as the Blacks." ihis has apparently been forgotten by many, 

10, Cf. Garner, Reconstruction in i/Iississippi , pp. 261, 265, 



67 



the end of 1865. H Some of these laws were absolutely 
impossible to comply with, and meant inevitable re-enslave- 
ment of the Negroes. 12 in South Carolina, for example, - 
and laws passed by other southern states, besides Louisiana, 
were of the same nature, - an ordinance was passed stating 
that "no person of color shall pursue the practice, art, or 
business of an artisan, mechanic, or shop-keeper, or any 
other trade or employment beside that of husbandry, or that 
of a servant under contract for labor, until he shall have 
obtained a license from the judge of the county court, 
which license shall be for one year only." License fees, 
applicable to Negroes only, ranged from fifty dollars to 
five hundred dollars. According to a bill introduced into 
the Legislature of Louisiana, every freed manandv/oman must, 
within twenty days, provide themselves with a comfortable 
home and visible means of subsistence. Any colored persons 
failing to comply with the Act were to be arrested by the 
sheriff or constable and hired out to the highest bidder for 
the remainder of the year. 

If the Freedraen's Bureau answered a need for the 
protection of the Negro in the community in which it v/as 
located, at the same time, and partially because it attempted 
to protect the Negro, it became a source of irritation and 
trouble. ^'5 It is true that some few of the branches of the 



11, Cf. Fleming, The Sequel to Appomattox , pp. 93-97, 

12, Gf. Evans, op, cit. pp. 50ff," 

13, Cf, Garner, op, cit. p. 265, 



68 



Bureau did not meet with resistance, but these v/ere ex- 
ceptional. The popularity, - or unpopularity - outside of 
the natural disfavor resulting from its being an "outside 
Invasion", depended very largely upon the Individual officers 
in charge, -^"^ It has often been said that there may have 
been an honest man connected with the Freedaian's Bureau, but 
that he was never discovered. This is too broad a state- 
ment, but it is largely true. There v/as, on the other hand, 
doubtless some basis for the report of an official in 

Louisiana who declared that the v/hites would exterminate 

1 "^ 
the negroes if the Bureau were removed, •^'^ 

This was certainly not the case in all sections 

of the South, The following is an account given by Coulter 

of how, in one case, readjustment was made without help or 

interference. In 1868 the negroes of Fayette County, 

Kentucky, 

.♦held a meeting v/here they made it plain that they 

stood ready to enter into ( labor j contracts v/ith 

farmers, "for v/e have been raised to work, and 

it don't go hard v/ith us." They told their former 

masters that God had blessed them "with strong arms to 

till your fields, and if you will give us work to 

make a living, we will make Fayette a blessing," They 

appointed one of their number to be a labor agent 



14, Cf. Barner, loc. cit. p. 268, 

15, Fleming, The Sequel to Appomattox , p. 112, 



Hr 



,r. 



.^j. 



69 



through v/hom they should receive jobs from the white 
people looking for laborers. Many blacks willing 
to work were present at the meeting, and all adjottrn- 
ed "with the understanding, that if there was any 
fault found this year, it shall not be on the part 
of the colored men". .,« These negroes set August 20, 
1869 as a day of thanksgiving for the good treat- 
ment they had received at the hands of the whites..,. 
They stated that "the colored men have labored 
better, and farmers have treated us better, and 
God has blessed them all better". .. .the whites 
reciprocated this feeling of friendship and co- 
operation. ♦ ..The hand of the Preedinen«s Bureau had 
not entered into these proceedings, and this ex- 
plains largely the good relationships that were 
growing up. Without the meddling of the Bvireau and 
with a more reasonable attitude on the part of the 
white people to changed conditions, almost complete 
understanding and accord must have grown up between 
whites and blacks. ^^ 

Thus we see an example of readjustment in which 
the Bureau played no part. Three points deserve note: 
The v/illingness of the Negro to work for the YJhite; second- 
ly, the sympathetic attitude and cooperation on the part 



■ 16. ^oted from Coulter, op. cit. pp. 346-347. Taken from 
the following sources: Lexington (Kg) Observer and Re- 
porter , Dec. 26 and 30, 1868; July 17 and Aug. 14, IbbiJ; 
V/eekly Commonwealth, February 18, 1870, 



1 « * « 



70 



of the v/hites; thirdly, the absence of the Preednen's 
Bureau, Unfortunately, in a great many sections of states 
fiorther South the first two conditions were not present, 
and, as a result, the third was present. In nxinerous in- 
stances the Negroes moved to town and refused to v/ork. 
Some went to politics; and others, into other popular 
criminal professions of the tirae,^*^ 

Many Negroes, freed from the tradition of two 
hundred and fifty years of slavery, took a 
holiday; some resolved not to work any more as 
long as they lived, and some even appropriated 
to their own use the produce of their neighbors. 

At the same time many of the white men were 

difficult to deal with. They preferred to re-enslave the 

Negroes rather than to pay them a fair salary and treat 

them as "hired hands" on the place, ■."j'hat Coulter relates 

concerning a county just across from Fayette, in Kentuclcy, 

was much more true of other sections: 

But the blame was not all on one side, A Shelby 
County farmer was franic to state (in 1870) that 
the farmers of the State showed a too "stubborn 
indispositin to accept their present situation", 
and the "prejudice of previous habits." (p. 347), 

Dr. Fleming points out that especially in Texas 

and Florida the Freedraan's Bureau proved very obnoxious, due 

largely to general official incompetence and discrimination 

in favor of the Negroes. 18 in Virginia it was said that 

there seemed to be no trouble except v/here the Bureau was 

in operation. 19 An authority on the history of Recon- 



17, Benjamin Brawley, Social Hi's'to'ry of the American Negro , 

pp. 262-263. 

18, Documentary History of Reconstruction , Vol. I, p. 363. 

19, Fleming, ftocumentary History, etc., Vol. I, p. 365. 



71 



struction summarizes the activities of the Freedmen's 

Bxireau as follows :^'^ 

It failed to exert a permanently wholesome influence 
because its lesser agents were not held to strict 
accountability by their superiors. Under these 
agents the alienation of the two races began, and 
the ill feelings then aroused were destined to 
persist into a long troubled future. 

Politics and Negro Soldiers 

Political affairs soon fell into the hands of the 
"carpet-baggers", Negroes and "scalawags", Alabama, Georgia, 
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina were 
represented in part by Negroes in the National House of 
Representatives. Mississippi had two Negro Senators in 
Washington. All of the Southern States had Negro members 
of both branches of the Legislature. In 1872 Louisiana, 
Mississippi, and South Carolina had Negro Lieutenant- 
governors, 

It is doubtless true that these Negro politicians 
were little less competent than some of the 'Miites elected 
along with them: They could hardly have been more hated 
than were the "carpet-baggers"." In the Legislature of 
South Carolina, in the year 1868, there were one hundred 
fifty-five members, ninety-alght Negroes and sixty-seven 

20. Fleming, The Sequel to Appomattox , p. 117. 

21, Cf. J. S. Reynolds, Reconstruction in South Carolina, p. 90, 



72 



Whites. Twenty-two of the group could not read and write; 
several could not write more than their names; forty-one 
signed by an X raark.^^ A South Carolina carpet-bagger, 
Leslie, from Massachusetts v/as asked a question concerning 
the reports that the State was paying for a Negro brothel 
located Just opposite the State House, His reply was: 
"South Carolina has no right to be a state unless she can 
support her statesmen." 

Negro Soldiers 

The presence of Negro soldiers and militia proved 
especially Irritating to the Southerners, Fleming points 
out that without exception the presence of Negro soldiers 
was resented; that even at their best these troops v/ere 
obnoxious to the southern Y/hites,23 in 1866 Governor 
Sharkey of Mississippi said: "The great amount of com- 
plaints originate from the localities where the negro 
soldiers are stationed, "2- The presence of Negro soldiers 
had a bad effect on the Negroes as well as on the v/hites. 
They were a constant source of irritation to the latter; and 
their presence served as a stimulus to a certain amount of 
laxness on the part of the other Negroes of the com:nunity. 
The literature of the period is replete v/ith evidence con- 
cerning the prevalence of intense fear on the part of v/hite 
women. This has formed a part of the social inheritance 

22. See note under Frontispiece, Fleming, op. cit. Vol. II. 

23. Fleming, The Sequel to Appomattox , p. 21. 

24. Report of Joint Committee on Keconstruction, Pt. iii, 
p. 134. 



73 



25 
of follov/lng generations. 

The following cases are cited, irrespective of the 

fact that they may have been, no doubt were, the exception 

rather than the rule. They constitute - along v/ith many 

others that could be cited, and possibly still many more 

not in print - an important part of the social background 

of subsequent race relationships. Moreover, these cases 

indicate that the attitudes formed at the time were not 

altogether without reason. The first is taken from Myrta 

Locket t Avary's Dixie After the War . We quote from pages 

140-142: 

The Lone Star of Texas 

Entering Rosemont Cemetery, Newberry, S, C, one 
perceives on a tall marble shaft "The Lone Star of Texas' 
and this: 'Calvin S, Crozier, Born at Brandon, Mississippi, 
August 1840, Murdered at Newberry, S. C. September 8, 1865'. 

At the close of the war, there were some 99,000 
Confederates in Federal prisons, whose release beginning in 
May, continued throughout the siimmer. Among these was 
Crozier, slender, boyish in appearance, brave, thin to 
emaciation, pitifully weak and homesick. It was a far cry 
to his home in sunny Galveston, but he had traversed three 

25. ^f. Fleming, op. cit. Vol. I, p. 91; Vol. II, pp. 270-6; 

331-2; 334; 444; Avary, op. cit. pp. 267, 377, 383, 386, 

North American Rev., (1889) article by '.7. T. Parkers. 

The Evolution of the Negro Soldier ; J. M. Mecklin, The 
Eu Klux Klan , pp. 87-887 Also, Proceedings at the Ku 

Klux •Trials, Columbia, S. C. in the U. S. Circuit 
Court, November Term, 1871, pp. 187, 425, 



e^' 



.'in 



74 



states when he fell ill in North Carolina, A Good Sainaritan 
nvtrsed him, and set him on his v/ay again. At Orangeburg, 
S, C, a gentleman placed two young ladies, journeying in 
the same direction, under his care. To Crozier, the trust 
was sacred. At Newberry, the train was derailed by ob- 
structions placed on the track by negro soldiers of the 33d, 
U. S. Regiment, which, under command of Colonel Trowbridge, 
white, Y/as on its way from Anderson to Coliambia. Crozier got 
out with others to see what was the matter. Returning, he 
found the coach invaded by two half -drunk negro soldiers, 
cursing and using Indecent language. He called upon them 
to desist, directing their attention to the presence of 
ladies. They replied that they 'didn't care a d — 1' One 
attempted gross familiarities with one of the ladies. 
Crozier ejected him; the second Negro Interferred; there 
was a struggle in the dark; one Negro fled unhurt; the 
other, with a slight cut, ran tov/ard camp, yelling: 'I'm 
cut by a d-d rebel!' Black soldiers carae in a mob. 

The narrative, as told on the montiment, con- 
cludes: 'The infuriated soldiers seized a citizen of New- 
berry, upon whom they were about to execute savage revenge, 
when Crozier came promptly forward and avowed his ovm 
responsibility. He v/as hurried in the night-time to the 
bivouac of the regiment to which the soldiers belonged, was 
kept under guard all night, was not allov/ed communication 
with any citizen, was condemned to die v/ithout even the form 
of a trial, and was shot to death about daylight the following 



t I .. . 



1 I 



75 



morning, and his body mutilated'. 

He had been ordered to dig his own grave, but 
refused, A hole had been dug, he was made to kneel on its 
brink, the column fired upon him, he tumbled into it, and 
then the black troops jumped on it, laughing, dancing, 
stamping. The only mercy shov/n him was by one huraane 
negro, v/ho, eager to save his life, besought him to deny 
his identity as the striker of the blow. White citizens 
watched their moment, removed his remains, and gave them 
Christian burial. 

Military Misrule In Alabama ^^ 

The Negro population was very dense and Military 
Posts were established at intervals of 20 or 30 miles. 
There was one at Greensboro, Ala,, and the Negroes grew 
Tinder its influence. Impudent beyond endurance. One day 
a young man, Mr. Tom Cov/an, resented an insolent remark 
made to him by a Negro passing on Lthe street. Immediately 
a Yarikee officer stepped up to Mr, Cowan and slapped him 
in the face. The yoxing man drev/ his pistol and killed the 
officer and... hid in a little dark closet,,. In less than 
30 minutes the street was filled //ith a black, surging mass 
of howling Negroes, led by the Yankee soldiers, searclalng 
for the young man. Two of his friends, by the dim light of 
a candle in that ,. closet, shaved off his mustache, dis- 



26, Qyioted from Fleming<s Bocurnentary History etc. Vol, I, 
443-4. MS account by Mrs. T. I., Kennedy, (1867), 



a': 



76 



guised him completely, and placing him between them, 
boldly walked out into the mob, and unrecognized went 
the whole length of the town to a strip of woods, where 
young Cowan made his escape. The Infxirlated Negroes soon 
discovered this and In retaliation they entered every 
white man's house and seized every g\in and pistol thus 
placing the v/hites at their mercy* They also went to 
young Cowan's home - dragged his younger brother forth 
and declared their intention to keep him as a hostage 
and ..«. to hange him if his brother did not return..,. 
In viev; of the whole tov/n, a tall gallov/s was erected 
for the execution of this innocent yoxing boy. The deepest 
gloom and despair settled dovm over the whole community.,,. 
By chance, someone remembered having heard that General 

Marsh, who was stationed at a Post about 15 miles off, was 

and 

a Mason , The news soon spread/ the 'Masons' of the town 

dispatched to this officer, and of course, we do not know 
by 7/hat means it was arranged, but if the siim of $9,000 
was paid the boy would be set free. You can form no idea 
of the poverty of our people after the War, but there were 
some who had little hoards hid away,,,. The sum exacted 
was raised and sent as quickly as possible. It was never 
known for v/hat purpose it was demanded, unless it was used 
to buy off Federal officers and soldiers, '-this transaction 
was not generally known and promptly at the hour appointed, 
the Negro mob placed a halter around the young victim's 
neck - and dragged him through the streets to the fatal 
place, A more pathetic spectacle was never witnessed than 



77 

that of the grey-haired father, walking by his son, 
exhorting him 'To die like a man'. Just as the lad was 
ascending the scaffold, the reprieve arrived, in the 
shape of an order from General Marsh forbidding the 
execution, 

Negro Soldiers and "."/hite Girl 

In his "introduction" to Mrs, Avary's volume, 
C. A. Evans says: "In these pages she renders a public 
service. She aids the American to a better understanding 
of his country's past and clearer concept of its present," 
The author claims that most of the incidents related came 
from first-hand; that is, they were received from observers 
and participants of these incidents. The truth of Mr, Evans 
statement does not depend upon the absolute truth of what 
is related. However rare and exceptional, or even if 
absolutely untrue at the so\irce, - which it seems reason- 
able to doubt - yet by the simple process of verbal condi- 
tioning they have played their part in shaping the history 
of the South since the Civil War, ^Vom many that could be 
cited, we quote the following: (p. 267). 

^ congregation In another country church was thrown 
into panic by balls crushing through boards and windows; 
a girl of fourteen was killed instantly. Black troops 
swung by, singing. Into a dwelling a squad of blacks 
marched, bound the owner, a prominent aged citizen, 
pillaged his house, and then before his eyes, bound 
his maiden daughter and proceeded to fight among them- 



78 



selves for her possession. ^Though', related my 
informant with sharp realism, 'her neck and face 
had been slobbered over, she stood quietly watching 
the conflict. At last, the victor came to her, 
caixght her in his arms and started into an adjoin- 
ing room, when he wavered and fell, she with him; 
she had driven a knife, of which she had in some 
way possessed herself, into his heart. The others 
rushed in and beat her until she, too, was lifeless. 
There was no redress*. 

Possibly the author is fully justified in the 
statement: "Northerners, and Southerners who did not live 
in that day and in black belts, can form no conception of 
the conditions v/hich gave rise to the white secret societies 
of which the most widely celebrated was the Ku Klux." 

The Ku Klux Klan and Lawlessness 

Out of the conditions desci'lbed above, social, 
political, military, together with the general lawlessness 
of the times, arose an organization the consideration of 
which cannot be omitted by him who v/ould understand later 
inter-racial relationships in the South, The Ku Klvix Klan 
of the sixties has been characterized in brief as follows: 
Its beginning was an accident, its grov;th a comedy, and its 
death a tragedy. Beginning in 1866, in a small Tennessee 
town as a source of arausesrxent for emotion- hungry young ex- 
confederates, it spread over adjoining states at a phenomenal 
rate. 



79 



During slavery times the movements of the Negro 
were very largely curtailed, especially at night. After 
emancipation many Negroes thought it un-Repuhlican not to 
roam about at night. On the way to and from "Union League" 
meetings, and others, many temptations arose, not all of 
which v/ere overcome. And the time soon arrived when 
irresponsible whites could steal v/ith certainty that the 
Negro v/ould receive the credit. Petty thievery, Negro 
soldiers v/ho pushed whites off the sidewalks and not in- 
frequently committed v;orse crimes, carpet-baggers, Republican 
domination, and Union Legaues organized into regiments of 
militia: the Klan was not an organization of entertainment 
only, for there was "regulating" to be donel Out of the 
original fraternity of fun- seekers came the bigger organi- 
zation with purposes social and political. The following 
quotation from the diary of a southern man doing time in 
the Federal Prison at Albany as a result of the Anti-Klan 
Act, indicates the occasion, v;hich was not merely an excuse, 
for the social-regulatory function of the early Klan:^ 

,..*War has left so many thousands of widov/s and 
defenseless females on isolated plantations' that 
it became one of the primary duties of the old 
Klan 'to shield our women and children from the 
Insolence, rapacity, and brutal passions of vile 
desperadoes white and black'. 

Doubtless for a while the Influence of the Klan, 

so far as this aspect of its functions, was wholesome. Its 

membership v/as made up of some of the leading citizens of 

"27, Quoted by J. M. Mecklin, The Ku Klux Klan , p, 87-88. 



. \ i. 



80 



the South, at the beginning, 28 'jVherever the Klan appear- 
ed it is said that the nocturnal perambulations of the 
Negroes diminished to a quite marked degree, "In many 
ways", says Cutler, "there was a noticeable improvement 
in a large class that had higherto been causing a great 
annoyance, "29 jt seems to have been the political 
regulating function that led to the degeneration of the 
Klan. 

Its good influence was of short duration; for 
within itself were sources of weakness which made the out- 
come inevitable. In its name members could v;reak private 
vengeance. Non-members could do likewise. It soon came 
to pass that, whether guilty or not, the Klan was charged 
with practically all the disorder in the country. The 
records show that this organization was far from being 
altogether guiltless, 30 This is shown by the testimony 
of Klan members themselves during the trials in the United 
States Court after the passage of the Federal Anti-Klan 
Act, Defenseless men and women, both white and black, were 
whipped in great nximbers. According to this testimony in 
particular the Klan in North and South Carolina seems to 
have been composed largely of yo\ing men and boys, illiterate 
and ignorant, who could "speak of the number of blows with 
a hickory, which you inflicted at midnight upon the lacerat- 
ed, bleeding back of a defenseless woman, without so much as 



28« Cf . Garner, op, cit. Chapter on the Ku Klux Klan, 

29, Op, cit. p. 144, 

30, Mecklin, op, cit, pp, 54-55, 



BSTf! 



. ;y 



81 



a blush or sigh of regret. None of you seem to have the 
slightest idea of, or respect for, the sacredness of the 
human person. ""^^ This was in the later stage of the Klan 
when the former leaders had dropped out. These later members 
not only whipped; they shot Negroes; they hanged them; they 
cut their throats; they whipped v;omen, white and colored;*^^ 
they ravished Negro v/omen, and did worse, if possible, to 
at least one v/hite woman.'^S The following testimony gives 
some indication of the depth to which the Klan had descended 
within two years after its organization. First we give, 
in an abbreviated form, the testimony of a member of the Ku 
Klux Klan in the United States Circuit Court at Colximbia, 
South Carolina, in 1871: (pp. 505-8). 

Joined Klan in North Carolina, fall of 1867, with under- 
standing that the p\irpose of the order was >to advance 
the Conservative party and put down the Radical party*. 
This was to be done by killing and v/hipping, and crov/d- 
ing out men from the ballot boxes. First raid witness 
went on was in December, 1867, Went with members to get 
the Negro, Roujidtree; were going to kill him. About 
fifty or seventy-five guns were fired into the windows 
and cracks of his house. Then burst door down. Round- 
tree was in the loft. He shot Elija Koss Sepaugh across 
the breast and also hit him on the v/rist, then jtunped 

31, Proceedings in the Eu Klux Trials, U. s. C. Court, (1871) 
789, Judge, in lecture to young men who had entered the 
plea of guilty to the charge of lawlessness. 

32, Proceedings, etc, pp. 777ff, 

33, Proceedings, etc. p. 508. 



82 



from the loft and was shot down. Someone of the party 
walked and kicked him behind and told him '3od damn 
you, go right on and show where the guns are*. »7.'hen 
they kicked him I let him loose... and he dropped down 
on his face*. Sepaugh's brother came up. "^eeing that 
Elija Ross was shot, the brother drew a bowie knife and 
walked to where the nigger had been left Xying struggl- 
ing, 'Some others of them had turned him over on his 
back, and in a few minutes after Sepaugh went back, 
some of them came up and said that Henry Sepaugh had 
cut his throat, I went back to him and seen that his 
throat was cut. He was dead when we left him'. 

Under indictment for violating the Federal Anti- 
Klan Act, D. Lewis Jolly plead guilty, as follows: 

Said that he belonged to the Limeston Klan; Banks Lyle 
was Chief of the County; he has rtin away; was on a 
raid to take a v/hite man out of jail in Spartanburg, 
who was sentenced to be hung for killing a Negro; 
also on a raid when Mary Bean was whipped; took her 
out of bed Y/hipped her a little; whipped her for break- 
ing the peace between a white man and wife; didn't whip 
the white man; the white man's wife got the Klan to 
whip her; he v/as a member of the Klan, and was one of 
these big wealthy men. 
Following is an abbreviation of the testimony of Harriet 
Simril in the same court. Part of this may be prevarica- 
tion, but other testimony, some of it by Klan members them- 
selves, tends to corroborate it entirely. It gives an 



83 



indication of the political activities of the Klan: ^^ 
The first time they came my old man was at home; 
they hollered out, 'Open the door', and he got up and 
opened the door..,. and these young men walked up, and 
they took my old man out after so long, and they want- 
ed him to join this Democratic ticket; and, after that, 
they went a piece above the house, and hit him about 
five cuts v/ith the cowhide, ...They came back after the 
first time, on Sunday night after my old man again, 
and this second time the crov/d was bigger, 
Q, Did they call for your old man? 

A, Yes, sir; they called for him and I told them he 
v/asn't here; then they argued me dovm, and told me 
he was here; I told them no, sir, he v/asn*t here;... 
They searched about a long time, and made me make up 
a light; and after I got the light made up, then 
they began to search again, and question me again 
about the old man, and I told them I didnU know v/here 
my old man had gone... 

A. Well, they were spitting in my face and throwing 
dirt in my eyes;... Then they made me blow up the 
light again, cursing me; and after a wliile they took 
me out of doors, and told me all they wanted was for 
my old man to join the -i^emocratic ticket; if he joined 
the Democratic ticket, they would have no more to do 



'34. Proceedings, Ku Klux Klan Trials, pp. 501-502. 



'>• ■■">„ 



84 



with him; and after they had got me out of doors, 
they dragged me into the big road, and they ravished 
me out there.. three of them. .burned her house. 

Flogging Proves Insufficient 

Shaffer Bowens, quoted above (on page 81) testi- 
fied regarding another raid: 

A. Yes, he had been on one other raid, when they v/hipped 
John Wright, This was in January, 1868, went to Negro 
cabins, found nobody in. Saw three persons running 
across the hill. They went back to v/here a woman by 
the name of Skates lived in a little cabin; they knocked 
the door of the cabin down. No one in. Yes it was a 
white women's cabin. Do not know why they broke her 
door down. Went from there about two miles to Jane 
Bohelier's house. Couldn't find anybody in the house; 
jerked up a planlc of the floor and there v^ere tv/o 
fellov;s, John and Jake Wright, Jerked up another planlc 
and there was Red John Moss, Took them up the road 
about tv/o or three hundred yards from the house; m^de 
them pull their clothes off. Cut twenty-five good 
hickories; com:nenced whipping them. After two or 
three licks Jake Wright and Moss ran, cap burst and 
gun did not go off; so they got av/ay. Then tooV John 
Wright, locked his arms aroujid a sapling and tied 
his hands. Joe Hardin, the leader, then whipped him 
severely. Then with the butt of his stick knocked 
him down two or three times. Vrfhen he was satisfied 



85 



he turned him loose, made him run and shot at him as 
he ran. Don't think he hit him, 
Q, Where did you go next? 

A, They turned and virent back to the houses; said they 
hadn't got through. They was going to take that woman 
out; and they had a pot of tar and lime, and was going 
to pouj? her full of it. She was v/hite; Joe Harding 
said he was going to have it done; went back and ordered 
her out; made her lie down and held up her clothes, 

(Objections) 

The Court: We might as well let the people hear, and 

knoT/ what things exist about us. ... 

A, Made her lie dov/n and held up her clothes; then 

ordered Elijah Ross Sepaugh to fetch the pot of tar 

and told him to pour it in; he obeyed. ,, Poured it into 

her, as much as he could; and took a paddle and rubbed 

it on her, 

Q, Poured it in v/here? 

A, I don't like to tell Then they told me 

to give her orders to leave in three days.,,, Mr. Harding 
was afraid they would recognize his voice.,,1 told her 
the orders. ,,,, then we scattered and went home,,,. 
Evidence to the effect that the Klan degenerated into lav/less 
bands of irresponsibles could be piled up. It took the 
Federal government to disband the organization. In all 
1250 v/ere convicted after the Act of 1870, i''or more than 
a decade after the close of the V^ar there was a general v/ave 
of lawlessness perhaps not equalled before in the South, and 



86 



certainly not since that time. Governor Clarke of Miss- 
issippi early summarized the situation as follows: "The 
terrible contest which the country has just passed has 
aroused in every section the fiercest passions of the 
human heart. Lawlessness seems to have culminated in the 
assassination of Mr. Lincoln, "^^ It has been estimated 
that 3500 persons were killed in the South during the first 
year after emancipation. There were 1884 killed during the 
year 1868,'^" During the ^Reconstruction Period lynching 
took on the connotation of death, following the lead of the 
West, A new tide of immigration had flocked to the latter 
section, including a goodly portion of thieves,, robbers 
and murders, many of v/hom were lynched. In the South, when 
lynching by exacting the death penalty nov/ became much more 
frequent than heretofore, the connotation of death was 
fixed, and has so remained. 

In four counties in Alabama, between April and 
July, 1865, a total of 17 Negroes v;ere lynched, one of 
whom was burned. Four of these were woman, "This is 
only a few of the murders ccram.itted on the ... freedmen 
of the above named counties" said the official in making 
the report, "57 in the state of Kentucky violence became 
"the expected order of the day," In 1868 a newspaper 
correspondent reported from Lebanon, Kentucky, as if it 



35, Quoted by J, Vv. Garner, op. clt. p. 59, 

36, Figures cited by Carter Woodson, T he Negro in Our History , 
source not stated. Only an estimate; number unknovm, 

37, Senate Document No, 2, 39th, Cong, 1st, Session, 



87 



were unusual, the following: "l am assured on the best 
authority that no gentleman has been hung in this neigh- 
borhood for the past fortnight," The Franklin, Ky,, 
"Weekly Conmionv/ealth" of March 31, 1871, gave one hundred 
fifteen instances of violence, such as shootings, hang- 
ings, whippings, and jail deliveries that had been report- 
ed during the period between 1867 and 1871,^^^ 

In conclusion Coulter says of the bands of law- 
less men in Kentucky during this period: "They left a 
heritage which has been a curse to the state since, a 
weakened respect for state authority, Lyncliings continued 
long as an outcropping of this spirit, though gradually 
becoming more infrequent; and feuds grew up in the 
moxintains of the eastern part of the state, spectacular 
though deadly, to give the state a fame all its own," 

Increase in Proportion of Negroes Lynched 

In the South there v/as an increase in the pro- 
portion of Negroes to the total number lynched, thanks 
partially but not wholly due to the Ku Kltuc Klan, The 
desperadoes had moved on toward the Vu'est, and inter- 
racial conflicts grew in number. The following facts 
were revealed by an examination of the files of "The New 

38, Coulter, op. cit. pp. 360-365, 



88 



York Times" for the three-year period, 1871-73: "^9 Dur- 
ing this period there v/ere at least seventy-five lynch- 
ings. Only twenty-six of these were in the North and V/est 
combined, while forty-nine were in eight Southern states. 
Of the twenty- six lynched in the North and West, twenty 
were whites, four were Negroes; one, a Malay, and one an 
Indian. Two v/ere charged with robbery, and two v^rith 
keeping a gambling outfit; two were desperadoes, and one 
a horse thief. One was charged with rape and eighteen 
with murder, ^^ Three Negroes were charged with murder, 
and one (in connection vdth a white man) with robbery. ^^ 

In the eight Southern states there were tv/enty- 
one whites and tvifenty- eight Negroes lynched. Of the 

wMtes, nine were charged v;ith murder, one with rape, and 

charged 

three with horse thievery. Of the negroes eight were/with 
murder, four with rape, and two with robbery. Fourteen, 

39, The cases as reported are evldelitly not complete. Cutler, 
who made the examination of the files of the New York 
Times, thinks this is particularly true with respect to 
the figures for the '.Vest; but in the light of the Recon- 
struction History considered too briefly above, and in 
the light of the figxires available beginning 1882, it 
would seem that these statistics are just as likely to 

be incomplete for the South as for the West. The 
plausibility of this statem.ent is much enhanced when 
we note that no lynclaings are reported for Miss,, Texas, 
Arkansas and Georgia. 

40, The only case of rape was that of the Malay who was shot 
and thrown overboard a ship near the coast of California 
for ravishing a sick girl, eleven years old. 

41, Noticeably throughout our study that the Negro has little 
trouble due to "crimes against property . 



89 



TABLE OF LYNCHIKGS FOR THREE YEARS, 1871-75 , 
IN EIGHT SOUTHER STATES 



According to the New York Times, from Cutler, pp. 151-2, 

I 

Alabama: 1 white, shot for murder. 

Kentucky: 2 Negroes hung for rape, 1 white for rape, 1 Negro 
hung for murder, 3 Negroes shot by masked men, 1 
Negro "murdered by Ku-Klux. 

Louisiana: 4 Negroes hung for murder, 3 horse thieves hung, 

Maryland: 1 Negro hung for arson, 

Missouri: 5 horse thieves hung, 1 Negro hung for rape 

("outrage") 1 white hung for murder, 3 whites 
hung for murder and robbery, 3 v/hites shot for 
defending and being bondsmen of county officials 
accused of peculation. 

South Carolina: 2 whites shot for murder, 10 Negroes shot 

and hung by Ku-Klux, 

Tennessee: 2 Negroes hung for robbery and arson, 1 Negro 
shot and hung for robbery and murder, 1 Negro 
shot for attempted outrage, 1 Negro hung and 
shot for murder, 1 white shot for mvirder of 
wife. 

Virginia: 1 desperado, horse thief and m.urderer hung. 

Totals: 21 whites; 28 Negroes, 17 for murder, 5 rape. 



90 



or one-half the total nximher were lynched "by the Ku Klux 
Klan" for unknown offenses, 42 Taking the whites and 
Negroes together, we have a total of seventeen lynched 
in the southern states for murder and five for rape. 
Cutler points out that the majority of these cases re- 
ported are of those forcibly taken from the custody of the 
law, "in some instances, the jails were broken into, and 
the prisoners were taken out and hanged or were killed 
in the jail; in other instances, the prisoners were taken 
from the officers and put to death before they could be 
taken to the jail. "45 (p. 152) 

This report contains two other interesting 
features: First, whereas before the Civil V-ar pro- 
secutions against lynchers were apt to bring a verdict, 
or at least sometimes did bring a verdict in favor of 
the prosecution, now the situation had changed. Al- 
though a majority of the seventy-five lynched were taken 
from jails and officers of the law, there were only tv^o 
cases in v/hich there was any attempt to take legal action 
against the lynchers. "In these two instances where 
attempts were made to prosecute the lynchers", says Cut- 
ler, "it does not appear that there was any measure of 
success," Vife note also that one-half, or fourteen, of 

42. This is interesting in that it is the beginning", so far 
as we have discovered, of the practice not yet ended - 
lynching for"offense unknown". 

43, This aspect of the report indicates that it v/as the cases 
in which officers of the lav/ -.vere involved that got into 
the papers. How many others in which they too^ no part, 
we shall never know. 



91 



those lynched In the eight southern states were lynched 
by the Ku Klxuc, It has been said that the death of 
the Klan was a tragedy, and here we come to an Indication 
of the significance of the statement. 

In March, 1869, the Grand Wizard of the Klan,^ 
declared that in view of the legislation against the 
order, 45 and in view of the fact that it had largely 
served its fvmction of protecting life and property;46 
furthermore, as some of the members had violated positive 
orders, and others outside the Klan had committed deeds 
of violence in its name; therefore, in keeping with the 
power that had been invested in him to decide questions 
of paramount importance to the interests of the order, 
he declared that the Ku Klxix Klan was dissolved and dis- 
banded, *''' At this time the few respectable citizens who 
remained in the Klan dropped out; but the Klan was not 
dissolved. For several years afterv/ard "Ku Klxixing" went 
on; in some cases by members, and no doubt in others by 
non-members. 

The Ku Klux Klan was an effect, a result, of 
the conditions that brought it forth as a regulator of 
political and social matters. It was in turn a cause of 

44, lien. N.B. Forrest of i-'t. Pillow fame, lliis possibly 
throY/s more light on the nature of the relations of the 
Klan and the Negro, 

45, In extra session, September, 1868, the legislature of 
Tenn, passed a stringent anti-PIlan statute, 

46, An ironical statement indeed in viev/ of the testimony 
quoted above; and yet there must have been some truth 
in it, 

47, Cf. J. C, Lester and D, L, Wilson, Ku Klux Klan (1884), 



92 



untold lawlessness. Throughout the realm of social 
phenomena effects become In turn causes. Here we have 
the same vicious circle that has characterized race 
relationships in the South since the days of Reconstruc- 
tion: The Negro doesn't do to suit usj he hasn't the 
right color and the right politics, therefore v/e lynch him 
and flog him; he is inferior, therefore we do not give 
him a chance at an education, a chance for improvement; 
therefore he does not improve even in the qualities where 
it would he possible - that is, he doesn't improve enough 
that we can afford to admit his ability to do so; he can't 
change his color and his past history, and we v/on't admit 
his right to equal protection before the lav/ until he does 
soj It was such a logic as this that came out of those 
hectic days of Reconstruction and the Ku Klux Klan, and 
it functions today in the minds of many southern men in a 
vicious circle of cause and effect, effect and cause, to 
the detriment of that harmonious adjustment of the two 
races which hangs always in the distance like a mirage, 
in sight, possible of attainment, but not reached. 

With the regaining of political pov/er by the 
southern white man during the seventies, began a new era 
in southern history. The human material upon v/hich the 
outcome of the new era depended was composed of four million 
Negroes, lineducated, without property, largely un-moral 
rather than immoral, helpless and childish; and about 
eight million whites, materially ruined, "but resolute to 



•^4- vt -■('.; - 



93 



rebuild society, if not on the old lines, on a basis that 
meant that under no circiimstances v/ould they admit to 
equality those who had been their slaves and who for a 
few short years had been their rulers." The method of 
summary punishment of those v/ho were, believed, or acted, 
differently had been the contribution of the organization 
that once meant well - the Ku Kliix Klan, Respect for law 
on the part of southern white men had been weakened beyond 
repair for years if not generations to come. The dis- 
position to settle affairs by extra-legal methods had 
been strengthened; it had become a thoroughly ingrained 
trait in the culture-complex of the South; so that law- 
lessness in general, and flogging and lynching in 
particular, have since been characteristic of the section. 

Here was the beginning of a long, slov/, upv;ard 
trend toward an harmonious adjustment of tv/o racial groups 
of American citizens to one another in the same physical, 
economic 1 political and legal, - and, inevitably social] - 
environment. The darker side of the history of this pro- 
cess of adjustment of the races to one another, and 
especially to the socially necessary procedures of lawp 
will largely occupy oiir attention during the remainder 
of this study-. Let us first turn out attention to a 
statistical analysis of mob violence since 1881» 



_ ' " 



94 



CHAPTER V 
LYNCHINGS: A STATISTICAL ANALYSIS 

There are no comprehensive statistics on flosciiigs. 
During the present century this form of lav/lessnes has been 
a negligible factor except in the case of the modern Ku 
Klux Klan. A statistical study must, therefore, be con- 
fined to lynchings which, hov/evor, form the major part of 
mob violence in the South. 

For our first statistics of lynchings v/e are in- 
debted to the Chicago Tribune which has, since 1881, 
kept as accurate figures as could be obtained through the 
newspapers. Holt, in 1883, and Cutler a decade later, 
found that newspaper figures must be accepted in view of 
the impossibility of getting personal information from 
officials and others at the point of lynchings.-'-^ Through- 

' Yl The subject of this organization has recently received 
analytical treatment by Professor J. M. Mecklin ( The 
Ku Klux Klan , 1S24) . 
la. George C. Holt, Lynching and Mobs ;'jnerican Journal of 
Social Science , No. 32, Saratoga Papers 1894, p. 67, 
Library of Congress; Cutler, LynchLaw, p. 156-157. 



95 



out this period an annual feature of the Tribune has been 
the publication of a list of crimes, suicides, lynchings 
and legal executions. This, as Cutler points out, "gives 
at least a presvimption in favor of fulness and completeness 
in the record," 

Cutler has corrected the Tribune figures up to 1904, 
it seems, as accurately as it is possible to do» He careful- 
ly went over the lists of names of the persons lynched as 
published each year during the twenty- two year period, 1882- 
1903. In a few instances he foiind errors in the totals as 
listed by the Tribune. Some of these errors were due merely 
to mistakes in adding up the lists; others v/ere due to a 
failure to distinguish between a lynching and persons lynch- 
ed. Cases in which a father and son, or five horse- thieves, 
or two Negroes had been lynched v/ere found to have been count- 
ed as one. During the period studied by Cutler this distinc- 
tion between lynching and persons lynched was more important 
than for later years in that more frequently a ntunber of per- 
sons were lynched in a single mob episode. In a fev/ notable 
instances in more recent years a number of persons have 
perished as a result of one episode of mob action. In this 
Chapter, hov/ever, we shall use the v/ord lynching to denote 
a person lynched unless otherv/ise stated. 

The Chicago Tribtme gives the following facts 
with regard to lynchings each year: the date of the lynch- 
ing, the name of the victim, his color and nationality, the 
alleged crime for which he was lynched, and the town and 
state v.'here the lynching occurred. In this list are in- 



Tfslisq 



96 



eluded, of course, only those who have met death at the 
hands of mobs. There is no account of the attempted 
lynchings, or of the persons who suffered injuries as a 
result of mob violence. During the past fifteen years, 
however, the Department of Records and Research at Tuske- 
gee Institute, Alabama, and the National Association for 
the Advancement of Colored People, in New York, have kept 
records which include attempted lynchings as well as 
those actually consumated. To these figures reference is 
made in a later chapter. They are hardly worth consider- 
ing in any elaborate statistical manner, for they are 
doubtless more incomplete than figures on actual lynchings, 
A prevented lynching is often not exciting enough to get 
into the newspapers, while tills is apparently seldom 
true of an actual lynching. 

It must be remembered that on one point the 
Tribune information is sure to be misleading: viz., the 
name of the town from which a lynching was reported is 
listed as the place of its occurrence. It is significant 
that very few lynchings occur in towns; almost all of them 
occvir in the country. This does not mean, of course, that 
it is always rural people who do the lynching; often it 
is not. This same inaccuracy inevitably gets into the 
Tuskegee and NAACP records, but not so frequently as these 
institutions give fuller details from v/hich one can more 
correctly determine the exact place of a lynching. From 
all available records it is possible to get figures accuj?ate 



97 



enough for purposes of statistical analysis. This does 
not mean that every lynching which occurs gets into the 
records of all or either of the three sources referred to 
above. The statistics furnished by the NAACP and by 
Tuskegee up to the time they began keeping records came 
from the Tribune. Since this time there is often a slight 
variance between the figures, especially those of Tuske- 
gee and of the NAACP. The figures of the latter organization 
and those of the Tribune are in close agreement. The Tuske- 
gee figtires are more conservative for the years in 7/hich 
there is a difference, due largely to a difference in the 
conception of what constitutes a lynching. For example, 
a posse of white men out hunting for a Negro supposed to 
have committed a crime come upon this Negro, or some other 
Negro, who is shot down. Tuskegee would hardly list this 
as a lynching, whereas the other organizations would con- 
sider this a mob murder and would list it. 

For our ptirposes, therefore, it seems advisable 
to use the NAACP figures, v/hich are at little variance, 
after all, with those of Tuskegee. ^ The former organi- 
zation's figures are themselves conservative as they do 
not list a lynching unless it appeared in print, whereas 
even yet in certain southern states there are a few lynch- 
ings which are not reported in the newspaper s,^ Por the 

2, The only year in which there is a great variation is for 
1915, in which 27 Mexicans were killed in Texas by mobs. 
These are not listed by Tuskegee as lynchings, 

3, Besides those Negroes killed in race riots, who are not 
listed as lynching victims, personal letters from both 
Whites and Negroes indicate the truth of the statement 
made above. 



noiJaAonoo 



98 



years, 1882-1904, the corrections made by Cutler are in- 
cluded in the analysis, thus somewhat increasing the 
NAACP figures for those years. Due to the care v/ith 
which Cutler analyzed the figures up to 1904, and with the 
vast amount of material available for the period since 
that time, it would seem that trustworthy deductions and 
possibly valuable conclusions might be ari»ived at by a 
careful analysis, to which we proceed. 

Table I shows the number of persons lynched by 
section and by month since 1882, The total for the South 
is 3,939; for the West, 717 and for the East, 134, making 
a grand total of 4,799 lynchings since 1882, ^ Graph I 
shows that the curve for the East is fairly smooth, v/ith 
its peak coming in June, The curve for the 7/est is more 
irregular v/ith a rise in March and April, then a drop in 
May and another rise in August, The curve for the South 
is very irregular, running from 250 for February to the 
peak at 445 for July, After a sharp drop to 331 in 
September, there is a slight rise to 342 in October, 
Graph II shows the total for the three sections of the 
country during the period, ^The March and October rises 
come from the South, and are doubtless due largely to the 
fact that at these periods of the year the whites and 
Negroes are in closer contact through making arrangements 

4, This includes 9 lynchings, month unknown. In this Chapter 
when "East" is used as a division of the country instead 
of "North" v/e are, for the sake of comparison, using the 
divisions as studied for the earlier period by Cutler in 
v/hich he listed Missoviri as a southern state and Oklahoma 
as a v/estern state. 



99 



TABLE I 



LYNCHINGS BY SECTION AND BY MONTH PROM 1882 to 1928^^ 



Month South 7/est East Totals 



January 


263 


60 


9 


332 


February 


253 


45 


10 


308 


March 


297 


63 


7 


.367 


April 


281 


72 


11 


364 


May 


346 


54 


12 


412 


June 


403 


61 


21 


485 


July 


445 


64 


14 


523 


Aiigust 


357 


73 


14 


444 


September 


331 


67 


14 


412 


October 


342 


63 


11 


416 


November 


297 


36 


7 


340 


December 


324 


59 


4 


387 


Unknown month 








9 


TOTALS 


3,939 


717 


134 


4,799 



■K-Compiled from Cutler and from the NAACP files. 



100 



for work, and dividing the crops, respectively. The peak 
comes in July, when more cases of rape and murder are alleg- 
ed, and when both Negroes and v/hltes are more idle, and 
thus apt to become involved in conflicts,^ 

Table II and Graph III show the ntimber of persons 
lynched per month by section from 1900 to 1928. It will 
be noted that the curves for the East and for the West dur- 
ing this period are more regular, as v/ell as very low, while 
that for the South is more irregular than for the whole 
period for which statistics are available. The rise in 
March and October is more sharp, while the top of the curve 
from May to September is more even. The peak comes again in 
July vd.th 180, but drops only to 179 in Avigust, and 150 in 
September, with a rise to 176 for October, Table III and 
Graph IV show the totals for the United States over this 
period, 1900 to 1928, The drop in the curve for the '.Vest in 
July and the rise of the curves for both East and West in 
August result in a noticeable difference in this curve; 
viz., that the peak comes in August, at 199, ten above the 
July mark. In October it rises again from 166 to 183, then 
drops to 148 in November, and to 116 in December, The 
total lynchlngs per month for the period is 1,878, The 
month in which 5 lynchlngs oc cured is not known, hence the 
total of all lynchlngs recorded for the period is 1,883, 
of which 1,737 occurred in the South, 






101 




102 



GRAPH II 



LYNCHINGS, BY MONTHS, IN U. S. Prom 1882-1928 



I 'XBOA M3N '-00 U3SS3 T T3Jjna)l 



'3 



^ ^ t 4 t 



^ t u 




103 



TABLE II 



LYNCHINGS IN THE UNITED STATES BY SECTION BY MONTH, 1900-1928''- 



Month 



South 



West 



Easi 



Totals 



January 


118 


10 


1 


129 


February 


110 


2 


2 


114 


March 


140 


8 


1 


149 


April 


109 


12 


2 


123 


May 


166 


13 





179 


June 


169 


11 


3 


183 


July 


180 


7 


2 


189 


Avigust 


179 


15 


5 


199 


September 


150 


13 


3 


166 


October 


176 


5 


2 


183 


November 


139 


7 


2 


148 


December 


97 


16 


3 


116 


UnknoY/n 


4 





1 


5 


TOTALS 


1,737 


119 


27 


1,883 



•K- Compiled from the NAACP files. 

Cutler maintains that the above figures are in error for the 
years 1900, to 1903, due to a confusing of "lynchings" and 

number of persons lynched". He v/ent over the material very 
carefully and as a result found that there had been 17 more 
persons lynched than are shovm by the above figures. Thus 
there have been, according to the correction, 1909 persons 
lynched since 1900, 



8I-. 







104 



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KTJi- 




wm 




llMip 



} 



i/M^yyuKj/^ 







105 



TABLE III 



LYNCHINGS PER MONTH IN THE UNITED STATES, 1900 to 1928* 



January 


129 


February 


114 


March 


149 


April 


123 


May 


117 


June 


183 


July 


189 


August 


199 


September 


166 


October 


183 


November 


148 


December 


116 


TOTAL 


1,878 (i/Ii 



1,878 (i/lonth uiilcnov/n, 5, hence 1883). 



LYNCHINGS IN THE UNITIID STATES BY I.TOmES. 1900-1928 , 



106 



GRAPH IV 



Number; 



300 



60 
40 
20 








U.S. : 

























































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i 

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o 



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o 

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107 



TABLE IV 



NUMBER OP PERSONS LYNCHED, BY GEOGRAPHICiJL DIVISIONS AND 
STATES, AND BY COLOR, 1889-1928 



iection and 

Division 


Total 
Number 


TVTilte 
"Other" 


Per 
^ent 


Negro 


Per 
Cent 


UNITED STATES 


3,614 


737 


20.4 


2,877 


79.6 


THE NORTH 


235 


121 


51.9 


114 


48.1 



New England 


1 


Maine 


1 


New Hamt) shire 





Vermont 





Massachusetts 





Rhode Island 





Connecticut 





Middle Atlantic 


8 


New York 


3 


Nev,' Jersey 


1 


Pennsylvania 


4 


East North Central 


65 


Ohio 


13 


Indiana 


19 


Illinois 


25 


Michigan 


4 


7\fi3Consin 


4 


West North Central 


161 


Minnesota 


7 


Iowa 


8 


Missouri 


89 


North Dakota 


2 


South Dakota 


15 


Nebraska 


18 


Kansas 


24 



1 


100,0 


1 


100.0 
































4 


50.0 


2 


66.6 


1 


100.0 


1 


25.0 


34 


53.3 


4 


30.7 


10 


55.0 


13 


52.0 


3 


75.0 


4 


100. 


82 


50.9 


4 


57.1 


5 


62.5 


31 


34.9 


2 


100,0 


13 


100.0 


15 


83.3 


12 


50,0 













































4 


50.0 


1 


33.4 








3 


75.0 


31 


46.7 


9 


69.3 


9 


45.0 


12 


48.0 


1 


25.0 








79 


49.1 


3 


42.9 


3 


37.5 


58 


65.1 














3 


16.7 


12 


50.0 



THE SOUTH 3,198 447 14.0 2,751 86.0 



TABLE IV (Cont'd) 



108 



Total 
Number 



V-Tilte 
"Other" 



Per 
Cent 



Negro 



Per 
Gent 



South Atlantic 


1,016 


86 


8,5 


930 


91.5 


Delev/are 


1 








1 


100. 


Maryland 


17 


2 


11.7 


15 


88.3 


Virginia 


83 


11 


13.3 


72 


86.8 


West Virginia 


32 


8 


25.0 


24 


75.0 


North Carolina 


66 


12 


18.2 


54 


81.8 


South Carolina 


134 


6 


4.5 


128 


95.5 


Georgia 


451 


28 


6.2 


423 


93.8 


Florida 


232 


19 


8.2 


213 


91.8 



Dlst. of Col, 



East South Central 


1,123 


141 


12.5 


982 


87.5 


Kentucky 


175 


45 


25.7 


130 


74.3 


Tennessee 


207 


36 


17.4 


171 


82.6 


Alabama 


304 


35 


11.5 


269 


88.5 


Mississippi 


437 


25 


5.7 


412 


94.3 


West South Central 


1,059 


220 


20.7 


839 


79.3 


Arkansas 


239 


33 


13.8 


206 


86.2 


Louisiana 


337 


50 


14.8 


287 


85.2 


Oklahoma 


104 


62 


59.6 


42 


40.4 


Texas 


379 


75 


19.8 


304 


80.2 



THE -/TEST 



166 



j.54 



92.7 



12 



7.3 



Mountain 
Montana 
Idaho 
Wyoming 
Colorado 
New Mexico 
Arizona 
Utah 
Nevada 

Pacific Division 
Washington 
Oregon 
California 



115 


106 


92.2 


23 


23 


100. 


11 


11 


100. 


34 


29 


85.3 


20 


18 


90.0 


14 


12 


85.7 


8 


8 


100. 


1 


1 


100. 


4 


4 


100. 


51 


48 


94.1 


17 


17 


100. 


4 


3 


75. 


30 


28 


93.3 



9 


7.8 














5 


14.7 


2 


10.0 


2 


14.3 




















3 


5.6 








1 


25. 


2 


6.4 



Alaska and Unlaiovm 15 15 100. 
(Compiled from figures provided by the N.A.A.C.P,), 







109 



Table IV shows the number of persons lynched by 
geographical divisions, by states, and by race from 1889 to 
1928. Twenty per cent of the total 3,614 lynched, or 737, 
were v/hites and "other" - including Indians and Mexicans, 
Thus 79.6 per cent, or 2,877 of the persons lynched during 
the period were Negroes. More than 50 per cent of all 
persons lynched in every division except the South v/ere 
whites. In the South only 14 per cent were v/hite and 86 
per cent Negroes, although more than 50 per cent of all 
whites lynched were in the South, Chart I shows the 
relative number of persons lynched by geographical di- 
visions during the period. Of the total 3,614, there were 
235 in the North, 166 in the Y/est, and 3,198 in the South.^ 

Table V shows the number of persons lynched by 
five-year periods since 1882, by race and by sex. Of the 
total 781 persons lynched between 1882-87, 490 were v/hites, 
four of whom v/ere women, as compared to a total of 291 
Negroes, five of whom were v/omen. In no five-year period 
and in no year since that date have more whites than Negroes 
been lynched. The peak of the totals comes for the period 
1892-97 Y/hen 309 whites and 634 Negroes were lynched. This 
is also the peak for women lynched, when eight v/hite and 18 
colored v/omen thus met death. During all but two of the 
five-year periods since 1882 there has been a decrease in the 
number of whites lynched. This also holds true for the Negroes, 

5. In Table IV and Chart I we have followed the Census method 
of Divisions, 



010 



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112 



From 1902-1912 there were 86 whites lynched, 43 for each 
five-year period. Then in the year 1915 there was a total 
of 43 white lynched, bringing the five-year total to 59, 
The two exceptions noted in the general decline in the 
total number of Negroes lynched comes at the half-decades 
ending in 1912, and 1922. In 1919 alone 79 Negroes were 
lynched, bringing the total for the period 1917-1922 up to 
299. Since 1897 there have been only seven white women 
lynched, while there have been 44 Negro v/omen lynched. 
Durir^ 1927 there was a total of 21 lynchings, all males, 
19 of whom v/ere Negroes, In the total of 4,799 we have 
counted 97 for 1902 instead of 94 as listed by the NAACP 
and the Chicago Tribune, Dr. Cutler went over the 
material very carefully in 1903 and found that there had 
been 94 lynchings but 97 persons lynched. 

Graph V shov.'s the proportion of Negroes and 
whites lynched for the period linder consideration. The 
peak for the whites v/as reached during the first period 
at 490; then there Y,ras a sharp decline to 310, ^Hiring the 
next period there v/as a decline of only one, but follov/lxjg 
that time came a very sharp decline to 139, then to 45 
for the period 1902-1907. During 1927 only two v/hites were 
lynched, one in California and one in Florida. Since the 
first period the number of Negroes lynched has been higher 
than that of the whites. The percentages for the different 
periods are shov/n in Table V, The highest percentage of 
Negroes lynched was for the period ending 1922, when 93,4 
per cent of the 329 persons lynched v/ere Negroes, During 



113 



GRAPH V 



KUMBER LYNCHED 1882-1927 BY RACE PER^IVE^YEAR PERIODS 



O KE -ON 'XbOA, MSN '-00 M3SS3 V 13d 




114 



the forty-five years under consideration the proportion 
of Negroes lynched has risen from 37,3 to 90,5 while that 
of the whites has declined from 62.7 to 9.5. During this 
time there has been a total of 4,799 lynchings, 3,374 of 
which v/ere Negroes, or 70,5 of the total. 

Graph VI shov;s the number of persons lynched in 
the United States since 1882 by race and by years. The 
line representing the whites reaches its peak at 211 in 
1884. The top line represents the total number lynched by 
years, and reaches its peak at 235 in 1892, Althoxigh there 
has been a general decline since that date, the c\irves are 
rather irregular throughout the period. 

Graph VII shows the nxamber of whites, Negroes, and 
"others" lynched in the United States since 1900. Mexicans 
are considered as whites; the six represented by the "others" 
line were Indians and Chinese. In 1915 a total of 43 
whites, 27 of whom were Mexicans, were lynched, comprising 
the only sharp irregularity in the curve. For the past 
ten years relatively fev whites - a total of 40 - have been 
lynched. The curve for the Negroes is very irregular. The 
peak is at 108 in 1901, then comes a rather marked decline 
to 59 in 1907. There is a sharp rise to 92 in 1908, which 
figure has not since been equalled. Prom 48 in 1917 there 
was a rise to 63 in 1918 and 79 in 1919, The lowest mark 
is at 1924 when 15 Negroes were lynched. In 1926 there v/ere 
26 Negro men and two Negro women lynched, and in 1927 19 
Negro males v/ere lynched. 



^ 



■'f 



% 



115 



GRAPH VII 



NUMBER OP VffllTES, NEGROES AND OTHERS LYNCHED BY YEARS 1900-1928 



^^ 



'^lu>wii>jtrv— 





^/f 



to \ X > H 



5 L 1 ^ <^ /o // >% /^ /r rr /^ n ir it i* 



116 



Table VI and Chart II shov/ the proportion of 
lynchings for various alleged crimes from 1889 to 1928, 
Of the 3,614 v/hites and Negroes lynched during the period 
1,354 or more than 37 per cent were charged with mtirder. 
Of the whites lynched 46.6 per cent were charged with 
murder as compared to 35.1 per cent of the Negroes. Six- 
teen per cent of the Negroes as compared to 6.3 per cent 
of the whites were accused of rape. This does not necessar- 
ily mean that 477 or more Negroes have committed rape since 
1889, As is indicated in Chapter VII, a Negro is frequent- 
ly charged with rape or an attack upon a woman when it is 
for an entirely different reason that he is lynched. It 
is noticeable in this connection that for crimes against 
the person other than those involving v/omen about the 
same percentage of Negroes and whites are lynched. The 
percentage of persons lynched for crimes against property 
is high for the whites and low for the Negroes while the 
reverse is true as to the crime of rape. At least a part 
of this is possibly to be accounted for by the fact that 
white men can no longer afford to lynch a Negro without 
some excuse, and it is more and more necessary to have one 
better than that the Negro villi not pay a bill, or that he 
refuses to work for a consideration set by the white man. 
Disputes over property accoiint for many of the murder 
charges against the Negro, There are, on the other hand, 

6. This table follov/s the NAaCP classification of crimes, and 
is different from that used elsewhere in the study. See 
Chapter VI et passim. 



117 





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119 



"dangerous Negroes", as there are also white men who do 
not hesitate to take human life, lliere are other Negroes 
who are goaded to desperation and who actually commit 
murder when they otherwise would not. Still others are 
goaded into a fight v/ith a v/hite man and are charged with 
"mtirderous assault , and thus this crime of fighting with 
a white man is listed on Table VI as murder. 

Lynching States and Negro Population 

Turning attention to lynchings in the South, we 
note that, since 1882, 3,939 or more than 82 per cent of 
all lynchings have occurred in this section. Between 1889 
and 1918 about 88 per cent of all lynchings in the country 
occurred in the South and for the past twenty years over 
90 per cent of all lynchings have occtirred in the South, 
Prom 1889 to 1918 about 78 per cent of all persons lynched 
in the nation were Negroes, According to Table IV, from 
1889 to 1928, a total of 2,877 of the 3,614 persons lynched 
were Negroes or 79.6 per cent. From 1914 to 1918, 81,2 
per cent of all persons lynched were Negroes, and during 
the past decade practically 95 per cent of all persons 
lynched were Negroes, A total of 2,751 or 86 per cent of 
all Negroes lynched have been lynched in the South. Four- 
teen per cent of all persons lynched in the South since 
1889 have been whites, while more than 60 per cent of all 
whites lynched have been in the South. Since 1900, 70 
per cent, and during the past decade 74 per cent of all 
whites lynched have been in the South, Thus it Is seen 



120 



that in general mob violence of this type is characteris- 
tically Southern, and is increasingly so with the passing 
of years. 

Chart III shov/s the ranlcing of the States of the 
Union according to the person' lynched since 1889, The first 
eleven states, with a total of 2,997, are southern. All 
of these states have had more than 100 lynchings during the 
period, ranging from 104 for Oklahoma to 451 for Georgia, 
Virginia with 83, Maryland with 17, and Delev.rare with 1, 
are the only southern states which have had less tlian 100 
lynchings during the period. Of the 235 persons lynched 
in the North since 1889, 121 or 51,9 per cent have been 
white. Practically all (154) of the 166 persons lynched 
in the '/Vest, have been whites and Mexicans, Only three 
Negroes have been lynched in the Pacific Division, and 
nine in the Moxmtain Division since 1900. 

It has been noted that during the present Century 
there has been a more marked concentration of lynchings in 
the South than for the whole period for v/hich we have 
statistics. Chart IV shows the rank of the southern states 
in the number of persons lynched since 1900, The rank of 
these states is different from that shown in Chart III. 
i/?hereas Georgia ranks first for the period 1889 to 1928 it 
is in the lead of Mississippi by only 14; but during the 
present Century, Georgia leads all states in the number of 
persons lynched and is 27 in the lead of Mississippi v/lth 
266 lynchings. The whole range is from one for Delev/are to 



■^%, 



CHART IV 



121 



LYNCHINGS BY STATE IN THE SOUTH, 1900-1928 
Ranking of States by Persons Lynched 

[m;(.uiuu4UUi![ii:ii:iiir!iup:iij/™nn:i jiTjmniHTrmTircii i lui ; riTrTny-yp-jm 



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122 



293 for Georgia, Whereas Florida ranks eighth for the 
period since 1882, during the past 28 years It ranks 
fifth, with 156 lynchlngs. North Carolina has changed 
its ranlc from the thirteenth to the tv/elfth, Alabama 
has shifted from fifth to sixth; Arkansas from sixth to 
seventh; Tennessee from seventh to eighth; and Virginia 
from twelth to thirteenth. Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, 
Louisana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West 
Virginia, Delev/are and Maryland, rank the same for the 
two periods. 

Thus on the whole there has not only been a 
concentration of lynchlngs in the South during the pre- 
sent century but a gradual shift toward the South-east, 
It is interesting to note that whereas the center of 
lynchlngs is moving to the South-east the center of the 
Negro population is in a different direction. Table 
VII shows that since 1790 the general trend of the Negro 
population has been toward the South-west. In 1790 the 
center of Negro population was in Dinv/iddle County, 
Virginia, and by 1880 it had moved 443 miles South-west, 
to Walker County, Georgia. During each decade since 
that time there has been a slight slilft in the same 
direction until 1920 when the center had changed to the 
North-east from Dekalb County, Alabama, back to '.Valker 
County, Georgia, 

Table VIII shov/s the total and the Negro population 
by states, and the per cent Negro of the total population by 



123 



T.\BLE VII 



CENTER OP THE NEGRO POPULATION: 1790, 1880-1920 



Census 

Year 



Location of Center. 
Approximate location by tOTms 



Deciennial 
Movement in 
Miles 



1790 25 miles west-southeast of Peters- 
burg, Dinwiddle County, Virginia. 

1880 10,4 miles east of Lafayette, in 
Walker County, Georgia. 

1890 15,7 miles Southv/est of Lafayette 
Walker County, Georgia. 

1900 10,7 miles northeast of Fort 

Payne, Dekalb County, Alabama, 

1910 5,4 miles north-northeast of Port 
Payne, Dekalb County, Alabama, 

1920 1,8 north-northeast of Rising 
Fawn, Georgia, 



443 miles South- 
west, 

20,5 miles 

Southwest 

9,5 miles 

Southwest, 

5,8 miles West- 
southwest 

21,5 miles North- 
east, 



(Negro Year Book, 1925-6, p, 441) 



124 



states in 1920," < Since 1880 there has been a general, 
thoiigh small decline in the percentage Negro of the total 
population. Taking the successive decades in order from 
1880 to 1920 the Negro population formed the following 
respective percentages of the total population of the 
South: 1880, 36.0 per cent; 1890, 33.8 per cent; 1900, 
32,3 per cent; 1910, 29.8 per cent; and in 1920, 26.9 
per cent. During this time the percentage Ylhlte of the 
total population for the decades was: 1880, 63,9 per cent; 
1890, 65.9 per cent; 1900, 67,4 per cent; 1910, 69,9 per 
cent and in 1920, 72,9 per centr] During the entire period 
the percentage of "others"- Indians, Chinese, Japanese, 
has been less than one-half of one per cent of the total. 
The foreign born v/hite population is less in the South 
than in any other section of the country. Thus the 
population of the South is almost entirely made up of 
"native" Americans, white and black. 

Comparing the rank of the Southern States in 
Table VTII with Chart III it is shovm that numerically 
Georgia leads in Negro population, as v/ell as in lynchings, 
v;ith Mississippi coming second, Alabama ranks third ac- 
cording to Negro population. South Carolina fourth, 
Louisiana fifth, Virginia sixth. North Carolina seventh, 
Arkansas eighth, Tennessee ninth, and Florida tenth. Thus 

7, 'i'he 1920 f^lgures are used here for the general purpose at 
hand. In a later Chapter v/here more definite statistics 
are treated according as they apply to particular states 
and counties, population statistics for 1910 are used 
along with those of 1920, 



%"■- 



125 



it is shov/n that there is not a very close correlation 
betv/een the total number of Negroes in a state and the 
number of lynchings. I'his is still more noticeable when 
we note the ranlc of the states according to the per cent 
Negro of the total population, Mississippi ranlcs first 
with 52.2 per cent Negro population. South Carolina ranlcs 
second v/ith 51,4 Negro population, although this state 
ranks fourth according to the total Negro population, and 
tenth according to the number of persons lynched within 
her borders since 1900, During this time, also, there 
has been only one white man lynched in South Carolina, 
Georgia ranks third according to the percentage Negro 
of the total population, although first according to the 
total number of Negroes, and first according to the 
niomber of persons lynched, and the number of Negroes 
lynched. Whereas Virginia ranks thirteenth in the number 
of persons lynched since 1900, she ranks seventh in 
percentage and sixth in total Negro population, "hereas 
Florida ranlcs fifth according to lynchings, she ranks 
sixth in percentage and tenth in total Negro population. 

From the foregoing Tables and Charts it is 
evident that lynchings, although largely concentrated in 
the South, are not as frequent in all southern states as 
in some states of other sections of the coujitry. Taking 
the period from 1889 to 1928 we note tliat Virgina, North 
Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland and Deleware rank lower 
in the number of persons lynched than certain states of 
other sections. In Y/est Virginia where 5,9 per cent of the 



126 



TABLE VIII 



TOTAL AND NEGRO POPULATION BY STATES AND PER CENT NEGRO 
POPULATION OF TOTAL IN EACH STATE IN 1920 









Per cent Negro 




Total popu- 


Negro popu- 


in total popu- 


STATES 


lation 


lation 


lation 


NEW ENGLAND 








Maine 


768,014 


1,310 


0.2 


New Hampshire 


443,083 


621 


0.1 


Vermont 


352,428 


572 


0.2 


Massachusetts 


3,852,356 


45,466 


1.2 


Rhode Island 


604,397 


10,036 


1,7 


Connecticut 


1,380,631 


21,046 


1.5 


MIDDLE ATLANTIC 








New York 


10,385,227 


198,483 


1.9 


New Jersey 


3,155,900 


117,132 


3.7 


Pennsylvania 


8,720,017 


284,568 


3.3 


EAST N. CENTRAL 








Ohio 


5,759,394 


186,187 


3.2 


Indiana 


2,930,309 


80,810 


2.8 


Illinois 


6,485,280 


182,274 


2.8 


Michigan 


3,668,412 


60,082 


1.6 


Wisconsin 


2,632,067 


5,201 


0.2 


WEST N. CENTRAL 








Minnesota 


2,387,125 


8,809 


0.4 


Iowa 


2,404,421 


19,005 


0.8 


Missoxiri 


3,404,055 


178,241 


5.2 


North Dakota 


646,872 


467 


0.1 


South Dakota 


636,547 


832 


0.1 


Nebraska 


1,296,372 


13,242 


1.0 


Kansas 


1,769,257 


57,925 


3.3 


SOUTH ATLANTIC 








Deleware 


223,003 


30,335 


13.6 


Maryland 


1,449,661 


244,479 


16.9 


District of Col. 


437,579 


109,966 


25. If 


Virginia 


2,309,187 


690,017 


29. 9C 


W. Virginia 


1,463,701 


86,345 


5.9 


North Carolina 


2,559,123 


663,407 


29.81 


South Carolina 


1,683,724 


864,719 


51. 4 'i 


Georgia 


2,895,832 


1,206,365 


41.7:5 


Florida 


968,470 


329,487 


34.0 


EAST SOUTH CENTRAL 






Kentucky 


2,416,630 


235,938 


9.8 


Tennessee 


2,337,885 


450,758 


19.2^!) 


Alabmna 


2,348,174 


900,652 


38.43 


Mississippi 


1,790,618 


935,184 


52.2/ 



I.O 



TABLE VIII (Cont'd) 



127 









Per 


cent Negro 




Total popu- 


Negro popu- 


in 


total popu- 


STATES 


lation 


lation 


lation 


'iVEZI SOUTH CENTRAL 










Arkansas 


1,752,204 


472,220 




27,0*? 


Louisiana 


1,798,509 


700,257 




38.0/ 


Oklahoma 


2,028,283 


149,408 




7.4 


5exas 


4,663,228 


241,694 




15.4 


MOUNTAIN 










Montana 


548,889 


1,658 




0.3 


Idaho 


431,866 


920 




2.0 


Wyoming 


194,402 


1,375 




7.0 


Colorado 


939,629 


11,318 




1.2 


Ne^Y Mexico 


360,350 


5,333 




1.6 


Arizona 


334,162 


8,005 




2.4 


Utah 


449,386 


1,446 




0.3 


Nevada 


77,417 


346 




4.0 


PACIFIC 










Washington 


1,356,621 


6,883 




0.5 


Oregon 


783,389 


2,144 




0.3 


California 


3,426,861 


38,763 




1.1 



(Negro Year Book, 1925-6, p. 435) 



128 



total population Is Negro, there have been 17 persons lynch- 
ed since 1900, fifteen of whom were Negroes, In Maryland 
16.9 per cent of the total population is Negro, and yet only 
seven Negroes and no whites have been lynched since 1900« 

In Illinois, on the other hand, where Negroes 
fvirnished only 2.8 per cent of the total population in 1920 
(and it was much less before the great migration during and 
immediately after the World War), there have been during 
the past twenty-eight years fourteen lynchings, only two of 
v/hich were whites. Illinois has long been among the first 
of the non-southern states in the nvunber of lynchings. 
Since 1890, ten v/hite men and fifteen Negroes have been 
lynched in that State, While most of the whites were lynch- 
ed for murder (5), and rape (4), the last one v/as lynched 
at Collinsville, Madison Coxinty, on April 4, 1919, for 
"making disloyal remarks", Negroes have been lynched in 
Illinois for such crimes as "criminal abortion", and "dis- 
reputable character". 

Whereas nearly 14 per cent of the population of 
Delev/are is Negro, there is only one lynching on record as 
having occurred in that State, In 1903 a Negro was lynched 
in New Castle Cotinty, near V/ilmlngton, for the double crime 
of rape and murder. Kansas, with 3.3 per cent Negro popu- 
lation has had eight lyncliings, four Negroes and four whites; 
and Wyoming, with 7,0 per cent Negro population, has had the 
same number and proportion since 1900, Montana has had 10 
lynchings, and California 14 since 1900, only one in each 

state, however, being a Negro, 



129 



In 1920 the Negro population of Missoiirl was 
5.2 per cent of the total. Since 1900 this state has had 
42 lynchings, 37 of whom v/ere Negroes. Missouri has had 
more lynchings than five of the southern states, including 
Virginia and North Carolina, each of v/hich has about 30 
per cent Negro population, ^ Vi/hereas 92 per cent of all 
persons lynched are in the South, yet five of the northern 
and western states have each had more lynchings since 
1900 than have two of the southern states in which the 
relative percentage of Negro population is higher. Thus 
it is evident that the South, when considered by states, 
is no more a lynching section as a whole than is Cali- 
fornia, Missouri, Illinois or Montana, 

Map I shows graphically that there is not only 
a concentration of lynchings In the South but a further 
concentration in particular southern states. Three 
southern states have had betv/een 200 and 300 lynchings 
since 1900, and four others have had between 100 and 
200, The seven states combined have had 1,347, or more 
than 78 per cent of the total for the 16 southern states. 
In the first ten southern states there has been a total 
of 1,579 lynchings, or about 84 per cent of all lynchings 
in the Nation, Practically 96 per cent of all l3mchinga 

8, Missouri affords an indication that it is not the location 
of a state, nor altogether the proportion of negro popu- 
lation, so much as it is other conditions, and attitudes 
that determine the number of lynchings, *or this reason 
Missouri is included in the discussion of lynchings by 
states and co\inties. Chapter ¥11, 



<?sl 



0G6 



130 UuiliKl Stales 




131 



in the South are credited to these ten states. And it 
is in these states that more tlian 90 per cent of all 
women lynched since 1900 have met that fate. 



152 



CHAPTER VI 
WOMEN AND WHITE IffiN LYNCHED 

Sixty college professors and graduate students 
from all sections of the country Interviewed at a con- 
ference in New York, and twenty professors and graduate 
students at the University of North Carolina expressed 
surprise at the nvtmber of women lynched in the South, 
Quite a majority of the ntimber, including several of the 
southern group - both professors and students - had the 
impression that practically all lynchings are due to the 
crime of rape, and did not know that women were ever 
lynched*, 

A total of 96 women have met death at the hands 
of mobs since 1882. The early statistics are doubtless 
inaccurate, for there is not a lynching of a woman recorded 
for the first two years of the period. The slight increase 
in the nvimber of white women lynched throughout the 
remainder of the Nineteenth Century no doubt indicates 
an increased accuracy of the statistics rather than an 
actual increase in the number of v/omen lynched. During 



133 



the 45 years since 1882, 24 v/hlte women and 72 colored 
women have "been lynched. Table IX shows that for every 
year, excepting 1887 and 1899, to the beginning of the 
present Century, there was one or more women lynched. 

Graph VIII shows that up to the beginning of the 
Century there was a fairly close correlation between the 
number of white women and the number of Negro women lynch- 
ed. Since 1900 there have been only t'.vo v;hite vromen 
lynched, while the curve for the Negroes is irregular, 
varying from one to four throughout, excepting the years 
1905, 1906, 1924 and 1925 when there were no women lynch- 
ed in the country. Chart V shows the proportion of women 
lynched for various causes since 1882, -*■ Of the v/hites 
nine were charged with murder, five with minor offenses, 
two with theft, one with arson and the crime of seven 
is unknown. Of the Negroes 34 were charged with murder, 
17 with minor offenses, six with arson, one with theft, 
two with murderous assault, five with complicity in 
murder, and the offense of seven is unknown. 

It is interesting to note in more detail the 
lynching s of women during the a>//entieth Century, To the 
present date there has been a total of 41, all but two 
of whom v/ere Negroes, Chart VI shows the nxxmber of women 
lynched by year and by race since 1900, It is shown that 

1, The crimes of women are not listed in Table IX, for the 
years before 1900, Cutler, p. 172, gives a chart of this 
natixre covering the period up to 1904 but as his informa- 
tion is given in summary the separate crimes are not 
available from this source. 



154 



TABLE IX 

WOIvIEN LYNCHED IN THE U. S. FROM 1882 to 1928 
By Race and by Crime and Totals ^ 



Year 


Total 


'Miite 


Colored 


1184^ 


3 


3 





1885 


4 


1 


3 


1886 


2 





2 


1888-x^^H^ 


1 


1 





1889 


3 


3 





1890 


1 


1 





1891 


5 





5 


1892 


5 


1 


4 


1893 


4 





4 


1894 


3 


1 


2 


1895 


13 


5 


6 


1896 


1 


1 





1897 


4 


2 


2 


1898 


6 


3 


3 


1900-:j-^k:- 


1 





1 


1901 


4 


1 


3 


1902 


1 





1 


1903 


2 





2 


1904 


2 





2 


1907-JHC-JJ 


2 





2 


1908 


1 


1 





1909 


1 





1 



Crime alleged In reports 



Crimes of v/omen not listed 
separately in early in- 
formation, hence not given 
here until 1900, For totals, 
women by crime, see Chart V, 



Crime unknown, 

N. Implicated in murder. 

Implicated in murder. 

1 unknown; 1 implicated in 

murder. 
Both charged v/ith murder. 

Both "murderous assault," 

"Threats"; lynched along v^rith 
her husband and tv/o children. 
Charged with murder. 



w Compiled from Cutler, NAACP files. Clippings, etc, 
*<• No iynchings in 1882, and 1883, according to records, 
*«-»■ No Iynchings in intervening years. 



135 



TABLE IX (Cont»d) 



Year 



Total '.'Vhlte Colored Crime alleged In reports 



1910 



1911 


1 





1 


1912 


3 





3 


1913 


1 





1 


1914 


4 





4 


1915 


1 





1 


1916 


3 





3 


1917 


1 





1 


1918 


4 





4 


1919 


1 





1 


1920 


1 





1 


1921 


1 





1 


1922 











1923 


1 





1 



(No women lynched, 1924, 1925) 

1926 2 2 

1927 



Murder, 1; complicity, 1; 
Operating disreputable 
house, 1, (Monroe, La,), 
Murder, 

Murder, 2; complicity, 1, 

Charge, irurder; later 
found innocent. 

Murder, 2; Arson, 1; 
Unknov/n, 1, 
"Resisting arrest"? 

"Accomplice to murder" 

Murder • 

" Unwi s e r emark s " , 1 ; 
mjirder, 2; threats, 1, 
Unknov/n cause. 

Complicity in mtirder, 

Unknov/n. Referred to in 
Gov, Dorsey's pamphlet. 



Shot by men v/ho were 
searching for her brother 
v/ho had refused to pay 10^ 
interest on 50^, No of- 
fense stated; relatives had 
probably committed murder; 
not knov/n. 



TOTALS 



96 



24 



72 



Summary of Crimes ; V/hites , Murder 10; minor offense, 5, 

unknown, 6; arson, 1; lEEeft, 2, Total, 24, 
Colored : Murder, 35; minor (or no offense), 17; Unknov/n, 6; 

Arson, 6; theft, 1; Complicity in murder, 5; murderous 

assault, 2; Total, 72, 



136 



GRAPH VIII 



WOMEN LYNCHED 1884-1928 BY RACE 




137 



CHART V 



WOMEN: PROPORTION LYNCHED FOR VARIOUS CAUSES 1882-1928 

|'^|:tl:H:l-| 






















1 : 













139 



the majority of the lynchings of v/omen during the period 
occurred between 1909 and 1922, For each of the twenty- 
eight years except five, one or more women have been 
lynched. The two white women were lynched in 1901 and 
1908, respectively. In Mississippi County, Arkansas, on 
April 6, 1901, May Hearn, white, was lynched, - charged 
with murder. At Hickory Grove, Kentucky, on October 4, 
1908, a Mrs. David Wallace was lynched along with her 
husband and two children. The cause of this lynching 
according to newspaper reports at the time was "threats". 
It is very probable that the figures on the number of 
women lynched are conservative, even since 1900, For the 
first three years of this period Cutler found a record of 
eight women lynched, while the NAACP report for this 
period gives only six. Cutler was certainly not inclined 
to overstate the number lynched, and we may accept his 
figures as being more nearly accurate as the NAACP was 
not in existence at the time and their data was gathered 
some dozen years later. 

Chart VII shows the proportion of Negro women 
lynched for various causes from 1900 to 1928, Fourteen of 
the thirty-nine were charged v/ith mxirder, seven with com- 
plicity in murder, two with murderous assault, one with 
arson, seven with a minor offense, while the offense of 
eight is not known. One Negro girl was shot by a mob of 
white men while in search of her brother who had insulted 
a white man - it is said by refusing to pay ten cents 
Interest on a half dollar which he had borrowed. One 



•>.-\ 










I ' 1 1 1' 1 1 1 ' 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 




M-. 




r .ii\ 






^ty^4.^ry\.% 





(J^jLe^ui^ 



■ri 






^2yi<i^Ot^ 



^ // / J^rlf-/,^Jil. 



5^ 



141 



woman was shot along with her husband who was not spe- 
cifically charged with any crime at all, but it was 
thovight that probably he had been implicated in a murder 
which happened several months previously. Two Negro 
women were shot for threatening to avenge the death of 
their brother who had been killed by white men. One was 
shot in Monroe, Louisiana, charged with "running a disrepu- 
table house." One was shot by a posse of officers and 
citizens while "resisting arrest", and another for "un- 
wise remarks" - concerning the lynching of her husbandl 

As would nattirally be expected, a majority of the 
forty-one lynchings of women since 1900 occurred in the 
southern states. Of the thirty-seven assigned to the 
South, Mississippi leads with a total of eleven. Then 
comes Georgia v/ith eight, one of whom was lynched for 
murder but was later proved to have been innocent of the 
crime. Texas and Florida rank next v/lth four each; South 
Carolina and Arkansas with three each; and Oklalioma and 
Louisiana with two each. The only charges stated against 
Rachel Moore, of Rankin Mississippi, who was lynched on 
Arpil 4, 1921, was that she was the mother-in-law of a man 
who had been lynched. It is in the same states and in 
the same localities of these states, where men - black and 
white - are lynched, that practically all of the v/omen 
who meet this infamous death depart for the unknown. 
Women have been lynched for the same trivial offenses for 
v/hich men meet that fate. 



•• 1 '.' ' ' 



'•f''*i"»#» 



142 



White Men Lynched Since 1900 

From questioning many persons on the subject one 
is led to conclude that there is a general impression 
abroad that white men are no longer lynched since the 
settliiag of the West and the establishment of courts where- 
in horse thieves and murderers may be bro\ight to justice. 
This impression is erroneous in two ways: In the first 
place the lynching of white men has not ceased with the 
settling of the West, and in the second place it is not 
primarily in the V/est that white men are lynched. Thus 
it seems worth while to dwell upon this aspect of the 
subject. 

Graph IX shows the whites lynched by years since 

1900, Beginnirxg with 12 in 1900 there was a rise to 28 in 

1901, then a drop to three for 1906 and 1907, In 1908 there 
were eleven whites lynched with a rise to 14 in 1909; then 

a drop to 9 in 1910, to 8 in 1911, to three in 1912, and to 
one in 1913, Prom three in 1914 the curve reaches the 
high mark of 41 in 1915 - the highest nxunber of whites 
lynched in a single year since 1896,^ There was a sharp 
drop to six in 1916, since which time there has not been 
more than eight for any single year. This mark was reached 
in 1920, There were six whites lynched in 1921, and seven 
in 1922. In only two years since 1900-1924 and 1925 - is 

2, There were 43 whites lynched during 1915 but we have been 
unable to check up on two of them, hence have omitted 
them from the list. 



fta^^ jA^v2/2.^c^ /s^^^^. /^H'/pj^f^ 




1/ 1 <^'^^/\AhjU\~. 




U tltl ll ll il.;ill ::i!|iimtH!HI'l)IIMUlH[HlfWHt'-lf 




mHH|M!lim!llll!HI!i|llimmi!ii!l!!!!l 




144 



there no record of a white man being lynched. During the 
past decade there has been a total of 41 whites lynched; 
and since 1920, thirty-one. In 1926 there were six, and 
in 1927 two whites lynched. 

Table X shov/ the Whites lynched by year and by 
crime since 1900, There has been a total of 221 during 
the twenty-eight years, or an average of about eight per 
year,"^ Before proceeding with an analysis of this chart 
it is necessary to explain the classification of crimes as 
causes of lynching which has been adopted and which is 
used henceforth in this study. The classification of crimes 
by the KAACP (Table VI) was made for the same pxirpose for 
which it has been used in Chapter V - that of indicating 
the actual or alleged offense committed by the victim 
lynched. For our purposes henceforth this type of classi- 
faction is inadequate. In any sociological study or 
psychological explanation of lynchings to take the actual 
crime cominitted, althoiigh important, is often insufficient. 
For example, "attacks" upon women as "including all cases 
in which press accounts state that attacks upon women are 
made, but in which it was not clear whether rape was 
alleged to have been consumated or attempted" - this is a 
superfluous differentiation when the point of interest is 
that of studying the cultural background and, in short, 
the psychology of the mob, A headline stating that a 

3. The records show a total of 226, but due to inadequate 
information five have been omitted from the list in this 
analysis. 



ose^lriw 



2:lujl. 



145 



woman has been "attacked" - no matter if a Negro snatched 
her purse, and even though this fact be stated in the 
account - means rape to those who compose lynching mobs. 
The same emotional reactions and irrational behavior- 
patterns are "set off" as if rape had actually been 
committed. Moreover, for the purpose of this study a 
classification of certain crimes as "absence of crime", 
or "no crime" is meaningless, Hxunan organisms, do not 
react without stimulation; mobs always have a "cause". 
There is, therefore, always a "crime" in so far as the 
mob-members are concerned. 

Thus it is clear that a more adequate classi- 
faction of crimes must be employed. This means that the 
work done by the publishers of "Thirty Years' Lynching in 
the U. S," in classifying alleged causes of lynchings up 
to 1919 must be done anev/. This is not so unfortunate 
after all for in this publication there are no analytical 
tables for different sections of the country, or states 
according to crime. In view of the advantages afforded 
for pvirposes of comparison it is fortunate that Cutler 
in his book on Lynch- Lav/ (1903) adopted a classification 
of the causes of lynchings that is adequate for the 
present study - as adequate apparently as could be made. 
In his analysis of the Tribune record up to 1903 he 
grouped the numerous causes listed into the following 
classes: Murder, Rape, Assault, Minor Offenses, Desperad- 
ism. Arson, and Unknown, For psychological purposes this 



146 



classification contains some over-lappings but none so 
important, or so apt to be misleading, as the classi- 
fication separately of "rape" and "attacks upon women" 
as discussed above. This is, then, a classification more 
nearly free from faulty over-lapping of crimes and causes, 
yet one of such detail as to indicate along with the 
cause as nearly the exact crime committed as is possible 
to give in usable table forms. In addition it is a 
classification which makes possible a comparison of the 
results obtained with those of the only study of this 
type ever made, and extending back as far as any adequate 
statistical data is to be had. 

The class of Murder embraces the follov/ing: 
murder, suspected murder, alleged murder, conspiracy to 
murder, and complicity in murder,^ 

The class Rape Includes also: attempted rape, 
alleged rape, attacks upon women, alleged attack upon 
7/omen, and conspiracy to rape,^ 

The class Theft as used includes: theft, 
larceny, burglary, suspected robbery, alleged robbery, 
safe breaking, cattle stealing, horse stealing, hog 
stealing, conspiracy to steal, or to rob. 

The class Arson includes: barn burning, house 
burning, arson, incendiarism. Desperadism - seldomly 

4» Henceforth when one of the eight classes of crimes is meant 
the word for the class will be capitalized. This will avoid 
confusion of crimes and classes of crimes, 

5, Due to more various "causes" being listed in the reports 
since 1900, this class is considerably enlarged from that 
used by Cutler, Hov/ever, it includes the same "cause" for 
lynching. 



147 



reported since 1900 - includes the action of a desperado, 
outlaw, highway robber, train wrecker, and train robber. 

The class Assault embraces assault and murderous 
assault. Fewer and fewer whites are lynched for Assault, 
As public opinion grows more unfavorable tov/ard mob violence, 
a higher proportion of Negroes lynched for fighting white 
men are accused of murderous assault. 

The class Minor Offenses includes an almost un- 
limited number, some of which are stated even at the cost 
of adding to this long but necessary digression: race pre- 
judice, miscegenation, S and various offenses, such as (for 
whites) wife-beating, cruelty, kidnapping, turning states 
evidence, refusing to tvirn state's evidence, sv/indling, 
political prejudice, giving information, informing, pro- 
tecting a Negro, giving evidence, mob indignation, dis- 
resputable character, tlireats, aiding escape of murderer, 
suspected of killing cattle, prospective elopement; (for 
Negroes) self-defense, v/ife beating, cutting levees, 
kidnapping, voodooism, poisoning horses, vifriting insulting 
letters, incendiary language, jilting a girl, trirning 
state's evidence, political trouble, gambling, quarreling, 
poisoning wells, unpopularity, making tlireats, circulat- 
ing scandal, being troublesome, bad reputation, drunkenness, 
strike rioting, rioting, insults, supposed offense, insult- 

6, Miscegenation is close alcin, psychologically^ ^"rape or 
attack upon a v/hite woman. The same complex" in the 
white man is aroused if a v/hite woman goes to live with 
a Negro as if the Negro "attacked" her. 



148 



ing women, fraud, criminal abortion, alleged stock poison- 
ing, enticing servant away, asking white woman in marriage, 
writing letter to white woman, conspiracy, elopement with 
white girl, refusing to give evidence, giving evidence, 
disobeying ferry regulations, running quarantine, violation 
of contract, paying attention to white girl, resisting 
assault, inflammatory language, resisting arrest, testi- 
fying for one of his own race, keeping gambling house, 
quarrel over profit-sharing, forcing^white boy to commit a 
crime, and lawlessness. 

The class Unknown Offense, includes unknown 
offense, no offense, without cause, mistaken identity, by 
accident, and no cause given. 

Frequently the report of a lynching states that 
a double crime has been committed. In these cases the 
follovifing rules have been observed: rape and murder are 
classed under Rape, robbery and murder under Murder, arson 
and murder under Murder, assault and robbery xinder Assault, 
and robbery and arson under Arson, 

Table X shov/s that about 56 per cent of the total 
221 whites lynched since 1900 were charged with murder. 
Next in order come the list for Unknown crimes with 30, and 
the Minor Offenses, with twenty- three. Thirteen whites 
have been lynched for Theft since 1900, but no white man 
has suffered death for this crime since 1915, In 1901 a 
total of nine whites were lynched for this offense. The 
Table shows that in general with the passing of years there 



149 

TABLE X 
WHITES LYNCHED BY YEAR AND BY CRIME, 1900 to 1928 
YEAR Total Murder Rape Assault Minor Desp, ■>"-'-'-'hef t Unknown 



1900 


12 


9 


2 


1 














1901 


28 


6 


5 





2 





9 


6 


1902 


8 


5 








2 





1 





1903 


15 


11 








2 








2 


1904 


7 


4 


2 


1 














1905 


5 


2 


2 











1 





1906 


3 


3 




















1907 


3 


1 


2 

















1908 


11 


5 





1 


4 








1 


1909 


14 


9 


3 











2 





1910 


9 


6 


1 














2 


1911 


8 


3 








1 








4 


1912 


3 


3 














0, 





1913 


1 


1 




















1914 


3 


2 


1 

















1915 


41 


28 


1 





1 


6 





5 


1916 


6 


3 


1 


1 





1 








1917 


3 


1 





1 


1 











1918 


4 


2 








2 











1919 


6 


5 





1 














1920 


8 


5 








2 








1 


Sub- 
totals 


198 


114 


20 


5 


18 


7 


13 


21 


■K-Desperado. 

















(■> 



I.I 



l: 



L) 







<i 







o 



150 



TABLE X (Cont'd) 
YEAR Total Murder Rape Assault Minor Desp. Theft Unknown 



1921 


6 


3 


1 














2 


1922 


7 


2 








1 








4 


1923 


2 











2 











1924 


























1925 


























1926 


6 


4 

















2 


1927 


2 








1 











1 


Subtotal 


















1921-23 


23 


9 


1 


1 


3 








9 


Subtotal 


198 


114 


20 


5 


18 


7 


13 


21 


1900-20 


















TOTALS 


221 


123 


21 


6 


21 


7 


13 


30 



( . 



151 



is a higher proportion of whites lynched for the more 
serious offenses. Prom 1882 to 1903, for example, of the 
1169 whites lynched 38 per cent were for Mxxrder, Rape 
ranlced second with 34.3 per cent. On the other hand it is 
notable that a higher proportion have been lynched since 
1900 for Unknown offenses than during the earlier period, 
almost 15 per cent as compared to 4,3 per cent. This 
probably indicates that of late years it is more necessary 
to assign some major offense for the lynching of a v/hite 
man, but that at the same time white men are lynched for 
lesser offenses, and in these cases the crime is not 
stated. That v/hite men are sometimes lynched for very 
minor offenses is indicated below. 

Table XI shows the whites lynched by crime and 
by month for the past twenty-eight years. It is notable 
that a majority of the whites are lynched in the late 
stumner and fall months. The peak month is October with 
30, a majority of whom v/ere charged with Murder, Then 
comes July with 26, Aiigust and September with 23 each, and 
April with 22, A curve showing the whites lynched by 
month corresponds very closely to Graph III (ante), in- 
dicating that possibly the whites are lynched for causes 
corresponding closely to those for which Negroes are 
lynched. This is more significant when we note where and 
for what offense the whites are lynched. 

Contrary to v/hat seems to be the general opinion 
on the subject, it is not in the North and '.Vest that 
practically all, or even a majority of the V/hites are 



a 



152 



TABLE XI 
WHITES LYNCHED, BY CRI?.1E AND BY MONTH, 1900 to 1928 
Month Miirder Rape Assault Minor Theft Desp"' Unknovm Total 



January 


8 


1 


February 


4 


4 


March 


5 


1 


April 


14 


2 


May 


8 


1 


June 


8 


2 


July 


11 


3 


August 


12 


3 


September 


14 





October 


18 


3 


November 


8 





December 


9 





Unknown 


1 









2 


1 


1 


4 


17 








1 





3 


12 


1 











3 


10 





1 








5 


22 


1 


2 


5 





1 


18 

















10 








4 





8 


26 





4 








4 


23 





3 





6 (mj -^:- 





23 


1 


7 


1 








30 


1 


2 


1 








12 


2 


3 








3 


17 

















1 



TOTALS 120 20 6 24 13 7 31 221 



* Desperado Includes "train robber , "train wrecker'*, an3" 

"highway robber", "banditry". 
iHc These were Mexfcans, Cameron County, Texas, 



rr? 



^^ f 



153 



lynched. On the other hand It is in the same states where 
a majority of the Negroes are lynched, thus indicating that 
lynching is not only a racial but also a sectional matter. 
Table XII shows the whites lynched by state and by county 
since 1900, It shows that of the total 221, 153 or 70 per 
cent v/ere lynched in the South, while 44, or 20 per cent 
were lynched in the West, and 22, or 10 per cent in the 
North, With the exception of Texas, - where over 50 per 
cent of the "whites" lynched have been Mexicans - and of 
Kentucky, there is a close correlation between the rank 
of the different states in the n\amber of Negroes and in the 
number of whites lynched. Thus whatever the tmderlying 
cause may be, it is the same states in which Negroes are 
habitually lynched that the vast majority of white men 
are lynched. 

By comparing Table XII v;ith the Maps in Chapters 
VII and VIII it is to be seen that there is not only a 
concentration of the lynching of whites in the South, and 
in particular states of the South, but that there is in 
general also a close correspondence by counties in the total 
number lynched and in the number of whites lynched. In- 
dications are that in many instances it is the same people 
that lynch both Negroes and whites. This is possibly 
further indicated when we note the nature of the crimes 
for which white men are lynched. This is best shown by 
a detailed list of the crimes rather than by a classification 
such as has been noted above. 



i;.^. ■ '■xerV 



: . 



n . t ft 



• evoc 



154 



TABLE XII 



WHITES LYlNlCHED BY STATE AITO BY COUNTY, 1900 to 1928 



STATE and 


Nximber 


STATE and 


Number 


County 


lynched 


County 


lynched 


ALABAMA 




6 


FLORIDA 




12 


Baldv/in 


1 




Alachua 


1 




Geneva 


1 




Bradford 


1 




Jefferson 


1 




Columbia 


1 




V/alfrer 


1 




Hillsboro 


2 




Unlcnovm Co. 


2 




Holmes 
Lafayette 


1 
1 




ARIZONA 




4 


Madison 
Monroe 


1 
1 




Penial 


1 




Taylor 


1 




Unlcnown Co, 


1 




Orange 
Washington 


1 
1 




ARKANSAS 




10 


GEORGIA 




12 


Boone 


1 










Garland 


2 




Baldwin 


1 




Jackson 


1 




Bibb 


2 




Mississippi 


1 




Coffee 


1 




Monroe 


1 




Fannin 


3 




Nevada 


1 




Floyd 


1 




Pocahuntas 


1 




Harris 


1 




Polk 


1 




Talbot 


1 




Searcy 


1 




Toombs 
Whitfield 


1 
1 




CALIFORNIA 




13 


IBAEO 




2 


Los Angeles 


2 










Modac 


5 




Idaho Co, 


2 




Siskiyou 


1 










Sonoma 


3 




ILLINOIS 




2 


Unlcnown Co, 


2 




Madison 


1 




COLORADO 






Perry 


1 




Fremont 


1 




IOWA 




1 


Las Animas 


1 




Floyd Co, 


1 




Pueblo 


2m 










Unknown Co, 


1 











TABLE XII (Cont'd) 



155 



STATE and 


Number 


STATE and 


Nvunb 


er 


County 


lynched 


County 


lynched 


KANSAS 




4 


MISSOURI 




5 


Bourbon 


2 




Barton 


1 




Johnson 


1 




Lafayette 


1 




Stafford 


1 




Monroe 
Platte 


1 
1 




KENTUCKY 




18 


Unknown Co, 


1 




lallard 


1 




MONTANA 




9 


Estil 


1 










Pulton 


2 




Piirgus 


1 




Graves 


1 




Lewis and CI, 


2 




Hardin 


1 




Ravalli 


1 




Laren 


1 




Rosebud 


1 




Mason 


1 




Silver Bow 


1 




Simpson 


4 




Teton 


1 




V/ayne 


1 




Yellowstone 


1 




Wolfe 


4 




Unknovm Co, 


1 




Unknown Co, 


1 




ITEBRASKA 




1 


LOUISIANA 




10 


Cherry 


1 




Claiborne 


2 










Pranlclin 


1 




NEW JERSEY 




1 


Livingston 


1 










Morehouse 


1 




Bergen 


1 




Ouachita 


1 










Richland 


1 




NEW YORK 




1 


Vernon 


1 










West Felincia 


1 




WasMngton 


1 




Unknov/n Co« 


1 




NFA' MEXICO 




2 


MAINE 




1 


Bernalillo 


1 




Aroostook 


1 




Santa Fe 


1 




MICHIGAN 




1 


NEVADA 




2 


Unknovm Co, 


1 




Nye 
Churchill 


1 
1 




IvHSSISSIPPI 




14 


NORTH CAROLINA 




4 


Bolivar 


1 




Anson 


1 




Coalaoma 


1 




Graham 


3 




Forrest 


1 










Jackson 


1 




NORTH DAKOTA 




2 


Lauderdale 


1 




Kidder 


1 




Lo^^•ndes 


1 




Williams 


1 





.4, 
± 



TABLE XII (ContM) 



156 



STATE and 
County 



Nximber 
lynched 



STATE and 
County 



Number 
lyncb.ed_ 



Pearl River 
Smith 
Washington 
Unknown Co, 

OKLAHOMA 

Hughes 

Okfuskee 

Pontotoc 

Tulsa 

Unknovm 

OREGON 

Baker 
SOUTH CAROLINA 

Kershaw 
SOUTH DAKOTA 

Todd 

TENNESSEE 

Benton 

Dekalb 

Lake 

Roane 

Scott 

Washington 

Unknov/n Co, 

TEXAS 

Bell 

Caldwell 

Cameron 

Edwards 

Hopkins 

Jefferson 

Karnes 

Lavaca 

McLennan 

Tarrant 

Taylor 

Terrell 

Thorndale 
Unknovm Co 



1 
1 
5 

1 



2 

1 
4 
1 
2 



2 

1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 



1 
1 
25m-«- 

1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 

1 
5 



10 



8 



42 



OHIO 

Licking 

VIRGINIA 

Norfolk 
Pittsylvania 
?i/arwick 
Washington 

WASHINGTON 

Lewis 
Unknown Co, 

7/EST VIRGINIA 

Fayette 
Randolph 

WISCONSIN 

Dane 

WYOIGNG 

Big Horn 

Natrona 

Y/eston 

UICCNOWN STATE 



1 
1 
1 
1 



1 
1 



1 
1 



2 

1 
1 



TOTAL 



SOUTH'""''"' 



221 

153, or 70 per cent 

of total, 
WEST 44 or 20 per cent of 

total. 
NORTH 22 or 10 per cent of 

-total, 

-"- All Mexicahs, 

4K<- Here v/e have used the 
Census Divisions, thus 
excluding Missouri, v/hich 
would if included make 
the percentage of all 
lynched in the South 72 
per cent. 



157 



Table XIII shows that In the North and Y/est 
where lynchings are less frequent It is In general true 
that men are lynched only for the worst crimes. There 
are notable exceptions, such as "disloyal remarks", 
"prospective elopement", "I. W. W. Leader", and "horse 
thief", but these are relatively fev/. In the South, on 
the other hand, while it is true that a larger proportion 
are lynched for murder than for any other cause, yet it 
is notable that white men have been lynched for the most 
trivial offenses. As late as 1920 a white man was hanged 
by a mob in Hartford, Alabama, "because of remarks he is 
alleged to have m.ade to a white woman," The detailed list 
of "crimes" committed by the 153 white men lynched in the 
South since 1900 reads not unlike that of the Negroes 
lynched in that section during the period. There are a 
few more whites than Negroes lynched for Murder and not 
so many for alleged rape. With this exception there is 
little difference in the two lists. White men have been 
lynched for refusing information, strike-breaking, making 
threats, robbery, suspected cattle stealing, trying to 
keep mob from lynching a Negro, disloyal remarks, assault- 
ing a policeman, and wife-beating; and one, for failiire 
to heed a warning to leave the ranch of v/hich he was 
foreman. The number lynched in the South for an "unlcnown 
crime" is notably high. The crime for which almost one- 
fifth of all whites lynched in the South since 1900 is 
not fenown. 



158 



TABLE XIII 



WHITES LYNCHED, BY STATE AND BY CRIME, Prom 1900 to 1928 



THE SOUTH 



Total 



Crimes 



Alabama 6 

Arkansas 10 

Florida 12 

Georgia 12 

Kentucky 18 

Louisiana 10 

Mississippi 14 

North Carolina 4 

Oklahoma 10 



South Carolina 

Tennessee 
Texas 



Virginia 
West Virginia 



8 
42 



4 

2 



M\ird.er, 3; "alleged remarks to white 
woman"; 1; crime unknown, 2. 
Murder, 7; strike-breaker. 1; highvmy- 
man, 1; "disloyal remarks , 1, 
Murder, 5; unknown, 1; "murderous as- 
sault", 1; refusing information, 1; 
attempted rape, 1; attempted murder, 
2; woiinding a deputy sheriff, 1, 
Murder, 4; rape, 4; alleged rape and 
murder, 1; alleged murder, 2; unknovm, 
1. 

Murder, 4; unknown, 6; murderous as- 
sault, 1; killed by night riders, 2; 
making threats, 4; forcing v/hite boy 
to commit a crlm.e, 1;, 
Murder, 3; unknown, 4; rape, 1; shelt- 
ering murderer, 1; robbery, 1; 
M\irder, 6; unknovm crime, 3; attempted 
rape, 1; robbery, 1; suspected cattle 
thieves, 3, 

Murder, 1; "Three night riders" in 
Graham County, in 1915, 
Murder, 3; unlmown, 2; suspected of 
killing cattle, 1; complicity in mur- 
der, 3; "trying Ipo keep mob from 
lynching a Negro , 1, (Marlow, Okla. 
Negroes are not allov/ed, ViThite man 
hired Negro to v/ork as porter in his 
hotel, than tried to keep mob from 
lynching Negro), 

Murder, 1, John Morrison, Kershaw 
County, 

Murder, 5; unknovm crime, 1; rape, 2, 
Mtirder, 10; "fighting v/ith an American',' 
one, (Mexican); "failure to heed v;arn- 
in^ to leave the country", 1; rape and 
mtirder, 2; unknovm crime, 3; rape, 1; 
attempted rape, 1; pillage and murder, 
6; (Mexicans), Y/if e-beating, 1; band- 
itry, 6; (Mexicans), Train-v/re eking and 
murder, 10, 

Mtirder, 2; allaulting a policeman, 1; 
rape, 1, 
Murder, 2. (One was murderer of his wife) 



159 



TABLE XIII (Cont'd) 



"WTWsT 



Niamber 
5T" 



Crime 



Arizona 
California 



Colorado 

Idaho 

Montana 



Nev/ Mexico 

Nevada 

Oregon 

Washington 

Wyoming 



4 
13 



5 
2 
9 



2 
2 

1 
2 
4 



Murder, 3; horse thief, 1, 
Murder, 5; unknovm, 1; theft, 5; rape, 
1; mistaken identity, 1 - in December, 
1927, a boy was placed in jail in Los 
Angeles, He "favored" Hickman who was 
then being brought to L« A. for the 
fiendish murder of little Marion Parker, 
Those in jail beat this boy, Ralph 
McCoy, to death, 
Mtirder, 5, 

Murder, 1; wife-beating, 1, 
Murder, 3; unknovm crime, 2; rape, 1; 
attempted rape, 1; "I. V/. YU leader", 
1; resisting arrest for suspected in- 
sanity, 1^; he was bvirned. 
Murder, 2, 

Robbery, 1; race prejudice, 1 (Chinese), 
Rape, 1, 
larder, 2, 
Murder, 4. 



THE NORTH 



22 



Crime 



Illinois 

Ohio 

Iowa 

Nev/ Jersey 

Kansas 

Maine 

South Dakota 

Michigan 

Nev/ York 

Missouri 

Nebraska 

North Dakota 

Wisconsin 



2 Murder, 1; disloyal remarks, 1, 

1 Mvirder, 1, 

1 Murder , 1 , 

1 Murder , 1 . 

4 Miirder, 3; for being a member of the 
non-partisan League, 1, 

1 Rape, 1, 

1 Horse-stealing, 1, 

1 Prospective elopement, 1, 

1 Murderous assault, 1, 

5 Murder, 1; unknown crime, 1, 

1 Murder, 1, 

2 Murder, 1, 
1 larder , 1 , 



AJL 



■9 - ■ ■* 



160 



Thus not only is it true that more than 85 per 
cent of all Negroes lynched are lynched in the South, and 
that since 1900 more than 90 per cent of all women lynched 
have been in the South, but also it is in this section that 
70 per cent of the 221 whites, including two women, have 
been lynched since 1900, In general it is the same states 
that lynch high proportions of both Negroes and v/hites, and 
in many instances the same counties. Unlike the conditions 
in the West described in Chapter III there are now apparent- 
ly no peculiar crimes or circumstances under which white 
men are lynched. The lynching of white men as well as of 
Negroes, therefore, seems to be a part of the culture - 
pattern of certain localities in the South, The lynching 
of a white man, for example, for some heinous crime, or for 
some trivial offense, seems to be a conditioned reaction, 
possibly more generally verbal, which under proper stimulus 
occurs without hesitation or shame. Just why this should 
be is not so apparent as many have tho\ight. 



161 



CHAPTER VII 

LYNCHINGS BY STATES AIJD BY COUNTIES IN THE SOUTH 

It has been pointed out that there is apparent- 
ly no correlation, either in the southern states or in 
the Nation as a whole, between the total Negro population 
or the proportion of Negro population and the number of 
persons lynched. This, however, would not necessarily 
mean that there is no such relationship in the localities 
where lynching s occur. The problem thus raised requires 
a closer analysis of lynchings in the various states. 
It may be that certain population or other characteristics 
peculiar to particular localities have some demonstrable 
causal relationship with lynchings. Are there, for example, 
particular crimes characteristic of the worst lynching 
states which may account for the number of lynchings? Is 
it true that in these states, or in particular counties of 
these states, a majority of the persons lynched are Negroes 



162 



who have coimnltted the crime of rape?^ Is there an even 
dispersion of lynchings in the states in which they are 
concentrated, as shown by Chart III and Map I (ante)? 
Is there, therefore, after all a close correlation betv/een 
the nmnerical or proportional number of Negroes in the 
counties where lynchings occur? Or, is lynching apparent- 
ly only one aspect of the general inter-racial situation 
which in turn is the result of numerous factors, past 
and present, in the economic, educational, social, and 
possibly the religious life of the particular section, 
state or locality concerned? Some light may be throvm 
on such questions as these. 

The Minor Lynching States 

Turning attention first to the states in v/hlcli\ 
there have been relatively fev/ lynchings, we find that in 
general a majority of these lynchings have occ\irred as a 
result of alleged atrocious crimes, and have been fairly 
well scattered over the various counties of these states. 
The higher the rank of the state as regards the number 
of persons lynched, the less true, in general, is this 
statement, 

Delev/are has had but one lynching since 1900, 
A Negro, George '(Vhite, was lynched near Wilmington in 

In After quoting some general statistics on this question to 
an ex-Mississipplan, in New York, the v/riter was assured 
that if he would "look" he would find that I.Iisslsslppi 
is different in this respect, that practically every Negro 
lynched in this state has committed rape, Cf, Chapter VIII. 



163 



Jxme, 1903, charged with the double crime of rape and 
murder. 

Table XIV shows the lynching s in Maryland by 
crime and by month since 1900, Of the seven persons 
lynched in that State three were for murder, two for 
rape, one for assault, and one for arson. Two of these 
lynchings occurred in March and two in December; one in 
Jvine, one in July, and one in October, The murders 
occurred in July, October and December; the cases of 
alleged rape in March and December; the case of assault 
in June and that of arson in March, 

Map II shoY/s the dispersion of the lynchings 
in Maryland, Only one county, Anne Arundel, in the 
central part of the State, has had two. One of these 
was for Rape, in 1906, and the other for Murder on 
Christmas Day, 1911, In Alleghany County, in the western 
part of the State, a Negro was lynched for Murder in 
October, 1907, The lone lynching in Hartford County 
occurred in March, 1900, The victim was charged with 
Rape, In the extreme South-eastern part of the State 
there have been two lynchings, one in Somerset Coxinty, 
1907, for Murder, and one in Worcester Covin ty in 1906 
for "murderous assault". In Baltimore County, at 
Rosedale, a Negro was lynched in 1909 for an unnamed 
offense. There is no record of a lynching in Maryland 
during the last 17 years. 



164 



TABLE XIV 
MARYLAND: CRIMES BY MONTH, \VHITE AITO NEGRO, 1900-1928 

Crime 



Month 


Murder 


Rape 


Assault Mi 


.nor ■] 


[■heft 


Arson 


Unknown 


Total 


January 


























February 


























March 





1 














1 


2 


April 


























May 


























June 








1 














1 


July 


1 




















1 


August 


























September 


























October 


1 




















1 


November 


























December 


1 


1 

















2 


Totals 


3 


2 


1 











1 


7 



166 



V/est Virginia 



Table XV shows that since 1900 there have been 
17 persons lynched In V/est Virginia, 15 of v/hom were 
Negroes. Taking these by crimes, nine were for Murder, 
four for Rape, and two for Minor Offenses, Taking the 
crimes and lynchings by month we find that five of the 
nine mxirders occurred in July, two in December, and one 
each in February and October. Two of the alleged rapes 
occurred in November, and one each in May and September. 
Of the total 17 lyncliings, seven occurred in July. Both 
of the white men lynched met that fate for Murder, one 
in March and one in July, 

Map III shows that in West Virginia only one 
county has had more than two lynchings, Randolph County 
has had a total of seven persons lynched during the 
period, one white and six Negroes. Of the Negroes one 
was lynched at Elkins on July 22, 1901, for Murder; one 
was lynched on July 25, 1920, at Y/omelsdorf for "mis- 
taken identity" and foiir for Murder.^ There has not been 
a lynching in Randolph Govmty since 1909 v;hen Joseph 
Brovm, white, was lynched at '/.Tiltmore, on March 19, charg- 
ed with mvirder. 



2, Personal letters of inquiry bring no further information 
than that these Negroes v/ere lynched for murder, and that 
nov/ Womelsdorf is an incorporated village under that name 
but that the Post Office is Goalton, '//est Virginia, 



167 



TABLE XV 
VffiST VIRGINIA: CRIMES BY MONTH, '/VHITE AND NEGRO, 1900-1928 

Month Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknown Total 



January 


























February 


1 








1 











2 


March 


Iw 




















1 


April 


























May 





1 

















1 


Jxme 


























July 


6(lw) 








1 











7 


August 


























September 





1 

















1 


October 


1 




















1 


November 





2 

















2 


December 


2 




















2 


Totals 


11 


4 





2 











17 



c 



( ) 



() 



(•• 



MAP III 



168 






PUTNAM 1 
■z.\ 



H^ 



O^J 



9!i 



^V 



>^° 



Aii^ 



^. 



J^A> 






1. 



'c: 



.o^J 



JACKSON 



-%J 






/ 



CALHOUNi 



OX 
■z-\ 



%> 






^psnukX 



A 



on 



o 



MARSHALL 



>v 









169 



Only two other counties of '.Vest Virginia have 
had as many as tv/o lynchings since 1900, Payette and Logan, 
In 1902, February 2, a Negro was lynched for "alleged con- 
juring". On July 25, eighteen years later at Payetteville, 
Payette County, occurred the next and last lynching. 
William Bennett, a white man, was taken from jail by a 
mob and lynched. He had been sentenced to life imprison- 
ment for murdering his wife. The two lynchings in Logan 
County occiirred in 1919, at Chapmanville, According to a 
report in The Nev/ York Times two Negroes, Ed Whitfield 
and Earl Whitney, were shot to death by a mob on December 
15. They were accused of murdering E, D, Meek, a resident 
of Island Creek, Logan County, They had been arrested and 
placed in jail at Logan. Crov/ds surrounded the jail but 
were kept from entering by the Sheriff and his deputies, 
but it was decided advisable to take the prisoners to 
Huntington on a special train. Before the train could 
pull out of Logan the deputies in charge of the prisoners 
were "overpov/ered". The Negroes were taken from the 
caboose of the train lined up beside freight cars, and 
shot to death. Both bodies were thrown into the 
Guyandotte River, 

This case indicates that under proper stimulus 
a lynching is likely to occur irrespective of the past 
history of the locality. This point is further illustrated 
in Chapter IX in the case of the lynching of Walter Johnson, 
at Bluefield, Mercer Coxuity, Guilt seems not to be more 
necessary in these isolated cases than in the v/orst 



•^i. o*a 



170 



lynclilng counties, although, doubtless, in general it 
is. More noticeable, however, is the fact that in 
these isolated cases the accusation is more generally of 
a more atrocious crime. In Johnson's case, for example, 
guilt was not the question; the mob lynched hira for Rape, 
This case, and others, indicates that so long as the 
attitude on the part of the "average working man" is what 
it is, a lynching is likely to occur at any point where 
there are Negroes and whites in close contact, 

Virginia 

Table XVI shows the lynchings by race, by month, 
and by crime for Virginia since 1900, There has been a 
total of 31, four of which were y/hites, all males. It is 
notable that in Virginia more of those lynched have been 
charged with Rape than of any other crime. One v/hite 
man and twelve Negroes have been lynched for that crime, 
v/hile two whites and eight Negroes have been lynched for 
Murder, Taking the crimes by month, v/e note that there 
is a fairly even scatter tliroughout the year. Seven 
lynchings have occurred in Aiigust, five in March, and 
three each in April and December, Five of the seven 
lynched in August were charged with Rape, Three of the 
murders occurred in March and the remainder were con- 
concentrated in the fall and v/inter months, with one 
exception in April, 

Map IV shows that the relatively fev/ lynchings 
in Virginia have been widely scattered over the State, 



171 



TABLE XVI 

VIRGINIA: CRIMES BY MONTH, 7ifHITE AND NEGRO, 1900-1928 

Month Miirder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknown Total 

2 

1 

5 

3 

1 

1 2 

2 

1 7 
1 
2 
2 
3 

Totals 10 (2w) 13(lw) Iw 2 1 2 2 31 



January- 


1 


Iw 


Pet) ruary 








March 


3(lw) 


1 


April 


1 


1 


May 





1 


June 





1 


July 


1 


1 


August 





5 


September 


1 





October 


1 





November 


1 


1 


December 


Iw 


1 


















1 

















1 











1 









































1 




















Iw 





























1 










!_; 



i;(wl):. 



173 



Only one county, Halifax, has had more than two lynch- 
Ings, while eight counties have had two, and eleven 
counties have had one. The county for one lynching, 
for Rape, is unknown. In 1901 a Negro was lynched in 
Halifax County for Arson, and four years later one was 
lynched on account of "race prejudice". The third and 
last lynching in that county occurred on August 27, 1920, 
when Leslie Allen v/as shot and killed in the home of a 
Negro near Virgilinla hy a posse of "Halifax Coimty 
citizens" after he had heen accused of insulting two 
small white girls at Buffalo Springs, 

During the past decade there have been six 
lynchlngs in Virginia, The last one occurred in V/ytheville, 
in Wythe Coiinty, on August 12, 1926, A mob of masked men 
stormed the County Jail and shot Raymond Bird, Negro, to 
death, after v/hich the body was taken to the neighborhood 
where he was alleged to have attacked a white girl, and 
hanged to a tree. Practically 75 per cent of all persons 
lynched in Virginia since 1900 were charged with either 
Rape or Murder, 

North Carolina 

North Carolina ranks next in the number of lynch- 
ings since 1900 with a total of 39, four whites and 35 
Negroes, Table XVII shows that a majority of those lynched 
in this state have been charged with the crime of Murder, 
About 70 per cent of the total number lynched have been 



174 



TABLE XVII 



LYNCHINGS IN NORTH CAROLINA, BY RACE, BY CRIME, BY MONTH, 

FROM 1900 to 1928 



Month 


Murder 


Rape 


Assault 


Minor 


Theft 


Arson 


Unlcnown 


Total 


January 


2 








1 








2 


5 


February 


1 




















1 


March 


1 


2 





1 











4 


April 


1 


1 

















2 


May 


Iw 


2 

















3 


June 


1 




















1 


July 





1 





1 











2 


Aixgust 


5 


4 


2 











4(3w) 


15 


September 


1 


1 

















2 


October 














1 








1 


November 


1 


1 


0, 














2 


December 


1 




















1 


Totals 


15 (Iv/) 


12 


2 


3 


1 





6(3w) 


39(4w) 



175 



charged v/ith Rape or Murder, there being 12 and 15 
respectively for these crimes. The crime of six of the 
victims is vmlcnown. Included in this number are t}iree 
wliite men lynched in Graham County in 1915. They are 
supposed to have been "night riders" and it is not known 
by whom they v/ere lynched, or why. Considering the 
lynchings by month it is notable that 15 have occurred 
in August, five in January, and four in March. It is 
in the month of August that most of the crimes for both 
Murder and Rape are alleged as the cause of lynchings. 

Map V shows the dispersion of lynchings in 
North Carolina over the different counties. There are 
only two counties in which more than two lynchings have 
occurred since 1900, Graham and Rowan. As noted above 
there have been three in Graham County. The four lynched 
in Rowan County were charged with murder. One of them, 
named Gillispie, was lynched in 1902, and four years later 
at the same place, Salisbury, two other Gillispie' s of 
the same family, and another Negro were lynched for 
murder. Personal inquiry from citizens of Rowan Coiinty 
indicates that the Gillispie's were a "bad family of 
Negroes who could not get along with anybody" and who 
"were always in trouble with somebody". It is said by 
these informants that the Gillispie Negroes, seemingly 
at the instigation of their mother, murdered a whole 
family of v/hite people, the Lylery's, for whom they 
worked, A little boy in the family told all he knev/ when 




~\ 



177 



the mob came after them. For this he was excused to wit- 
ness the lynching of the others, unharmed. The mother 
was not lynched but was instead turned over to the "law" 
and is now said to be "serving a life sentence in the 
workhouse". 

Of the two lynched in Mecklenbuig County, one 
was charged with rape, in 1910; and one with murder, in 
1913, The two in -^nson County, one white and one Negro, 
were charged with murder. An tmnamed Negro is reported 
to have been lynched in Johnson County, in 1908, by 
Negroes "for giving poor entertainment". This is the 
only case on record of this kind, that is, where Negroes 
lynched a Negro, There have been 18 lynchings in the 
State during the past decade, but only one during the 
past five years, 

Missouri 

In Missouri there has been a total of 42 
persons lynched since 1900, It is notable that the 
lynching curve follov/s closely along the Missouri River 
in the upper part of the state and that in the lower 
part about 50 per cent of the lynchings have occurred 
along the border of the Mississippi River, with the 
largest ntunber in Pemiscot Covmty, This is shovm by 
Map VI, 

3. This ntunber includes Thomas Bradshav/ v/ho after Ve'ing sho't 
five tines by a posse in Nash County, in 1927, fell dead 
"on account of heart failure from fatigue" according to 
the coroner *s jury. 



« 



f 



I 

i 



179 



In the Sou th-we stern part of the state tv/o 
counties have had three lynchings each, and one county 
has had tv/o since 1900, These counties had had few 
lynchings before 1900 so far as availatle records shov/, 
and the number and dates of those occurring since that 
time do not indicate a "lynching habit" on the part of 
the people. In Lawrence County, for example, there has 
not been a lynching since 1901, when, on August 19, tliree 
Negroes were lynched near Pierce City, "suspected of 
miirder". In the adjoining county of Greene three Negroes 
were lynched in April, 1906, Two of these occvirred in 
rapid succession; the first was on April 4, for "alleged 
rape"; the second, on April 14, for Rape; and the 
third on April 15, at Springfield for Murder, The two 
lynchings listed for Howell County occurred at V/est 
Plains in 1914, A Negro and his v/ife v/ere lynched for 
an "unknov/n cause". 

The lynchings along the rivers are more evenly 
scattered over the v/hole period, Missouri has had only 
two lynchless years since 1900, one of v/hich v/as 1922; 
and the other, 1926, In 1927 "there v/as one lynching in 
the state, in Pemiscot County which has had more lynchings 
than any other county In Missouri during the period of 
28 years. Two of the total six lynchings for this county 
occurred in 1903, at Caruthersville, and the cause listed 
by the reports at the time v/as "prejudice". No crime 
is listed against either of the victims. In 1911 the 
only two lynchings in the state occurred at Caruthers- 



180 



ville on the same day, Octoljer 11, the charges being rape 
and robbery. In 1916 at Hayti, Pemiscot County, a Negro 
was lynched for "attempted murder", Hayti is a fev/ miles 
north of Caruthersville, and is just across the River from 
Lake County, Tennessee, which until 1910 was notably a 
lynching county. The last lynching in Missouri occurred 
at Braggadocio, Pemiscot County, a small tov/n a fev/ miles 
west of Caruthersville, On May 22, 1927 a Negro was 
lynched after an alleged criminal assault on a white 
woman. He v/as taken from the jail, hanged by the hands 
to a temporary scaffold v/hich had been constructed for 
the purpose, and his body pierced with bullets,^ 

The two lynchings listed for the adjoining 
county of New Madrid occurred in 1902 and 1910, One of 
victims was charged with "assaulting a white man" and the 
other with "murderous assault". In the case of Mississippi 
County, second in rank according to the number of lyncliings, 
it is again to be noted that lynching is more habitual than 
in the counties av/ay from the river. The only recorded 
lynching in the state in 1905 was that of Robert Pettigrew 
at Belmont, Mississippi Co^mty, charged with "kidnapping", 

4. Dispatch to the "New York Evening Post", May 23, 1927, 

5, It is doubtless true that in both cases a Negro merely 
engaged in a fight with a v;hite man, vvTiereas "assaulting 
a v/hite man" could with propriety be listed as the cause 
of a lyncliing in Missouri in 1902, this v/as hardly true 
in 1910, With two exceptions there has not been a 
lynching in Missoujci during the past 20 years without a 
serious offense being given as the cause, usually m.urder. 



181 



Five years later, in July, two Negroes were lynched at 
Charleston for Miirder, Again, in 1924, on December 18, 
a mob of over 200 men "overpowered" the sheriff in his 
office at Charleston, took possession of a 20-year-old 
Negro v/ho v/as "alleged to have attempted to attack a 
white girl". Members of the mob dragged him across the 
courtyard and hanged him within 50 feet of the Sheriff's 
office, "A bullet was fired through the body which was 
then cut dovra, tied to an automobile and dragged through 
the streets of the Negro section" of the town. 

Table }57III shov/s the lynchings in Missouri 
since 1900 by crlm.e, by race, and by month. Three of 
the five whites were lynched in May, one in July and one 
in August, Pour of them v/ere charged with murder, and 
the crime of one is unlcnov;n, A majority of the lynchings 
in the State have occurred in the spring and sTommer 
months, the greatest number, nine, having occurred in 
May, All but three of the 19 alleged murders which 
occasioned a lynching occxirred in these months, as well 
as seven of the 10 Rapes, The three lynched for theft 
breathed their last d\iring the fall months. Of the total 
42 lynched during the period, 19 were charged with Murder; 
ten v/ith Rape^ fotir with Minor Offenses, such as "attacking 
a white man", "race prejudice", and "prejudice". The 
crimes of five, including a white man and a Negro woman, 
are not knovm, Missouri is not one of the v/orst lynching 
states; but the practice persists there until the present 
time, although the Negro population is only 5,2 per cent 



182-3 



TABLE XVIII 



MISSOURI: LYNCHINGS BY CRDffi, BY RACE, AND BY MONTH, 

Prom 1900 to 1928 



Month 



Murder Rape Assault Ullnor Theft Arson Unknovm Total 



January 


2 





February 


1 


1 


March 


2 





April 


4 


3 


May 


2w 


2 


June 








July 


3(lw) 


1 


August 


5(1t0 


I 


September 








October 





1 


November 








December 





1 








1 











1 




3 



















1 
1 
1 
























1 


Ivr 

2 





1 





3 
2 

3 
7 

9 
2 

4 
6 

1 
2 
2 

1 



Totals 19(4w) 10 



5(lw) 42 (5w) 



184 



of the total in the state as a whole, and only 14.5 per 
cent for the worst lynching county, Pemiscot, 

Oklahoma 

Table XIX shows the lynchings in Oklahoma by 
crime and by month since 1900, Of the total 48 persons 
lynched dxiring the period 10 were whites. In this respect 
Oklahoma might well be classed among the western states. 
During recent years, hov/ever, m.ob action in Oklahoma has 
been characterized by inter-racial conflict. More than 
50 per cent of both whites and Negroes lynched in this 
state have been charged v/ith murder. Eleven Negroes have 
been charged with Rape, Only one was lynched for a Minor 
Offense and two for an Unknovm Offense, The highest number 
of lynchings in the state occvirred in the months of August 
with nine, April with six, and December v/ith five. The 
total number is fairly well scattered throughout all m.onths 
of the year except February and October, with one each. 
Especially with regard to the niimber lynched in October, 
Oklahoma is notably different from other southern states. 

Map VII shows that the lynchings in Oklahoma 
since 1900 have been fairly dispersed throughout the East- 
central part of the state from north to south. Only two 
counties have had as many as four lynchings each, and three 
counties as many as three each, during the period. The 
fovir lynchings in Oklahoma County were scattered over a 
period of years from 1906 to 1922. Three of the victims 



185 



TABLE XIX 
OKLAHOMA: LYNCHINGS BY CRIME AND BY MONTH, 1900 to 1928 

Month Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknovm Total 



January 


2 


1 


February 


Iw 





March 


1 


1 


April 


5(4y;) 


1 


May 


5 





June 


2 


2 


July 


1 


1 


August 


6(lw) 


2 


September 


2 


1 


October 


1 





November 


2 


1 


December 


2 


1 















1 


4 

















Iw 














2(lw) 


4(lw) 

















6(4w) 





Iw 











6(14) 

















4 

















2 














Iw 


9(2w) 

















3 

















1 

















3 





1 








Iw 


5(lw) 



Totals 30{6w) 11 2(lw) 5(3w) 48(lQv/) 



I«- 



I 



186 



OkUhoaa 




187 



were charged with murder, and the crime of one Is not 
known, - that of a packing house employer who, in 1922, 
was kidnapped from his home and hanged to a tree near 
Oklahoma City, The four persons lynched in Pontotoc 
County were white men. All were lynched on the same day, 
April 19, 1909, at Ada, charged with "complicity in 
murder". 

Of the three persons lynched in Hughes County, 
two were Kegroes, and one, and Indian* One of the Negroes 
and the Indian were charged v;lth murder; and the other, 
with "attack upon a v/hite woman". The three lynched in 
Okfuskee County were charged with murder. One, a white 
man, was lynched in 1910, In 1911 a woman and her son 
met the same fate. The three lynchings in Wagoner County 
occurred in 1913, 1914, and 1915, The first and third 
mob victims were charged with rape and attempted rape, 
and the second with murder. The Tulsa Race Riot result- 
ed in a substantial addition in the niunber of mob 
murders to the single lynching recorded in Tulsa County. 
While the official record listed 10 v/hites and 21 Negroes, 
officers estimated that about 50 whites and 100 Negroes 
were burned or shot. 

South Carolina 

While the next three states in the order of the 
ntimber of mob victims during the past 28 years have had 
less than 100 lynchings, it is only by this arbitrary 



188 



method of division that they may he termed "Minor 
Lynching States", as contrasted to the seven states 
with more than 100 victims of moh action during the 
period* As is indicated in Chapter IX, some of the most 
notorious cases of mob action in recent years have 
occurred in these states. 

Table XX, therefore, is inserted for considera- 
tion in connection with South Carolina, Kentucky and 
Tennessee, as well as with the "Major" lynching states* 
This table shows some of the population characteristics. 
For each state it shows the total ntimber lynched during 
the period, the percentage white population in 1920, and 
percentage Negro population in 1920 and 1910, Also the 
percentage of the total number of all Negroes and v/hites 
ten years of age and above who were illiterate in 1920 
is given. The same information is given for each covmty 
in v/hich six or more persons have been lynched since 1900, 
and in addition the total number of whites and Negroes 
residing in these counties. 

Table XXI shows that since 1900 a total of 69 
persons have been lynched in South Carolina, Only one of 
these was white. The highest number of lynchings have 
occurred in June and July with ten each, while eight 
occurred in October and January, and seven in November 
and December, The cases of alleged rape are scattered 
throughout all the months except February and March, with 
the greatest niimber in August, January and September, A 



-'d.'i.av 



♦ aox 



-i-OIjE 



■HiC EOdX' 



^ -\ B! 



♦ .■10 vx 



189 



TABLE XX 

LYNCHINGS AND POPULATION CHARACl'ERISTICS IN THE SOUTH BY COUNTY 
(Compiled from the U. S, Census Reports of 1920) 



STATE and 
County 



WHITi Per ' Negro 
Number Popula- Cent Popula- 
Ismched tlon 7;hlte tion 
1900-28: 1928 1920 1920 



Per cent 
Necro 



Illltera c 
Per cent 



In 1920 



1920; UP Negroes 



ARKANSAS 

Arkansas 
Phillips 
Hempstead 

ALABAMA 

Covington 
Jefferson 
Mobile 
Montgomery 

FLORIDA 

Alachua 

Columbia 

Duval 

Hillsboro 

Holmes 

Jackson 

Madison 

Marion 

Orange 

Polk 

GEORGIA 

Bibb 

Bleckley 

Brooks''''* 

Bulloch 

Coffee 

Columbia 

Decatur 

Lov/ndes '""*'■ 

Mitchell 

Oconee 

Dodge 



•K- Since 1910 
*-K- Brooks and 
1900. See 



124 

15 
6 
6 

129 

9 

8 

6 

10 

156 

13 
8 
6 
7 
8 
6 
7 
7 
9 

12 

293 

7 

6 

18 

8 
7 
6 
6 
18 
6 
8 
6 



72,2! 



15,944 74.2 5,190 
11,181 25.1 32,929 
17,363 54.9,14,176 

60. 9| 



30,067 

171,727 

57,677 

31,572 



16,896 
7,201 



60,583 
56,472 
11,807 



56,472 
11,807 
17,867 



8,008 
10,698 
15,609 
25,536 



37,534 

5,900 

10,264 

16,070 

12,701 

3,460 

15,237 

12,846 

11,487 

6,348 

15,482 



27. Oi 28.1 

24.2 26.5 
73.9 78.6 
44.9 49.8 

38.4 42.5 



78.9 7,987 21.0! 24.9 
55.4 130,291 42.0 40.0 
57.6 39,667 39.6 42.9 
39.0 48,463 59.9 69.2 



61.5 

53.3 
50.4 
53.4 
64.0 
91.9 
57.2 
48.5 
44.6 
68.4 
73.8 

57.8' 

52.6 
56.0 
41.8 
61.5 
68.1 
29.5 
47.9 
48.6 
44.9 
57.4 
59.8 



34.0 41.0 



14,573 
6,999 

47,989 

16,588 
1,034 

13,320 
8,492 

12,887 
5,464 
9,359 



33,025 

4,615 

14,247 

10,034 

5,902 

8,251 

16,490 

13,535 

14,067 

4,719 



46.0 
49.0 
42.3 
18.8 
8.0 
42.7 
51.4 
53.8, 
27.51 
24.2 



55.7 
47.5 
49.6 
21.0 
10.3 
47.8 
55.6 
60.8 
39.8 
30.7 



41.7' 45.1 



this County was formed, out 
Lowndes counties have had 18 
Case No. 3, Chapter IX. 



43.8 
43.8 
58.1 
38.4 
31.6 
70.2 
51.9 
51.0 
55.0 
42.6 
40.0 



48.5 

59.1 
40.0 
35.2 
74.6 
57.6 
53.0 
52,7 
46.5 
42.0 



21,8 

19.0 
19.2 
20.3 

31.3 

29.9 
20.8 
23.8 
29.5 

21.5 

26.8 
12,6 
11.4 
12.3 
33.3 
36.0 
41.1 
15.7 
14.0 
21.1 

29.1 

25.6 
43.2 
35.6 
19.7 
23.0 
37,7 
28.7 
22,0 
39,6 
36.5 
28.0 



er cent 
Vifhites 

4,5 

2.1 
1.4 
2.5 

6.3 

9,1 
2.2 
2.0 
1.1 

2.9 

3.3 

2.1 

0.9 

1.4 
11.2 
11.5 

5.9 

1.6 

1.0 

1.2 

5.4 

2.3 
7.9 
4.5 
3.6 
8.0 
4.4 
5.2 
3.0 
6.4 
6.1 
7.5 



of a part of 
lynching s c 



Pulaski, 
ombined since 



TABLE XX (Cont'd) 



190 







ATiite Per 


Negro 








Number 


Popula- Cent 


Popula- Per cent 


Illiteracy in 1920 


STATE and 


lynched 


tion Vi/hite 


tion Negro 
1920 1925 '10 


Per cent 


Per cent 


Covuity 


1900-28 


1928 1920 


Negro 


//"hites 


KENTUCKY 


77 




90.3' 


, 3.3 


3.2 


1 

8.8 


0.6 


Butler 


10 


42,125 


96.1 


262 0.6 0.6 


11.1 


0.5 


Fulton 


6 


11,905 


78.3 


3,220 21.2 23.8 


17.4 


3.4 


LOUISIANA 


167 

1 




58.5 


38,9 43.1 


38.5 


10.5 


Bossier i 


12 


6,455 


29.0 


15,730 41.1 77.0 


42.8 


3.7 


Caddo 


23 


43,837 


52.6 


37,801 45.4 62.1 


21.0 


0.8 


Ouachita 


17 


15,863 


52.3 


18,897 45.8 54.8 


32.7 


3.3 


Rapides 


8 


33,260 


56.0 


24,992 


42.0 48.1 


33.7 


5.2 


Richland 


11 


8,714 


41.8 


11,996 


57.5 66.4 


41.5 


5.4 


Tangipohoa 


8 


20,372 64.8 


8,892 


28.3 31.3 


33.9 


6.6 


MISSISSIPPI 


266 




42.2 




52,2 


. 46.2 


29.3 


3,3 


Bolivar 


7 


9,528 


16.5 ■ 


47,533 


82.4 


87.4 


26.7 


2.5 


Carroll 


7 


8,956 


44.1 


11,353 


55.9 


58.2 


25.8 


1.6 


Clarke 


6 


10,652 


49.4 


7,218 


40,3 


69.8 


29.3 


3.6 


Coahoma 


7 


5,820 


14.0 


35,205 


84.8 


88.8 


29.7 


1.4 


Desoto 


8 


5,878 


24.1 


18,438 


75.7 


76.0 


35.5 


4.1 


Harrison 


6 


23,869 


72.6 


7,856 


23.9 


30.7 


16.2 


4.3 


Jackson 


6 


13,884 


72.3 


4,850 


25.2 


35.4 


20.7 


4.0 


Kemper 


8 


8,410 


42.9 


11,080 


56.5 


57.5 


30.0 


3.9 


Lauderdale 


6 


26,853 


58.5 


18,749 


40.9 


46.6 


27.1 


2.4 


Nev/ton 


6 


13,640 


65.8 


6,957 


33.6 


38.8 


33.8 


2.2 


Noxobee 


7 


4,880 


20.6 


18,803 


79.3 


84.0 


36.3 


1.8 


Quitman 


7 


4,780 


24.1 


15,051 


75.8 


76.5 


29.4 


3.1 


Smith 


6 


13,576 


83.9 


2,594 


16.0 


17.5 


26.1 


6.0 


Sxinflov/er 


8 


11,687 


25.2 


34,397 


74.2 


80.9 


29.8 


3,0 


Tallahatchee 


6 


10,527 


29.3 


25,317 


70.4 


69.4 


34.8 


2.3 


Tunica 


11 


2,129 


10.4 


18,207 


89.3 


90.7 


50.0 


4.4 


Warren 


6 


11,526 34.5 


21,313 


63.9 


69.9 


24.2 


1.1 


Washington 


10 


8,783 17.2 


41,640 


81.5 


85.0 


33.2 


2.0 


Yazoo 


7 


10,408 28.0 


26,627 


71.3 


76.1 


26.7 


2.1 


MISSOURI* 


42 


89.3 




5.2 


4.8 


12.1 


2.0 


Pemiscot 


6 


22,667 85.1 


3,865 14.5 7.8 

: ^^ ■ — rim 


36.1 
trr — ^,V-f 


7.6 

4A i-» 4- y^ 



the Census divisions of the Country. Only this one county in 

Missouri has had as many as six lynchings since 1900, and this county 

is located down in the South-east corner of the State on the 
Mississippi River, 



TABLE XX (Cont'd) 



191 







.Vhite 


Per 


Negro 












Niunber 


Popula- 


Cent 


Popula- 


Per Cent Illiteracy 


in 1920 


STATE and 


lynched 


tion 


7/hite 


tion 


Negro 


1 


-er Cent Per Cent 


County 


1900-28 


1928 ; 


1920 


1920 


1920 


TTO 


Negro 


■.Vhites 


SOUTH 








1 










CAROLINA 


69 




48.2 


1 


51.4' 


55.2 


29.3 ^ 


6.5 


Aiken Co, 


7 


21,425 


47.0 


23,988 


52.6 


54.6 


28.9 


8.1 


Orangeburg 


8 


22,060 


34.0 


42,718 


65.8 


65.8 


25.7 


3.7 


TENNESSEE 


85 




80.0 




19.3 


21.7 


22.4 


7.3 


Dyer Co. 


6 


24,502 


81.7 


5,432 


18.1 


20.5 


21.8 


6.4 


Lake 


9 


6,011 


66.2 


3,051 


33.6 


37.5 


31.3 


10,5 


Lauderdale 


7 


12,540 


58.3 


8,929 


41.5 


45.3 


32.5 


5.3 


Marshall 


7 


14,277 


82.2 


3,089 


17.8 


20.2 


23.1 


3.4 


TEXAS 


213 




76.3 

( 




15.9 


17,7 


17.8 


3.0 


Brazoria 


11 


12,484 


60.6 


6,574 


31.9 


46.9 


21.8 


3.0 


Cameron 


25* 


25,183 


68.7 


771 


2.1 


0.3 


48.8 


20.1 


Harrison 


12 


16,428 


37.7 


28,856 


61.7 


63.6 


24.4 


0.9 


McLennan 


9 


60,926 


73.5 


17,575 


21.2 


23.5 


14.3 


1.6 


Montgomery 


7 


10,474 


60.4 


6,358 


36.7 


45.3 


20,6 


4.1 


Sabine 


9 


9,520 


77.4 


2,616 


21.3 


19.6 


26.6 


5.2 


Walker 


7 


8,418 


45.4 


9,741 


52.5 


55.3 


23.6 


3.8 


Jefferson 


7 


29,687 


68.0 


19,586 


26.8 


28.0 


22.2 


3.2 



fill but one lynched in this county since 1900 v/ere Mexicans, The 
other was a white man, foreman of a ranch. There are 3,459 native 
whites ten years of age and above in the county who are illiterate. 
There is a total of 9,578 foreign-born, practically all Mexicans, 
in the County, and 4,766 of these were illiterate in 1920. 
Harrison Coiinty had a total of 4,783 Negro illiterates in 1920, 
Walker County had 1,778 illiterates, and an excess of 1,221 
males over females in the total population in 1920, 



192 



TABLE XXI 
SOUTH CAROLINA: LYNCHINGS BY GRIME BY MONTH, 1900-1928 

Month M\irder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknovm Total 



January 





3 





3 





1 





7 


February 


1 








1 











2 


March 


2 














3 





5 


April 


0, 


1 


1 














2 


May 























1 


June 


4 


2 


1 


1 





1 


1 


10 


July 


6 


1 





3 











10 


Axigust 





4 





1 








1 


6 


September 


1 


3 

















4 


October 


5(lw) 


1 





1 


1 








8(lw) 


November 


4 


2 


1 














7 


December 


4 


1 





2 











7 


Totals 


27(lw) 


19 


3 


12 


1 


5 


2 


69(lw) 



193 



total of nine of the 69 victims were accused of a crime 
in connection with a white woman - that is with rape, 
attempted rape, or an attack upon a white v/oman. Five of 
the victims were charged with arson and one with theft. 
Combining these with the high ntimber of 12 who were lynched 
for a Minor Offense, over 25 per cent of the total were 
lynched for what may correctly he terraed a minor crime. 

Map VIII shows the dispersion of the 69 lynchings 
in South Carolina over the various counties. Two coiinties 
have had six or more lynchings since 1900, - Aiken v;ith 
seven, and Orangehtirg v/ith eight. One county, Barnwell, 
has had four lynchings, and six counties have had three 
lyncliings during the period. In Aiken County, on July 20, 
1903, two Negroes v/ere lynched for "mistaken identity". 
There was not another lynching in this county for more than 
18 years. On September 8, 1921, two Negroes v/ere shot to 
death by an Aiken County mob. Five years later, on October 
8, 1926 a mob stormed the jail, took out Demon Lowman and 
his sister. Bertha, and Clarence Lowman, a cousin, and shot 
them to death. Judge Latham had just declared Demon Lowman 
not guilty on the charge of "conspiracy to murder". 

In 1920, as sho';m by Table XX, there were 23,988 
Negroes and 21,425 whites in Aiken Coimty. The percentage 
Negro population decreased from 54,6 per cent in 1910 to 
52,6 per cent in 1920, Of all whites ten years of age and 
above, 8,1 per cent, as compared to 6,5 per cent for the 
state as a v/hole, could not read and write. Of the Negroes, 



;;j::;a3^- 



UvTv 



195 



28,9 per cent were illiterate in 1920 as compared to 29.3 
per cent for the state as a whole. 

Table XXII shows tliat this state ranlcs lowest 
of all the southern states with regard to the amoiint in- 
vested in public school property per Negro school child. 
Of the $66,02 invested in public school property per school 
child for the two races combined, more than 9/lO of the 
amount goes to the white children and less than l/lO to the 
Negro children. Thus according to the literacy test the 
Negro children of Aiken County are apparently provided 
for a little better than the average in so far as 
educational opportunities are concerned. Possibly there 
is only one more county in the state in which a Negro is 
in greater danger of being lynched, and in no other county 
within recent years has a Negro and those arrested with 
him been lynched after a verdict of not guilty of the 
charges for which he was arrested. 

In Orangeburg Coxinty eight persons have been 
lynched since 1900, Here the percentage of Negro popula- 
tion is much higher than in Aiken, and the percentage of 
illiteracy is lower for both v/hites and Negroes, V/hile 
more than 25 per cent of the Negroes are unable to read 
and write, only 3.7 per cent of the v/hites are so handi- 
capped. In the county 64 per cent of all farms, or a 
total of 170,000 acres are tended by 866 native v/hite 
tenants and 2,553 Negro tenants. On July 1, 1903, three 
Negroes, suspected of murder, v/ere lynched at Norway, 



Lji.i' 



196 



TABLE XXII 



INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL PROPERTY PER CHILD OF SCHOOL AGE: 

FOR raiTES AND NEGROES 



STATE 

District of Columbia 

Missouri 

Deleware 

West Virginia 

Oklahoma 

Kentucky 

Maryland 

Texas 

Virginia 

Tennessee 

North Carolina 

Florida 

Arkansas 

Alabama 

Louisiana 

Georgia 

Mississippi 

South Carolina 



WHITES 


NEGROES 


tl47.00 


;i];l27.00 


109,46 


104.33 


93.00 


78.00 


67,50 


59,00 


70,53 


30.00 


35.00 


29.00 


59.30 


25.00 


79.88 


23.20 


73.83 


23.10 


35.53 


19.00 


52.08 


12.90 


78.22 


12.80 


32.23 


9.00 


40.92 


8.70 


74.24 


8.20 


48.02 


7.00 


32.57 


6.00 


60.12 


5.90 



(Compiled by Tuskegee Institute). 



00 »v 



■y;^ 



197 



Orangeburg County* Six years later two Negroes v/ere lynch- 
ed at Branchville, charged with murder. In December, 1912, 
Henry Fitts was lynched in Norway for "refusal to pay a 
note". In 1914, July 13, Rose Carson v/as lynched for Mvirder, 
She was the second of the three v/oraen lynched in South 
Carolina since 1900, the first being a llrs, Wideman, of 
Greenwood County, who was lynched with her husband on 
December 27, 1902, charged with miirder. The last lynching 
in Orangeburg Coujity occurred in 1924, On April 12 of 
that year Luke Adams, accused of attacking a white woman, 
"was fotind lynched". He had met his death "at the hands 
of parties unknown" - to the coroner's jury, probably, 

Kentucky 

A relatively high proportion of the persons lynch- 
ed in Kentucky have been whites. Of the total 59 Negroes 
lynched in that state since 1900, more than 1/3 were 
charged with murder, while about 18 per cent of the total 
n;araber lynched, and about 23 per cent of the Negroes, were 
charged with rape, or attacks upon v/hlte women. The crime 
of 12 Negroes and eight white men lynched in Kentucky is 
not known, v/hile eight Negroes and five whites have been 
lynched for minor offenses, such as "expressing sympathy 
with a Negro v/ho had been lynched", "making threats", and 
"forcing white boy to commit a crime". Table XXIII shows 
that about one-half of all lynchings in Kentucky have 
occurred in October, November and April, Four of the 
whites lynched in October for a Minor Offense were the 



■10 ,^ 



■y-ror' 



198 



TABLE XXIII 
ICENTUCKY: LYNCHINGS BY CRIME AND BY MONTH, 1900 to 1928 

Month Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknovm Total 



January 


3 


1 





2 








Iw 


7 


February 


2(lw) 


1 














Iw 


4 


March 





1 








3 








4 


April 


3 


1 


1 











5w 


10 


May 


2 





Iw 














3 


Jujie 


3 


1 

















4 


July 


2(lw) 


1 

















3 


August 





3 





4 











7 


September 


4(lw) 


1 

















5 


October 


4 


3 





6(5w) 








1 


14 


November 


2(lw) 


1 














11 


14 


December 











1 








Iw 


2 


Total 


25 (4w) 


14 


2(lv/) 


13 


3 





20 (8w) 


77(18w) 



ui Wt 





(.1 








c 



I 



II- 



199 



the Wallace family, in Hickory Grove, in 1908, for "mak- 
ing threats". 

Map IX shows that the lynching of Negroes in 
Kentucky has been largely restricted to the western half 
of the state. In Shelby Coiinty, in the North-central part 
of the state five persons have been, lynched since 1900, In 
the psychological sense of the term there have been however, 
only two lynchings in this county. On October 2, 1901, two 
Negroes were lynched at or near Shelbyville, for murder. 
There was not again such a mob episode until January 15, 
1911, when three Negroes were lynched near Shelbyville; 
one was charged with murder, and two v/ith "insulting white 
women". For more than 17 years there has not been a 
lynching in Shelby County, Kentucky, 

Povir ujilcnown whites v/ere lynched at Campton, in 
Wolfe County, for an unknown cause on April 15, 1911, Since 
this time the county has been free from this type of mob 
action. The four persons lynched in Simpson County were 
the Wallaces referred to above, Ballard County has had 
five persons lynched since 1900, but no lynchings for the 
past 12 years. In 1901 three Negroes were lynched for 
Lfurder, and two years later another for the same cause. 
In 1915 a white man, named Molindro, v/aa lynched at Love- 
laceville for an unknown cause, Logan County has had one 

6, Through an extensive correspondence, mostly but not al- 
togehter one-sided, the v/riter has been unable to obtain 
any further details of the fate of this man, wife, and 
tv/o children* 





1 


TVV 


MAP IX 








200 


X 


^j 


/ if EU'.^ii 




Ik 


:r!_ii n 


E-x 






^ 

^ 




• i 


s^ 


2 

1 

J 


MARSH 


IvT ^><^ 






1 •-\/^^"^ ^^^ 


°-^s — 




_ 


^ 










:i 

!l 


(ENTUCK 

SCALE -STATUTE MILES 












^ 




• 






^ 

^ 


"^ 








• r7%< #A'\ >^ If 

> VliW -— f T ^\* 

S. /-' toS ^i / i\ j^ "^X 


-i\ KEN 


^ 




^^^t 












-X y-^ .arY^.,o9/vv.^..,2rv I $f 










v^ 




15^ 










r^ 







201 



lynching but foior persons lynched since 1900, On August 
1, 1908, apparently as a result of an emotional transfer 
from a murderer to whom they could not get access, a mob 
of men lynched four Negroes at Russellville for "expressing 
sympathy v/ith the murderer of a white man," 

Two counties in Kentuclry have had six or more 
persons lynched since 1900, Pulton with six and Butler with 
10, All of those lynched in Butler County were Negroes, 
They were lynched on a single occasion in 1908 by "night 
riders" for "an unknovm cause" near Rochester, in the 
western part of the county. Thus in this county with a 
high proportion of literacy for both whites and Negroes, 
and a small proportion of Negro population, there has 
not been a lynching for the past 20 years. 

Pulton County, on the other hand, has a Negro 
population of 3,220 or 21,2 per cent of the total. The 
six lynchings in this county occurred over a period of 
16 years. In February, 1920, a Negro v/as lynched at 
Pulton for "suspected murder", and another two months 
later for Murder, Two years later, at Hickman, a Negro 
was lynched for "alleged rape" after which there v/as not 
another episode of this nature in the county for more than 
a decade. On September 10, 1915, Claude Johnson, v/hite, 
was lynched at Hickman for Murder, Two years later, on 
May 20, Lawrence Dempsey, v/hite, v/as lynched at Fulton for 
"murderous assault". On December 16, 1918, the last 



202 



lynching in Pulton Gotmty occurred v/hen Charles Lewis 
was lynched at Hickman "for beating the Sheriff", 

During the past ten years Kentucky has had 
seven lynchings, the last of v/hich occiirred in 1927, at 
Whitesburg in Letcher County, On November 30, Leonard 
Woods, alleged slayer of a mine foreman, was lynched by 
a mob said to have been composed of citizens of Kentucky 
and Virginia, The Negro v/as taken out of tov/n, hanged, 
and his body riddled with shots by many members of the mob. 

Tennessee 

Tennessee ranks eighth as to the ntunber of persons 
lynched since 1900 with a total of 85, eight of whom were 
v/hite. One of the white men was lynched for an unknown 
cause, tv/o for rape, and five for miirder. Table XXIV 
shows that about 42 per cent of the total number lynched 
have been charged with murder, and that a relatively 
high proportion have been charged with Rape, Y/hile no 
lyncliings have occurred in this state as a result of 
Arson, eight persons have been lynched for Theft, and 
eight for minor offenses such as "making threats", "aid- 
ing in the escape of a murderer", and "testifying for one 
of his own race". The highest ntimber lynched met that 
fate in October, 

Map X shov/s the dispersion of the lynchings in 
Tennessee over the various coiuities, A majority of the 
total have occurred in the v/estern part of the state along 



203 



TABLE XXIV 
TENNESSEE: LYNCHINGS BY CRIEffi AND BY MONTH, 1900 to 1928 

Month Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknown Total 



January 


4 








February 


6 


2 





March 


3 


Iw 


1 


April 


4 


2(lw) 





May 


2 


3 





June 


2 


2 





July 


2(lw) 


1 





August 





1 





September 


Iw 


7 





October 


7(3w) 


3 





November 


4 


3 





December 


1 


1 


1 



1 

















1 


2 














1 

















2 











1 

















5 














3 












5 





8 





8 





6 


Iw 


7 





4 





5 


2 


4 





8 


2 


17 





7 





6 



Totals 36(5w) 26(2w) 2 8 8 5(lw) 85(8wj 



205 



the Mississippi River, Four counties have had six or • 
more persons lynched since 1900. Three of these border 
on the Mississippi River, - Lake, Dyer, and Lauderdale, 
Marshall County, in Middle Tennessee, has had seven 
lynchings since 1900, but none since 1903, At Caney 
Springs, on January 9, 1900, four Negroes were lynched 
for Theft, In November, 1902, one was lynched at Lewis- 
bvirg charged v/ith murder. In the following August the 
last lynching in the County occxirred at Lewisburg v/hen 
two unlcnown Negroes were lynched for unknov/n offenses, 
Marshall is now one of the leading counties in the state 
in v/ealth and in other respects. It is a diversified 
farming section with a population of 14,277 whites and 
3,089 Negroes, Only 3,4 per cent of the whites as com- 
pared to 7.3 per cent for the state as a whole are 
illiterate, 

Bedford County borders Marshall on the east. 
On February 19, 1912, three Negroes were lynched in 
Bedford for Murder, There have been three lynchings in 
Franklin County, which is South-east of Marshall. One 
of these was that of a Negro in 1901 for Murder. In 
1918 occurred the last lynchings in the County v/hen, en 
February 10, a Negro was lynched for "aiding a colored 
man in escape", and, on February 12, Jim Mcllheron, Negro, 
was tarred and feathered, then burned at Estill Springs, 
He v/as charged with having wounded tv/o v/hite men v/lth 
whom he had previously had "trouble". With the exception 



s^il 



, jl;b3 



206 



of this outbreak, practically all of the lynchings in 
Tennessee during th*e past tv/enty years have occurred in 
the western counties along the Mississippi River, 

Dyer Covin ty has a population of 24,502 whites 
and 5,452 Negroes, The percentage of Negro population 
decreased from 20,5 per cent in 1910 to 18,1 per cent in 
1920, Illiteracy in the county for both whites and 
Negroes is belov/ the average for the state as a v/hole« 
This county has had six lynchings since 1900, scattered 
over a period of 16 years, Tv/o of the six lynched in the 
county were charged v/ith murder, tv/o v/ith rape, one with 
attempted rape, and one with "shooting an officer". There 
has not been a lynching in Dyer County for the past twenty 
years. 

In Lauderdale County, which ranks higher in the 
ntimber of lynchings since 1900 has not had an outbreak 
of this type of mob violence since 1906. Of the seven 
lynchings in this county four occiirred in 1900, two for 
Murder, one for "aiding in escape of murderer", and one 
"for testifying for a member of his own race". These 
lynchings were all within the vicinity of Ripley, where 
in 1903 another Negro was lynched for Miirder, and in 
1904 another as a result of "race prejudice". The last 
lynching in Lauderdale was that of George Estes at Hales 
Point, in the northern end of the county, on October 29, 
1906, charged v/ith miirder. In 1910 the proportion of 
Negro population in Lauderdale v/as the highest of any 
county in the state, being 45,3 per cent. In 1920 there 



207 



were 8,929 Negroes and 12,450 whites being thus a de- 
crease of the proportion Negro population to 41»5 per 
cent. VvTaile only 5,3 per cent of the whites as compared 
to 7,3 per cent for the state as a whole vieve illiterate, 
32,5 per cent of the Negroes or 10 per cent more than the 
average for the state were illiterate. 

In Lake County, on the other hand, where the 
proportion of Negro population is much lower than in 
Lauderdale there has been a total of nine lynchings since 
1900, more than in any other county of the state, V/hile 
there was in 1920 a lov/er percentage of illiteracy among 
the Negroes of Lake than of Lauderdale County, a total of 
10,5 per cent of all whites in this covmty were illiterate. 
Of the nine persons lynched in Lake County since 1900 one 
was a wliite man, Issac Fitzgerald, charged with rape, at 
Tiptonville, on March 17, 1901, In 1900 a Negro was 
lynched for Robbery, and in 1907 two were lynched "for 
fighting a v/hite man". On November 24, 1908, three 
Negroes were lynched at Tiptonville for Murder, and in 
1910 two for "attempted rape", -^'his was the last lynching 
in the county, which is located just across the River 
from Pemiscot County, Missouri, which had its last lynch- 
ing in 1927, 

Shelby Coxinty, Tennessee, has had six lynchings 
since 1900, the last of which occurred on September 28, 
1927: "The bullet-riddled body of Thomas V/illiams, alleged 
to have attacked a fifty-year old v/hite woman, was found 



208 



In Pleasant Union Churchyard, two miles from the scene 
of the crime" - near Memphis, During the 28 years no 
East Tennessee County has had more than one lynching. 
Of the seven lynchings which have occxirred in this sec- 
tion, five were for llixrder, one for Rape, and one "for 
making threats". The last lynching in this section of 
the state occurred in 1921 when Berry Bowling, white, 
was hanged by a mob on May 7, 1921, at Huntsville, for 
an unlcnown offense. 

It is notable that of the total 85 lynchings 
in Tennessee since 1900, 36 occurred before 1908, Duj?- 
ing the past 20 years Tennessee has had a total of 49 
lynchings; and driring the past decade, 15, On the other 
hand there have been ten persons lynched in this state 
since 1920, Moreover, in addition to the situation 
described in the Case in Chapter IX - "The Burning of 
Ell Person" - which could hardly be totally alleviated 
v/ithin a short while, the lynching record in Tennessee 
during the past year indicates that this state is not 
yet free from mob violence. Two of the three Negroes 
lynched in 1927 were taken from jails. On June 17, 
Sheriff T. D. Caldwell was killed by Joseph Upchurch at 
Paris, in Henry County, A Deputy Sheriff placed Upchurch 
in a cabin which was "riddled with bullets by a posse of 
about 50 men," Some of the bullets hit and killed the 
Negro, 

7. For a further analysis of Shelby County lynchings see 
Chapter IX, Case No. 10. 



209 



The last lynching in Tennessee v/as that of 
Henry Choate, 18 years old, on Armistice Day, 1927, 
Choate, alleged to have attacked a white girl, "was taken 
from the jail by a hand of 250 men", and, like young 
Lynch of Galway long ago, was hanged from the second story 
windov: of the courthouse building. 



210 



CHAPTER VIII 



LYNCHINGS BY STATE AND BY COUNTIES: 
THE MAJOR LYI^CHING STATES 



It has been noted that in seven southern states, 
- Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, 
and Arkansas - there has been a total of 1,348 persons 
lynched since 1900, This number constitutes 62 per cent 
of all lynchings in the Nation and 78 per cent of all in 
the South, Three of these states, - Georgia, Mississippi 
and Texas, have had between 200 and 300 lynchings; and the 
other four, more than 100 each during this period* Thus 
we have called these the "Major Lynching States" as dis- 
tinguished from those having less than 100 persons 
lynched during the past 28 years. In these states there 
are 339 coiinties in which no lynching has been recorded 
since 1900 while in 60 counties of the seven states there 
have been six or more persons lynched during the period. 
In these counties a total of 553 persons have met death 
at the hands of mobs during the Tv/entieth Century. 



211 



Arkansas 

In this group of Major Lynching States Arkansas 
rariks seventh, with a total of 124 mob victims since 
1900« This number does not include the victims of the 
Elaine Race Riots, the ntunber of which is not known. 
Map XI shows that the lyncbings in Arkansas have been 
largely concentrated in the southern and eastern portions 
of the state. More than 90 per cent of all lynchlngs in 
Arkansas have occurred in the South-eastern half of the 
state. The counties in which the highest number of 
lynchlngs has occurred are those along the Mississippi 
River, and to a lesser degree along the southern end of 
the state from east to west, 

Arkansas Coiinty has had the largest number of 
persons lynched since 1900, but only three lynching 
episodes. Of the 15 persons lynched in this county, 13, 
all Negro men, were lynched on the same day, March 26, 
1904, The cause of this lynching, according to the re- 
ports, was "race prejudice". There was not another lynching 
in the county for more than 12 years. On August 9, 1916 
an unnamed Negro was lynched at Stuttgart for Rape, On 
October 9, of the same year, the last recorded lynching 
in this county occurred when Frank Dodd, a Negro, was 
lynched at Dewitt for "attempted rape". 

In 1910 the proportion Negro of the total 
population of Arkansas County was 26,5 per cent. In 1920 



fl'X 



'}r 



i-'ze. 



7.1 a.- 






liv: 



213 



there had been a slight drop to 24.2 per cent. At this 
time there were 5,190 Negroes and 15,944 whites, 'Ahite 
males were more than 1,000 in excess to females, and 
there were also more Negro males than females. In 1920 
the proportion of illiterate Negroes and v/hites in 
Arkansas County was less than that for the state as a 
whole. The farms in this county are relatively few and 
large. It is the great rice section of the state, where 
a majority of the Negroes on farms are day laborers who 
come in close contact v/ith few white men. In this county, 
which is one of the largest in the state, there are only 
666 white tenants and 356 Negro tenants. There has not 
been a lynching in the county for 12 years. 

In Phillips County there have been six persons 
lynched since 1900, The last lynching was that of a 
Negro on June 16, 1927 at Helena, Owen Fleming, charged 
with having killed a white man who tried to force him to 
work while sick, was shot to death by a posse of about 
200 white men. 

The only other county in the state which has 
had six persons lynched since 1900 is Hempstead, These 
lynchings were scattered over a period of 17 years, the 
last having occurred in 1922, On April 20, 1905 a Negro 
was lynched at Spring Hill for JTurder and four years 
later, on January 18, a Negro v/as lynched at Hope for 
"insulting white girl". On October 20, 1911 a Negro was 
lynched at Hope for "insulting women"; and another, on 



214 



June 15, 1915 for Murder, The last lynching in Hem- 
stead County occurred on July 28, 1922 at Guernsey v/hen 
John West was lynched as a result of a quarrel between 
a white man and himself over a drinking cup, 

Ashley County has had five lynchings since 1900, 
the last of which occurred in 1927, On February 19, 1904 
at Crossett - a sawmill town - a Negro was lynched for 
Murder and on September 5, another for "assaulting whites". 
In 1908 the only lynctiing in the state was at Parkdale, 
Ashley County, Earnest Williams was thrust into eternity 
by a band of men who were "outraged" at him for "using 
offensive language"'. On May 30, 1909 a Negro was lynched 
at Portland for Murder, The last lynching in Ashley 
County occurred on August 26, 1927, Winston Pounds was 
"taken from a posse of deputy sheriffs" and hanged to a 
tree one and a half miles from Wilmot, charged with having 
"attacked a yoimg married woman". 

Table XXV shov/s the total lynchings in Arkansas 
since 1900 by crime, by race, and by month. Of the total 
124 lynchings during the period 23 occurred in March, 14 
in October, 12 in August, 12 in May and 10 in June, The 
high mark in March is explained by the Arkansas County 
episode on March 26, 1904 when 13 Negroes were lynched as 
a result of "race prejudice". With this exception the 
high lynching months are, as is rather general in the 



1. New ¥ork World, August 27, 1927. 



215 



TABLE XXV 
ARKANSAS: LYNCHINGS BY CRIME AND BY MONTH, 1900-1928 

Month M\xrder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unlcnown Total 



January 


2(lw) 





February 


2 


1 


March 


4(lw) 





April 


4(lw) 


2 


May 


3 


5 


June 


5(lw) 


2 


July 


3 


2 


August 


2(lw) 


4 


September 


1 


4 


October 


3 


4 


November 


5(2w) 


1 


December 


5 


1 






2(lw) 


l*w 





2 


1 








2 


14 





1 


1 











1 


1 


1 








3 











2 


1 


1 


1 


5(lw) 








1 


3 








2 


1 


1 





1 














. 1 









1 


6 





6 


2 


23 





7 


1 


12 





10 





9 





12 





9 


3 


14 


2 


9 





7 



39(7w) 26 11 33(2w) 4(lw*) 2 9 124(10w) 

* This white man was charged with "highway robbery". 



216 



southern states. May and June, then August and October. 
A relatively low proportion of those lynched in Arkansas 
have been charged with Murder, 31,5 per cent. About 21 
per cent of the total number were charged with rape, alleg- 
ed rape, attack upon a woman, or "assaulting white woman". 
Combining the number lynched for Theft (3) and Arson (2) 
with those lynched for a Minor Offense, we have 38 or 30,6 
per cent of the total. Minor Offense in Arkansas includes 
such "crimes" as "race prejudice", "insulting white women", 
"using offensive language", "disloyal remarks", "strike 
breaker" and "eloping with a v;hite girl". 

During the last decade Arkansas has had 34 lynch- 
ings; and in the past five years, nine. Two of the three 
lynchings in the state in 1927 have been mentioned. The 
other was that of John Garter, on May 5, 1927, Carter, a 
feeble-minded Negro, was accused of "assault of a white 
woman and her daughter". He was hanged by a mob several 
miles out of Little Rock after which his body was tied to 
an automobile, dragged throvigh the streets, then saturated 
with gasoline, hanged to a telephone pole on one of the 
principal corners of the "Negro Section" and burned, 

Alabama 

In addition to being noted for pig-iron, child 
labor and illiteracy, Alabajna ranlcs sixth among all states 
of the Nation in the number of persons lynched since 1900, 
Table JvXVI shows the number lynched by race, by crime and 



217 



TABLE XXVI 
ALABAMA: CRIIvIES BY MONTH, WHITE AND NEGRO, 1900-1928 



Month 


Murder 


Rape 


Assault 


Minor 


Theft 


Arson 


Unknown 


Total 


January- 


5(lw) 


3 


1 


3 








3(2w) 


15 


February 


2 


4 

















6 


March 


3 


5 





1 








1 


10 


April 


4 


3 


1 














8 


May 


1 


4 





5 


1 








11 


June 


2(lw) 


2 





1 





1 


1 


7 


July 


1 


3 


5 


2 











11 


August 


6 


3 





5 








1 


15 


September 


5(lw) 


5 





Kw) 











11 


October 


1 


8 


2 











1 


12 


November 


10 


2 


1 


1 











14 


December 


5 








4 











9 




45(3w) 


42 


10 


23 (Iw) 


1 


1 


7(2w) : 


L29(6w) 



218 



by month during this period. There have been 15 lynch- 
ings in January and August, 14 in Novemher, 12 in October, 
11 in May, July and September, and 10 in March. The total 
of 129 is about equally divided among the four seasons 
of the year, the highest nvmber coming in the fall 'with a 
total of 37. The crime for which 45 were lynched was 
Murder - about 35 per cent of the total. It is notable 
that in Alabama 42, or 32 per cent of the total have been 
lynched for Rape, Ten, all Negroes, were lynched for 
Assault, The crime of seven, including two v/hite men, 
is not known. One was lynched for Arson and one for 
Theft, while 23 were lynched for Minor Offenses. In 
Alabama this group includes such "crimes" as "race pre- 
judice", "mule poisoning", "threats to kill", and "creat- 
ing a disturbance". 

Map XII shows that one- third of the lynchings 
in Alabama have occurred in four counties, - Covington, 
Jefferson, Mobile and Montgomery. These counties with a 
total of 33 lynchings are the only ones that have had 
more than six persons lynched since 1900, according to 
the records. In Covington County nine persons have been 
lynched, over a period of 20 years. Three of the number 
were "unknown Negroes" lynched on the same day, December 
6, 1901, because of "race prejudice". On February 20, 
1906 a Negro was lynched at Andalusia for Rape, and on 
April 29 another at Rienzi for M-urder, The other four 
were lynched in 1907, 1910, 1918 and 1920, all for Rape, 



219 




10 20 30 'to SO 



i« 






V -.i* 



220 



Two were charged with rape, one with "assault of a white 
woman", and the last. Jack Waters, "was found hanging to 
a telephone pole riddled with bullets. He was lynched 
after an alleged attack upon a white woman." 

The Negro population of Alabama is concentrated 
through the South-central part of the state. It is notable 
that three of the counties with more than six lynchlngs 
lie outside this area, Covington, for example is one of 
the southern border counties. In 1910 the Negro population 
of Covington County was 24,9 per cent while in 1920 it had 
decreased to 21,0 per cent. At this time there v/as a 
smaller percentage of illiteracy among the 7,987 Negroes 
of the county than among the Negroes of Alabama as a v/hole, 
while 9,1 of the v/hites ten years of age and above as 
compared to 6.5 per cent for the state were Illiterate, 

Jefferson County lies north of the Alabama "Black 
Belt" Prom 1910 to 1920 there was an increase of 2 per cent 
in the proportion of Negro population, no doubt due to the 
large influx of Negroes into Birmingham during late years. 
Illiteracy Is relatively lov; for both whites and Negroes, 
There have been eight lynchlngs in this county since 1900, 

On May 11, 1901 an unknown Negro was lynched at 
Leeds, by mistake. On August 2 of the same year and at 
the same place, Charles Bentley v;as lynched for Murder, 
There was not another lynching in Jefferson County for more 
than six years, when on September 3, 1907 Jerry Johnson 
was lynched near Birmingham for Rape, On August 6 of the 



221 



next year a Negro was lynched at Brighton "for dynamit- 
ing". On April 25, 1909 a Negro named Thomas v/as lynch- 
ed near Birmingham for Rape, The next lynching in the 
county was that of a white man, John Candler, at Bessamer 
on January 28, 1912 for Murder, On the following November 
2, at Bessamer, William Smith was lynched for Murder, The 
last lynching in Jefferson County occiirred in 1923, Will 
McBride was arrested on a charge of "assault". Some school 
children had seen him walking along the road and had be- 
come frightened at him. There being no evidence against 
the 60 year old Negro of good reputation, he was dis- 
missed by the Judge, on July 12, That night he was taken 
from bed in his home and beaten to death by a mob of 
"unlcnown men". 

Mobile County has had six lynchings since 1900, 
On October 6, 1906, two Negroes were lynched at Prichard 
for Rape, and on the following September another was 
lynched for attempted rape. On January 22, 1909 Doviglass 
Robertson was lynched for Murder, and another Negro v/as 
lynched at /ocis on August 1, 1910 for Rape, There was not 
another lynching in this county for nine years, v/hen the 
last one occurred on June 6, 1919 at Prichard, There was 
"trouble" between white and colored v/orkers in a cotton 
mill, and James E. Lewis, Negro, was shot by a group of 
white men,^ 



2, Birmingham News, Jxine 8, 1919, 



222 



Montgomery County, with a Negro population of 
48,463, or 59,9 per cent of the total, lias had more 
lynchings than any other Alabajna County since 1900, This 
county is located in the heart of the Alabama "Black Belt" 
but several other counties have a higher proportion of 
Negro population. There are eight counties in the state 
with more than 75 per cent Negro population - and in these 
counties combined there has been only 15 lynchings dviring 
the past 28 years. Three Alabama Counties - Hale, Meringo 
and Perry - have a Negro population of between 62,5 per 
cent and 75 per cent. In only one of these has there been 
a lyncMng since 1900, In Meringo County, at Magnolia, on 
December 20, 1909 Clinton Montgomery was lynched for M\irder, 
By Comparing Map XII with the population map of Alabama 
(Vol, III, 1920 Census Report) it is readily seen that 
there is a closer correlation between the number of 
lynchings and a Negro population of 12,5 per cent to 50 
per cent than between the number of lynchings and a 
Negro population of more than 50 per cent, Montgomery 
County is the only one v/ith more than 50 per cent Negro 
population that has had as many as five lynchings since 
1900, Among the 39,0 per cent white population in the 
county only 1,1 per cent of those ten years of age and 
above are illiterate, while 29,5 per cent of the Negroes 
are thus handicapped. 

It is interesting to trace the lynching history 
of this county for the past 40 years. The first lynching 



223 



recorded was in 1890 when "a desperado" met death at Mont- 
gomery, Between this date and 1897 three Negroes and one 
white man were lynched at or near Montgomery, all charged 
with murder. There was not another lynching in the county 
for 13 years, when John Dell was lynched at Montgomery, 
on October 9, 1910 for Murder, Then in 1915, on August 
17, at Hope Hull three Negroes were lynched for "poison- 
ing mules". On September 29, 1919 three more were shot 
at Montgomery, There had been a "rov/" following a dance, 
and Policeman John Barbere attempted to arrest three 
Negroes, One of them named Temple resisted the arrest 
and, after first being v/ounded by the policeman, shot him. 
Temple v/as shot to death in a hospital that night by a 
band of 25 whites, and the other two were taken from the 
officers on the way to the State Prison at 7/etumka, and 
shot. The charges against the Negroes as reported in 
the "New York Sun" was "assaulting white women". In 1920, 
at Legrande, V/ilbur Smith, alleged to have attacked a 6 
year old white girl, had been arrested by a citizen who 
was taking him to jail. Six "masked men forced the 
citizen" to give up the Negro who was taken to the woods 
and shot to death. Two years later, on October 3, 1922 
John Brown was taken from his home at Montgomery and 
lynched by a mob; for what crime it is not known, 

Dxjring the past decade 25, and during the past 
five years three lynchings have occTirred in Alabama, The 
last lynching in the state v/as in Montgomery County, On 



vr 



224 



December 15, 1925 at Montgomery, "incensed over an Insult 
by him to a white woman. Grant Cole was shot to death 
by unidentified parties. Progressive deterioration in 
lawlessness: first they lynched for murder; then 
"masked men" and "unidentified parties" lynched for "un- 
known offenses" and "insults", 

Florida 

Florida has been one of the leading states in 
the number of persons lynched as far back as statistics 
are available. Since 1889 there have been 232 lyncliings 
in this state, including 19 white men, and three Negro 
women. During the past 28 years there have been 156 
lynchings in the state, including 12 v/hites and 144 
Negroes, three of whom were v/omen. During the past 
decade there have been 56 lynchings in Florida, and for 
the past five years, 26, 

Table XXVII shows that the majority of lynchings 
in Florida since 1900 have occurred in the spring and 
summer months. The highest number happened in July and it 
was in this month also that the highest number of persons 
were lynched for Minor Offenses, The highest niimber 
lynched for Mvirder met that fate in May with 13 Negroes 
and one white. It is notable that of the total 156 
lynched since 1900, 81, or about 51 per cent were charged 
with Murder, This number included 66 2/3 per cent of the 
whites. One white man was lynched for Rape, one for 



225 



TABLE XXVII 
FLORIDA: LYWCHINGS BY CRIME BY MONTH, 1900 to 1928 
Month Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft Arson Unlcnown Total 



January 


4 


2 





2 


1 








9 


February 


3 


4 





1 











8 


March 


7(2w) 


2 





2 








1 


12 


April 


5(2w) 


1 

















6 


May 


14(lw) 


4 


1 


3 








2 


24 


June 


7 


4 














1 


12 


July 


9 


5 


1 


4 








1 


20 


August 


11 (Iw) 


2 


1 


2 








2 


18 


September 


10(2w) 


3 





1 











14 


October 


4 


2(lw) 





Kiw) 











7 


November 


4 


5 


l(w) 


6 








1 


17 


December 


3 


1 


1* 











4(lw) 


9 


Totals 


81 (8w) 


35 (Iw) 


5(lw) 


22 (Iw) 


1 





12(lw) 


156(12) 



^ A "desperado". 



N' 



n 







226 



Assault, and one for a Minor Offense - "refusing in- 
formation". Thirty-five of the total nvtraber or 22 per 

cent v/ere lynched for attempted rape, alleged rape, attacks 

or 

upon white v/omen/alleged assault upon white women. 

Twelve of the number lynched in Florida were for 
an "unknow cause". Combining this number v/ith those lynch- 
ed for a minor charge v/e have a nvimber equal to that of 
those lynched for Rape, or 22 per cent of the total. The 
Minor Offenses for which men have been lynched in Florida 
include such "crimes" as "refusing information", "popular 
prejudice", "refusal to give up farm" and "bringing his 
mother to tov;n after she had been flogged for selling 
whiskey," 

Map XIII shov/s the lynchings in Florida since 
1900 by county. Practically every county in the state has 
had one or more lynchings, and 10 cotmties have had six 
or more during this period. One of these counties has had 
13 persons lynched during the period and another 12; one 
has had nine; tv/o, eight lynchings, and three, seven 
lynchings. The total for these counties is 83, not count- 
ing all of the victims of the race riot at Oconee on 
November 2, 1920, 

Table XXVTII shows the lynchings in Florida in 
the counties having six or more since 1900, by county, 
by race and by crime. Also the date of each lynching by 
county is given, A glance at the Table indicates that in 
some of the counties the lynchings are scattered over many 



228 



TABLE XXVIII 



LYNCHIHGS IN FLORIDA BY COU?flY AND BY CRIME, 1900-1928 





Numi- 




County 


ber 


Date 


ALACHUA 


13 






2 

1 

Iw 

1 
6 


9/1/02 

1/15/04 

3/5/O8 

7/21/15 

8/19/16 




1 
1 


1/25/23 
12/27/26 


COLUMBIA 


8 






Iw 

6 

1 


11/27/00 

5/21/11 

11/28/19 



Crime for v/hlch lynched 



DUVAL 



HILLSBORO 



1 
2 

1 



5/9/09 
9/8/19 
8/24/23 



1 12/29/23 

1 12/30/23 

7 

1 12/5/03 

2 3/7/10 
1 3/8/10 
2w 9/20/10 
1 4/15/12 



at Newberry for Murder. 

at High Springs, for rape, 

at Newberry, for niurder, 

at Trenton, "popular prejudice", 

at Nev/berry, tv/o women and four 

men, "alleged accessory to 

murder". 

at Newberry, cattle stealing. 

at Ti/aldo, attempt to collect 

debt 



at Lake City, "murderous assault", 
at Lake City, "murder". 
Ten miles out of Lake City, "alleg- 
ed to have insulted a young white 
woman," "foujid lynched". 



Duval Co, for Rape. 

at Jacksonville, Murder. 

at Jacksonville, "suspected of 

peeping into window of young 

girl". According to reports 

received at the Sheriffs office 

later Indicated innocence. 

Near Jacksonville, "victim of 

death code oj^" the Duval County 

moonshiners. 

Same as victim of Dec. 29th. 



Near Tampa, attempted rape, 
Tampa for murder. 
Tampa for murder. 
Tampa" attempted mtirder". 
Near Tampa for Murder, 



229 





Num- 




County 


ber 


Date 


HOLMES 


8 






2 
4 

1 
Iw 


7/30/10 
8/2/10 
7/7/13 
4/16/16 


JACKSON 


6 






1 
1 


6/10/00 
6/10/00 




1 
1 
1 


7/1/05 
9/2/10 
9/2/10 




1 


3/5/11 


MADISON 


7 






2 
Iw 

1 
1 
1 


1/7/01 
3/19/03 
II/9/O6 
2/2/08 
3/13/19 



MARION 



ORANGE 



TABLE XXVIII (Cont'd) 

Crime for v/hlch lynched 



1 
1 
1 
1 
1 
1 



12/5/22 



1/16/01 
11/14/12 
11/19/12 
2/17/15 
1/28/19 
1/12/26 



9 




Iw 


8/12/15 


1 


11/2/20 


5 


Same 



At Bonifay, Murder. 

At Bonifay, "Complicity in I.^tirder". 

At Bonifay, Rape. 

At Bonifay, Murder. 



At Sneads, "suspected murder". 
At Sneads, "Complicity in 

mtirder . " 
At Cottondale, Murder. 
At Graceville, Murder, 
At Graceville, complicity in 

murder, 
^t Marianna, "threats to kill". 



At Madison, for Murder. 
At Madison, for Murder. 
At Madison, for Rape. 
At Greenville, "suspected murder". 
At Greenville, shooting a Watch- 
man. 
At Madison, a Negro was lynched 
by a mob; no charges were given. 



At Dunnelon, "trainwrecking". 

At Ocala, for Murder. 

At Ocala, for Murder, ' 

At Sparr, "insulting v/omen". 

At Ocala, Rape. 

18 miles out of Ocala. He had 

been jailed on suspicion in 

connection with attack on a white 

woman. 



At Osceola, first lynchirig in 
Orange Co. since 1892. Murder. 
At Oconee, shooting tv/o men after 
they had refused to let him vote. 
Burned to death in a house set 
after shooting referred to above. 
(See Chapter IX). 



» -t 



b-y:.. 



LSA 



3 TiK 



230 



TABLE XXVIII (Cont»d) 



County 



POLK 



Niom- 
ber 



Date 



Crime for which lynched 



11/26/25 At Orlando, wounded detectives. 



12 

1 
1 

1 
2 

1 
1 
1 
1 
1 



1 
1 



6/27/00 

5/30/01 

5/3/03 

5/20/03 

5/20/04 

8/21/06 

2/13/09 

7/9/10 

5/9/20 



3/14/21 
12/20/25 



At Mulberry, for Mtirder, 

At Bartow, for Murder, 

At Mulberry, Muxder, 

At Mulberry, for Murder, 

At Mulberry, "unknown offense", 

"murderous assault", 
for Rape, 

"attempted murder", 
Negro porter on the 
was accused of in- 
sulting a Y/hite woman. Taken 
from train; later "taken" from 
officers and shot. 
At Eagle Lalce, hanged for un- 
knovm crime. 
At Haines City, Murder, 



At Mulberry, 
At Lakeland, 
At Kathleen, 
At Lakeland, 
A. C. L, Ry, 



231 



years while in others there were several lynchings near 
the beginning of the Century with few since that time. 
Still other counties had no lynchings until near the 
the middle of the period but have had them rather regular- 
ly since then. 

In Alachua County, for example, the first lynch- 
ing was in 1902 for Murder, The last lynching in the 
county was that of George Budding ton near Waldo, on Decem- 
ber 27, 1926, A white woman accused him of drav/ing a pistol 
in an attempt to collect an alleged debt from her for v/hlch 
he was locked in jail, "Unknown parties" broke the lock, 
took the 55 year old Negro several miles from town and shot 
him to death, 

Columbia County had its first lynching of the 
Century in November, 1900, when a white man met death for 
"murderous assault". There was not another outbreak of 
mob violence until 1911, On May 21 of that year six Negroes 
were lynched for murder. It was more than eight years be- 
fore the next, and last, lynching in the county. On 
November 28, 1919 Sam Mosely was lynched about 10 miles 
south of Lake City "by a party of young men enraged at an 
insult alleged to have been made upon a young white woman 
of Coltunbia County." 

The first lynching in Duval County was in 1909 
for Rape, and the second Y/as that of two Negroes lynched 
in 1919 at Jacksonville for M\irder, The last thj?ee lynch- 
ings in the coxinty occiirred in 1923, One of the victims. 



232 



thought later to have been entirely Innocent, was "sus- 
pected of peeping into the 'bedroom of a girl". On 
December 29, near Jacksonville, "the headless body of 
Edgar Phillips v/as found in a creek. He was said to have 
been the victim of a 'death code' of Duval County moon- 
shiners." On the following day, near Jacksonville, Exigene 
Burnam was shot to death by a band of white men. He v/as 
said also to have been a victim of the "death code" of the 
moonshiners, 

IZ'he seven lynchings in Hillsboro County were 
scattered over the nine year period ending in 1912, The 
first lynching in the county was for Rape, The other 
five were for Murder, including two whites lynched for 
"attempted murder". 

Seven of the eight lynchings in Holmes County 

one 
have been for Murder, and/for Rape. The last lynching 

in the county occurred in 1916, One-third of the 1,034 

Negroes, and 11,2 per cent of the 11,807 whites in the 

county were illiterate in 1920, 

Of the six persons lynched in Jackson County, 

two met that fate in 1900, on June 10, v/hen one was 

lynched for ' suspected murder" and another for "complicity 

in mxirder". Five years later, on July 1, Do.c Peters was 

lynched at Cottondale for Murder, In 1910 two Negroes 

were lynched, one for Murder and the other for "complicity". 

Six months later, on March 5, 1911 Galvin Baker was lynched 

for "threats to kill", Jackson has the highest illiteracy 



^ji;ix_ 



r r t~, 

... •.. v.. , 



233 



rate for whites and next to the highest for Negroes of 
any county listed in Table XX, There is a Negro popu- 
lation of 13,320 and a white population of 17,867, In 
1910 the Negro population was 47,8 per cent of the total, 
while in 1920 this percentage had dropped to 42,7, There 
has not been a lynching in this county for the past 
seventeen years. 

In Madison County the first two lynchings since 
1900 were for Murder, then one for Rape and another for 
"suspected murder". Eleven years later, in 191S, a Negro 
was lynched for "shooting a watchman". The last lynching 
in the county occurred on December 5, 1922, at Madison 
when "Cupid Dickson was lynched by a mob. No charge was 
alleged," More than 50 per cent of the population of the 
county is black, and 41.1 per cent of these cannot read 
or v/rite their nar.ies. 

In Marion County, on the other hand, with a 
higher proportion of Negro population but with a much 
smaller percentage of illiteracy, white and black, there 
has been the sam.e niimber of lynchings as recorded for 
Madison, seven. The first lynching in Marion County since 
1900 was for "trainv/recking", and the next two for Murder; 
then one for "insulting v/oraen" in 1915, and another for 
Rape in 1921, The last lynching in the county occurred on 
January 12, 1926, "A band of masked men took Nick Williams 
from two officers, bundled him into an automobile and 
lynched him at a lonely spot 18 miles from Ocala, William.s 



to 



234 



had been jailed on suspicion in connection v/ith an attack 
on a white woman near the spot where he was lynched. 
When seized he was being taken to a hospital to be 'identi- 
fied by the womsLn."'^ 

Six of the nine persons lynched in Orange County 
met that fate in 1920, and the last person lynched there 
was Arthur Henry, on November 26, 1925. He had been 
arrested and placed under guard at the Orange General 
Hospital; was seized by three unknov/n men and carried off. 
The men disarmed a policeman who was on guard. Later he 
was found shot to death, " Henry was alleged to have woxind- 
ed two detectives when they went into the Negro section to 
investigate a shooting affray."*^ 

The 12 lynchings in Polk County were scattered 
over a period of 25 years, beginning in 1900, For the 
first fovir years of the period as many Negroes were 
lynched, one for an "unknovm offense", one for "murderous 
assault", one for Rape, and one for "attempted murder". 
There was not another lynching until April 9, 1920, On 
that date "an unidentified Negro porter on an Atlantic 
Coast Line Train, who was charged by a white woman 
passenger v/ith having insulted her, was taken from the 
train by a mob; an officer was sent back from Bartow, 
Florida to get the Negro, He was overtaken by three 
automobiles. The Negro taken from him and shot to death."* 

3. Supplement to the "Thirty Years Lynching", NiiACP, 

4, Eleventh Annual Report, NAACP, 1920, p. 36, 



235 



The last lynching in Polk County occurred on December 20, 
1925, when a Negro alleged to have shot and killed Owen 
Higgins, President of the Haines City Fiance Company, was 
shot to death by police and citizens. 

In the three counties of Florida with more than 
62,5 per cent Negro population there have been only three 
lynchings since 1900, Gadsen County has had one, in 1918, 
for "throv/ing white man under train"; and Leon, tv/o, - 
one in 1909 for Murder and one in 1920, According to a 
dispatch from Tallahassee it was believed that this Negro 
"was the victim of an attack in Gadsen County, election 
day - that his body drifted over in the Leon County line," 

In 1927 there were two lynchJ.ngs in Florida, 
According to the Florence, South Carolina, Review on 
March 20, "Berry Allen (white) is reported to have been 
seized by a mob and throvm into the Suv/anee River while 
being taken to a hospital suffering from wounds sustained 
when his barricaded home was dynamited by a sheriff's 
posse after he had shot and killed 7i/ill Brock, a range 
rider, and seriously wounded a deputy sheriff", at Mayo 
Florida', - The last lynching in the state occurred on July 
21, 1927, at Chiefland, in Levy County which has had 
three lynchings during the 28 years, "Albert Williams, 
charged v/ith assault on a turpentine operator, was shot 
to death by a mob. The trouble is said to have arisen 
over a debt which 'Williams ov/ed the v/hite man,"^ 

5. Bronson, Florida, Nev/s, July 22, 1927, 



236 



Florida: "a paradise for invalids, sportsmen 
and natnirallsts", but for the Negroes, "the best of the 
bad states"; where about every other month one of their 
re^ce must pay the death penalty without a trial to 
establish his guilt or innocence; where since 1900, 35 
have been lynched for either an "unknov/n cause", or else 
some such minor offense as "popular prejudice", "refusal 
to give up a farm", or "bringing his mother home after 
she had been flogged", 

Louisiana 

Table XXIX shows that in Louisiana since 1900 
there has been a more even distribution of lynchings over 
the various months than in any other state, August leads 
with a total of 22, including nine for Rape, Next comes 
September with 16, including four each for Mvirder, Rape, 
and Theft, In may, June and July each there have been 
15 persons lynched since 1900, and in February and October 
14, The relatively high rank of February in the nxunber 
lynched is unusual. Six of these were for Murder, two 
for Rape, one for Assault, three for Theft, and the crime 
of two - one Negro and one v/hite - is unknov/n. Of the 
10 .vhites lynched in Louisiana during the period, three were 
for IviXirder, one for Rape, one for Theft, one for "shelter- 
ing a miirderer", and the crime of four is unlcnov/n. 

Of the total 167 persons lynched dviring the 
period 65, or 39 per cent met that fate for Murder, and 
38, or 22 per cent for Rape, Tv/elve v/ere lynched for 



237 



TABLE :OCIX 



LOUISIANA: 



LYNCHINGS BY CRIME AM) BY MONTH, 'MEITE AND NEGRO 
Prom 1900 to 1928 



Month 


M^^rder 


Rape 


Assault 


Minor ' 


Theft .<lrson 


Unknovm. 


Total 


January 


5 


1 







2 








Iw 


9 


February 


6 


2 




1 





3 





2(lw) 


14 


March 


5 


4 










1 





Iw 


11 


April 


3(lw) 


2 




1 


4 








3 


13 


May 


2 


6 







6(lw) 


1 








15 


June 


7(lw) 


5(lw) 


2 


1 











15 


July 


6 







2 


2 


1 


3 


Iw 


15 


August 


7 


9 




2 


2 








2 


22 


September 


4(lw) 


4 




3 





4 





1 


16 


October 


6 


2 




1* 


2 


2(lw) 





1 


14 


November 


4 


3 




3 


1 











11 


December 


10 







2 














12 


Total 


65(3w) 


38 (Iw) 


17 


20 (Iw) 


12 (Iw) 


3 


12 (4w) 


167(10w) 



* This Negro was said to be a "desperado". 



I ; ' 



238 



Theft, threo for Arson, and 20 for IJlnor Offenses, - 35, 
or 21 per cent of the total. Minor Offenses for which 
men have been lynched in Louisiana Include: "making 
threats", "keeping a gambling house", "disorderly conduct", 
"insulting lady", "bringing suit against white man", 
"keeping disreputable house , "intimacy with white woman", 
"vagrancy", and "living with a v/hite woman". 

Map XIV shows the distribution of lynchlngs in 
Louisiana over the various Parishes, While there is no 
section of the state In which no lynchlngs have taken place 
since 1900, the Map shows that the vast majority of the 
lynchlngs have occ\irred In the upper half of the state. 
It is in this part of the state that the majority of the 
Negro population resides. Again, however, this does not 
mean that it is in the Parishes with the highest Negro 
population that the greatest number of lynchlngs occur. 

Of the five Parishes with a Negro population 
of more than 75 per cent, tv/o - East Carol and Tensas - 
have had no lynchlngs; Madison has had one; Concordia, 
three; and West Felincia, tv/o, Ouachita County, on the 
other hand, with a Negro population of 54,8 per cent in 
1910 and 45,8 per cent in 1920 has had 17 lynchlngs. On 
the whole the Parishes having the greatest number of 
lynchlngs are not those with the highest numerical or 
proportional Negro population. These Parishes, on the other 
hand, had from 30 to 75 per cent Negro population in 1910 
and from 25 to 60 per cent Negro population in 1920, 



240 



Table XXX shows that Louisiana ranks second 
only to I.iississippi in the percentage of Negro children 
who were out of school in 1924. This state ranks fourth 
from the bottom in the sunount invested per Negro school 
child in public school property. While Louisiana ranks 
fourth from the top of the southern states in the length 
of school term for white children it ranks third from 
the bottom in the average length of school term for the 
Negro children. In 1924 almost one-half of the Negro 
children of school age were not in school. 

While the white illiteracy for the state was 
10.5 per cent in 1920, the range in the percentage of 
illiteracy for the leading lynching Parishes was from 
0.8 per cent to 6.6 per cent. The percentage of illiteracy 
among the Negroes of the state was 38.5 and for the Parishes 
with more than six lynchings the range was from 21.0 per 
cent to 42.8 per cent. 

Table XXXI shows the lynchings in Louisiana by 
year, and by crime for those parishes having more than 10 
persons lynched since 1900, This table gives the specific 
crimes as stated in the newspaper reports at the time the 
lynchings occurred, rather than as classified in Table 
XXIi, A clearer conception of the interracial history of 
these four Louisiana Parishes so far as lynching is 
concerned can be gained from this Table, In Bossier 
Parish, for example, 12 persons have been lynched since 
1900, over a period of 22 years. Three of the number 
were charged with murder, three with "murderous assault". 



••f^r, 



241 



TABLE XXX 



PER CENT WHITE AND NEGRO CHILDREN IN SCHOOL AND OUT OP SCHOOL 

IN THE SOUTH, 1924 



STATE 


YifHITE 


NEGROES 






Out of 




Out of 


In 


School 


School 


In School 


School 


Texas 


93.7 


6.3 


88.7 


11.3 


Oklahoma 


87.3 


12.7 


88.0 


12.0 


North Carolina 


85.1 


14.9 


83.8 


16.2 


Missouri 


81.4 


18.6 


78.7 


21.3 


Georgia 


89.5 


10.5 


74.2 


25,8 


Virginia 


84.8 


15.2 


72,7 


27.3 


Tennessee 


80.3 


19.7 


71,6 


28.4 


W. Virginia 


80.6 


19.4 


70.8 


29.2 


Arkansas 


73.4 


26.6 


69.6 


30.4 


Deleware 


70.1 


29.9 


67.1 


39.2 


South Carolina 


77.2 


22.8 


65.8 


34.2 


District of C, 


65.5 


34.5 


61.9 


38.1 


Maryland 


69.5 


30.5 


61.2 


38.8 


Florida 


81.3 


18.7 


60.9 


30.1 


Kentucky 


65.0 


35.0 


60.9 


39.1 


Alabama 


84.9 


15.1 


58.8 


41.2 


Louisiana 


70.3 


29.7 


57.9 


42.1 


Mississippi 


68.9 


31.1 


53.0 


47.0 


(Negro Year Book, 


Stati3ti 


,cs, 1925-6 


Voltune, p. 


292). 



242 



TABLE XXXI 



LOUISIANA: LYNCHINGS BY PiiRISH, BY CRIIffi, AND BY YEAR, 

Prom 1900 to 1928 



PARISH 



Number 



Date 



Place Crime 



Bossier 



12 



1 5/4/01 At Alden Bridge, "keeping gambl- 

ing house," 

2 6/20/01 At Bossier, Mtirder. 

1 10/16/03 At Taylor Town, "threats to kill," 
1 11/2/03 At Taylor Tovm, Murder, 
1 5/3/07 At Bossier, Rape. 

3 11/28/12 At Benton, "murderous assault." 
1 1/26/18 At Benton, "living with whit© 

woman," 
1 2/14/19 At Bossier, Murder. 
1 8/30/22 Near Benton, "assault on white 

woman." 



Caddo 



23 



rap©,' 



1 11/24/01 At Shreveport, Murder, 
1 3/5/01 At Blanchard, Rape, 
1 5/4/01 At Rodessa, Rape. 
1 7/26/03 Near Shreveport, Miirder. 
1 5/23/06 At Blanchard. Robbery. 
1 8/3/O8 At Bethany, "attempted 
1 11/27/09 Shreveport, Rape. 

1 4/9/12 Shreveport, "insulting whit© 

women, " 

2 12/16/13 At Blanciiard, Murder, 

1 3/12/14 At Shreveport, Rape, 

2 12/2/14 At Sylvester Station, Murder, 

1 12/3/14 At Sylvester Station, Murder, 

2 12/11/14 At Mooringsport, Murder, 
1 12/12/14 At Shreveport, Murder, 

1 8/29/16 At Vivian, "attempted rape." 
1 5/11/17 At Shreveport, "intimacy with 

white woman," 
1 10/23/19 At Shreveport, unknown crime, 
1 1/3/23 At Shreveport, "associating with 

white women," 
1 4/15/21 At Rodessa; unknown, 
1 8/4/26 At Lachute, "attack upon a 10 

year old girl," "killed while 

trying to escape," 



243 



TABLE XXXI (Cont'd) 



PARISH 



Number 



Date 



Place 



Crime 



Ouachita 17 



1 8/26/06 At Calhoun, "attempted rape." 

2 3/15/07 At Monroe, for Murder, 

1 8/24/09 At Monroe, "mvirderous assault," 
1 8/25/10 At Monroe, a Negro woman, "for 
keeping disreputable house," 

1 10/22/13 At Monroe, "insulting white 

woman, " 
4 8/7/14 At Monroe, 3 for Murder, and one 
for "suspected murder," 

2 3/I6/13 At Monroe, "attack on white woman,' 
1 4/22/I8 At Monroe, "shooting white man," 

1 1/30/19 At Monroe, Murder. 

1 4/29/19 Near Monroe, "accused of writing 
insulting letters to white woman, 

1 9/6/19 At Monroe, "charged with a crimi- 
nal assault on farmer's wife," 

Iw 2/6/21 At Monroe, an unknovm white man 
burned for crime unknown. 



Richland 11 



1 7/15/01 At Girard, Theft. 

1 9/8/09 At Mangham, Rape, 

1 11/20/09 At Delhi, Murder. 

1 3/14/10 At Rayville, Murder. 

Iw 7/10/10 At Rayville, "cause unknown." 

1 11/8/11 At Delhi, Murder. 

1 4/25/12 At Delhi, "unnamed offense." 

3 2/26/18 At Rayville, "stealing hogs." 

1 7/I8/I8 At Mangham, Murder. 



xc 



244 



one with "threats to kill"; one. Rape; one, "keeping a gambl- 
ing house", and one v/ith "living v/lth a white woman". The 
last lynching in the Parish was on August 30, 1922: "The 
body of Thomas Rivers, said to have confessed to an assault 
on a v/hite woman, was found hanging from the limb of a tree. 
He was taken from officers by a mob as he was being trans- 
ferred to Benton, Louisiana, for safekeeping,' 

The 23 lynchings in Caddo Parish have been scatter- 
ed over a period of 25 years. The longest time in v/hich there 
has not been a lynching in the Parish was a little over three 
years. In those years in which there were lynchings the 
number ranged from one to nine. Seven of the victims were 
charged with rape or attempted rape, and the same niunber 
v/ith murder. Other crimes for which lynchings occurred were 
Robbery, "insulting white women", "intimacy with white 
woman", and "associating with white v/oman". The latter 
case v/as that of Lester Leggett who "was lynched by a party 
of men who kidnapped him. His body was foxind riddled v/ith 
bullets. The police claimed that complaints had been 
received that Leggett was associating with white v/oman,""'' 
The last lynching in Caddo Parish occurred on August 4, 
1926 near Lachute, "John Norris, 24 years old, was sur- 
rounded in a cotton field and shot to death by a posse 
seeking him for an attack on a 12 year old girl. He was 
reported killed v/hile trying to escape,"''' 



6, Thirteenth Annual Report, NAACP, p. 37, 1922, 

7, Supplement of ihirty Years Lynching , NAACP, 



245 



The 17 lynchings In Ouachita Parish occurred 
between 1906 and 1922, In 1910 the Negro population of 
the Parish was 54.8 per cent and in 1920, 45.8 per cent. 
In 1920 there were 398 illiterate v/hites, or 3.3 per cent 
of all whites above 10 years of age, while 32.7 per cent of 
all Negroes of that age, or a total of 3,587 v/ere illiterate, 
A study of Table XXXI indicates what seems even more evident 
when one reads detailed accounts of the lynchings in 
Ouachita Parish: That inter-racial friction is of such 
a nature that some of the charges against Negroes are 
"trumped up" and thereby false. Although not one person 
lynched in Ouachita Parish has been diarged with rape, 
more than one- third of the member have been lynched for a 
"sexual crime". It is not usual, for example, to lynch 
a Negro woman for "keeping a disreputable house", and 
reports ciirrent in at least one of the adjoining states 
indicate that white men in Monroe Louisiana do not lynch 
all v/omen who "keep disreputable houses". 

Another case suggesting the character of some 
of the charges against those lynched in Ouachita Parish 
is that of George Holden who was lynched near Monroe on 
April 29, 1919, According to the "Memphis Commercial 
Appeal" of April 30, Holden v/as taken from a stretcher on 
a baggage train, and shot to death. He had been vraxinded 
in two previous attempts to lynch him, He^ was accused of 
writing an insulting note to a v/hite woman. The Coroner* s 
jTiry reported that the Negro "came to his death at the 



rrT4' 



246 



hands of parties unknown," On May 12, 1919 a reputable 
citizen of Shreveport wrote that the accusation against 
Holden was a "frame-up" because he had contracted to paint 
and paper a number of houses. Certain white men had 
wanted the job, Holden, he said, was not guilty of the 
charge of Virrlting an insulting note, for one good reason: 
He could not v.Tite, The last lynching in the Parish v/as 
that of a white man, 7«'e have been unable to learn the 
crime against him, - and his name was not known by those 
who lynched him. 

During the past decade there have been 33 persons 
lynched in Louisiana, and in the past five years, six. The 
last lynching occurred in the South-western part of the 
state, in Beaugard Parish, which had never before had a 
lynching in so far as the records extend. In 1927 a Negro, 
whose name was not given - presiimably a stranger at 
Dequincy - was taken by a mob from the jail v/here he had 
been placed for a crime that is not known. The Negro v/as 
beaten, then shot in the back. He died in a Lake Charles 
sanitarium, 

Texas 

It has been said, "Of course Texas would rank 
high in lynchlngs, it is such a big state." Texas is a 
great state - especially in size: It is larger than 
Germany, or Prancec It is as large as Pennsylvania, 
Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin and New York combined. A Dallas 



247 



attorney has also claimed for Texas, "more brass-bound 
Democrats and Democratic officeholders; more Ku Klux 
Klansmen, killings and lynchlngs" than any other state. 

While it is true that Texas has been the leading 
state in the number of persons lynched during some of the 
28 years under consideration, it is not the leading state 
in this respect over the whole period. This the attorney 
later admits v/ith what is possibly the true explanation. 
He says: "Texas lynches, mutilates, and burns Negroes; 
but ••• other southern states rank ahead of us in this 
pastime - they have more Negroes to lynch," Some of the 
most notorious lynching episodes of recent years have 
occurred in Texas,° 

Table XXXII shows the lynchlngs in Texas by 

> 

crime and by month from 1900 to 1928, During the period 
213 persons have thus met death - 171 Negroes, 35 
Mexicans, and seven whites. Three of the v/hites were 
lynched for !.!urder, tv/o for Rape, and the crime of tv/o 
is unknov/n, Tv/enty-fotir of the Mexicans were charged 
with Miirder, v/hile two were lynched for Minor Offenses, 
two for an unknown cause, and six for Banditry'-, Sixty- 
six o about 39 per cent of the 171 Negroes were lynched 
for Murder; 58, or 34 per cent were charged v/ith Rape, 
and 26 v/ere lynched for lylinor Offenses - "race prejudice", 
"marrying a white woman", "race trouble , "disagreement 



8. See Chapter IX, Cases 7, 15, 



248 



TABLE XXXII 






TEXAS: LYNCHINGS BY CRIJIE AND BY S¥A¥e FROM 1900 to 1928' 



Bandl- 
Murder Rape Assault Minor Theft try Unknown Total 



Month 

January 5 1 
P ehrxiar y 4 ( l"'*'" ) 5 ( Im ) 



March 

April 

May 

Jtme 

July 

Aiigust 



2 

4 

9(1*) 
19 (3m) 



6 
6 
8 
4 



5(lm) 10 (r^-) 
11 (6m) 6(1'"') 
Septem.ber 10 (3m) 4 
October 14(10m) 4 
November 8(lin) 2 
December 2(1^^) 2 



1 


1 











8 


1 





1 








11 


2 















4(1^) 
(1'"") 



14 
10 





1 


1 





1 


20 


2 


7 








2 


34 


1 


3 











19 





3(lm) 








2 


22 


2 








6m 


3(lm) 


25 





6 











24 


1 


5(lm) 








2 


18 














4(1*) 


8 



Totals 



93 58 



10 



26 



18 



213 



•JHJ- 



•M-* Note: Negroes, 171; Mexicans, 35; 'ATiites, 7, 
•» Those marked with "m" are Mexicans, and those marked 
(-"-) are whites. 



U 1.. 



249 



with white man", etc. The crime for v/hich 14 Negroes 
have paid the death penalty is unlcnovm. More lynchings 
have occurred in June than in any other month, September 
and October also rank high as lynching months in Texas. 

Map XV indicates that the size of the state has 
little to do with Texas lynching statistics. More than 
200 of the lynchings in the state since 1900 have occurred 
east of the ninety-eighth meridian v/hich is less than one- 
third of the way across the state from east to west. More- 
over, 88 of the lynchings occurred in eight counties. Two 
of these have had seven lynchings each; one has had eight; 
and two others have had nine each. The other three, 
Brazoria, Harrison, and Cameron, h-ave had 11, 12, and 25 
respectively, 

Cameron County leads in the number of lynchings 
with 25, not one of v/hich was a Negro, All were Mexicans 
except one. In 1920 there v/ere 10,670 foreign-born, 
practically all Mexicans, in the county, or 29.1 per cent 
of the total population. There were 3,459 native white 
illiterates and 4,766 foreign-born illiterates. Practical- 
ly one-half of the small number of 771 Negroes are ignorant 
laborers, unable to read and v/rite their names, but not 
one has been lynched. Eight of the Mexicans v/ere charged 
with Miirder, and the remaining 17 were lynched for "train- 
wrecking and murder", and "banditry". The v/hite man - 
the last person lynched in the county - was foreman of a 
ranch. He v/as shot to death on February 2, 1922 after his 



-o 



friiJ/X Oal 



251 



refusal to heed a warning to leave the covuatry. "A'hy, and 
by whom he was v/arned and shot is not knovm. 

In Brazoria Cotmty 11 persons have been lynched. 
These lynchings were scattered over a period of 17 years, 
beginning in 1903 when two Negroes v;ere hanged for Miirder, 
Every person lynched in this county - all Negroes - has 
been accused of murder except two and they were lynched 
for "aidj.ng inurderer in escape". This is the only county 
in the South v/ith as many as ten lynchings since 1900 in 
which not one of the victims was accused of any crime in 
connection with a woman, Fovoc of the 11 persons in 
Brazoria County met that fate for murdering the Sheriff 
of the adjoining county of Vi/harton, Two Negroes were charg- 
ed with the murder, and two v/ith aiding them to escape. 
All were lynched just across the Brazoria line. 

In 1920 there v/ere 6,574 Negroes in this county - 
a decrease since 1910 from 46.9 per cent to 31.9 per cent 
of the total population. There has been a gradual in- 
crease in farm tenancy in the county since 1900, Three 
per cent of the whites and 21.8 per cent of the Negroes 
are illiterate. The last lynching in the county occurred 
more than seven years ago. On September 16, 1920 Oscar 
Beasley was taken from the jail at Angle ton and lynched 
by a mob of 300 m.en. He had been indicted by the grand 
jury for murdering sheriff Joe Snow of Brazoria County, 

In Harrison County 12 Negroes have been lynched 
since 1900, I/Iore than 60 per cent of the population of 



252 



the coxinty during this period has been black. In 1903 
Walker Davis was lynched for Murder, On April 27, 1909 
a Negro v/as lynched for Rape, and three days later 
three were lynched for Mvirder, On February 25, 1923 a 
Negro was lynched near Marshall for Murder and another 
at Karnach a fev/ miles away for "horse stealing". On 
Avigust 22, 1917 Charles Jones was lynched for "attempted 
rape". The last lynching in the county occurred on 
June 17, 1919 when Lemuel liValters v/as shot to death by a 
mob at Longview. He was taken from the jail, dragged 
through the streets to the suburbs, and tied to a tree. 
His body was riddled with bullets, after which it was 
left naked by the roadside. The cause of the lynching 
is indicated in a newspaper report dated from Longview: 
"a prominent v/hite woman is reported to have said to 
friends that she loved Walters and would marry him if she 
were in another state. This was repeated to the authori- 
ties who arrested him without charge. Sheriff opened jail 
to the mob," 

The nine persons lynched in Sabine County, Texas, 
all met that fate on Jiine 22, 1908, at Hemphill for 
Murder, 

In Walker County a Negro was lynched in 1905 
for Rape, The other six persons lynched in the county 
since 1900 met that fate in 1918, at Huntsville, when a 
woman and her five children were lynched for alleged threats 
to avenge the killing of her husband, who had been shot 
"while resisting arrest". 



253 



Of the seven persons lynched In Jefferson 
County, two were charged v/ith murder, one with "murder- 
ous assault", one with rape, and one was lynched by 
"mistaken identity". Since 1913 there have been only two 
lynchings in the county, one in 1917 for an vmknown cause, 
and one in 1918 for "attacking a white girl". 

The eight Negro victims of mob violence in 
Montgomery County since 1900 v/ere lynched in three of the 
28 years. On February 28, 1908 occurred the first lynching 
on record for that county. Clem Scott was lynched for 
"attempted rape". Less than a month later, on March 24, 
three Negroes were lynched, one at Conroe and two at 
Magnolia, for the same alleged offense. Fourteen years 
passed and on May 17, 1922 the body of a Negro named 
Earle "was found swinging to a tree" at Conroe, He had 
been arrested following screains of a young white girl, 
placed in jail, but later escaped. He v/as lynched "by 
unknov/n men". Three days later "Joe Winters, said to 
have been identified as the assailant of a white girl, 
was burned to death in the courthouse square". On June 
23, 1922, at New Dacus, '.Varren Lewis was hanged by a 
mob of 300, It was said the 18 year old Negro confessed 
that he attacked a white woman. 

The last lynching in Montgomery was that of a 
Negro in 1927 who was charged with "assault to murder" a 
white man. This was the only case in which a lynching 
had ever occurred in the county without some charge in 
connection with a white woman. Possibly this means that 



254 



they only lynch for this offense; possibly it means that 
this is the best charge to bring against a Negro v/hom 
it is desired for any reason to lynch. That no actual 
case of rape has ever been alleged may indicate the latter, 

McLennan County has had eight lynching s and one 
biirning after murder since 1900, scattered over a period 
of 22 years. Five of the eight Negroes were lynched at 
Harrison in 1901 "as a result of a quarrel over profit- 
sharing". In 1905, August 5, a Negro was lynched at Y/aco 
for Rape, Eleven years later the next lynching in the 
cotmty occurred when Jessie Washington was burned in 
front of the Mayor's office for rape and murder,^ In 
1921 a white man. Curly Hackney, was hanged near Waco, 
crime unknovm. The last "lynching" in McLennan was a 
postmortem act of mob violence at Vt'aco, On May 26, 1922, 
Jess Thomas was charged with attacking a white girl after 
having shot her escort. The girl's father shot Thomas 
down, fatally. His body v/as removed to an Undertaking 
establishment from which it was taken by a mob and burned 
on the public square. 

During the past ten years Texas mobs have taken 
the life of 55 men and women, Vdiile a high proportion of 
these have been charged with Murder and Rape, some were 
lynched for such offenses as "\inknoTm cause , "alleged 
threats", "refusing to leave the country", and "dis- 
agreement v/ith white man". During the past five years 



9, See Chapter IX, Case No. 77 



255 



nine persons have been lynched in Texas, One was lynched 
for "reckless driving" in which he injiired a Mexican 
woman. His hands and feet were cut off, after which he 
was bxirned to death. One v/as charged with "attacking a 
white girl" and another with rape. One was shot and 
two - a man and his wife - were burned to death for re- 
fusing to leave the house in which they lived, "It is 
believed that the killings were meant as revenge for the 
slaying of Wallace Growder, a white man, near Houston, 
The slain Negroes, however, were not directly connected 
with the white man's death," One of the nine met 
death for an unknovm cause, and another for Mvirder* 

The last lynching in Texas occurred near Willis, 
in Montgomery County, on February 1, 1927, Tom Payne 
had been arrested, charged with "assault to murder" in 
connection vdth an "attack" on a white sav/mill worker. 
Fearing mob violence, two officers started to Huntsville 
with the Negro "for safekeeping". They were surrounded 
and "disarmed" by an unmasked mob of white men near V/illis, 
Payne was suspended by the neck from the limb of a tree,-^ 

Mississippi 

It has been said that "Mississippi is a state 
that appears at the bottom of the list in most tables 
of statistics," Not so with regard to the ntiraber of men 
and v;omen victims of mob action. In this respect Mississippi 



10, Gathered from press reports, 

11. Dispatch, New York Times, February 3, 1927. 



ij ul. 



256 



stands second only to Georgia, Mississippi has held this 
rank, since 1882, and possibly since the early "fifties" 
when the "Avigustan Age of Murder" belonged to California 
and the West, and when white men were hanged for as 
trifling offenses as Negroes have been lynched in 
Mississippi since 1900. Since 1882 a total of 437 per- 
sons have been lynched, 25 of whom were v/hite men and 
women and 412, or 94.3 per cent of whom were Negro men 
and women. Since 1900 Mississippi ranks next to Georgia 
in the total number of persons lynched and first among 
all the states in the nvunber of women lynched. 

The numerical Negro population is 935,184. 
Mississippi is second to Georgia in this respect, but 
first in the proportion of Negro population, with 52,2 
per cent, which, although distributed throughout the 
state is concentrated in the cotinties along the River. 
In 13 of these counties the Negro population ranges 
above 75 per cent; in seven more, above 62, per cent; 
and in five others, above 50 per cent. Three counties 
on the eastern border of the state have a Negro popu- 
lation of above 62,5 per cent. 

Mississippi ranks second to the lowest among 
all states in the Nation in the percentage of total tax 
levy devoted to education, in the value of school pro- 
perty per school child enrolled, in the annual salary 
paid to school teachers, and third in both v/hite and 
Negro illiteracy. She ranks first in the percentage of 



257 



children of school age, vifhite and black, not in school, 
and first in the number of counties in which six or 

TO 

more persons have been lynched since 1900« Some 
counties with a Negro population of 75 per cent have 
had no lynchings. Others with as low as 16 per cent 
Negro population have had from six to 10 lynchings. In 
the state as a whole 29»3 per cent of the Negroes and 
3,3 per cent of the whites are illiterate. Apparently, 
hov/ever, there is no relationship between the number or 
proportion of illiterates and the niimber of lynchings 
in particular counties. This is indicated by Table 
XX in Chapter VII, The range in white illiteracy in the 
counties listed in this Table is from 1,1 per cent to 
6 per cent; and the range for the Negro population is 
from 16,2 per cent to 50.0 per cent. In the same counties 
the percentage of Negro population in 1910 ranged from 
17,5 to 90,7 and in 1920, from 16,0 to 89,3, In Smith 
County which has had six lynchings since 1900 the 
numerical Negro population v/as 2,594, v/hile Bolivar 
Co\mty with a Negro population of 47,533 has had seven 
lynchings during the period. 

Table XXXV shows the lynchings in Mississippi 
by crime, by month and race since 1900, During this 
period 14 white men, 11 Negro -,vomen, and 241 Negro men - 

12. Cf. Table XXII, Chapter VII; Negro Year Book, 1925-5, up, 
292-293; Table XX , Chapter VII (infra); Biireau of 
Education, Bulletin No. 90; Vol. Ill, Biennial Survey of 
Education, pp. 145, 154, 198, quoted in " These United 
States, E, Gruening, "First Series", p. ZW, 



•£; : 



r^j :ffj 



258 



TABLE XXXV 



MISSISSIPPI: LYNCHIKGS BY CRBffi, BY MONTH, AND BY RACE, 

Prom 1900 to 1928 



Month Murder Rape Asaaul t %nor Theft Arson Unknown Total 



January 


9 


4 


1 











3 


17 


February- 


14(lw) 


4 











2 


1 


21 


March 


6 


5 





3 





4 


3 


21 


April 


8(lw) 


3 














4 


15 


May- 


7 


4(lw) 


2 


8 





1 


1 


23 


June 


19 


7 


4(1-"-) 


3 








3 


36 


July 


8(lw) 


6 


2 


4 


4(3w) 





3w 


27 


August 


8 


4 


2 


1 





1 


2 


18 


September 


12 


6 





3 





1 


3 


25 


October 


16(2w) 


6 


2 


1 


4 








29 


November 


7(lw) 


7 


2 


1 


Iw 


2 





20 


December 


10 


2 


1 


1 











14 



Totals 124(5w) 58(lw) loCr-") 25 9(4w) 11 23(3w) 266(14w) 

^' This victim was listed as "a desperado", at Chunky, Nev/ton 
County, Mississippi, June 16, 1911; name, William Bradford, 
Negro, 



259 



a total of 266 persons - have been lynched in the state. 
Of this niimber 124 were charged with Murder, One wlxLte 
man and 47 Negroes were lynched for rape, attempted rape, 
or "attack upon a white woman". The cause of the lynch- 
ing of 20 Negroes and three whites is not knovm. Twenty- 
five Negroes were lynched for Minor Offenses, and tv/enty 
others for Arson and Theft combined. 

iJVhlle more lynchings have occurred in June than 
in any other month of the year, the total number is more 
evenly distributed throughout all months of the year than 
in any other state except Louisiana,, This is shown 
graphically by Chart VII, The highest number were lynched 
in June v/ith 36, The lynchings for imarder are highest 
in June and October, which possibly indicates a relation- 
ship betv/een lynchings and "crop settlements". It is 
notable that in this state the charge of rape against mob 
victims is more evenly distributed over all months than 
in any other state. 

Map XVI shov/s the dispersion of lynchings over 
the different counties of Mississippi. The majority of 
these have occurred along the Mississippi River and along 
the eastern border of the state, from North to South, 
The least number of lynchings have occtirred in the North- 
central part of the state. There are only 18 counties, 
of the total 82, in Mississippi, in which there has not 
been one or more lynchings since 1900, In 19 counties 
with six or more lynchings diiring the period, a total 
of 135 persons have thus met death. The coiinties in which 



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260 




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Miitistippi 




The l.n« Prohibits Copylnp or Bcitrotlucilon I>j Any ProccsM (or PrrwonnI I'nv or V.eMnXe, 



262 



there have been no lynchings are scattered from one end 
of the state to the other and apparently have no rela- 
tionship to the proportion of Negro population, 

Jackson County in the South-east corner of the 
state has had six persons lynched since 1900 but only 
three mob episodes. Two of the number were lynched in 
February, 1901, one for Murder and one for Rape, The 
next and last lynching in the coTonty was that of four 
Negroes in 1908 for "incendiarism". 

The North-west county of Mssissippl is De 
Soto in which there have been eight persons lynched over 

a period of 27 years beginning in 1900, Of this nvunber 

one 
five were charged with murder, two with rape, ancywith 

theft. The last lynching in the cotinty occvirred on 
March 22, 1926, "An \inidentified Negro v/as lynched by an 
unmasked band of white men for an alleged attack on a 
young white woman," Sheriff Thompson reported that he was 
unable to establish the identity of the members of the 
mob. The lynching occurred on the farm of William Lauder- 
dale, a white man. He reported that the Negro was lynched 
while he had gone to telephone the sheriff, ^"^ 

Kemper County, with a Negro population of 56,5 
per cent and a Negro illiteracy of 30 per cent, is one of 
eastern border coxxnties about midway of the state north 
and south. In this county eight persons have been lynched 

13, Supplement to the "Thirty ^ears Lynching", NA^CP, 



263 



over a period of 19 years beginning in 1906. Five of 
the number were lynched for Murder, one for Theft, one 
for "alleged rape", and one for "attempted rape". The 
last lynching in the county was that of Harry Shelton 
at Scoba, on July 20, 1924, He was charged with attempt- 
ed rape, and placed in jail. Later a mob took him from 
the jail and hanged him outside of town. 

In Noxubee Covinty, the next north of Kemper, 
seven Negroes met death betv/een 1901 and 1927 at the 
hands of mobs. In 1901 tv/o Negroes were lynched for 
Arson, after which there was no lynching in the county 
for 12 years when C. W, Edd was hanged for Murder, In 
1915 another Negro was lynched for Murder, Again there 
were no lynchings for 12 years, when in 1927 three Negroes 
thus met death. On April 2, two unknown Negroes accused 
of murder were burned to death at Macon, The last lynch- 
ing in the cotmty was on May 20, 1927 when Dan Anderson, 
"alleged to have confessed that he killed a young v/hite 
farmer was lynched by a mob which took him from officers. 
More than 200 shots were fired into his body, "•'■'* 

Of the eight persons lynched in Sunflov/er County 
seven were charged with murder and one v/ith "attempted 
assault". There has not been a lynching in the county for 
the past 15 years. 

In Q:uitman County, on the other hand, four of the 
seven persons lynched since 1900 have been charged with 

14, Nev/spaper clipping. See Chapter IX for Case (No. 12) in 
Clarke County, on the eastern border of the state, which 
has had six lynchings since 1900, 



264 



Rape, the last of whom was burned at the stake on Axigust 
23, 1922. Two were charged v/lth murder, one in 1902 and 
the other in 1913, On November 8, 1919, according to 
the "Memphis Commercial Appeal", Robert Motley was lynched 
as a result of a dispute over a crop settlement between 
himself and P. P. Cassidy. "A llr, Slvely went to Cassidy»3 
aid on the dispute and was shot by Will Motley, brother 
of Robert, who escaped, Sively died as a result of his 
wound. Robert Motley was taken to jail on November 7 
where he remained until the night of the 8th, when an 
armed mob forced its way in and hanged him,-'-^ 

Washington Coiinty has a Negro population of 
41,640 or 81,5 per cent of the total. Since 1900 there 
have been six lynching episodes and 10 persons lynched in 
this coTinty. In 1901, on July 11, three "suspected cattle 
thieves" were lynched at Erwin, and two other white men 
were lynched for an unknown cause, probably also cattle 
stealing. In 1903 a Negro was lynched for alleged rape, 
and another in 1905 for Murder, ^n August 17, 1909 
William Robertson was lynched for an "unnamed cause" 
Three yee^rs later a Negro was lynched for "attempted 
rape", and in 1914 the last lynching in the county occurred 
at Leland when Sam Petty was shot on February 24, for 
Murder, 

Of the persons lynched in Tunica Govmty, seven 
met that fate for Murder, three for burglary and one for 

15, See Commercial Appeal, Movember 11, 15, 19, 



265 



"attempted rape". There has not been a ^-jnching in this 
county for 20 years, 

Harrison County has a high percentage of v/hite 
illiteracy and a relatively low percentage of both Negro 
population and illiteracy. In this coxinty six persons 
have been put to death by mobs over a period of 23 years 
beginning in 1900, On June 10, 1900 a Negro was lynched 
for "suspected murder", and in December another for 
Murder, In 1903 Samuel Adams was lynched for Rape and 
in 1904 an unlcnown Negro v/as lynched for Murder, In 1908 
Henry Leidy v/as lynched, on November 10, for Rape, There 
was not another lynching in the county for 14 years. On 
March 22, 1922, Alexander Smith, "said to have been the 
operator of a house of ill-fame from which two white 
girls had been removed, was hanged from a bridge" near 
Gulf Port, 

Chart VIII shows graphically the proportion 
lynched in Mississippi for the 28 year period for various 
offenses. Of the 266 persons lynched in 64 co\inties in 
of the state since 1900, 124 or 46,6 per cent were charged 
with Murder, This number includes six of the 14 whites 
lynched. The crime for which three of the whites were 
lynched is not known; four were lynched for theft, one 
for Rape and another for being "a desperado". Forty- seven 
Negroes and the one white man make a proportion of 21,7 
per cent lynched for Rape - including "attempted rape" 
and "attacks upon white v/omen". It is notable that about 




I 



267 



10 per cent of the total number in Mississippi have been 
charged with I.Ilnor Offenses, and that about 7,5 per cent 
were charged with Theft and Arson combined. Among the 
Minor Offenses, which have precipitated mob action in 
Mississippi are the following: "race prejudice", "race 
rioter", "striking a six-year-old white girl", "threats", 
and "lawlessness". 

Since 1917 there have been 71 lynchings in 
Mississippi, an average of 10 per year. During the past 
five years 22 Negro men, one Negro v/oman, and on© white 
man have met death at the hands of Mississippi mobs. 
The white man, "Doc" Jackson, was lynched for Murder, 
The Negro girl was lynched by a mob in search of her 
brother. There were no charges reported against her 
personally. Of the total number lynched during the past 
five years, 11 v/ere charged with murder, two with rape, 
five v.'ith "attacks" or "attempted attacks" upon women; 
another v/as lynched "for entering the room of a v/hite 
woman", one for fighting an officer, one for stabbing 
a Y/hite man, one for striking a v/hite child, and another 
for "beating a board bill". The latter case was that of 
iernice Rasberry v/ho v/as taken from the jail at Leakesville 
on May 25, 1927 "by a masked band of about 100 men and 
strung up to a tree. His body was then riddled with 
bullets. He had been arrested on a charge of beating a 
board bill after which the sheriff v/as informed that he 
was Y/anted at Bothv/ell, Mississippi, for alleged improper 



exio 



268 



conduct with a white woman." 

In 1927 Mississippi had the highest number of 
lynchings that had occurred in that state since 1922, 
There was a total of seven, five charged with Murder, one 
with beating a board bill (Rasberry case), and one v/ith 
"attack upon a white woman". In April tv/o Negroes accused 
of murder were burned to death in Macon, Mississippi, On 
June 13, at Louisville, Mississippi, "Jim and Marx Pox, 
brothers, accused of having slain Clarence Nichols, a 
sawmill superintendent, were seized by a mob, paraded 
through the streets and then taken a short distance from 
town, where they were tied to a telephone post, . saturated 
with gasoline, and burned to death. The men were taken 

from officers who were taking them to Jackson, for 

IV 

safekeeping," 

The last lynching in Mississippi occurred near 
Yazoo City, Joe Smith is alleged to have "attempted to 
attack a young white girl". On July 7 his body, "full of 
hot lead", v/as found hanging to the limb of a tree, 

Georgia 

Georgia has more Negro population than any state 
in the Union, but this population is decreasing. From 
45,1 per cent in 1910 there v/as a decrease to 41,7 per cent. 
Table XXXIV shows the lynchings in Georgia since 1900 by 

16, See Mobile, Alabma, Register , May 26, 1927, 

17, New York Times , June l2, and July 8, 1927. 



269 



TABLE XXXIV 



GEORGIA: LYNCHINGS BY GRIME AND BY MONTH, WHITE AND NEGRO 

From 1900 to 1928 



Month 



Murder Raroe Assault Minor Theft Arson Unknown Total 



January 


11 


3 


5 


1 








2 


22 


February 


8 


8(3w) 


1 


3 


2 





1 


23 


March 


10 


5 


1 


1 








3 


20 


April 


3 


7 


2 


2 


1 


1 


1 


17 


May 


26(lw) 


5 


2 


5 











38 


June 


16 


11 


1 











3 


31 


July 


6(2w) 


9(lw) 


3 


4 


2 





Iw 


25 


August 


15(lw) 


7(lw) 


1 


7 


1 





1 


32 


September 


■ ll(lw) 


10 


1 





3 








25 


October 


9 


6 


3 


7 


1 





1 


27 


November 


9 


3 


1 


3 











16 


December 


6(lw) 








1 





1 


6 


14 


Unknown 




















3 


3 


Total 


130 (6w) 


74 (5w) 


21 


34 


10 


2 


22 


293(12w) 



270 



race, by month and by crime. Twelve wlalte men, 273 Negro 
men and eight Negro women have been lynched during the 
period. Of the total 293, 130 have been lynched for 
Murder, 69 Negroes and five v/hites for Rape, 21 Negroes 
for Assault, ten for Theft, two for /irson, while the 
crime of 21 Negroes and one white man is not known. 
Thirty-four Negroes have been lynched for Minor Offenses, 
The highest number lynched per month v/as in May, with 38, 
Next comes August with 32 and June with 31, Chart IX 
shows that the greatest proportion of all persons lynched 
in Georgia since 1900 have met that fate in the spring 
and summer. Twenty-five lynching s have occurred in 
September and 27 in October, 

Map XVIII shows the distribution of lynchings 
in Georgia over the various counties, VVhlle no section 
of the state has been free from this type of mob action, 
the fewest lynchings have occurred in the South-east and 
North-v/est portions. In the latter section Negro popu- 
lation is very low. The Georgia "Black Belt" reaches 
across the South-eastern part of the state at a point ' 
below the line of the worst lynchings counties. The 
counties in which most of the lynchings have occurred 
have on the average about 50 per cent Negro population, 
although again there is no apparent correlation betv/een 
the ntimerical or proportional Negro population and the 
number of lynchings. 

This is shovm by Table XX, Chapter VII, This 
Table indicates that the percentage of Negro illiteracy 



• cfn- 






^i^jfyi/^-ii^^-i^^^^f^-- 'Su-^ , /T| (5-aA>-^X_' 




273 



Is higher, on the average, in the lynchings counties, but 
that this is not true of the v/hites. The percentage of 
Negro population in those counties having six or more 
lynchings since 1900 ranges from 35.2 to 74.2, and the 
Negro illiteracy in these counties ranges from 19.7 per 
cent to 43.2 per cent as compared to 29.1 per cent for the 
state as a whole, Vrtilte illiteracy in these coujities ranges 
from 2.3 per cent to 8.0 per cent as compared to 5,4 per 
cent for the state. 

The two eastern coTAnties with six or more mob 
victims since 1900 are Bulloch and Columbia. The six in 
Bulloch County v/ere lynched over a period of eight years, 
beginning in 1901 when Kennedy Gordon v/as shot at Portal 
for attempted rape. Three years later two Negroes were 
lynched at Statesboro on April 16, for Murder, and on the 
following day two more, a man and his son, for "race 
prejudice". On A\:igust 50 of the same year, 1904, 
Sebastian McBride v/as hanged at Portal en account of 
"race prejudice". The last lynchings in the county 
occurred 20 years ago. On February 17, 1908 a Negro 
was lynched at Statesboro for Rape, and on February 24 
another for the same offense. He was proved innocent of 
the charge - but too late. 

The six lynchings in Columbia County, on the 
other hand, were scattered over a period of 23 years. 
On May 13, 1900 Alex v;hitney was shot at Harlem for 
Murder, and on the following day a Negro was lynched at 



274 



Grovetown, for the same offense. In 1904, on May 15, 
a Negro was lynched at Appling for Rape, The next lynch- 
ing in the county occurred on February 20, 1910 when Dan 
Lumpkin met that awful fate for 'alleged complicity in 
murder". Five years passed, and on February 4, a Negro 
was lynched at Evans for Rape, The last lynching in 
Columbia County v/as on March 12, 1922 near Harlem, 
Alfred Williams, charged with having shot a v/hite farmer 
with whom he had engaged in a dispute, v/as being taken 
to jail by officers and citizens. A mob "took" Williams 
from them and lynched him. 

In South Georgia five counties have had six or 
more persons lynched since 1900,"^° Coffee County, with 
a Negro population of 35,2 per cent in 1910 and 31.6 per 
cent in 1920, has had seven over a period of 27 years. 
On May 4, 1900 Marshall Jones was shot at Douglas for 
Murder, after which there was not a lynching in the 
county for 18 years. In February, 1918, Ed Dansy killed 
tv/o officers and v/ounded two others at vYillacoochee, 
for which a mob promptly lynched him. On August 28, 1919 
Eli Cooper v/as shot in a church house by members of a mob 
who had brought him from Laxorens County, The church in 
which the body was left v;as biirned, along with other 
churches and a lodge building. Cooper was alleged to 
have been a "leader among the Negroes" who were said to 

18, For an analysis of the 18 lynchings in Brooks and Lov/ndes 
counties, see Chapter IX, Case No, 3, 



275 



bo "planning to rise up and wipe out the white people". 
In 1920, on November 18, two Negro men and a Negro woman 
were lynched by a mob of 150. The Negroes had been 
arrested for killing a white man, and v/ere being taken to 
jail by the Sheriff and two Deputies, The mob "demanded" 
them of the officers, and shot them. The last lynching 
in Coffee County was that of Dave Yv'right, a white man, 
on August 30, 1928, at 7/aycross', He was in jail, charged 
with the murder of a Mrs, Sophie Rollins on August 28, 
Tv/enty-five men "overpowered" Sheriff Tanner, took his 
keys, removed IVright from the jail and lynched him. 

Of the 12 persons lynched in Decatur and Mitchell 
cotmties since 1900 two were charged with murder, four with 
Rape, two "crime unknown"; one v/as lynched for Arson, and 
two for "disputing white man*s word". The latter case was 
that of Collins and D. C. Johnson, brothers, at Sale City, 
Mitchell County, on November 17, 1917, One of the twelve 
was lynched presumably to cover up a "mistake". On 
November 23, 1920 a Negro shot and killed James E, Adams 
of Worth County in a quarrel about a road across the 
Adams plantation. On November 24 the body of Curly 
McKelvey, brother to the Negro who killed Adama, was 
"hanged to a tree and riddled v/lth bullets". The reports 
of the affair indicate that a member of the posse in search 
of the murderer shot his brother, after which he was hanged 
to the tree and his dead body riddled with bullets. 

In Bleckley, and Dodge counties in the center of 



276 



the state 15 persons have been lynched over a period of 
20 years since 1900. Of this number two v;ere lynched 
for Murder, three for Assault, two for Rape, three for 
an "unknown" crime, one by "mistaken identity", and one 
for "having a message for the Negroes". This v/as the cas« 
of an \inldentified Negro v/ho was taken from a passenger 
train at Cochran on August 4, 1919, and placed in the 
"City Barracks", The next day his body was "Found sv/ing- 
ing to a tree 50 yards from Cochran and Eastman line". 
According to Associated Press reports the Negro v/as taken 
from the train when word vms received that he had come 
from Chicago with a "message" for the Negroes of Geoi'gia. 
Members of his own race are reported to have said that 
the victim boasted the Negroes of Georgia were going to do 
what they had done in Chicago. He was lynched "by uji- 
knovm parties". 

The eight Negroes lynched in Oconee County all 
met that fate at Watkinsville on June 29, 1905. Seven 
v/ere charged with Murder and one with Rape. 

The seven lynchirjgs in Bibb County occurred over 
a period of eleven years. The first was that of Charles 
Pov/ell, on February 4, 1912, for "assault and robbery". 
In 1915 two v/hites, Valliam Green and son, v/ere lynched 
at Macon for "alleged murder". A Negro was lynched near 
Macon for Mxirder on February 12, 1916 and on Septem.ber 3, 
1918 John Gilham v/as lynched for "attacking a white 
woman". On November 3, 1919 Paul Jones was taken from 



277 



two officers at Macon and burned to death for "attacking 
a white woman". The last lynching in the county was that 
of a Negro v/ho was accused of murdering a Deputy Sheriff 
at Holton, on August 1, 1S22. 

Chart X shows graphically the proportion of all 
persons lynched in Georgia since 1900 for various crimes. 
Of the total 293, the highest number were lynched for 
Hiurder* Six, or 50 per cent of the whites, and 124 
Negroes, or 44 per cent of the total were lynched for 
this crinif. It is notable that five of the 12 whites were 
accused of Rape, Of the total 281 Negroes, 69 or 23 per 
cent were charged with Rape. Twenty-one of the Negroes 
or 7 per cent were charged v/ith Assault - v/hich usually 
means fighting with a white man. Especially since 1910 one 
rarely finds in the pages of any southern newspaper a re- 
port of a v/hite man and a Negro engaging in a "fight". It 
is the general rule to state that the Negro "assaulted the 
white man", or that he attempted "murderous assault" upon 
the white man. Ten Negroes have been lynched in Georgia 
for Theft and 21 others for an "unknown cause", since 1900, 
A total of 34, or 11,5 per cent of all persons lynched 
during the period met that fate for Mnor Offenses, In 
Georgia Minor Offenses mean: "race prejudice", "labor 
troubles", "conspiracy to do violence", "window peeping", 
"disputing v/hite man's word" and "jtunping labor contract". 

During the past decade 82 Negroes and two whites 
have been lynched in Georgia, while diiring the last five 



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279 



years nine Negroes and two whites have "been lynched. In 
contrast to some of the other states there is very little 
if any increase in the proportion of those lynched for 
such major crimes as murder and rape. During the decade 
while still the majority of lynchings have been caused hy 
Murder and Rape, others have resulted from such minor of- 
fenses as "boasting he had a message for the Negroes", 
"leader of Negroes", "circulating incendiary literature", 
"jumping labor contract", and intimacy with white woman. 
In 1922 on July 14, "Shake" Davis, accused of "long- 
standing intimacy with white woman who gave birth to a 
child and named him as the father", v;as hanged by a mob 
of white men. 

In 1927 Georgia had her first lynchless year 
since before 1882, During the previous year two white 
men and one Negro were lynched. The crime of one of the 
whites is not known; the other, Dave Wright, had killed 
a white woman, -^^ The last lynching in the state occiirred 
in December, 1926, at 7/est Point, Troup County, in which 
there had been only one lynching since 1900 - in 1913, 
A Negro boy was killed by members of a mob while in 
search of another Negro who was charged vilth having shot 
and killed a white man in an adjoining county. 

Chart XI shows the proportion of all persons 
lunched in the Major Lynching States since 1900, Of the 

19, The leader of the mob that lynched Wright was given a 
life sentence in the penitentiary, and others of the 17 
indicted v/ere given sentences of from four to 20 years. 



280 









281 



total 1,348, 60 white men and 517 Negroes, or 43 per cent were 
lynched for Murder, Eleven whites and 320 Negroes, making 
a total of 331, or 24,5 per cent were accused of Rape, 
One white man and 89 Negroes or 6,6 per cent were lynched 
for Assault, and 103, or 7,6 per cent of the total were 
lynched for an "uhknovm" cause. Nineteen Negroes were 
lynched for Arson, while five v;hites and 33 Negroes v/ere 
lynched for Theft, Seven white men and 176 Negroes, or 
13,5 per cent of the total number lynched in the seven 
worst lynching states met that fate for Minor Offenses, 
Let us turn attention to certain southern mob 
episodes, A consideration of these cases may add to the 
picture presented by the statistical analysis, and give 
some conception of the psychological, economic, and social 
factors involved. 



282 



CHAPTER IX 

CASE STUDIES OP MOB ACTION IN THE SOUTH 

That more lynchings result from mujcder than 
from any other crime, and that a large majority, thoxigh 
not nearly all lynchings are caused by Murder and Rap© 
combined has been pointed out. In this chapter we shall 
consider cases in which these and other crimes served 
as stimuli to mob violence. Some of the crimes, ranging 
from murder to minor offenses, and the consequent mob 
episodes are given in detail so that a psychological 
analysis of mob action may be undertaken in a later 
chapter. Other cases which serve as illustrative 
material are stated more briefly. The fact that, in 
spite of all attempts at correction, yet a majority 
of the people are apparently under the impression that 
rape is the crime for which most lynchings occur makes 
this aspect of the subject especially worthy of 
consideration in the case studies. 



riftij 



283 



By selecting the cases from widely scattered 
localities we may add to the picture as presented in the 
statistical analysis. Through the cases we may be able 
to point out certain of the causal factors in mob actionj 
and through a psychological &p.pi*oach additional light 
may be thrown on the nature of this type of social 
phenomena. An attempt is made to present cases for as 
many different crimes and from as many localities of the 
entire area studied as possible. It must be remembered, 
hov/ever, that ordinarily it has been the cases of an 
\inusual nature that have brought forth investigations and 
detailed publicity. From the standpoint of a psychological 
analysis of mob phenomena- this selection of cases is not 
an invalidating circiimstance. On the other hand there is 
one tendency to be guarded against if the reader would 
gain an accurate picture of the situation: The cases as 
presented are likely to leave the impression that burning 
to death and other extreme forms of torture are more 
frequently resorted to by mobs than is actually the case. 
While there has been upwards of 100 Negroes burned to 
death in the South since 1882 - the exact number is not 
known - it is true that practically all mob victims meet 
death by hanging or shooting. Moreover, as we have 
pointed out, about 32 per cent of the lynchings in the 
South since 1900 were for crimes other than Murder and 
Rape, Although specimens of these cases are given, for 
the reason noted above the proportion is not maintained. 



.:;;jt;JO 



284 



Practically all cases of mob action for which there is 
sufficient data for a case study either resulted from 
atrocious crimes, or were characterized by extreme 
torture. The same is not true of all mob episodes* 

Case One gives some of the background out of 
which the particular series of lynchings occurred. It 
shows that under such circ\ira3tance3 emotional transfer 
on the part of mob members may be so facilitated that a 
number of lynchings result from a crime committed by an 
individual. 



Case 1 

Alachua County, Florida; The Newberry Lynchings 

Alachua County, Florida has the highest lynching 
record in the state, with a total of 13 since 1900, The 
total population of the cotmty in 1920 was 31,469, Of 
this number 14,573, or 46,0 per cent were Negroes, In 
1910, 55,7 per cent of the total population were Negroes, 
In this coxinty 3,3 per cent of the whites were illiterate 
in 1920 as compared to 2,9 per cent of the whites of the 
state; and, 26,8 per cent of the Negroes as compared to 
21,5 per cent of all Negroes of the state. The 13 
lynchings since 1900 occurred over a period of 25 years 
beginning in 1902 when two Negroes were lynched at New- 
berry for Murder, In 1904 a Negro was lynched at High 
Springs for Rape and in 1908 a white man, John Long, at 



.o; 



285 



Newberry, for Murder, The next lynching In the county 
was that of H, M. Owens In 1915 at Trenton as a result 
of "popular prejudice". The follov/ing year two women 
and four men were lynched at Newberry for "alleged 
accessory to murder", after which there was not another 
lynching for seven years. In 1923 a Negro was lynched 
near Nev/berry for "cattle stealing". The last death in 
the county by mob action was that of George Budding ton 
at V/aldo on Deceinber 27, 1926, He was shot by "unknown 
parties" for attempting to extort at the point of a 
pistol and alleged debt from a white woman," 

Thus the lynching record of this county 
possibly indicates that the writer was not alone in the 
attitude expressed in a letter to Ivlr. Villard of Nev/ 
York, The latter had made a speech in Boston, that was 
featured by the press, in which he suggested that the 
Negro is a hiunan being entitled, among other things, to 
legal justice and an education. He stressed the latter 
point and referred to the fact that in the South Negroes 
are not allov/ed in Public Libraries, Among several letters 
which he received was the following from Newberry, Florida. 
Dear Sir: 

Replying to your statement ... will say the 
reason the libraries in the Southern States are closed 
to the lov^ dovm Negro eyes is because he is not worthy 
of an education. 

All the mean crimes, that are done are committed 
by some educated Negro and fvirthermore, can you tell 
■ me what a Negro is? If you can you can do more than 
anyone else, for I have been dealing with Negroes for 
the last fifteen years and the only thing I can tell 
that he is a Negro and always will be as far as I have 
any pov/er. 



n 



c. 



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286 



I would like for you to tell me where the n«gro 
first originated, ^f you will look in the bible it 
will tell you that he first originated from an animal. 
And we Southern people don't care to equal ourselves 
with animals. 

The people of the South don't think any more of 
killing the black fellows than you would think of 
killing a flea. 

So you have my opinion of Mr, Negro and if I 
was to live 1000 years that v;ould be my opinion and 
every other Southern man. 

Hoping you v;ill \inderstand what a negro is by 
this letter and resign yoxzr position, 

(Signed) Wm. Cowart, 

The mob episode of 1915 in which six persons, 
including two women, were lynched near Newberry is given 
below, as adapted from a report of an investigation made 
immediately after the occurrence, A few changes have been 
made in conformity to facts learned from later so\irces, 
especially the records of the Special Term of Circ\iit 
Court, Gainsville, Florida, 1915: 

The town of Nev/berry was started when the 
phosphate fields were being worked around there. The 
phosphate fields shut down about five years ago, one 
mine after another, Nov/ Newberry is just a perfectly 
bleak, bare, dismal, dreary, little town of small 
houses, with almost no shade trees. Most of the 
houses are vacant, and there is not one decent public 
building, such as schools, etc. About two- thirds of 
the inhabitants are colored people who hire out to 
white farmers. Most of the v/hite people seem to live 
by little stores which they have there. 

The road that runs from Gainesville to Newberry 



% '■ 



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287 



is perfectly charming for about 18 miles. There are 
truck farms, four big farms and many little ones. 
These are owned almost entirely by colored people v/ho 
seemed fairly prosperous and much respected. 

About five miles from Newberry is Jonesville, 
Here is a blacksmith shop and a little store. All 
along little roads branch off leading to other towns. 

It was between Jonesville and Nev/berry that the 
rioting occurred - just a little beyond Jonesville is 
a group of houses on a little rise of land belonging 
to Boise Long and Dennis, Boise Long was adopted into 
the Dennis family when he was a little boy and brought 
up with the Dennis children, and has lived with them 
ever since. In the little group of houses where Long 
lived were his family and some of the Dennis family. 
His uncle had a farm of a hundred acres several miles 
away. 

The white farmers around there and in Nev/berry 
accused the colored farmers of stealing their hogs. 
Hog raising here is pretty important because there is 
a new firm in Gainesville v;hich buys the hogs and 
ships them away to Georgia. The hogs run loose all 
through the pines and along the roads. There are 
fences but apparently the hogs are not in bounds. 

The story is that the sheriff v/ent to serve a 
warrant on Boise Long at tv/o o'clock on the morning of 
August 13, which seemed an extraordinary thing to do - 



:Yson- 



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288 



to go out on a lonely road to arrest a man at this 
hour. The reason given is that he got the warrant 
in Jacksonville and came out on the train at 12:30 
at night to Gainesville, where he took an automobile. 
Why he should he coming out on that train, or why he 
should come out at that time, is not known. With 
him went Dr. Harris (white). Some say that Dr. Harris 
was the owner of the hogs and had had the warrants 
sworn out,-^ 

They got to Long's place and the sheriff went 
in to arrest Long. There again no one knows what 
happened except that it is clear enough that Long 
shot the two of them. They were rushed to the 
automobile and taken back to Jacksonville and at 
Jacksonville the sheriff died. There seems to be a 
good deal of controversy as to just how the shooting 
occurred. 

Their going back to Jacksonville gave Long a 
chance to escape. The Newberry people came down to 

1, This case was reported by the NAACP in the October, 1916, 
Crisis substantially as given here. It was the impression 
at that time that the Sheriff went to serve a v/arrant on 
Boise Long, who shot the Sheriff in resisting arrest. In 
the light of the Circuit Court records the following 

correction is to be made of the Crisis article and the 
report of the investigator: The white men v/ent in search 
of a Negro named Mills, v/hom they thought to be at the 
house of Long. It was after Long failed to inform them 
of the whereabouts of Mills that they attempted to arrest 
him. They did not serve, or attempt to serve a warrant, 
but told Long at 2:00 o'clock in the morning to put on 
his clothes and go v/ith them. The Negro grabbed his gun 
and "started to shoo tin' and runnln". 



Iw 



289 



Long»s, and since he had escaped, they took his wife, 
Stella, and the wife of Dennis, They were put in 
jail on the ground that they refused to give informa- 
tion. It is said that they were tortvired for informa- 
tion. 

Some time during the day the Newberry people 
came back, ,,, Here the sheriff sort of drops out and 
it is the hogs they are fighting about. They found 
James Dennis down at Jonesville and shot him, 
apparently for the sole reason that he belonged to 
the Dennis-Long family. His brother, Bert, went up 
to Newberry to buy a coffin and when he got there the 
men threw him in jail, Bert Dennis, Mary Dennis, and 
Stella Long were then in jail, ,,, 

Then they met on the road coming from Nev/berry 
John Baskin, a Negro preacher, who had a farm about 
two miles away. It seems that he had been accused the 
year before of cow-stealing and arrested, but was dis- 
charged because there was not evidence enough to try 
him. Meeting him there, these men took him in an 
automobile back toward Newberry and lynched him. That 
was the first of the hanging. He was later accused 
of being the leader of the whole gang of hog- stealers. 
Where the hangings took place there is a little 
plot of trees, bays, water oaks, etc., a charming place, 
within about a mile of Newberry, It seems queer that 
they should have chosen this exquisite spot, but it is 



290 



said that in former years other lynchlngs occvirred 
there, ••• that v/henever the Newberry men treated 
themselves to a lynching it was at this same spot ••• 
known as "Hangman's Island", 

Having lynched Baskln, the men went up to the 
jail and took out the two women and man and lynched 
them* Then it v/as over. 

The people of Gainesville do not like it, 
Gainsevllle is proud of its reputation. The whole town 
is beautiful, and the people love it, both the vfhite 
and the colored, and they feel that this is a disgrace. 
All through Gainesville the feeling is that It is 
demoralizing, and that something ought to be done about 
it. 



Case 2 
The Lynching of Bud Johnson 

This case is given nainly for the purpose of 
showing some of the correspondence which followed betv/een 
the NAAGP and the Governor of Florida, 

Some of the facts concerning the lynching are 
indefinite. The newspaper account sent out from Castle- 
berry and the sworn testimony of one who claims to have 
been an eye-witness are contradictory as to the cause of 
the burning, Johnson v/as a rettirned soldier. One account 
is that he attacked a v/hite woman; another, that he was 



291 



lynched for refusing to give up a farra recently left to 

him by his deceased father, and that the accusation of 

"attempted assault" was decided upon after the lyncliing. 

It was thought by mob members, according to the report, 

that lynching an ex-soldier would create considerable 

discussion and might lead to their arresto Thus it 

would be necessary to have "a good excuse for the 

lynching." 

The following dispatch sent from Castleberry 

gives the newspaper account in brief: 

..,, A delegation of prominent citizens called on the 
county officers early today. They informed them that 
they composed a reception committee appointed to enter- 
tain Judge Johnson, a gentleman of color, in their 
custody. The coiinty officers claimed that he was a 
prisoner charged with having attacked a white woman 
and had confessed. The delegation demanded that he 
be turned over to them. The officers refused, so the 
delegation proceeded to "take" Johnson av/ay from them, 
which was neatly done v/ithout the loss of a single 
life or gunshot. It is needless to say that the 
delegation proceeded to "entertain" Johnson, who, 
without any Tinique cerem.ony, was burned to death. 

As stated the burning was not particularly a unique 

ceremony. According to the affidavit referred to, it was 

as follows: 

They shouted "get ropes, get coal oil and gasoline 

and let us bxirn this Negro up. He is bigoty. He is 

saucy. He tliinks he is a soldier" ,., They had a rope 

about his neck which had been thrown over the limb of a 

tree and by which they raised him up from the ground at 

intervals. They were choking him and he was bleeding 

and kicking. He had on his soldier clothing ,.. One 

said "Let's burn him", another said, "Let's tie him. up 



,--r^ r- 



292 



to a limb. The way to stop Negro soldiers is to burn 
them." Then they drew him up to a limb iintil a man 
could go up to the little store by the mill and get 
two buckets of kerosine each bucket holding probably 
two or three gallons. We stood there looking at it ••• 
There were a few electric lights near the mill ,,, (a 
man) came out, supposed to be a Baptist preacher. He 
begged those men not to burn the Negro, that he had 
done no wrong. Bud said that if they would not take 
his life they might have his father's place... By 
this tim-e they had gotten him out of Florida, 
probably 10 feet over the line into Alabama, The line 

v/as ascertained by Ivlr, , surveyor.,, V/hen they 

had gotten him into Alabama the old man again insisted 
that they should not burn him, "If you v/ill do any- 
thing", he said, "give him a good whipping and let 
him go away." But they said, "Not so. You v/ould spoil 
this Negro.,, He is sullen," ... One said, "When v/e 
get this one v/e will get all the Negroes".,, Then they 
took the rope from the limb and dragged him up to a 
stump... and fastened his hands behind the stum.p. They 
.,, tied his feet. They poured kerosine ,,, on his head 
and let it run down ,., then one bucket of gasoline, 

and then had a yovmg lady, a cousin of , light 

a nev/spaper with a match and set it to the body which. 
In about two minutes or less, v/as wreathed in flames. 
As the flames v/ent up they ,,« shouted "This is the way 



293 



we do all Negroes v/ho refuse to do what we want done," 

The newspaper account seems to have been general- 
ly accepted in Florida, and of course it was the only one 
knov/n in other sections of the country. The NAACP sent to 
Governor Catts a telegram calling his attention to the 
lynching of Johnson and another Negro, They pointed out 
how the lyncliing record of Florida was a disgrace to the 
Nation, and asked that the Governor prevent further dis- 
grace by seeing that the lynchers were punished. Then the 
following correspondence, of the nature referred to in 
Chapter One, passed between the parties named above: First, 
the Governor replied, by letter: 

John R. Shillady, Secretary, etc. 

Sir: 

I have your telegram, calling my attention to the 
lynching of two negroes in this State, 

As you doubtless know I have exerted every effort 
possible to keep down lynching in this State, I was not 
cognizant of the lynching at Madison until I sav/ an 
account of it in the papers. In regard to the one at 
Milton, I v/as called up at midnight and told about the 
crime committed by this man and had him carried to Pensa- 
cola and put in Jail there; next morning the Sheriff of 
Pensacola called me up and stated that he v/as not safe 
there and I ordered him taken to Montgomery and sent 
down to Jacksonville for safekeeping, but Sheriff Harvell 
was overtaken and the man punished by death at the hands 
of an inforiated mob from. Santa Rosa County, 

You ask me to see that these lynchers are brought 
to trial. This would be impossible to do as conditions 
are now in Florida, for v/hen a negro brute, or a white 
man, ravishes a v/hite woman in the State of Florida, 
there is no use having the people, who see that this 
man meets death, brought to trial, even if you could find 
who they are; the citizenship will not stand for it. 

You state that the man in Madison was burned to 
death and that it adds to the horror of lynching and 



294 



disgraces not only this State but the whole United 
States, Your race is always harping on the disgrace 
it brings to the State, by a concourse of white people 
taking revenge for the dishonoring of a white v/oman, 
when if you would spend one-half the time that you do, 
in giving maudlin sympathy, to teaching your people not 
to kill our v/hite officers and disgrace our yihlte 
women, you would keep dovm a thousand times greater 
disgrace, 

I do not like the tone of your telegram at all, 
because you tacitly commend the crime your people com- 
mitted while you abuse our people for resenting the 
wrong which your race has done, I have tried to be fair 
to your people at all times but I do not believe in such 
maudlin sentiment as this. If any man, white or black, 
should dishonor one of my family he v/ould meet my pistol 
square from the shoulder, and every white man in this 
South, who is red-blooded American, feels the sam.e as I 
do. 

Therefore, you had best, as you say you are com- 
posed of 180 branches of 48,000 people in 38 States, 
spend some time in teaching the wanton, reckless negroes 
of your race, who v/ander from City to City, County to 
County and State to State, doing all the devilment they 
can. We do not have any trouble from negroes who are 
settled, own their homes, have their own property, cattle 
and horses, but it is the roving, transient, irresponsible 
and unmarried element of tramp negroes v/ho bring all 
this disgrace on the coujitry, 

I, as a representative of one million people, 
both white and black, urge you to send out your 
missionaries and get your race to stop this kind of wanton 
and disgraceful ravishing of the white people of the 
South, or the Governors of the South will not be able to 
keep the mobs down, which I have used every effort 
possible to do in Florida, 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) Sidney J. Catts, 
Governor of Florida, 

Ten days later the matter of the two lynchings 

was closed, when the Secretary of the NAACP replied to the 

Governor as follows: 



295 



Hon. Sidney J, Catts, Governor, 
Tallahassee, Florida, 

Sir: 

I have your letter of the 18th in acknowledg- 
ment, reply and criticism of my telegram of the 15th, 

First, I wish to commend the attempts made by 
you to safeguard the prisoner at Milton, May I m.ake 
it clear that in the telegram addressed to you we are 
not directing criticism against you as an individual 
but are speaking to you in your representative character 
as Governor of the State of Florida, Do you not think 
that when you ordered the sheriff of Pensacola to take 
his prisoner to Montgomery in order to have him sent to 
Jacksonville for safe keeping. Sheriff Harvell should 
have knovm, as an experienced and responsible officer 
of the State, the mind of the citizenship of v/hom you 
speak in your letter and v/ould have been prepared with 
sufficient officers to protect any prisoner at the hands 
of the mob, no matter hov/ infuriated? The experience 
of Governor Stanley of Kentucky who himself protected a 
prisoner, and of the few other brave officers of the law, 
warrants the belief that mobs which form in violation 
of the lav/ will not attempt to carry out their purpose 
if they are met with strong resistance on the part of 
officers of the lav/ who realize the meaning of their 
oaths and are determined that prisoners shall be tried 
in the courts and not by mobs on the highways. 

Your assertion that the citizenship of Florida 
will not stand for seeing men who ravish white women 
tried in the couj?ts is a serious commentary on our 
laws. Burning to death is so horrible that we can 
hardly believe, if we did not read yo\rr own words, that 
you as Governor of a great state find it possible to 
apologize for burning at the stake. This Association 
does not apologize for crime or condone it in any way. 
Your gratuitous assumption that I personally "tacitly 
commend the crime" committed is absolutely unv/arranted. 
In order to protest against the burning of a human being 
at the stake, we did not feel that anyone would expect 
that we must begin such protest by disavov/al of sjrmpathy 
with the crime. 

You speak a good deal about the horror of the 
crime, Y.'e think the crime is horrible, but we insist, 
as v/e believe all right-minded citizens of the United 
States are coming more and more to insist, that it is 
a greater crime for the governor of a state or the 
sheriff of a county to stand by and see the laws m.ade 
by the people ignored and flouted. \'!e do not believe 
that it is a justification for this lynching of the law 
to plead the wickedness of the criminal. Laws are made 



296 



to deal with such and the question Is whether In this 
crucial time of the world's history American states 
shall flaujit their disregard of law in the face of 
President V/llson at Paris while he is endeavoring to 
promote the peace of the world. 

All the arguments you make about the horror of 
the one crime do not touch the other - the man was only 
accused of shooting a v/atchman, a crime which, certain- 
ly, it was easy to punish in the coDurts. 

Speaking of educating, you suggest that ovir 
Association spend time teaching wanton, reckless Negroes, 
May I suggest that as Governor of the State, you yooor- 
self take up the task of providing proportionate school 
facilities for the education of Negroes in your state. 
According to the report of the United States Bureau of 
Education, the relative per capita expenditures in 
Florida are; teaching white children, |ll,50, and for 
the colored children; $2.64. 

Incidentally, though it is not a point of importance, 
may I remark that I do not happen to he a Negro myself, as 
you seem to asstime throughout yo;ir letter. 

Sincerely yours, etc. 



Case 3 

A Lynching Series in Georgia, 1918 

The series of lynchlngs in Brooks and Lowndes 
counties, Georgia, which extended over a period of five 
days in May, 1918, brought forth considerable publicity 
as well as an investigation, the report of which was 
requested by Governor Dorsey. TiVhile all available sources 
have been considered the case as given is taken largely 
from this report v/hich gave more details than the nev/spaper 
accounts, and placed the total victims at eleven. It was 
said that a total of 18 were lynched but the investigator 
could not verify the number. The immediate exodus of 



297 



Negroes from the counties made a check-\ip impossible. 

Brooks and Lowndes counties are in the richest 
agricultural section of the state, in the southernmost 
part near the Florida line. In both counties the Negro 
population is in the majority. In 1920 the Negro popu- 
lation of Brooks County was 58,1 per cent, and in Lowndes, 
51,0 per cent. There had been a drop of 1,0 per cent and 
2,0 per cent, respectively, since 1910, There is a high 
rate of farm tenancy in both counties, as well as a number 
of large plantations on v/hich hired labor is employed. 
In the state as a whole 29,1 per cent of the Negroes above 
10 years of age are illiterate, and 5,4 per cent of the 
whites. In Brooks and Lowndes counties 35,6 per cent and 
22,0 per cent respectively of the Negroes are illiterate. 
Of the whites 4,5 and 3,0 per cent respectively are 
illiterate. Thus the Negro illiteracy for Lovmdes and the 
white illiteracy for both cotmties is lower than for the 
state as a whole. The covmty seats are Quitman with a 
population of about 4,500, and Voldosta with 8,000, In 
each the Negro population is about 50 per cent. 

The lynching history of the two counties r\ins 
back for at least 38 years, A Negrowas lynched at 
Voldosta in 1890 for Rape, In 1894 the lynching victims 
in Georgia nxjmbered 20, 17 of whom v/ere lynched in central 
and south Georgia, In Brook Covmty, on December 23, seven 
Negroes were lynched for Murder, There was not another 
lynching in either county until 1901 when an unknown Negro 
v/as lynched near Quitman, for R8.pe, and another at Voldosta 



■lY 



298 



for "murderous assault". Seven years later an unknown 
Negro was lynched at Voldosta for "conspiracy to do 
violence". In 1915 a Negro was lynched at Voldosta for 
Theft, and in 1916 another for alleged burglary. Six 
months before the mob episode described below, Jessie 
Staten was lynched at Quitman for "insulting a iiiiite 
woman" , 

In Brooks County, near Barney several miles 
north of Quitman, Hampton Smith owned a large plantation. 
He seems to have had considerable trouble from time to 
time with his Negro employees. As a result of difficulty 
in securing sufficient farm help he had adopted the policy 
of going to the courts, paying the fines of Negroes con- 
victed of crimes, and allowing them to work out the amount 
on his plantation, 

Sidney Johnson was fined ;|30,00 "for gaming". 
He was unable to pay, so the amount was advanced by 
Smith, for whom he went to work. After a time Johnson 
asked for some money, claiming that he had more than 
earned the amount of the fine. Smith refused, A few 
days later Johnson failed to report for work and, when 
questioned, claimed he was sick. Smith whipped him and 
the Negro threatened his life, A few nights later, 
according to statements made by Johnson before being 
lynched, he shot Smith through a v/lndow, A bullet also 
struck his wife, who was not severely injured. Smith 
died instantly. This v/as on Thursday, May 16, 1918, 

Posses were immediately formed to search for 



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299 



Johnson, for it was kno'^n that he had threatened the 
landlord's life, A report was now circulated - by whom 
it was started is not knovm - to the effect that there 
was a conspiracy among a ntunber of Negroes to kill Smith, 
It was said that Hayes Turner had also threatened Smith 
for beating his wife, Mary Turner, So the report was 
that the conspirators had met at Turner's house. 

On Friday morning about 8:30 a posse of 
citizens catight Will Head, a Negro of the community. 
Later in the day another Negro was arrested and both were 
placed in the jail at Voldosta, 'i'hat night they were 
taken five miles out of Voldosta, where they v/ere hanged 
and shot. In this mob, according to a member, v,'ere many 
citizens of Quitman, Voldosta and the surrounding country. 
Of the 17 who were known and recognized by this member, 
fotu? were close relatives to Hampton Smith, five were 
farmers, one was a postal clerk, one a furniture store 
clerk, and one a stock dealer. The two leaders were 
from Quitman - one a professional man and the other a 
merchant. These names have never been published; to do 
so nov/ y/ould be both useless and embarrassing'. 

On Saturday morning Hayes Turner was placed 
in jail at Quitman, Later in the day the Sheriff decided 
to take him to Moultrie, but was overtaken when about 
three miles out of Quitman, and Turner v/as hanged. The 
body remained there until Monday yUaen it was cut down by 
some county convicts and buried about 50 feet av/ay. 



300 



During Sunday ,,, hundreds of automobiles, buggies and 
Wagons bore sight-seers to the spot while many more 
tramped there on foot. 

Another Negro - probably Eugene Rice - was lynched 
on Saturday afternoon. His connection with the crime v/as 
not stated by any of the reports and the investigator could 
find no one, white or black, v/ho knew why he was lynched. 
That night trro other negroes were called from their homes 
and were not seen again. About a v/eek later three bodies 
of unidentified Negroes v/ere taken from Little River, a 
few miles belov/ Barney, It is thought - though not knovm - 
that these Negroes were also lynched on Saturday, May 18, 
The bodies disappeared soon after being taken from the 
River, hence were not identified, 

Hayes Turner's wife said that her husband was 
not guilty of conspiracy to murder, and tlireatened to have 
members of the mob arrested if she could find out who they 
were. On Sunday, about noontime, she was taken by a mob 
and lynched in a unique manner, near Folsom's Bridge a 
few miles from Barney, on Little River. '.Vith her anlcles 
tied together, she was hung to a small oak tree, head 
dovmward. Gasoline was poured on her and a match applied. 
After her clothing was burned away, it was said by a member 
of the mob, a man cut her open and an unborn infant 
dropped to the ground. Hundreds of bullets v/ere then 
fired into the body and the lynching was over. The mob 
dispersed to search again for Jolinson, the criminal. 

No one had thought to search in Voldosta for 



301 



him. The newspapers had said that he was hiding in 
sv/amps near ic^itman. On Monday Johnson went to the homo 
of a Negro and asked for food. This was readily given 
after which the officers were immediately notified,^ 
Johnson said that he alone was responsible for Smith's 
death, and boasted that he would never be taken alive. 
Soon a large crov/d gathered, and, under the leadership 
of Police Chief Dampier, surrounded the house to which 
the Negro had fled. When firing began from both sides 
the Chief was wounded in the hand, and another man was 
struck in the neck. The firing was accelerated for a 
few minutes after which Johnson dropped dead, V/ith a 
rope around his neck his body was dragged behind an 
automobile through Patterson Street, one of the City's 
business thoroughfares, out near the scene of the 
murder. There the body was burned to a crisp. 

No one was arrested. Within tv/o months it 
was estimated that more than 500 Negroes had migrated 
from Brooks and Lov/ndes counties, and others expressed 
intentions of leaving after crops v/ere gathered in the 
fall. 



2, Instances in which Negroes have thus cooperated with the 
officers of the law are numerous. The statement, heard over 
and over to the effect that "there never v/as a Negro who 
would not conceal another in a crime" is not wholly 
true. 



302 



Case 4 
A Lynching In Bertie County, North Carolina 

Lewlston, In Bertie County, North Carolina, has 
a population of 244 people. It is a rural village sur- 
rounded by farms occupied mostly by Negro tenants. There 
had never been a lynching in Bertie County, although within 
the past fev/ years there had been one at Kinston and 
another at Goldsboro, both two counties distant to the 
South-west, 

According to press reports on March 23, 1918, a 
Negro boy 19 years of age was accused of "assault on a 
white woman". He was lynched fifteen minutes after being 
caught, ,,, "None of the mob was masked, the lynching 
created no excitement, no attempt has been made to as- 
certain the citizens that hung the Negro, and it is pre- 
sumably a finished job," 

Of course the people were surprised at this 
incident, and regretted its occurrence. Moreover it 
could hardly be repeated, just as it occurred on that date 
and with the same results, anyv/here in the state. However 
the case indicates the psychological and social background 
out of which under the proper general state of emotional 
excitement as existed in 1918 a Negro may be lynched 
suddenly and with no after effects of a legal nature, 

r 

u 

Later incidents in North Carolina, including one during 
the past year which was widely discussed by the press, 
indicate that this Bertie County lynching was not altogether 
an isolated case. 



303 



Case 5 
The Burning of Lloyd Clay at Vicksburg 

V/arren County, Mississippi, borders on the river 
and is located in the "lynching section" of the state. 
In three of the counties v/hich border on Y/arren there have 
been 17 persons lynched since 1900, and six have been 
lynched in '.Varren County during the period. In 1903 two 
Negroes were lynched near Vicksburg for Murder, and in 
1907 another for the same offense. Then in 1915 Edward 
Johnson, charged v/ith murder and cattle stealing, was 
lynched near Vicksburg. The next lynching in the county 
was that of Lloyd Clay, but violence toward Negroes was 
not unkno'Am there during the War, 

This is indicated by correspondence sent to and 
received from the Treasiiry Department and the Department 
of Justice at Washington, as well as through correspondence 
directly with former residents of Vicksburg who had been 
"run out ot tovm". During the 77ar some of the more wealthy 
Negroes - business and professional men - were forced to 
leave, A Negro doctor was tarred and feathered; they 
told him it was because he did not subscribe for ^1000,00 
worth of V^ar Savings Stamps, A Negro pharmacist was also 
ordered in the name of the V/ar Savings Stamp Committee 
and by "officers aad citizens" to leave Vicksburg. He 
owned property on one of the "main corners" and for some 
time white men are said to have tried to buy it from 
him, A Negro business man who had gone to Nev/ Orleans 



304 



on a "fall-buying trip" was ordered not to retxirn to 
Vicksburg, About the time he got to Chicago, and as 
soon as he had sold his business - at a great loss it is 
claimed - he was ordered back for military service. It 
was maintained that as he had sold his business, and as 
he had sufficient money to support his family for the 
duration of the War, therefore it was proper to change 
his military status from Fourth Class D to First Class 
and to call on him to report immediately. 

With this much of the history of Vicksburg 
before us, possibly the only surprising thing about what 
happened in 1910 is the method of punishment meted out 
to Lloyd Clay; and that was no unusual occurrence within 
the culture range of the citizens of Vicksburg, In no 
other state is burning a more favorite method of 
lynching. 

We are informed by an eye-witness, white, who 
now resides in another state, that the case of the burning 
of Lloyd Clay as reported by the New Orleans Times Picayune 
was substantially correct. She states that the bloodhounds 
trailed the Negro to a box car v/here he had "attempted 
to conceal himself",^ She does not know about the claim 
that he v/as not "the right Negro", for "everybody said he 
was the one". He was 19 years old instead of 24. She 
also corrects the statement that he was put "on a truck" 

S. There are conflicting reports as to where and hov/ Clay v/as 
located, Cf, Seligmann, "Protecting Southern V.'omanhood, " 
The Nation, Vol. 108, op. 938ff. 



305 



and taken to the tree from which he was hanged, shot and 
turned. Instead "they tied him to the end of one of the 
trucks and dragged him over town practically rendering 
the Negro dead," Yvith these corrections we quote the 
case as reported by the Times Picayune ; 

Vickshurg Mob Lynches Negro and Burns Body: 
Storms Jail and Breaks in Three Steel Doors to get 
Prisoner: Black Caught After Bloodhouns Chase: 
Attempt on ^Alhite woman was One of a Series of Such 
Crimes: Vicksburg, Miss., May 14, (1919) ,.,. Lloyd 
Clay, Negro, 24 years old, was lynched and burned here 
at 8:30 o'clock tonight by men v/ho stormed the jail, 
threw the Sheriff, Prank Scott, into a corner, pinning 
him to the floor, broke through a heavy one-inch steel 
barred windov;, then broke a heavy iron door from its 
hinges, and took the prisoner from his cell. The 
Negro was charged v/ith attempting criminal assault 
upon a vdiite girl shortly after 5 o'clock this morning. 

Two white men were shot and another seriously 
injured by a blow during the strtiggles attending the 
lynching. 

The Negro entered the home of Eelly Broussard 
about 5 o'clock this morning and made his v/ay to the 
room of a young girl boarder, apparently locking the 
door behind him. The girl, ay/akened by his presence, 
screamed and fought him off, Broussard, awakened by 
the screams, v/as unable to get into the room. The 
girl, hearing Broussard, sought to hold the Negro but 



•?' 



306 



failed, the black breaking loose and making good his 
escape, 

John Gantt and his bloodhounds of Crystal Springs 
were secured and they took the scent at the Broussard 
home and after making a circuit of several blocks ran 
to the Alabama and Vicksburg depot where they bayed 
the Negro, Clay. He was arrested. 

The girl was taken to the Jail, but did not 
positively identify him, A large mob quickly gathered 
about the jail and refused to be dispersed by the 
officers. They v/ere informed that it v/as the wrong 
Negro, but this had no effect. Some few left, but 
others took their places. 

Judge's Promise Vain 

Judge Brien said if there v/as any evidence against 
the Negro he v/ould call a special term of court and 
organize a special grand jury. But this did not dis- 
perse the crowd. Shortly after 6 o'clock the mob was 
a\igmented by men from different parts of the city. 
Sheriff Scott swore in a dozen special deputies v/ho went 
inside the jail. 

At 7:45 o'clock a mob came into the street in 
front of the jail, ITiey had a piece of railroad track 
16 feet in length and began to batter a jail v/indow. 
Sheriff Scott attempted to talk to the crowd but the 
men crowded close about him so he could not lift his 
hands and quietly lifted him from his feet, then threw 



fiiU^r 



307 



him over to a corner and forced him to the floor. 
His efforts to resist were vain, M, G. Cockrell, 
a contractor, who had been sworn in as a deputy, vms 
rammed in the stomach by the railroad iron and fell 
to the floor. He may be internally injured. 

The men turned their attention to the powerful 
steel bars and after hammering for twenty minutes the 
steel was broken and the parts imbedded in the wall 
were forced out. The breaking of the other doors was 
a matter of short work, as the mob went at it with a 
determination to get their man, 

Negroes Cower in Terror 

In the meantime the Negroes in the jail were 
shrieking and Clay cowered in his cell, V/hen the men 
reached him he exclaimed: "Give me a minute and I'll 
tell you who the other Negro is." 

But the crowd did not temporize. They took the 
Negro out to the street, put him on an auto truck, 
and 40 men boarded the truck. The Negro was taken two 
blocks south to Clay street and then four blocks east 
to Farmer and Clay streets, within a shot distance of 
the Broussard home, A rope v/as fastened about his 
neck and thrown over a tree limb 20 feet from the 
ground. Some oil v/as poured on the Negro's head and 
he was pulled into the air. He attempted to haul 
himself up on the rope v/ith his hands. Then his hands 
were tied. The next move was to apply the match to liis 



308 



oil-soaked head. A bonfire was started under his 
feet, which dangled four feet above the ground, A 
fusilade of shots was fired into the body and into 
the air. 

In some v;ay, Charles Lancaster, an onlooker, 
was hit in the head with a bullet inflicting what may 
prove a fatal v/ound, Lancaster is an engineer for the 
Anderson Tully Lumber Company, A young man named 
Bennis Stafford v/as shot in the arm. There vms a great 
crowd present, including many women, v/ho looked on in 
silence, The lynching is the culmination of a series 
of attempts on women and young girls v;hich has continued 
for weeks. Women and girls had become so apprehensive 
they feared to retire at night. Two Negroes arrested 
three v/eeks ago were spirited to Jackson, where they 
are nov/ held for safe-keeping. Thousands viewed the 
body roasting over the fire and then v/ent home. 



The letter in which oxir informant verifies 
the case as related above closes as follows: The un- 
pardonable sin among southern people is for a Negro to 
assault a white girl. In many communities the whites see 
no llmJ.t as to the punishment such a fellov/ deserves. The 
mob (at Vicksbxirg) was v/hat we v/ould term a "mad mob". 
It v/as one of the most horrible things I have ever v/ltnessed. 

The lynching occurred Immediately after luiss 
Hudson, the girl boarder at Brossard^s, "said the word". 



309 



although she had previously failed to identify Clay as 
her assailant. So far as we can discover the statement 
of the Vicksburg Evening ^ost has not been contradicted: 
"Brought before Miss Hudson, she declared he v/as not the 
man v/ho attaded her last night," On the other hand it 
is said that Miss Hudson "positively identified" a Negro 
who for several days prior to and including May 14, had 
been in jail,- 

The jxa*y, headed by Coroner Crichlow, found that 
Clay met death by mob action, "the said mob being unknov/n 
to the jiiry," 

There are other interesting side-lights in the 
case. The Evening Post pointed out that the mob (estimat- 
ed at 1500) must have been an "amateur organization". After 
Miss Hudson had "said the word" this mob "picked the first 
tree v/hich came handy, which unfortunately, was in the 
center of the city, siirrounded by residences of citizens 
whose sensibilities were shocked by the occurrence," 
Even the "sensibilities" of the Vicksburg Herald imist 
have been shocked. In an editorial on May 16 this "organ 
of public opinion" pointed out that the evil inter-racial 
condition is "aggravated if not actually provoked" by such 
movements as the "negro country v/ide cam.paign for equal 
right", and that although a "more kindly and just" race 
relationship "all may strive for", yet "never in the v/ay 

4. See The Kation, loc^ cit. 



■ t nt ns 



c3:l ^ 



310 



of race equality in political and civil rights" as call- 
ed for by certain "New York race propaganda". 

The tree which the amateurish mob selected for 
the burning happened to be in front of the residence of 
Mrs, Ida M, Keefe, She asked of one of the men that the 
tree be cut down. "Madam", he replied, "the tree is a 
monxoment to the spirit of manhood of this commtinity who 
will not tolerate crimes against their women folks. What 
was done here last night was done for you and for every 
woman and girl in Warren County," This viev/ v/as concL\rred 
in by Mrs. E, P. Shaw, of Vicksburg, To her this maple 
tree was "a monument to our young manhood and we women 
and girls should stand behind men in a thing like this." 

Case 6 

A Straggler Strangled at Jonesville 

Jonesville, Louisiana, in Catahoula Parish, has 
a population of 1,029, a large majority of whom are v/hite. 
In 1907 a cotton gin belonging to a Capt, J. W, Swaynzoe 
was burned down at Jonesville, "and the following night 
two Negroes were hanged to a pecan tree within the tovm 
limits for the crime. "^ They were Sam Jones and Arthur 
Gardner, Press reports at the time stated that a third 
Negro v/as shot for the same offense, but the investigator 

5, This case is taken from a report sent in by a former 
Graduate student of the University of North Carolina, 



•JC-r 



311 



could not verify the statement. Nor was he able to find 
out why the Negroes v/ere charged with the burning of the 
gin. Information from those who remember the affair at 
all is to the effect that a small niomber of men did the 
lynching before the people in general knev/ what was 
happening, and it seems that no one v/as interested to the 
extent of inquiring how the Negroes were knovai to be 
guilty. The general attitude seems to have been that 
those who hanged the Negroes must have had some reason 
for doing so, and that it did not matter particularly 
just what this reason was. 

Apparently this attitude as regards the im- 
portance of the Negroes life and of his place in the 
community has changed but little since that time, A 
resident of the town states that the Negroes and the 
whites get along fine in Jonesville "as long as the Negro 
stays in his place", but when he takes some "biggety" or 
"radical" move the whites "don't mind waiting on him". 
Generally speaking the Negro respects the whites and the 
whites "have a feeling of guardianlsm and protection" for 
the Negro just so long as he "acts as a Negro should". 
The little chores and gardening jobs around the white's 
homes are usually done by some "Uncle Charlie" or "Aunt 
Susie", or even a young Negro boy or girl. The merchants 
don't mdnd crediting a Negro if they know him any more 
than a white man "and in many cases they had rather". 
But they don't like Negro strangers and stragglers in 
Jonesville, 



312 



Such a memlDer of the Black Ulysses tribe came 
to tov/n on or about August 30, 1919. He v/as not only a 
stranger and a straggler but he utterly and egregiously 
failed in that fundamental of all requirements: he did 
not "stay in his place"; and he did not "act as a Negro 
should". This vinknov/n Negro v;as found in the house of a 
Mr, Davis, '.Vhy he v;as there, of course, v/ill never be 
known* It may have been for the purpose of stealing 
food or clothes. If he had possessed intelligence enough 
to be "responsible" for his acts he would hardly have 
come for the purpose of attacking Mrs. Davis while her 
husband v/as there in the house with her. It is thought 
that he was in the house when the Davis couple entered, 
whereupon he hid under the bed in one of the rooms, St 
any rate Mrs. Davis v/as first to discover his presence 
whereupon she called her husband who had gone into 
another room. He came quickly with a shot gun and held 
it on the Negro until some neighbors could arrive. 

"A number of whites made up a gang, took the 
Negro to the outskirts of town and hanged him to the limb 
of a sycamore tree. He remained hanging there until late 
the following day v/hen he was taken down by some members 
of his race." The investigator v/as informed that "the 
person who tied the knot around the victim's neck was a 
Negro of v/ealth and high standing in Jonesville, He did 
it of his ov/n accord, too." The Negro is well liked by 
the whites of Jonesville, He said on the occasion of the 
lynching: "I will help hang any Negro that would step 



J13 



so lov/ dov/n and mean as to try to do harm to any white 
lady in this town," 

Thus peaceful Jonesville where there is "a 
feeling of guardianlsm and protection" tov/ard the Negro 
had an outbreak of mob violence on this hot August night: 
An unknown straggler v/as strangled without being question- 
ed as to why he did not stay in his place and act as a 
Negro should. 



Case 7 
The Lynching at y.'aco Texas 

The city of waco, Texas, is the county seat of 
McLennan County, Situated on the Brazos River, about 
half way between Dallas and Austin, it is the junction 
point of seven railways. The city is in a fertile 
agricult\iral region with grain and cotton as the chief 
products, and with nearly 200 manufacturing establish- 
ments, representing some 70 different industries. 

From a population of 14,445 in 1890, Waco had 
grown to be a city of 26,500 in 1910, The v/hite popu- 
lation in these 20 years had almost exactly doubled, v/hile 
the colored population had increased from 4,000 to 6,000 
forming thus 23 per cent of the total population. 
Practically three-fourths of the population is native white 
of native parentage, 

Waco is well laid out. The streets are broad. 



514 



over 60 miles of them being paved in 1916, There was 
also an excellent sev/age system of 100 miles and a fine 
city owned water system, as v/ell as city parks of which 
the progressive citizens were justly proud. There v/ere 
39 white and 24 colored chiirches: Baptist 14; Methodist, 
9; Christian, 4; Presbyterian, 3; Jewish, 2; Evangelistic, 
Ij Lutheran, 1; Catholic, 1; Christian Science, 1; and 
the Salvation Army, 1, The colleges are: Baylor 
University, Baylor Academy, the Catholic College, the 
Independent Biblical and Industrial School, all Y/hite; 
and the Central Texas College and Paul Qiuinn, colored 
colleges. High schools and National Banks were also as 
numerous in 1916 as was required for ample provision in 
these respects. 

Near the country town of Robinson, some six 
miles from \'/aco, lived a v±iite family of four - the 
Pryars - who ov/ned a small farm. This they cultivated 
themselves v/ith the help of a "hired man", a colored boy 
of 17, named Jesse Washington, Jess was a big, well- 
developed fellow, but ignorant, being unable either to 
read or write. His teacher, a college graduate, stated 
that she was unable to teach the boy to read or write. 
From other facts to be noted below, he was evidently 
feeble-minded. 

The Crime 

On Monday, May 8, 1916 while Mr, Fryar, his son 
of 14, and his daughter of 23, v/ere hoeing cotton in one 



315 



part of their farm, the Negro boy was plov/ing and sov/ing 
cotton seed near the house where Mrs. Fryar was alone. 
He went to the house for more cotton seed. As Mrs, Fryar 
was scooping them into the bag which the Negro held, she 
scolded him for beating the mules. He knocked her down 
with a blacksmith's hammer which he had placed nearby. 
Then, according to his later confession, he criminally 
assaulted her, after v/hich he killed her with the hammer. 
He threw the hammer into a nearby briar patch. In his 
confession he v/illingly told officers where it was. After 
committing the crime the Negro returned to the field, 
finished his v/ork, and went home v/here he lived in a 
small cabin v/ith his father, mother and several brothers 
and sisters. 

Vi/hen the murdered woman v/as discovered suspicion 
pointed to Jesse Washington, and he was found, after having 
eaten supper, sitting in his yard whittling a stick. He 
was arrested and immediately taken to jail in Waco. Just 
before midnight a mob, composed of Robinson people and 
farmers, visited the jail. They came in with about 30 
automobiles, each crov/ded beyond capacity.^ There was 
no noise, no tooting of horns, the lights were dim, and 
some had no lights at all. They looked, but could not 
find the Negro who had been taken away to HlllsborOo 
There the sheriff obtained a full confession without any 



6, These facts v/ere given by Vi'aco officers. 



316 



third degree methods, according to the lav/yers who de- 
fended Washington, A part of the mob v/ent to this county- 
seat to get the Negro, but he v/as again removed; this 
time to Dallas, Later a small group of business men from 
Waco gained the pledge of the Robinson people that they 
would not lynch the boy, provided the authorities v/ould 
act promptly, and if the criminal wou.ld vmive his legal 
rights to a change of venue and an appeal, 

A second confession in v/hich the Negro v/aived 
all legal rights was obtained in the Dallas jail. The 
Grand Juvj indicted him on Thursday, and the case was set 
for trial on Monday, May 15, Of course not all of the 
Robinson people v/ere in on the pledge made to the Waco 
business men, and, under stimulus of the nev/spapers, 
certain elements in and around '.Vaco became more and more 
excited as the day of the trial drev/ near, when the Negro 
would be brought back to Waco, On Sunday, at midnight, 
he v/as brought back and secreted in the office of the 
judge. There was practically no doubt whatever of his 
guilt, and even less doubt that on the next day, if the 
lav/ took its course, he would be tried, condemned and 
hanged. There had not been a lynching in Waco for 11 
years, when in 1905, on August 8, Sank Majors v/as lynched 
for Rape, 

The news v/ent out that 7/ashlngton would be in 
Waco, ready for trial on Monday morning, and the crov/d 
began to gather in from the surrounding country on 
Sunday, When court opened Monday morning, according to 



317 



rough estimates, 1,500 crov/ded into the court room - 
the capacity of which is about 1/3 that number - 
while 2,000 waited outside. The district judge of the 
criminal court elb07/ed his way through the crowd to the 
desk. The Negro was brought in from the Judge's office 
where he had remained secreted since the sheriff brought 
him from Dallas in the middle of the night. His entrance 
was a tense moment, the attention of the entire group 
centered directly upon him, and "emotions ran high". 
As the jurors v/ere called, members of the crowd yelled, 
"We don't need any juryj" 

The trial was a hurried affair, for, although 
six lawyers defended Washington, and his confession was 
questioned and debated, the jury had been out three 
minutes and returned by 11:22 A, M, with the follov/ing 
verdict: "V/e, the jury, find the defendant guilty of 
murder as charged in the indictment and assess his 
punishement as death." (Signed), W. B. Brazelton, fore- 
man, "Is that yovir verdict, gentlemen?" asked Judge 
Munroe. "Yes" was the answer; and as the defendant 
had waived all legal rights, there v/as no appeal, and 
he was to hang at three that afternoon. 

The Lynching 

There was a pause of a full minute while the 
judge made the entry: "May 15, 1916: Jury verdict of 
guilty." Meanwhile the court stenographer, according to 
his later statement, knowing v/hat v/as soon to happen. 



318 



slipped back of the sheriff and out of the room, "The 
sheriff slipped out too", says the court stenographer* 
The sheriff claimed that he was under no further 
obligations after he had brought the defendant to the 
court room safely. At the end of this tense minute of 
absolute quiet, a big tall 7/aco citizen, driver of an 
Annheuser brewery truck, yelled from the back of the 
court room, " Get the n i gger ." 

The mob surged forv/ard and took the Negro be- 
fore the court could pronounce judgment. They rushed 
him dovm the back stairs into the crowd outside and tied 
him with a chain to an automobile. The chain was put 
into his mouth "so he would not choke too soon". Many 
had come a long way "to attend this part and they didn't 
v/ant it to end in a minute". Everybody seemed happy; 
they shouted and sang like a bunch of fans at a ball 
game, according to a 7/aco paper. 

The Negro's clothes were cut up and distributed 
as souvenirs. Somebody cut off one of his ears. The 
Waco Times Herald published the same afternoon said, "On 
the way to the scene of the burning people on every hand 
showed their feelings in the matter by striking the Negro 
v/ith anything obtainable; some struck him with shovels, 
bricks, clubs, and others stabbed him and cut him until 
when he was strung up his body v/as a solid color of red, 
the blood of the many wounds inflicted covered him from 
head to foot," 

They took Washington to a tree on the City Hall 



319 



lawn just outside the window which the Mayor shared with 
the photographer to whom we are indebted for pictures of 
the scene, A chain was throvm over the limh of this 
tree, and while the fire was being lit, the bloody victim 
was drawn up from the ground. As the chain tightened 
around his neck, he reached up to grab it and his fingers 
were cut off, A member of the mob unsexed the Negro, 
To quote agains from the Times Herald; 

"Fingers, ears, pieces of clothing, toes, and other 
parts of the negro's body were cut off by members of 
the mob that had crowded to the scene as if by magic 
when the word that the negro had been taken in charge 
by the mob vms heralded over the city. As the smoke 
rose to the heavens, the mass of people, ntimbering 
in the neighborhood of 10,000, crowding the City Hall 
lawn and overflov/ing the square, hanging from the 
windov/s of buildings, viewing the scene from the tops 
of buildings and trees, set up a shout that was heard 
blocks away. Onlookers were hanging from the windows 
of the City Hall and every other building that command- 
ed a sight of the burning, and as the negro's body 
commenced to burn, shouts of delight went up from the 
thousands of throats, and apparently everybody de- 
monstrated in some way their satisfaction,.," 

The body of the Negro v/as burned to a crisp, and 
was left for some time smoulderir-g in the remains of the 
fire, "Women and children who desired to view the scene 
were given a chance to do so, the crov/ds parting to let 



320 



them look on", says the newspaper account. One man who 
held his little son on his shoulder where he could get 
a good view, said later: "My son can't learn too young 
the proper way to treat a rdgger," 

By 12:00 o'clock the crov/d began to disperse. 
About an hour later a cowboy v/ho had ridden in off the 
range tied the remains (as shown by picture No, 4) of the 
Negro and rode over town with the skeleton dangling at the 
end of his lariat. He then rode out to Robinson and back 
to Waco, still dragging the skeleton, Hov; it was finally 
disposed of is not known. It is said to have been throvm 
into an ash can. The links of the chain with which the 
criminal was hanged, as well as his teeth, were sold as 
souvenirs by some small boys. 

The small town and country people from around 
7/aco went back home. By Saturday hardly a person wanted 
to talk of the lynching. The people were again busy; 
life was going on in the normal v/ay. Newspaper men, 
lawyers and judges thought the best thing to do was to 
"forget it". Soon afterwards the photographer v/ho made 
the follov/ing photographs of the affair, vn?ote a letter 
to one Y/ho inquired about the pictures saying, "V/e have 
quite selling the mob photos. This step was taken because 
our 'City dads' objected on the grounds of 'bad publicity', 
As v/e wanted to be boosters and not knockers, we agreed 
to stop all sales," 

"Fix it up as well as you can for Waco" said 
an ex-mayor to a reporter from another city, "and make 



321 



Picture 1. THE CRO^^IVD AT WACO 



/■r7^r-A 




#7^^- 



322 



Picture 2. THE BURKING 



I'f7^7 D 



% . T 






Picture 3. ONLOOKERS 



323 



/^^^7'S 




Picture 4. AFTER THE BURNING 



324 




325 



them understand that the better thinking men and women 
of Waco were not in it." 

The Philadelphia Press discussed Texas, Russia, 
Turkey and Germany in the same editorial, and pointed out 
that primitive red Indians could not have outdone the 
Texas Mob. Commenting upon the headline: "Over 15,000 
men, women and children see Negro boy lynched in Texas", 
the Chicago Evening Post remarked: "This, if v/e remember 
rightly, is the noble State that is always hollering to 
be allowed to 'clean up barbarous Mexico'", Mrs, Fryar 
and a Negro moron ?;ere gone; and by a busy world soon 
forgotten. 



Case 8 



Mob Action at Princeton, '.vest Virginia: The Lynching of 

Robert JohnsonV 



According to the records there has been only 
one lynching, at least during the past 45 years, in 
Mercer County, West Virginia, The only information which 
we have on the case is the report by Oppenheira, It is 
too late now to verify the facts as stated, or to deny 
them. In the light of cases given above the report is 
stiggestive, and is given here for v/hat it is worth. 



7, Adapted from the report of a personal investigation by 
James Oppenheira, "The Independent", Vol, 73, (1912) pp» 
823-827. 



326 



In 1912 Bluefield West Virginia was "a rail- 
road yard v/ith houses all around it," Its iiiain street 
looked down on coal cars and sv/itch engines and up on 
the other side at splendid cliffs on the top of which 
were immense billboards advertising talcum pov/der and 
the Appalachian Power Company, The latter sign, il- 
liiminated and in motion, dominated the tv/inkling valley 
by night. Seventeen hundred people dwelled there in 
an atmosphere of soot, among the white vapor, the 
trundling of wheels, the alarm of bells and the incessant 
sound of escaping steam. 

The little valley is distributing center for the 
adjacent coal region, and necessarily Bluefield was a 
town of workers; a tov/n of railroad and coal men, with 
the shops, hotels, jails, churches and saloons that de- 
pended upon them. Life died there with sundown for 
those inhabitants v/ho were not drawn to the bars, the 
prayer-meetings and the moving pictures, 

Bluefield had a fascinating human mixture, reminis- 
cent of border days; there v/ere the natives, the lanky 
lovable Virginians; there Y/ere the Yanlcees and '/Westerners; 
a few Slavs and Germans and Italians; a non-descript 
shifting populations of rough laborers; and, an immense 
number of Negroes, In fact there were so many Negroes 
that the county was divided in its government; the Judge, 
for instance, being a Republican, the prosecuting attorney 
a Democrat, The investigator v/as reminded further of 
border days by the tales of the feuds, and the swift 



327 



pulling of guns and the assassination of citizens. 

It was undoubtedly the presence of the Negro that 
gave the town some of its dominant characteristics. 
There was a sharp social cleavage, a sharp industrial 
cleavage, as well as political division. The white 
Railroad workers, objected to doing teamv/ork with Negro 
firemen; and socially the Negro was shut into his own 
part of town, 

A member of the local government said to the 
investigator: "We lost a great war, and saw our ignorant 
nigger slaves put in power over us and our women insult- 
ed. Every spot in the South has its woman or two brand- 
ed for life. And the worst riff-raff of the North came 
down to lord it over us. What could we do? Our only 
way to win back power was through o\ir Ku KItix Klan - 
through lynch law. There was no other law to help us. 
And nov/ the niggers must be kept do\vn. I'm a humanitarian 
all right, but the nigger must know his place," 

As one of the ministers put it: "There is no trouble 
so long as they know their place, I've preached in their 
churches for them; and I 'm friendly as anyone to them. 
You know vie have a colored institute down here where they 
are giving the niggers training. That bunch is all right. 
You can phone over there and a fellow will drop his book 
of Latin or Algebra and come over and scrub the floors 
for you. That's the proper spirit," 

A few days before the time in question, at 



328 



Princeton, a town ten miles away, the rumor went 
forth that a Negro had insulted a white woman. He 
escaped unpunished, as there was no evidence against 
him. Just the same "White Womanhood" had been "in- 
sulted", and feeling ran high for a day or so, then 
began to subside. Such is a sketchy outline preceding 
the morning of September 4, 1912, 

Gordon White v/as a construction foreman in the 
railroad yards, a stocky back-bent mountaineer, quiet 
and passionate, very pleasant with his neighbors, but 
hard on the Negroes, He believed "in drlvin' the 
niggers with a v/hip and sweatin* the work out of them, 
for "they are a good-for-nothin« lazy lot," He had a 
neat house on Caroline Avenue, and here, recently he had 
lived alone v/ith his daughter Neta, his v/ife being away 
on a visit to his other children in Virginia, Nita was 
16; an attractive, blossoming girl, with the hearty 
mountaineer freshness and vitality, and, as one of the 
policemen put it, "with more than the usual run of 
nerve," She worked alone in the house while her father 
was in the yards. He left her, as usual, at seven on 
the morning of September 4th, At a quarter to nine Neta 
flung open one of the sitting room windov^s and screamed 
for help. Neighbors rushed in and found her lying on 
the floor in a "distraught condition", A doctor was 
called and found that beyond the shock, the girl had not 
been harmed, the assailant, - if there had been one - 
probably fleeing when the dog began to bark. One who 



329 



saw her two weeks later stated that there v/as hardly 
evidence even of shock; she seemed sparkingly alert 
and animated, though there were times, the doctor 
said, when she was seized v.ith nervous chills and the 
mention of the word "nigger" sometimes brought these 
on. 

The story which she told was as follows: At 
about 7:30 there was a knock at the front door. She 
opened it and a Negro stepped in. She thought she had 
seen this Negro before; that he had called several 
weeks previously to get a coat for her father. This 
time he said that her father had sent him for the 
tape-line, Neta turned to the stair-case; whereupon 
the Negro seized her and attempted to stifle her cries 
by forcing a large bandana handkerchief into her mouth. 
At the same time he dragged her into the sitting room. 
She screamed, hov/ever, and was answered by the loud 
barking of the dog in the basement. She lost con- 
sciousness then, and when she awoke, crawled desperately 
to the windov;, raised it, and called for help. In spite 
of the speed and excitement of the occurrence she gave 
a vivid description of her assailant. He was quite 
black, about five and a half feet tall, medium slender, 
heavy moustache, looked as if he had a week's growth 
of beard, dressed in overall jacket, light hat, blue 
overalls with bib coming over breast, v/ore watch chain 
across breast to pocket in overalls, dark or dirty 
shirt, had red bandana handkerchief, and low cut shoes. 



330 



About nine o'clock, then, the alarm was given, 
and soon citizens and officers, afoot, on horseback 
and in automobiles were making a search of the vicinity. 
Two Negroes were arrested, Walter Jackson and Robert 
Johnson. Suspiction immediately attached to the latter. 
Although he did not tally v/ith the description - he wore 
black trousers, a fresh shirt, and a small growth on his 
upper lip in place of a moustache, and he was a large, 
heavy fellow - yet he "spoke between his teeth" and 
showed great sullenness, refusing at first to answer 
questions. According to the statements of several who 
were present, "he had a guilty look about him", and as 
one discerning citizen put it: "Now he mightn't a done 
the crime; but there's no doubt in my mind that the 
nigger did do something ." 

Questioned by the local magistrate, however, he 
said he had come to Bluefield that morning from Graham, 
a village three miles distant; that as his underwear and 
shirt were in a soiled condition, he stopped at a store 
and bought a new set; and that he had then gone to a 
cornfield not far from the White house and there made 
the change. He had previously been working at Jaeger, 
and had come over to Graham in box-cars, 

Johnson v/illingly took officers to the cornfield 
and the clothing v/as found. Then he and Jackson v/ere 
taken to the V/hite house in an automobile. The father 
was nov/ at home in a frenzied condition, but not so far 
gone but that he could precede the suspects to his 



331 



daughter's room and assure her, before witnesses: 

"Neither of them niggers ever v/orked for me. 
They ain't got the right man." 

The Negroes v/ere brought in, and Neta failed to 
Identify either. After further questioning, however, 
she thought possibly Johnson "reminded" her of the 
assailant, but the assailant had been dressed different- 
ly, YvTiereupon the two Negroes v/ere taken back to jail, 
and the search continued. 

In the meantime the news spread throiigh the town, 
excitement grew, and "something had to be done". Doubt- 
less the police felt this, for v/hat they next preceded 
to do v/as quite amazing. They made Johnson put his dirty 
clothes back on, then took from another Negro overalls 
Y/ith a watch chain across the breastj and these, too, 
were put on Johnson. In other words, they dressed him 
to fit the description . According to one v/itness, 
Johnson then cried out: "I'm ruined - now I'm ruined." 

It vms late in the day nov/ and the streets were 
filled with excited crov/ds. The officers took Johnson 
in the automobile through the main thorofare. By this 
time Neta v/as in a bad nervous condition, a condition 
bordering on hysteria. And when Johnson v/as brought into 
her bedroom she threv/ up her hands and shrieked: "That's 
the manj that's the manl" 

At once the officers put Johnson in the automobile 
again, and breaking the speed limJ.t, shot through the 
tovm, and away to the town of Princeton, ten miles off. 



332 



This vms a bold advertisement to all of Bluefield that 

the "rapist" had been caught. A great crowd set off 

at once to lynch the prisoner. 

Of course Princeton v/as "ripe for exciteicen-lf^'^ 

The Negro v/ho vms supposed to have insulted a v/hite 

v/oman v/as remembered, A great crowd surrounded the jail; 

the sheriff v/as disarmed; a search v/as made inside, but 

Johnson had been "spirited" away to some other hding 

point, presumably to Berkley. After waiting nearly all 

night the crowd dispersed, and Princeton quited doT/n» 

The following headlines appeared in the Bluefield Daily 

Telegraph the next morning: 

Negro Fiend Attacks Bluefield Girl and Entire City 
is Stirred as Never Before, - Prompt Action by 
Officers and Citizens Results in Capture of Man Be- 
lieved to be Guilty One... iinraged Citizens Gather 
to Wreak Vengeance on Negro accused of the Crime, 

Hov/ever, the Daily Telegraph pointed out in its 
nev/s colujnn that there was some doubt that the right 
man had been caught, and counseled further search. 

But evidently few of the Princetonians had any 
doubts; for, learning that morning that Jolinson was in 
the tov/n of Rock with tv/o police officers, a crowd of 
railroad men asked the railroad officials for the loan 
of a special train to give chase. The loan was refused 
them, whereupon the men "took" a road engine and two 
coal cars and hurried av/ay for Rock, They v/ere a bit 
late, however, for the officers had again attem.pted to 
move the prisoner. They side-tracked the train and v/ent 
on afoot, on trail of the officers and prisoner, who v/ere 



333 



soon overtaken. The officers v/ere "intimidated", end 
the prisoner brought back to Princeton on a freight 
train. 

The train reached Prioeton at 7:30 P, M, But 
the news had preceded its arrival and an enormous crowd, 
many members of which no doubt were from Bluefield, 
swayed around the depot. This crowd followed the rail- 
road men and Johnson to the courthouse. They v/ere met 
here by Judge Maynard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney 
Ross and the Rev, Dr, Hamilton, Neta VvTiite's pastor. 

Judge Maynard blocked the doorway and made him- 
self heard. He said that there v/as considerable doubt 
about the identity of the Negro, and. Indeed there was. 
There is absolutely no legal evidence that Johnson com- 
mJLtted the crime, nor even that such a crime v/as com- 
mitted. There is merely the word of a sixteen-year-old 
girl who could not identify Johnson the first time he 
was brought before her, and only accused him when he v/as 
dressed to fit her description; a girl who said seriously 
that she lay an hour and a half in a faint, who stated 
that a bandanna had been stuffed in her mouth, a 
bandanna not aftery;ards found on the premises. 

As for Johnson, legally he had an alibi proved 
by himself, by the father and daughter. He may in some 
strange and inexplicable way have been guilty, but v/hat 
evidence did they have that he v/as guilty? V/hat they 
did have all tended to establish his innocence. These 
questions were never asked, much less answered; (1) Had 



334 



Johnson ever v/orked for Gordon V/Tiite? (2) W'hj did 
Neta l/\'hite allow her assailant in the house if she 
did not knov/ him? and if she knev/ him so v/ell that she 
recalled his coming a couple of weeks previously, why 
was it so hard for her to identify him a few hoiirs 
later? (3) If Johnson never worked for Gordon V'lTiite 
how could he so soon master the following facts: that 
Neta was alone at home; that V»hite was in the habit of 
sending for various articles; that he might send for 
such a thing as a tape-line? (4) Had Johnson been v/ork- 
ing, as he said, at Jaeger? (The investigator was told, 
but this was hearsay, that the Jaeger time-books prove 
this. The fact could easily have been ascertained), 
(5) If Johnson had been guilty would he have so willing- 
ly shown liis captors where he had discarded his dirty 
clothes? And is it conceivable that he would have 
lingered so near the scene of the crime when he made 
the change of clothes? 

Judge Maynard pledged a speedy trial, promising 
that he would convene court the next morning. He pleaded 
with the mob, doubtless vrfLth much sincerity, and finally 
introduced R, Hamilton, who said in part: 

I am not here to save this negro. This young woman 
wo was attacked is a member of ray Sunday School. A 
few months ago I stood at the altar and received her 
into my church. She is a bright sweet girl and is as 
close to m.e almost as one of my own family. If this 
prisoner did what he is charged with, he ought to die, 
and I care not how soon. I am not here to save the 
negro, but to save this sv/eet girl from, a serious 
responsibility. She must say the v/ord that v/ill mean 
life or death to him. If it should t'orn out that she 



335 



is mistaken it would be a terrible memory for her 
to bear through life, I am not trying to save this 
negro, but to save you men from a terrible mistake, 
if it be a mistake and to save you from a crime, for 
it is a crime to take the law in your own hands. 

In short, it must be said that the officials of the 
county and the girl's pastor met the issue courageously 
and squarely. And their v/ords had such effect that the 
judge was able to swear in members of the mob as de- 
puties to protect Johnson in the jail. The prisoner v/as 
then placed in a cell and the crowd began to disperse. 

At this point Neta 'ifvliite's father arrived in an 
automobile from Bluefield for the purpose of "identifying 
the man" - this, after his positive statement the day 
before that no such man had ever worked for him. Ac- 
cording to '(rliTiite him.self : "I was took into the jail, 
and there was niggers in different cells, I seen 
Johnson in one of them, and the minute I set eyes upon 
him I knowed he v/as guilty, I knowed it, I just knov/ed 
it, I could tell by the v/ay he looked. And v/hen he seed 
me lookirg at him. he says, 'Boss, I never v/orked for you, 
did I, now?' But I give him a look, like this, and I 
passed on around to the other cells. And then I come 
back to Johnson and I give him a look again, and I 
knowed it was he I just knoY/ he was guilty. Any- 
way, I done as v/ell as any man could in the circum.stances, 
I blame them, I blame them for taking me over there 
when I was crazy v/ild. Of course if I'd a had two days 
to cool dov7n inj But I hadn^t slept a v^ihk the night 
before, V/liy did he say 'I'm ruined' v/hen they put the 



336 



other nigger** clothes onto him? .... I'm just sure 
he was guilty. Couldn't look at me in the eyes, he 
couldn't. I seed it the minute I got sight of him... 
So I said it was he and I said I v/anted him lynched,,". 

Now suddenly the large crowd changed into a seeth- 
ing mob, members of v/hich leaped after the Negro, He 
screamed to the officers begging them to kill him, to 
shoot him, not to let him fall into the hands of the 
mob. Many hands dragged him and beat him; "and a great 
hoT/ling spread over the street, like so many wild animals 
aroused in the jungle; and there were curses and screams 
and shrieks, and the eddying and surging and clashing of 
many bodies; and in the center, gradually working down 
the electric-lit street, the screaming Negro. Knives 
were jabbed into him, he was stoned and beaten with 
clubs. Then a chain was put around his neck and they 
tried to hang him to a trolley support and failed. Next 
a man climbed a telephone pole with the chain, the Negro 
was raised up, shots were fired into the body, and the 
crowd paraded round and round, yelling and shotting and 
mutilating." 

In less than 48 hours the Bluefield Daily Tele - 
graph printed the following headlines: "Not Certain that 
Mob Victim Was the Guilty Man. County Official Bases 
Grave Doubts on Train of Circumstances," The Governor, 
of course, was aroused and asked for action; the prosecut- 
ing attorney and Judge Maynard began work at once; the 
grand jury was convened, but no indictments were found. 



I t 



337 



As one of the citizens put it: "The nigger's dead; we 
can't bring him to life again. Quiet has been restored. 
What's the use of making more trouble?" Another expressed 
the opinion that no jury in that region would find any man 
guilty in a lynching affair. 

One of the officials said to the investigator 
"in grave earnestness": "The whole thing was wrong and the 
guilty parties ought to be brought to justice, i^d I'm going 
to help to bring them to justice. I can't tell you now 
badly I feel about it. For why didn't they lynch him in 
the regular way - between midnight and dawn, v/ith masks, 
and no fuss about it? But this way it's a disgrace to the 
town, and it's called us all into notice. Dov/n south of us 
you never hear tell of a lynching. And why? Just because 
they've got the sense to follow the old traditions." 
I saw the effect of the lynching upon old man White, 
says Oppenhelm. I saw him two weeks after he had sentenced 
Robert Johnson to death because he "just seed he was guilty". 
He sat in a low rocker in the sitting room where the attempt 
at assault had been made; he was in his stocking feet, 
his great shock of dark hair stood startllngly up from 
his wrinkled forehead; and his face had the sort of 
expression I have seen among the insane on Randall's Islarri. . 
The eyes were burning bright. And he could not be still 
a moment. Though several of us talked across the room, he 
did not listen to us, but continually broke in, in a 



338 



harsh, lov/ voice, repeating monotonously: 

"I just know he was guilty. V^hy did he say 
I'm ruined' when they put the overalls on him?" And 
again: "I done the right thing and I knov/ it. All 
the people here know I done the right thing," 

And over and over again: "I blame them. They 
shouldn't a taken me over that night," 



Case 9 
The Person County Lynching 

While in a majority of lynchings the guilt of 
the victim is not questioned, it is probable that the 
Negro hanged and shot in Bluefield was not guilty. If 
courts, after longer deliberation, make mistakes it is 
hardly to be doubted that mob members are at times in 
error concerning the guilt of their victim. The follow- 
ing case, for example, indicates that an innocent Negro 
was lynched in North Carolina in 1920, and shows the 
danger of quick action based upon circumstantial evidence. 

On July 7, 1920, Ed Roach was taken from the 
Person County jail, at Roxboro, and hanged to a church- 
yard tree. His body v/as then riddled with bullets. The 
Negro was accused of attacking a v/hite woman near Mount 
Tersa station that afternoon between two and three o'clock. 
Roach v/as employed by a Roxboro contractor. The follov/ing 



339 



statement signed by his employer and published in the 
Raleigh Times on July 12, strongly indicates the Negroes 
Innocence: 

....V-Tien this negro v.-as lynched as innocent a man was 
murdered as could have been, had you or I been the 
victim of the mob ••• Roach v/as working for me and was 
a quiet, hard-v;orking, inoffensive, humble negro. On 
Monday he came to me and stated that he was sick and 
wanted to go with me to Durham that night to see a 
doctor. Instead I arranged for him to go Tuesday night 
to Roxboro. He continued his v/ork all day Tuesday 
until 5:30 (bear in mind that the crime for which he 
was lynched occurred between two and three o'clock 
that afternoon), when he asked permission of his fore- 
man to stop and go to Mount Tersa station to catch the 
train for Roxboro. Permission v/as given him and he 
left for the station walking. At 5:45 he passed the 
State's bridge crev/ (white men), and two men who were 
out searching for the guilty negro saw him and follow- 
ed him up the road to Mount Tersa station, where he 
sat down and waited for the train, 'These two men sat 
dov/n on the railroad near him. ?/hen the train came he 
got on and paid the conductor his fare to Roxboro, and 
got off the train there. He v/as not arrested until 
he go off the train. I am advised by the chief of 
police that he asked what they had him for and told 
them he had not done anything, but he was not told 
utnil he got in jail v/hat they had him. for. He asked 



340 



to be taken to my office to see my superintendent with 
whom he had arranged to carry him to the doctor, but 
permission was refused him,,,, 

A negro man about Roach's size canie to my camp 
on Sunday night, was employed on Monday and v;ent to 
work Tuesday morning. About 8:15 A, M. he drove my 
team out to the side of the road and had been gone 
twenty-five minutes v/hen my foreman missed him. My 
foreman took out one of the mules and went to look 
for him, saw him going up the road towards Mt, Tersa, 
the Negro saw him. and broke and rvm over on the east 
side of the railroad, going tov/ards Lynchburg, This 
was about 10:30 A, M, Tuesday morning and in 
approximately three-quarters of a mile of the scene 
of the crime. This man v/as dressed practically the same 
as Ed Roach, y/ith cap and overalls, was about the same 
size, but a little darker in color,,,, 

I make this statement in the interest of truth 
and justice, yet with the full knov/ledge of the odiiim 
I am bringing down upon my own head in doing so, but 
with the hope that this fearful crime may so shock our 
people as to make its like again an impossibility, •« 



341 



Case 10 

The Ell Person Lynching 

In Chapter VII it was stated that there have been 
six lynchings in Shelby County, Tennessee, since 1900, This 
ntunber included tv/o Negroes lynched for attempted rape and 
one for rape before 1917, During this year, on May 22, Ell 
Person was lynched for alleged rape and murder. Three 
months later a Negro was lynched near Memphis charged with 
larceny. The six lynchings mentioned also included one 
in 1927 for alleged attempted attack on a v/hite v/oman. To 
this number must be added two other mob victims, thus making 
the total for Shelby County at least eight. According to 
a report in the New York Times of February 3, 1903 a man 
and his wife v/ere burned at Memphis. One Incident in 
connection with the lynching is strikingly similar to an 
incident that occurred 14 years later - the forcing of a 
Negro boy to witness the burning. The follov/ing is quoted 
from the Times: 

A colored man, Luther Herbert, and his v/lfe were burnt 
at the stakes at Memphis, Tennessee, for murdering a 
white man. Before the mob separated seven Negroes had 
been done to death. The sixteen-year-old son of the 
colored couple was forced to attend and witness the burning. 
The case of the burning of Ell Person near Memphis 
on May 22, 1917 is given belov/ at length. It shov/s how the 
members of a community were gradually brought to a state 



342 



of high emotionality through continued publicity; how, 
from such uncertainty concerning the guilt of a Negro 
that he was twice turned loose by officers, the mob came 
to be so certain of his guilt that they burned him; hov/, 
in the face of a public announcement beforehand, the 
officers made apparently no attempt to stop the lynching; 
hOY/ mob members treated the name of the sheriff as a joke 
at the lynching. The case also indicates the part played 
by women - that a woman said burn the Negro, and that 
many said, "they burned him too quickly." The case as 
given is adapted from a report by James //eldon Johnson, 
which was taken directly from the Memphis papers. Re- 
porters from several different papers "covered" the 
affair. At least three of them were eye-witnesses to 
the burning and their vivid descriptions are significant, 
and, apparently, fairly accurate. 



On Monday, April 30, near six o'clock, Antoinette 
Rappal, 16 years old, got on her bicycle to go to school. 
She lived with her mother on the outskirts of Memphis, 
and it v;as her custom to ride her bicycle two and a half 
miles down the Macon Road to the house of her uncle, 
William Wilfong, each morning and there wait for the 
wagonette which carried her to the Treadv/ell School on 
Highland Heights, six miles from her home. She never 
retiirned. 

On Wednesday, May 2, the "Memphis Press" printed 



343 



a story of the missing girl under the headline, "Y;ar 
Lures Girl of 15 to Leave", and containing an account 
of Antoinette's oft expressed desire to join the Red 
Cross. The girl's mother was reported as believing 
her daughter had left home for that purpose. 

The Memphis papers of Ihuj-sday, May 3, published 
accounts of the finding of Antoinette in the 7;olf River 
bottoms. The girl's head had been severed from the body 
with an axe. The only clues were: Dents of an ax in 
the soft ground, filled with blood; a man's white hand- 
kerchief with the corners torn off, and fresh automobile 
tracks nearby. Later, the detectives found a white vest 
or coat near the scene of the murder. The theory held 
by the police was that the crime had been committed by 
two men. This theory was held because Antoinette was 
strong and athletic, weighing 130 pounds, and because the 
position of her body indicated that more than one man 
had abused and slain her. Suspicion fell on Negro wood 
choppers, a number of whom worked in the vicinity. One 
of these was arrested but was released v/hen his v/hite 
employer testified that he had been at v/ork all day on 
the date of the crime. The papers of Thxirsday morning 
also carried an account of an attack on a white v/oman 
by two unicnown white men, who got av/ay. 

On Thursday night Sheriff Tate arrested a deaf 
and dumb Negro named Dewitt Ford, who claimed to have 
witnessed the tragedy. Ford was taken to the scene and 
there he went through a detailed pantomime of the crime. 



344 



and accused Dan Armstrong, a Negro timber cutter, of 
being tiae criminal. Ford also went through his panto- 
mime at police headquarters, taking a photograph of the 
girl and a cardboard ax made by the newspaper men and 
showing hov/ the head had been chopped off and thrown 
to one side, Armstrong was arrested, but P, 0. Stockley, 
his white employer, clearly established that he reported 
to him for work at six o'clock Monday morning and had 
worked all day; so Armstrong v/as released. 

The Memphis papers of Saturday, May 5, reported 
that the city detective force did not agree v/ith the 
sheriff's office on the theory of the crime. The 
detectives held that the crime had been committed by a 
white man. They suspected a "queer acting" white man 
dressed in white duck. The following paragraphs are 
from the "Memphis Press" of May 5th: 

Detectives and Sheriff Split of Case 

Detectives are near the breaking point v/ith 
sheriff Tate, on the ^appal murder mystery. Although 
no official cognizance has been taken of any impending 
break between the sheriff's forces and the detective 
department, murmurs of unrest are emanating from the 
city sleuths, ,,, 

City Detectives Brunner and Hoyle, who have had 
long experience v/ith criminals of all sorts, particular- 
ly Negroes, admit that the right man may be in Jail now. 
But they have theories v/hich have some substantiation 
that the murder was committed by a v/hite m.an who, they 
believe, was mentally deranged. 

The detectives have not been given free rein in 
the case. They have oeen detailed to -.vork under Tate's 
direction, ,., 

Other old and experienced detectives have express- 
ed the same idea about the crime that Brunner and Hoyle 
hold. 



345 



The follov/ing paragraphs regarding the break 
between the city detective force and the sheriff *s 
office on the theory of the case are from the "Com- 
mercial Appeal" of May 5th: 

Detectives on Case 



Brunner and Hoyle, city detectives, viho were 
assigned to assist the sheriff's office in investigat- 
ing the Rappal murder mystery, have thus far kept their 
discoveries to themselves. It is understood at 
detective headquarters that they are working on the 
theory that a white man, and not a Negro, may have com- 
mitted the crime. 

There are some circvunstances that bear out this 
theory. The girl's bicycle, when it was found, v/as 
leaning against a tree only a hundred feet or so from 
the bridge and the public road. The basket in front 
contained her school apron, her books, a package of 
lunch and a small bouquet of flov/ers. The officers 
argue that if the girl had been seized as she was riding 
that these articles would have been thrown from the 
basket, and the wheel v/ould probably have been dragged 
away and thrown out of sight, .,, 

A handkerchief v/as found nearby. It did not be- 
long to the girl. Yesterday the sheriff found a v/liite 
coat, such as barbers or v/aiters wear. It v/as some 
distance away and bore no bloodstain. No Negro, it is 
argued, would have such a coat. Few Negroes of the 
class to which the tv/o suspects who are in custody be- 
long ever carry a v/hite handlcerchief , 

The theory held by the detectives was given some 
substantiation when it was learned that a "queer acting" 
v/hite man dressed in v/hite duck had been seen in Wood- 
stock, a neighboring town, tv/elve hours after the com- 
mission of the crime. The account of this "strange" 
man was given as follows in the "Memphis Press": 

Authorities are seeking a white man, clad in v/hite 
duck coat and trousers, as the ax fiend v/ho assaulted 
and beheaded little Antoinette Rappal, 15-year-old school 
girl last Monday morning. They had his trail up to Mon- 
day night, 12 hours after the murder. The man they are 
hunting v/as seen in '.Voodstock at that time. 

The search for a white-clad nan began yesterday 
afternoon, v/hen the sheriff's posse and detectives found 
a white duck vest near the scene of the murder. 

On information telephoned to Chief of Detectives 
John M. Couch, this morning, by Station Agent J. H, 



346 



Blaine, of Woodstock, Sheriff Tate arranged by tele- 
phone to have all station agents watch out for the 
white-clad man. Sheriff Tate said he thought a trip 
to Woodstock was useless. He said the phone served 
as well as a trip and was quicker. 

The trail at '.Voodstock was cold, he thought, 
because the suspect last had been sighted Monday night, 
a few hours after the murder, 

Blaine 'phoned that his night telegraph operator, 
M, I, Druggitt, talked with an apparently crazy man, 
shortly after 6 o'clock Monday night. The man was a 
stranger, and wore v/hite duck coat and trousers. He 
acted queer ly, pacing back and forth in the depot. 

Finally, he came to Druggitt 's chair and leaned 
over, as the operator v/as taking a message, 

"\\liat do you want?" Druggitt asked him, 

"Nothing, nothing", was the answer. "I'm going 
to Newbern to marry her," 

Druggitt turned his attention to his instrument 
for a moment, 

'.Vhen he looked around, the stranger was gone© 
No trace of hira has been reported since. 

The "white man" theory of the detectives gained 
such strength that Chief Couch obtained legal permission 
to disinter the body of the victim in order to photo- 
graph the eyes of the dead girl in hope that the last 
object her eyes rested upon was the murderer and that 
his image v/ould be revealed. Publicity of the order 
for this gruesome operation and the reasons for grant- 
ing it were published in the "Memphis Press" of Llonday 
morning. May 7th, The following excerpts are from that 
account: 

The case had resolved itself into a scientific 
problem of crime education, A week had passed since the 
girl was slain. If the film of death is not too strong 
over her eyes, '.Vaggoner thinlcs he may be able to bring 
to light the features of the murderer. 

One other hope holds out from the disinterment. 
The matter beneath the finger nails of the dead girl will 
be examined, 

Antoinette was a sttirdy, strong girl, and detectives 
believe that she made a frantic fight for life, and scratch- 
ed her victim with her finger nails. 

Chemists easily can determine v/hether this skin 



347 



is white or black. This will be a big determining 
factor in the ultimate verdict the peace officers 
send in on the case. One man had been located who 
was present v/hen the body v/as found, who declares 
that she had tissue resembling white skin under her 
finger nails at the time her body was discovered. 

Indications, according to city detectives, point 
to the fact that Antoinette Rappal left the Macon road 
voluntarily, on the morning that she was murdered. ... 

The condition of the bicycle would point to the 
fact that the girl was not dragged from the embankment 
from her wheel, for the bicycle is not scratched, nor 
marked as though it had been dragged. Sleuths say it 
looks as though it had been placed carefully against 
the clump of swamp willows where it v/as found. 

Certainly no white girl would permit a Negro to 
lure her into such a place, the detectives reason. A 
white man, known to her, would excite no such suspicion 
in her mind. Detectives vow that criminal assault v/as 
not the only motive, ... 

They are backed in their white man theory by Dr. 
Lee A, Stone, resigned head of the Associated Charities, 
and local practicing physician. Dr. Stone claims that 
the deed unquestionably is the crime of a white man. 
He terms the man a necrophilia - one v/hose object v/ould 
first be the death of the victim. He also stated that 
in medical history certain abnormal men have been found 
who first kill their victims. Such cases are quite 
numerous in criminal annals. Dr. Stone says: 

"It is practically a certainty that this terrible 
crime has been committed by a white man." 

On S\inday, May 6, Ell Person and George Know, 
two Negro v/oodchoppers, v/ere arrested on suspicion. The 
clue leading to Person's arrest is stated in the follow- 
ing paragraph clipped from the Memphis "Scimitar" of 
Monday afternoon. May 7th: 

As ax, bearing suspicious stains, which deputies 
found at the home of L. Persons, a Negro living a half 
mile from the scene of the murder, was tiirned over to 
City Chemist Mantel for examJ.nation by Sheriff Tate, 
Monday. He v/ill endeavor to ascertain if the stains 
v;ere made by human blood. Persons is locked up in jail. 

On Tuesday morning the Memphis papers announced 

that Ell Person had confessed to being the slayer of 

Antoinette Rappal, Person, with other suspects, had 



548 



been in tlie sheriff's custody twice before, and twice 
had convinced the officers that he knew nothing of the 
crime. But the girl's uncle, William Wilfong, was not 
satisfied. After Person's second release, Wilfong and 
his brother-in-law, Gus Hanky, themselves seized Person 
and turned him over again to the sheriff, 

Hov/ Wilfong had his suspicion against Person 
aroused and how he came to be convinced of his guilt is 
thus related in the "Memphis Press": 

E. J. Brooks, of Berkeley, Tenn, , is the first 
man to accuse Ell T. Persons of being the ax murderer 
v/ho chopped off the head of little Antoinette Rappal, 
on the morning of April 30, Together with Chief John 
Sailors, of Bingharaton, he connected the links in the 
chain of evidence against the Negro, and laid his 
findings before Sheriff Tate, 

This morning Brooks told, in simple but dramatic 
language, the story of hov/ he v/as led to accuse Persons, 

This Negro was working for m.e last February, and 
had been for eight months'^ said Brooks, 

One morning, early in February, he v/as busy churn- 
ing, and my vrife was in the same room with him. All of 
a suddent he quit churning, sprang up, and began staring 
wildly at ivirs. Brooks, He was in a quiver all over, 

"I had a dream about you last night", he said, and 
as he spoke he made like he wanted to lunge at my v/lfe. 
She ran av/ay in a terrific fright, and told me how the 
Negro had acted. 

My first impulse was to put a hole in the fiend, 
but rather than cause any trouble, I fired the Negro 
and ordered him to stay away from my house, I wish now 
I had killed him. 

I have seen him off and on in the neighborhood 
several tim.es since, v/orking as a wood chopper, 

V/hen I first heard the nev/s of Antoinette being 
murdered, the thought flashed into my mind that the 
murderer v/as the same Negro v/ho had acted so strange 
before my wife. I took the matter up with Sheriff Tate. 
I told him how this Negro had done, and he ordered the 
black man arrested, but soon released him. 

Then it was that I took the matter in m.y own 
hands and determined to prove that I was right. Sailors, 
at Binghamton, Joined m.e, and we spent sleepless nights 
since last Thursday, on the trail of that Negro, 

He traced him to the bridge near v/here the crime 



349 



was committed until 6 o'clock Monday morning. Then 
v/e lost trace of him until 8:30, v/hen v/e found that he 
had applied at the home of J. G. Moffett, near Berkeley, 
for v/ork. 

This went to prove that v/e were on the trail of 
the right man. Then next we went after some clue as 
to his clothes* 

Sailors hired a Negro to scout around Person's 
house, and see what he could pick up. 

At midnight, Sunday, while exploring the premises 
of the murderer's house Sailors' Negro found a blood- 
stained pair of shoes under a stack of cornstalks. 

He also discovered a pair of trousers in Person's 
house which had been washed. They bore the xmmistakable 
signs of blood-stains near the bottom, 

Y/e gave the shoes and the trousers to the sheriff, 
Monday morning, continued Brooks, and he arrested the 
Negro again. This, of course, completed the evidence 
needed to mark Person as the guilty Negro, ,., 

The alleged confession of Ell Person v/as obtained 

by "third degree" methods. How these methods v/ere used 

on Person was thus told in the "Memphis Press"; 

There's Blood on Your Shoes 

The sheriff, with Brunner and Hoyle, past 
masters in the art of the third degree, cajoled, beat, 
whipped, threatened, pleaded, with the Negro to no 
avail. 

But finally, at the psychological moment, when the 
black man's resistance v/as worn to the breaking point. 
Detective Hoyle pointed suddenly to the Negro's shoes, 

"There's blood on your shoes nowj" he said, Sharp- 
ly, accusingly. 

Person faltered. He looked down. True enough, 
spots were on his shoes. Before he had time to gather 
his scattered wits. Sheriff Tate and Detective Brunner 
seized the clue, 

"The city chemist can tell if it is himan blood", 
said Tate, "Take off those shoes," 

Person complied. Tate and Brunner left the 
third degree room, taking the shoes with them, Hoyle 
remained with the prisoner. 

About an hour later Tate and Brunner returned, 
Hoyle had refrained from questioning Person, 

"It's human blood", Tate said dramatically, as 
he entered the room. 

Person's eyes widened. He shuffled lower in his 
chair. He gazed down at the floor, llien he half 



350 



whispered the words that cleared the most atrocious 
murder mystery in the history of this country. 

"I DID IT; I KILLED HER!" were Person's words. 

In the same issue of the same paper there appeared 

on the front page, printed in heavy-faced type, the 

following paragraph; 

No Blood Is on Clothes and ^ix 

City Chemist Mantell reported this afternoon that 
he had failed to find any blood on the trousers, shoes 
or ax of Ell Person, confessed murderer of Antoinette 
Rappal, 

The alleged confession of Person was annovmced in 

the morning papers of Tuesday, May 8. In the "Scimitar" 

of Tuesday afternoon. May 8, there appeared the following 

paragraphs relative to the results obtained after the 

disinterment of Antoinette Rappal 's body. 

Under the direction of Chief of Detectives Couch, 
Paul N. Waggoner, Bertillon expert of the police depart- 
ment, photographed the pupils of the murdered girl's 
eyes, in hope of obtaining an image of the m.urderer on 
the retina. 

An examination of the photograph under high power 
lenses reveals the image of an object that appears to be 
the upper part of a man's head. The forehead and hair 
seem to be plainly visible, but the features are in- 
distinct. Police say that the image is a likeness of 
Persons. 

The grand jury of Shelby County immediately in- 
dicted Person on the charge of murder in the first 
degree. ... 

Prom the moment of the publication of the alleged 
confession of Person, there v/ere threats of mob violence, 
and the prisoner was spirited away to the state 
penetentiary at Nashville, All that day a mob of 



351 



500 men surged around the jail in Memphis demanding 
that the hiding place of the prisoner be divulged. 
This mob would not be satisfied with the statement 
that Person was not in the jail. Finally, Chief Perry 
of the police force, addressed the mob and invited them 
to appoint a committee to search the jail, A committee 
of three from the mob searched the jail for an hour 
then announced to the crowd that Person v/as not there. 
The mob then vented its anger in denouncing the sheriff 
for sending the prisoner out of their reach. 

The mob spirit v/as fanned by "scarehead" articles 
on the frontpages of the papers, especially of the 
"Press". In the paragraphs quoted below from the "Press" 
it is worth while to note the less than delicate hint 
that in capital cases a certain amount of corroborative 
evidence must be submitted to the jury, even v/hen a 
prisoner pleads guilty, indicating that there was still 
a slight chance that Person might not be convicted. 
Add to this the information that though a change of 
venue were granted, the prisoner v.-ould have to be brought 
back to Memphis and be present in person in the local 
court to ask for the change. Add the still further in- 
formation that no militia could be called out. 

One Indictment 

No indictment for criminal assault, v/as retiirned 
against Person for the reason that officials have his 
confession to miirder, and are certain that the death 



352 



penalty will be inflicted. 

In capital cases, a certain amount of corrobo- 
rative evidence must be submitted to a jury, even v/hen 
a prisoner pleads guilty, as Person is expected to do. 

In case the defense should ask a change of venue, 
so the Negro's trial might be held in another county, it 
still will be necessary that Person be brought to the 
local courthouse. Under the law, when a change of venue 
is asked and granted, the prisoner must be in the court- 
room. 

No Militia 

The state militia is not subject to call, even 
though an appeal is made to Governor Rye for aid. The 
national guard of Tennessee nov/ is in the service of the 
United States government and is not subject to the 
governor's orders. 

The following published statement of the Attorney- 
General is also Y/orthy of attention: 

Attorney-General Hunter Wilson today declared 
against the third degree method of obtaining a confession, 
But he said the Person case is an exceptional one, and 
that any method of getting the brutal murderer to con- 
fess was justified, 

"Ordinarily, I v/ould not let a confession obtained 
by the third degree go to a jury", he said, "But this 
Rappal murder was so horrible that I think the officers 
were justified in the means they employed." 

The mob spirit continued to grow, yet no effort 

was made to let it be known that the officers v/ould 

uphold the law, i»o declaration of even the v/eakest kind 

was issued that mob violence would be resisted. 



353 



On May 15, Sheriff Tate mysterionsly disappear- 
ed from Memphis. The papers printed such scareheads 
as, "Sheriff Tate Reported Kidnapped," "Tate May Be 
Prisoner", etc. It was generally reported that the mob 
was holding the sheriff so as to have a free hand to 
deal with the prisoner whenever he might be brought 
back from Nashville. 

On May 18, Sheriff Tate reappeared in Memphis 
and made the statement contained in the paragraphs 
below, taken from a Memphis daily: 

Sheriff Iv'ike G. Tate is back, safe and sound. 
He arrived about 1 o'clock this morning. He made his 
first public appearance about 11:50, when he stepped 
into Mayor Ashcroft's office, at the city hall. There 
he cleared the m.ystery of his two day disappearance. 

Sheriff Tate's reasons for his absence are two- 
fold. He fled from Arlington, Wednesday morning to 
avoid trouble with the mob. To use his words: 

"I was informed by Arlington people that several 
mobs were between Arlington and Memephis, They v/ere 
reported, in some instances, to be drinking, I didn't 
v/ant to hurt anyone, and I didn't want to get hvirt. 
So I went south into Mississippi, I remained there 
until last night." 

The statement of a sheriff that he did not want 
to hurt anyone in a mob organized to defeat the lav/, 
and did not want to get hurt himself, aroused no un- 
favorable public conmient among the citizens of Shelby 
County, The papers especially the "Press", continued 
to print f rort page accounts of the probable time of the 
prisoner's return to Memphis and to give the details of 
the activities of the mob. The "Scimitar" of May 19 
carried a long article containing the follov/ing paragraphs: 

Not since the days of the Ku-Klux-Klan, v/hen the 



354 



white-robed horsemen galloped over the same roads 
that the mob squads patrolled '.Vednesday night have 
such conditions existed in the country. An unknovm 
and dominant leader, who gave evidence of a positive 
genius for handling a large body of men, issued orders 
which were carried to the various squads by couriers 
in fleet automobiles. 

This is borne out by the fact that every squad 
which the deputies encountered were fully aware of v/hat 
was being done over the entire countryside. Scores of 
automobiles, each loaded with five and six men v/ho 
carried shotguns betv/een their knees, rode up and down 
the highways throughout the night. 

Every time one of these automobiles encountered 
one occupied by the officers they searched the latter 's 
machines to make sure that it did not contain a manacled 
Negro, They openly stated that they were determined 
to mete our summary vengeance if the prisoner was found, 

"We're going to get that Negro, Ell Persons, yet," 
they vowed, "and make him pay for murdering Antoinette 
Rappal. Yoii men from. Memphis don't knov/ hov; v/e feel 
about this out here. He should not have been taken out 
of Shelby County in the first place, but at any rate we 
are going to get him," 

The activities of the mob continued. Each train 
coming into Memphis was stopped and searched. Plan for 
the lynching v/ere perfected. The place where Person 
was to be burned v/as prepared; yet, during this whole 
time, the Memphis papers did not contain one v<ord in 
behalf of law and order. Not one word of protest was 
publicly uttered by a single minister or prominent 
citizen. Nor did any official take an adequate step 
tOY/ard making provisions for upholding the law. 

"Extras" on Monday, May 21, announced that Ell 
Person would be brought to Memphis that night, and 
thousands of people, going out in automobiles and on 
foot gathered at the place that had been prepared for 
the incineration. 



355 



Prisoner Under IVo Guards 

Person was being brought back from Nashville under 
the guard of two deputies. He v/as taken from the train 
at Potts Camp, Mississippi, and placed in an automobile. 
The men in the automobile and their escort then started 
for the spot that had been prepared on the Macon Road, 
just outside of Memphis. A terrific rainstorm delayed 
their progress and they did not arrive until early 
Tuesday morning, but many people waited through the 
night. 

How the mob and a crowd who came to look on 
waited all Monday afternoon and through the storm at 
night until the prisoner v;as brought in Tuesday morning 
was graphically told by Ralph Roddy, a reporter on the 
"Memphis Press", in a long, special article headed, 
"Thirty- six Hours With the Mob, or How the Press Told 
It First," 

Roddy v/ent out early Monday afternoon to "cover" 
the event for his paper. In his article he relates how 
the crov/d waited and continued to grow; hov/ the women 
sang ragtime and popular songs, but, as the sharp 
lighting flashed across the sky and the storm gathered, 
they changed to "Near My God to Thee". He tells how at 
9 o'clock Monday night the leaders of the mob received 
news by telephone and relayed by a messenger that Person 
had been removed from a train at Potts Gamp, and the 
men bringing him would arrive about midnight. He tells 



356 

of the crowd waiting all night through the storm until 
Person v/as brought in at 8:30 the next morning. He 
tells of the arrival of Person, v/lio from being ill used, 
beaten and mutilated in a nameless way, was too weak to 
stand on ""-is feet. 

Since Roddy was an eye witness, it is well to 
quote his exact words on the "last confession" made by 
Ell Person: 

The car in which the girl's mother was riding was 
pushed alongside of the car containing the ^-"egro. He 
was assisted to his feet by tv/o men and informed that 
within a few minutes he would suffer a horri'ble death. 
He was asked if he wished to confess to the crime. In 
a low, hesitating voice the Negro admitted that he killed 
the Rappal girl. 

Under pressure he was asked if anyone else was 
connected with the killing of the girl. The Negro hesitated, 
but v/ith much leading on the part of the mob leaders, 
accused Dewitt Ford, Negro deaf mute, and Dan Armstrong, 
Negro woodchopper, of being accomplices in the crime. 

The confession of guilt was voluntary on the part 
of Person, but the mob really accused Dummy and Armstrong 
before the Negro had a chance. V.Tien the mob asked if 
Dummy and Armstrong were there, he merely stated "Yes". 
He was then asked if Armstrong planned it, and again 
stated "Yes". 



357 



It appeared to me that the Negro v/as lying in 
order to kill time and in the hopes that someone else 
would accompany him to death. Possibly he thought he 
would get a short respite while they v/ere searching for 
the other tvi/o negroes. ... On Tuesday morning Ell 
Person was b\irned» ... Let me give the account in the 
words of Edward T. Leach, a special writer on the 
"Memphis Press": ... 

The^;- burned the ax fiend to death this morning. 

Fifteen thousand of them. - men, women, even little 
children, and in their midst the black-clothed figure of 
Antoinette lappal's mother - cheered as they poured the 
gasoline on him and struck the m.atch. 

They fougiit and screamed and crowded to get a 
glimpse of him, and the mob closed in and struggled arovmd 
the fire as the flames floared high and the smoke rolled 
over their heads, 

Tv/o of them hacked off his ears as he burned; 
another tried to cut off a toe, but they stopped him. 

They crowded in and crowded out, so that all might 
see the burning body. And they were still surging around 
it when the flesh had been burned from the bones and 
the withered form of v/hat v/as once a human being lay 
crackling in the flames. ... 

Call for Other Two 

The mob called for the other tv/o negroes and a 
triple execution, but hundreds who were tired from an 
all-nig}it wait wanted the burning of Person to take 
place at once. They had waited till they were weary: 
they saw the object of their long vigil almost fulfilled, 
and they wanted to burn him at once and get "Dummy" and 
Armstrong later. 

Finally these persons prevailed, and Person was 
taken from the auto and burned. 

It was a holiday on the Macon Road this morning. 
Hundreds of men and some v/omen, too, had spent the night 
at the bridge over which Antoinette Rappal rode on her 
bicycle just before her murder. But most of the watchers 
had gone home and started to return early this morning. 
From every direction they cane, v/ithout breakfast. Men 
and women, som.e of them with their children, gathered by 
hundreds. ... 



358 



For a mile and a half up the road the autos v/ere 
packed in an endless string by 9 o'clock, 'I'hose on foot 
strufjgled among the cars. Mothers carrying children 
staggered from exhaustion as the word spread that the 
posse bringing Person had almost reached the bridge. An 
old man on crutches hobbled and bemoaned the fate that 
might keep him from arriving in time. 

Makes Confession 



Then came word that the Negro wanted to make a 
confession, and the crov/d surged av/ay from the tree v;ith 
the rope and back to the road. Around an auto on the 
west end of the bridge stood dozens of men with rifles 
and shotguns. 

The crowd surged around and fought for a viev/ of 
the victim, !uarshal Sailors of Binghampton pleaded with 
the crov/d to be orderly. Sailors, knowing the determina- 
tion of the mob, did his best to prevent any disorder 
and succeeded in doing so. 

Sailors stood up in the car and beside him stood 
the Negro, The murderer Y/as calm, but his eyes rolled 
white, for the cro?/d screamed when it saw him. 

Leaders tried to get silence, and finally they 
succeeded, 

"Person has a statement to make", shouted Sailors, 
But the Negro could not speak, and the marshal spoke for 
hira, 

"Person says that 'Dvu-imy' and Armstrong were in 
it with him" said Sailors, "He says that Armstrong framed 
it up, and that 'DvLmmy' was in it, too. He says iirmstrong 
hit the girl first and that he (Person) cut her head off. 
He says 'Duimny' was in it as much as they were," 

The crciud screamed for 'Dummy' and Armstrong, but 
leaders again quieted them, and Sailors continued: 

"The nigger knows that these are his last v/ords, 
that he cannot escape death. He says that after the crime, 
'Dummy' and Armstrong v/ent to y;ork, and he went and chang- 
ed his clothes and then went to tovm" .... 

"Has the mother of the girl anything to say?" 
someone asked. 



Statement of the Mother 



The crov/d became instantly quiet as the stout 
woman in black, her face hidden by a heavy veil, spoke 
to a man v/ho stood on the running board of her auto, 

" The Mother wants the nigger burned and wants 
everyone to see it", the man said. The mother nodded 



I I 



359 



assent, "She doesn't v/ant anyone to fire a gun", the 
spokesman added. . . • 

Someone suggested time for prayer, and a man in 
a dark suit sprang to the log and got silence, "He 
didn't give the girl any time to pray and we oughtn't to 
give him any time for prayer", the speaker said. 

Another man jumped up, "That's Brother Royal, a 
preacher", he called out, "I Y/ish we had more like 
him" ..., 



Where's Tate? 

"iffliere's Tate?" someone yelled, and there was 
loud laughter and many jesting remarks. 

Then the Negro was dragged to the pile of wood 
and laid flat against the post which rested on the fallen 
tree. He y/as chained to the log so he couldn't move, 
and someone called for gasoline, 

A woman near me screamed not to use gasoline, 
"He'll burn too fast; he'll burn too fast", she cried, 
over and over again, and others took up the shout..,. 

Someone produced a ten-gallon can of gasoline and 
it was poured on the Negro, Then those in the back start- 
ed pushing and those in front began yelling, and amid a 
scene of tremendous disorder the flames suddenly shot over 
the heads of the crov/d and those on the outside knew that 
the ax fiend was burning.,,, A ten-year-old Negro boy 
was placed on the other end of the log, 

"Take a good look, boy", someone told him, "Wa 
want you to remember this the longest day you live, 'i.his 
is what happens to niggers who molest white women." 

Two men darted in and v/ith knives slashed the 
Negro's ears from his head. Other men fought the crov/d 
back to keep it from follov/ing their example,,,. 

The Negro lay in the flames in the center, his 
arms crossed on his chest. If he spoke, no one ever 
heard him above the shouts of the crov/d. He died quickly, 
though 15 minutes later excitable persons still shouted 
that he lived. When they saw the charred remains move as 
does meat in a hot frying pan. 



Burned too Quick 

"They burned him too quick; they burned him too 
quick," was the complaint on all sides. The universal 
sentiment seem.ed to be that too much gasoline had been 
used. 

When the fire had almost died doYoi and no stretch 
of the imagination could have pictixred the clmrred mass 
in the midst as the remains of a human being, men and 



360 



particularly women still struggled to get near for a 
glimpse. 

Thousands left. They walked and twisted and 
scrambled in and out among perhaps 3,000 machines that 
were parked so close that drivers could not move them 
in some cases for hours. 

And all the way to Memphis those who were leaving 
passed the crowds which were just coming. These bemoaned 
the fact that they were too late, but seized on every 
little cloud of smoke they saw as an indication that the 
fire was still burning, that some portion of the spectacle 
might still be left for them,,,. 

After Ell Person, the ax fiend, had been b\irned 
to death, many members of the crov/d helped to mutilate 
the body. One man, his hands covered with blood, cut out 
the heart and the lungs and ox'fered them as souvenirs to 
the crowd..,. And finally the head was severed from the 
body and placed on the bank leading to the road so all 
might see.,,. 

The severed head of Ell Person, Negro ax fiend, 
who v/as burned at the stake this morning was thrown out 
of a speeding auto at Beale Ave, and Rayburn Boulevard, 
at 12:30 this afternoon. The foot and leg of the lynched 
Negro up to his knee v;as tlirown out at Beale and Third 
as the party sped on. 

The actions of the autoists in throwing the mangled 
parts of the Negro's body caused a sensation which border- 
ed on to a riot in the heart of Memphis Negrodom, . . , 

The lynching was over. On the follov/ing day news- 
paper editorials indicated the usual reaction. It was 
pointed out that all were to blame for the shame that had 
come to the city of Memphis, "Let's not be cowardly 
enought to put it off onto someone else, claiining that 
we were at home attending to business," said the 
"Memphis Press", "Public opinion burned Ell Person - 
the minister of the gospel, the lawyer, the doctor, the 
newspaper editor, the man who talks to others on the 
street corner or the street car - he shared in it .,. 
unless he protested and there v/ere few protests. The 
majority approved. The minority kept silent, and silence 
gives consent. 



361 

"And so, today, when the reaction has come and 
we shudder at the story of the man who cut out the heart 
of the half-roasted fiend, of the men who severed his head 
and sped to tov/n to throv; it into the street, let us stop 
and see v/hat part we played in it..." 

On the following day. May 24, the "Memphis Press" 
reported a resolution made by the Ministers of the City.- 

"V/e, clergymen of the city of Memphis, met in solemn 
assembly, do hereby resolve that v/e, as clergymen and citizens, 
confess our dereliction of duty in not having warned an in- 
flamed public opinion against mob violence when it was apparent 
to every reader of nev/spapers that preparations had been made for 
lynching the brute who had committed an unspeakable crime." 



Case 11 

A Lynching in Kentucky ; Grant Smith 

For a number of years Grant Smith had been employed 
by a white farmer in Fleming County, Kentucky. In January, 
1920 he left suddenly without notifying either his wife or the 
farmer for whom he worked. The last time he was seen was when 
the farmer and his wife went to Fleming sburg on a shopping trip 
and left him working around the house. They left their daughter 
at home. '.Vithin a few days it became known that Smith had attacked th< 

8. Taken from several newspaper. reports, i-icture, courtesy 
of International News Service. 



362 



girl, and had intimidated her into silence by threats of 
death. According to the Negro's confession to the Chief 
of Police in Pontiac, Michigan, three months later, the 
girl's story was true. He made his way by night to Paris, 
took a train to Louisville from which he went to Pontiac. 
For over a month he had been working at the Du Pont Camp, 
He v/rote a letter back to his wife, at Plemingsburg, 
The letter v/as intercepted. The Negro was 
arrested and Governor Morrow issued requisition papers 
for Ms return to Kentucky, Within a few days officers 
from Kentucky reported to the Oakland County jail and the 
Negro was turned over to them. Smith agreed to plead 
guilty and the officers promised protection. Letters and 
code telegrams passed betv/een the officers indicate earnest 
intentions of giving the Negro a trial,, but they failed. 
The picture on the follov/ing page verifies a part of the 
special dispatch to the Lexington Herald from Maysville, 
on March 29: 

The body of Grant Smith, assailant of Ruby 
Anderson, tonight was left deserted, hanging by a 
gregigrass rope from telephone pole No, 787, on the 
Maysville-Lexington pike, in Fleming County, six and 
a half miles from Mayslick, Mason County, 

Members of the mob that lynched the negro 
disappeared v/ithout being viell enough for recognition 
by residents along the road. 

The body had not been harmed, A v/atch fob was 
hanging from the negro's clothing. His hands still 
v/ere in handcuffs and his arms had been bound to his 
body by a small wire, A cap still v/as on his head. 

The rope was tied in a regular hangm.an's knot, 
showing that whoever v/as in charge was familiar with 
hanging. 

The body hung over the middle of the main road. 

It was learned from persons who had passed the 
road before and after the lynching that the prisoner 
of the mob must have been hanged about 9 o'clock. 



t * 



363 








A. 



364 



It was asserted by persons who said that they 
talked to mob leaders that the hanging took about 15 
minutes. The negro is said not to have made any statement. 

Nine automobiles were in the procession which 
took the negro to the scene of his death, according to 
persons v/ho saw the men pass the road, but did not know 
at that time who they were or what was their purpose. 

All the members of the mob, it was asserted, 
were from Fleming County, and it is believed that the 
majority of the men -were from the neighborhood that the 
assault took place. 



Case 12 
Four Lynched at Shubuta, ..iississippi 

Dr. E. L. Johnston had retired from the practice 
of dentistry and moved to his father's plantation. Tv/o 
Negro girls and two Negro boys, all between the ages of 
16 and 21 years, worked for Johnston. The boys were there 
for the purpose of "working out" a mule which their father 
had bought from the doctor. It seems that Johnston had 
objected to the older couple "going together", and had 
threatened to kill Major Clarke. It was generally known in 
the neighborhood that there had been trouble betv/een them. 

On the morning of December 10, 1918, Dr. Johnston 
went to the barn, where, according to press reports, he 
was shot from ambush. He v/as taken into the house by 
Clarke, and died that night. In viev/ of previous trouble 
as Y/ell as the fact that the Negroes were the only ones 

9. Adapted from a Report by .V. F. 'ATiite and newspaper accounts 



365 



found near the scene of the shooting, suspicion was 
immediately attached to the four Negroes, The tv/o girls 
and the younger Clark "boy were arrested and taken to 
Quitman, 12 miles from Shubuta, and Major Clark was taken 
to the jail at Meridian, 38 miles away. 

On December 20, after Major Clark had confessed, 
the four Negroes v/ere brought back to Shubuta for a 
preliminary hearing, Nev/s spread over the county that a 
lynching would take place at nightfall. Automobiles lined 
the streets. At about 6:30 in the evening a mob v/ent to 
the jail. The Deputy Sheriff was handcuffed and his keys 
taken from him. No one was injured at the time. The 
Negroes v/ere placed in an automobile. The tov/n lights as 
well as those of the automobiles were turned out. The 
place of the lynching was already known, so that the large 
crowd set out for the little covered bridge that spanned 
the Chickasawha River a short distance from town. Pour 
ropes were tied to the bridge, then around the Negroes* 
necks. One of the girls "fought like a tiger" and was 
knocked down with a monkey v/rench. Then the four were 
throv/n from the bridge. 

During the next day the colored people of 
Shubuta v/ould not "cut them down". The bodies hanged to 
the bridge luitil some white men v/ent and broiight them in 
to an undertaking parlor. Then the colored people refused 
to let the bodies be buried in their grave yard. The 
white folks had lynched them; nov^ they could btiry them. 
Just outside the white grave yard, in two graves, the 



366 



four bodies were buried. 

People of the tov/n later told a visitor the reason 
for v/hich each of the Negroes was lynched; Major Clark, 
killing Doctor Johnston; Maggie Howze, instigating the 
murder by urging Clarke to conimit the crime; Andrew Clark, 
standing in the road to watch and give warning in case 
anyone should approach at the time of the mvirder; Alma 
Hov;ze, purchasing two cartridges vilth Y/hich the dentist 
was killed, 'i'he case brought forth considerable comment 
from the press, and has been called the "economic lynching" 
- the only lynching on record the cause of v/hich was ad- 
mitted to be economic. Although the reasons stated above 
are evidently more nearly correct, A dispatch sent out 
from Shubuta on the morning following the lynching read 
as follows: 

The theory is advanced that the lynchers acted be- 
cause of the fact that the next term of co\irt was 
not due to be convened until next March. It is 
hinted that the idea of the county being forced to 
care for and feed four self-confessed assassins of 
a leading citizen might have aroused the passion of 
the mob, 

Johnston had recently had trouble with a v.'hite 

man of the community, and his parents thought tliis mad 

had killed their son. Members of the mob would not heed 

the father's suggestion, That the Negroes v/ere guilty was 

the general belief, and, although the father of the 

mxirdered man plead with the m.ob not to lynch the Negroes 

until an investigation could be made, the lynching was 

carried out -without questioning them concerning their 

guilt. All are said to have denied the murder until the 



367 



last. It does not seem that the colored citizens refused 
to bury the victims for fear of bringing themselves into 
trouble; certainly this is indicated by the fact that they 
refused to let the y;hite people bury the bodies in their 
grave yard. It seems probable, then, that the Negroes 
of Shubuta considered the mob victims as being guilty of 
the murder. 

The NAACP sent to Governor Bilbo a telegram 
similar to the one discussed in Case No, 2 above, A 
newspaper reporter called some days later and asked the 
Governor if he intended to reply, and if he had any 
conmient to nake. The Governor said: "No, not tonight, 
I might give you a little advance information to the 
effect that I will tell them, in effect, to go to H,..". 
The statement was published widely and received editorial 
comment from all sections of the covuitry. In the North 
there was "atonlshment" that a governor would treat so 
lightly an inquiry concerning a ouar duple lynching. 
Several southern editors v;ere m.ore nearly in agreement 
v/ith the Governor, An editorial appeared in the Houston 
Post under the caption, "The Polly of Butting In", It was 
pointed out that although "the Governor greatly deplores,,,, 
the crime alluded to" and "possibly feels indignant that 
the lav/s of Ivlississippi v/ere so ruthlessly trampled under 
foot , yet he "does not relish having any organization 
in New York making any demands v/hatsoever upon him, nor 
will anybody else in Mississippi ,.•• No Governor v;ho is 



368 



worth his salt would yield to such pressure In any sort 
of case," 

Sufficient evidence for indictments and arrests 
v/as not found*. 

The subsequent lynching history of the county is 
as follows: On July 5, 1920 James Spencer, a Negro postal 
clerk, v/as hanged by a mob at Enterprise, He had serious- 
ly stabbed a v/hite postal clerk on a Nev/ Orleans and North- 
eastern mail car three days before. Officers v/ere on the 
way to Quitman v/here the Negro was scheduled to be tried 
in court. The last lynching in Clarke County, Mississippi 
was that of Will Echols at Quitman, on September 13, 1920, 
The Negro had recently been convicted of the murder of 
Henry Davis, an aged watchman at a Ixmber plant. He was 
sentenced to be hanged on September 10 but his execution 
was stayed at the last moment through an appeal to the 
Mississippi Supreme Coiirt, On the night of the thirteenth 
he v/as taken from the jail by a small party of men v/ho 
carried him two miles into the country and shot him to 
death. VuTio these men were is not known. There were no 
indictments following either of the tv/o 1920 lynchings. 



369 



Case 13 

A Deleware Lynching 

There is only one lynching record as having 
occurred in Deleware, In 1903 a Negro, George V/hite, 
murdered a white woman. Miss Helen Bishop, The Negro 
was in jail, awaiting the proper time for trial. It has 
been said that a Christian Minister "caused" the lynching. 
The evidence for the statement is given below. 

Between the date of the above murder and the 
lynching the Rev, Robert A. Ellwood, Pastor of the 
Mount Olivet Presbyterian Church, preached a Svmday 
morning sermon which is thus reported: "He advocated 
moderation, and then drew an agonizing pictiire of the 
mvirder of Ivliss Bishop, He counselled patience, and 
then denoiHiced the Supreme Court, declaring that by 
refusing to depart from the regular procedure to try 
^Vhite, it was setting an example in patience for the 
people. He drew a forecast of precisely v/hat happened, 
and sternly laid the blame at the feet of the Judges 
of the Court, and added a final appeal to the passions 
of his audience by dramatically waiving over his head 
blood-stained leaves from the thicket in v^hich Helen 
Bishop had been killed, and which had been especially 
obtained for the purpose by one of his elders. The 
people went from the chiirch livid v/ith passion, and 



370 



early this morning the deed was done.' 

Evans also quotes from the report of the case 
the follov/ing: 

"After the man was dead by burning, throngs of 

v/omen siirrounded the smouldering embers. Some hurled 

on more wood to keep the fire going so as to reduce to 

dust the reianants of the body of the Negro," 



Case 14 

A Lynching in Louisian a 

According to the records nine Negroes were 
lynched in Louisiana in 1918, Three of the total were 
accused of attacking white women; three, stealing hogs; 
one, living with a white v/om.an; one, shooting a white 
man and one, murdering a wliite man. The following case, 
which is not in the list, shows that there was one more 
lynching in the state during that year. The case as given 
below is adapted from a report sent to use by a former 
teacher in Caldwell Parish, - a graduate of a southern 
State University, The case is interesting in that is 
shows something of the type of Negro involved, and indi- 
cates the attitude of some of the v/liites of the Comirainity 
toward Negroes, 

IQ. Quoted by Evans, op. cit. pp. 172-173, 



371 



At a Negro country church in June, 1918, near 
Columbia, Louisiana, in Caldwell Parish, several v/hite 
men went out to the church to make a speech on "War 
Savings Stamps" after a lodge meeting at the church v/as 
over. Some drunken Negroes canie up and vi/ere trying to 
"break up" the lodge. Both the whites and the blacks 
tried to quell the bad or drvmken Negroes without very 
much success. The driinken Negroes shot several times,,. 
The other Negroes and the whites were ujiarmed, A 
"stray" bullet from, one of the drunken Negroes' pistol 
hit a yoiing white man named Warner and killed him. 
Seven Negroes v/ere arrested and tried for the murder 
and distrubance, some sentenced to a fev/ years, some 
to more. None were electrocuted so far as I can dis- 
cover. The sheriff of Caldwell Parish, v/here the 
tragedy occurred, was taking the prisoners to the 
State Penitentiary down the Ouachita River, when he 
v/as "hailed' by some m.en one night and told that they 
wanted Sampson, the one supposed to have fired the shot 

that killed young Warner, The sheriff, , yielded 

and the Smith Negro was hanged near the banks of the 
river in a swamp. Nothing was ever done about it, I 
have been told that it was "made up" with the sheriff 
that the mob v/ould stop the boat, but I don't say it 
was so, - probably so though. Things like that have 
happened,,. The other Negroes were taken on to the 
State Penitentiary.,,, 

This trouble at the Negro church was not 



372 



anticipated, I think the drunken Negroes brought it 
all on. One of them. Smith, made this remark the 
afternoon before: "Som.ebody's goin''to die before 
daylight",,. Naturally after his saying this the whites 
desired to hang him as he v/as in the shooting fracas. 
Smith had been working "around", but most of the time 
he worked for an uncle of the hoy killed at the chvirch. 
He (Smith) was about 23, unmarried and had not given 
any marked amount of trouble before.,. 

The attitude of whites tov/ard Negroes in this 
Parish is fairly good. The whites and Negroes get 
along all right - but when a Negro does a crime that 
infringes upon the whites, the whites don't "see it so 
v.Tong to hang him," Probably several of the v/hites that 
assisted in the hanging could not get along v/ithout 
having Negroes to do their work. The whites say, "the 
Negro is all right but he must be made to stay in his 
place," 

The general attitude is one of protection toward 
the black if he is in the right, Vfliites will fight 
whites for offenses done to Negroes belonging to them - 
those working on their places, etc. However, if a 
Negro does v/rong, he isn't looked upon as a white. He 
is considered to a great extent to be "something like 
a mule" as they often say. I am sorry to say too, that 
as a rule the Negro does not get as fair and impartial 
trial in court as does the white. For example, if a 



373 



Negro is catight bootlegging with a white man, the 
Negro often gets "jugged" heavier than the white. 
I believe the Negro is coming to the front in having 
a fair trial in court, but yet there is lots of room 
for improvement, , ♦« After a lynching the blacks and 
whites seem to get back on a normal footing v/ith each 
other. • . • 

You must remember, however, that many planta- 
tion owners and "bosses" who work Negroes don't mind 
beating and whipping them in the least. They say 
"a Negro has to be whipped like a mule to get along 
with him,"... 



Case 15 

Triple Burning at Kirvln, Texas 

The source material for this case includes the 
written reports of three men v/ho witnessed the burning, 
and a fourth report by an investigator who went to Kirvin 
a v/eek afterv/ards. The investigator, it may be pointed 
out, is descended from a Civil War veteran, v/as born and 
reared within 30 miles of Kirvin, and v/as educated there 
and in the University of Texas. "I think if I v/ere 
prejudiced", he v/rites, "my prejudice, from my birth, 
education and training, would rather lay against the 
facts" as presented. "I believe ... the things I say to 
you are based upon a candid examination of the evidence 



374 



that I was able to secure by speaking to more than a 
hundred people, talking vifith the sheriff and many of 
those who proudly proclaimed that they had taken part 
in the biirning," 

He studied the case with a view to arriving 
at causes and effects,, while the newspaper men were more 
concerned with a description of the burning. The case 
as given below is adapted from his report with a few 
descriptive interpolations from the other sources. 



"OhI Lord I'm comin' home. Goodbye, Mr, Otis, 
Lord, I'm con" - Fire leaped into his face and 
his sentence was never finished, 

"Mr. Otis" King was City Marshall of Kirvin, 
Texas, and Snap Gurry had been a laborer on his farm. 
At this moment Curry was seated on the last plow he 
would ever ride, 

Kirvin, Texas, in 1922, was a town of about a 
dozen stores scattered rather aimlessly along a branch- 
line railway out of Corsicana, The population is 288 
many of v^hom turn out twice each day, once to see the 
south-bound train from Corsicana, and once to see the north- 
bound train from Hempstead and Navasota, Before the date 
in question these citizens of Freestone County had never 
witnessed a lynching at home, although it is probable that 
some of them had been in Waco on such occasions. "Those 
of you from the South know v/hat type of tov/n it is. It 
is just at the beginning of the backwoods section of 



375 

Texas." Few of the people, apparently, have been out 
of the county; some spoke of having once visited the 
Dallas Fair. 

The Kirvin Comnuiiity consists for the nost part 
of white landlords and Negro tenants. There are some of 
the "variety which are commonly called the poor whites 
who undertake to work for themselves on their own farms, 
but most of the work is done under the tenant system, - 
the share-crop system by which the owner furnishes the 
tools, the house, the land and the eqaipment. The tenant 
does the work and they share up half and half on the pro- 
duce; but it is weighed on the ovmer's scales; tiie cotton 
is classified by the owner, and often the tenant ends up 
by being in debt to the owner at the end of the year. 

I left 7/aco a week after the burning of the three men, 

says the Investigator. Pour days after, the fourth was 

lynched, and the fifth disappeared a day or tv/o after 

I got there^... I came in the guise of a newspaper 

man ... because I was going to ask questions, and 

you had to have a very good reason for asking questions 

there. I first went to Mr. John King, grandfather 

of the girl who v/as murdered. Briefly his story is 

tills: 

On Friday afternoon about four o'clock Eula should have 

been home from school. She rode a pony to school 

li. Although it is generally understood at Kirvin that there 
was a fifth lynching, the NAACP records, nor those of 
Tuskegee, show it. 



376 



every day, a distance of three miles to the beautiful 
brick school house... "No, there Is no school in this 
section of the county for niggers., ," As Eula did not 
arrive home at the usual time the old man became nervous 
and called up his neighbors. She had been seen passing 
this house and that house, but no further could they 
trace her. She passed a house a bit over a mile away 
but did not pass the next one across the big ravine. 
The 70 year old grandfather, wealthiest landlord in the 
community, called out Ben Gibson, a Negro tenant, and 
said: "I want you to go and find my granddaughter." 
Gibson soon found the girl's pony tied to a tree, but 
he could not find the girl, 

I asked, "Jtr. King, did you suspect that some- 
thing had happened to your granddaughter?" He said: 
"I knew something had happened." I Inquired why, and 
he said, "Because I have been afraid of something for 
tv/o years," Then he told of a feud that existed between 
his family and the neighboring family, the Prowls, 
They were also landlords in the community, proud and 
high-tempered just as was the King family. Two years 
previous the Prov/ls and Mr. King's son had engaged In 
an argum.ent in which the former v/as accused of cheating 
in a cattle deal. Two of the Prov/ls jumped on King's 
sonj he was cut badly with knives, sent to the hospital 
and recovered, although maimed for life. But this was 
an tmjust penalty for his crime: he had accused them 
of SY/lndllng, and it called for a heavier penalty. 



377 



So the Prov/l boys left the county but said to the 
Kings, "We v/111 make you feel it and will make it 
hurt you where it hurts most," 

"The minute she did not come I thought then 
that those Prowls had done something foul". King said 
after relating hov/ his v/hole life was centered about 
the girl v/hose parents were dead. He had purchased 
her an automobile, a pony, and everything she wished. 
His supposition was strengthened v/hen he learned the 
follov/ing: Soon after Ben Gibson returned to his 
house after finding the girl's pony the y;ife of one 
of the Prowl sons came to the Negro and asked him what 
business v/as it of his to go dov/n and get that horse - 
a question involving knov/ledge -.vhich she was never asked 
to explain, 

A general alarm was nov/ given; the King sons 
and neighbors, excepting the Prowls, started a general 
search. That night after dark an uncle of the girl 
foirnd her body about 100 yards up the deep ravine from 
where she had been stopped on the road. The body v/as 
horribly mutilated with 26 deep gashes, and her head 
had been stamped into the ground. People were already 
coming in from tovms and the country for 40 miles 
around, and now crowds v/ent furiously in all directions 
in search of the murderers. Although the doctor »s 
examination led him. to state definitely that the girl 
had not been "criminally assaulted" this was soon forgotten, 



378 



If a white girl had oeen "assaulted", to the crowd 
it meant only one thing- she had been raped, and that 
by Negroes, 

While bloodhounds were being bro\ight by an 
airplane and the crowd was increasing in size and 
excitement, old man King, according to his statement, 
"v/ent down there and got on a wagon and I talked with 
them and pleaded with them to go slow because at that 
time I felt those Prowls had done it and I did not want 
them to lynch any innocent Negroes, I knew they would 
suspect Negroes and I went there and told them to be 
sure they got the right man before they did anything," 
One posse went to the Prowl boys' home but found that 
they had left the comrminity; there v/ere fresh tracks 
leading to their home from the thicket in which Eula 
Awsley was found, and they did not care to remain for 
an explanation. 

Now Snap Curry was busy helping in the search 
for the mvirderers. He v/orked for one of the Kings, was 
a "good negro" upon whcrn there had fallen no suspicion. 
But some of the crowds were busy going all through the 
community checking up on every Negro to see v/here he had 
been and what he had been doing. Snap Cvirry vms not 
in the crowd that happened to make a "check" on his 
house, and, whetner guilty or not, the fact that his 
v/ife was greatly "at outs" with him proved his undoing. 
His not being at home led the crowd to apply what they 



379 



admitted were "third degree methods" on his v/ife, 

after which she said he had come home v;ith some blood 

on his clothes the day before - for it was now early 

Saturday. She named two other Negroes who might have 

been with him on Friday, With this information Sheriff 

Mayo started in search of the Negroes, and fotmd Curry 

with whom he and some deputies started to the county 

jail. On the way to the jail, under "third degree" 

methods Curry was forced to say v/ho had been v/ith him 

the day before, and he named Mose Jones and Johnnie 

Cornish, saying, according to several who heard him, 

"they are as guilty as I am," 

That night the Negroes were "taken away from" 

the Sheriff and brought back to Kirvin shortly before 

daybreak. 

The avengers were \inmasked, according to a newspaper 
reporter. They worked sv/iftly and methodically^ Snap 
Curry was the first to be burned. He displayed almost 
superhujnan courage and appeared as cool and collected 
as his captors ,., Curry was held upright while members 
of the mob mutilated him. He did not flinch or make 
outcry. One of the mob then stepped in front of him 
and plunged a knife into the negroes abdomen, slashing 
clear across,. , A tall, powerfully built man, about 
60 years old, v/ho seemed to be in command, asked Curry 
if he realized he was about to be burned to death, 
"Go ahead and btirn me, I'm not afraid"... Curry v/as then 
bound with ropes and chains to the seat of a middle«buster 
plow that had been dragged to the center of the square. 
Hundreds of v;illing hands heaped cord v/ood and broken 
boxes about him. Next his body, still partly clothed, 
was drenched with oil ,., The leader (the implication is 
that it was old man King who had been told that the Negro 
had confessed) of the mob applied the torch, and flames 
shot upward, OhJ Lord, I'm coming home. Goodbye Ltr, 
Otis .., Oh Lord, .,, and the flames must have seared 
his lungs, for the sentence was not finished. Death 
came Speedily, 



380 



"Will we get that too", asked Cornish, and Jones 
replied, "No, what have v/e done?" The other Negroes 
were surprised v/hen they were asked to take their turn 
at the fire. They died without confessing, although 
being commanded to do so until the last breath left 
them, Mose Jones had been named by Curry *s v/ife as well 
as by himself as having been with Curry on the day of the 
murder, v/hile Cornish v/as not mentioned by the v/oman. 
Thus Mose was called to take his seat on the plow next 
after Curry, He was consiimed too quickly to suit the 
mob, so they v/orked out a new plan for Cornish, They 
tied a big rope, which had been soaked in water, around 
his neck and another around his feet. They threw him 
into the flame for a moment, then pulled him out; then 
they thew him in again and pulled him out, continuing 
this alternation until one of the ropes burned "and he 
clasped his arms around the plow and refused to be 
dragged away, meeting his death as soon as he could." 

Aftermath 

On the following morning Shed Green - who had 
been implicated by Gurry's wife - was found hanging to 
a tree. Evidently a small group from the original mob 
desired to "finish the job". About a week later another 
Negro who, in the meantime, had somehow been implicated 
"disappeared". The investigator saw vultures flying over 
the trees of the thick, almost impassable bottom where 



381 



the girl v/as killed. Upon asking what they thoiight 
was dead over there some of the Negroes said that very- 
likely "that is Tim Barry, killed and left out there 
to rot without even a decent funeral," 

The morning after the burning the sheriff found 
the Prov/1 boys, arrested them, and asked that they 
explain the tracks leading from where the girl v/as 
killed. After the tracks were me asure s the boys re- 
luctantly admitted to the sheriff that it so happened 
that they actually had been there making bran mash for 
the purpose of distilling alcohol. They were released. 
To press the case would be to say that a mob made up of 
men who elected him had made a mistake! "Did you in- 
vestigate if there was any bran mash in that thicket" 
the sheriff was asked? He said he did not investigate, 
"Do you believe that they are innocent?" "after asking 
me v/hat the hell business it was of mine, he said that 
enough had been punished for the deed already." 

One week after the burning the entire Prov;l 
family moved out of the community. 

The sheriff said he thought Mose Jones was 
innocent. According to all the evidence not more than 
three v;ere involved in the murder, so that two innocent 
persons, at least, were lynched. The people of the 
commvmity had little or no interest in the affair a week 
after it occurred. They had no particular interest in 
the fact that at least two innocent Negroes had been 



. j-ono 



382 



lynched. Some of them began by saying: "Well, I 
don't believe Mose Jones was guilty, but Snap Curry 
wanted him to go on the trip v/ith him," Apparently no 
one v/as moved by the fact that the Negroes had not 
been proved guilty before punishment. None seemed to 
think of it as having been a dishonor upon the community. 
The investigator went again tliree weeks after 
the bvirning, "I asked Sheriff Mayo v/ould there be a grand 
jury investigation and he seemed utterly astonished that 
I should ask such a question. He looked at me and said, 
»By God, I don't believe you are from Waco,"' 

During the three weeks, old man King had "aged 
ten years. His heart, his spirit v/as all broken," On the 
v/all of his home v/as an enlargement of Eula's picture "at 
which he worshipped as though it were a shrine," 'ihe old 
man said: "I believe still, although those rascals, some 
of them (lynched), may have been Implicated, they could 
not have thought of such a deed, I still believe those 
Prowl boys are the ones who did it," 

Talking to several who v/ere in the mob, the 
investigator was impressed v/ith the fact that they were 
proud of the way justice had been upheld v/ith sv/ift 
hands, and they had had an active part. He asked one 
man if Mose Jones v/as related to any of the others? 
"Well", he said, "he v/as in pretty close relations to them 
on the night of the burningj" 



383 



"Will five gallons take me back to 7/aco?" he 
asked at the filling station across the street from 
where the burning occurred. A man answered: "I guess 
so, fifty gallons took three niggers to hell the other 
night." 



384 



CHAPTER X 



THE MAN AND THE MOB 



Allport iias suggested that wliat is needed v/ith 
reference to the problem of lyncliing Is not righteous 
indignation "but a deeper psychological understanding 
of the v/hole matter." The stated purpose of this study 
was to picture as accurately as possible the actual 
situation with regard to this type of mob violence in 
the South, through a study of its origin, nature, and 
extent. It seems proper to close the study with an 
attempt to follow Allport' s suggestion by bringing to- 
gether the information at hand in a manner that would 
lend to a fuller understanding -of the psychological factor's 
involved in this type of social phenomena. 

There is no blanket explanation knovm as to v/hy 
men and women commit the crimes for v/hlch they are 
lynched. From the viev/point of the psychologist, of 

1. F. H. Allport, Social Psyc ology, p. 397^ 



385 



course, there are as many "causes" as separate crimes - 
and the criminal act is not different from other conduct. 
This is a problem for treatment by the criminologist and 
lies outside the scope of the present study. Likewise 
in the case of the Individuals who compose mobs, - strictly 
speaking, there are as many causes for mob violence as 
there are mob members. In a psychological analysis of 
any particular mob episode such general mob characteristics 
as have been noted in preceding pages must be traced to 
and accounted for in individual mob members. This means 
theoretically that a complete and accurate psychological 
explanation of a mob v/ould require a separate study of 
each individual involved. 

The extreme difficulty thus raised possibly accounts 
for the nature of some of the literature on the subject. 
More than this, however, the metaphysical explanations 
sometimes offered for mob phenomena are likely called 
forth by the peculiar reactions of individuals v/hen in 
mobs. Early students of mobs, and some who have discussed 
them later, have been much impressed by the great difference 
between the reactions of men in mobs and outside of them. 
Their discussions of the phenomena act entirely different 
from the v/ay they act outside of mobs, therefore, some 
different explanation must be found. Thus Le Bon 
ascribed to the crowd an entirely distinct type of thought 
from that of the Individual. Regardless of who the persons 



386 

composing a crowd may be, the fact that they have become 
a crov/d puts them in possession, or rather under the 
dominance, of a "collective mind". This "mind" makes 
these individuals feel, thinlr and act quite differently 
from what they would feel, think and act were they in 
isolation. Le Bon proceeded to an analysis of crowd and 
mob action by stating general characteristics; but, having 
posited his "collective mind", it seems not to have occurred 
to -lim to study the individuals composing these groups. 
Likewise Ross discusses - without defining - the "mob 

mind", stating general characteristics of crov/d and mob 

2 
phenomena. McDougall maintains that the proper field 

for Social Psychology is the discussion of the phenomena 
of crowds and organized groups, basing liis argument upon 
the assumption that the treatment of such phenomena in- 
volves reference to a unique mental process - the "group 
mind". This author differs from Ross, Le Bon and others 
in that, after developing with great care ris concept 
of the "group mind", he proceeds farther and attempts 
to account for, as well as to describe, the observed 
phenomena. In this he succeeds without the use of the 
"group mind concept. He accounts for group phenomena 
with the principles of general psychology. 

No definition of psychology is extant which would 
justify using the term in connection v/ith any sort of 

2. E. A. Ross, Social Psychology , Chs . 5, 4, 5. 

3. William McDougall, The Group Mind, "Introduction". 



387 

metaphysical explanation of mob phenomena. To say that tliere 
is a "collective mind", "mob mind", "group mind", or 
"group consciousness" wholly different from Individual 
"minds" is to beg the question and to posit an existence 
of which those who have done so have offered no evidence. 
It is generally agreed among psychologists that conscious- 
ness is dependent upon - at least always correlated with - 
the functioning of neural structure. Moreover, the 
emotions and impulses common to members of a mob cannot 
be isolated, even introspectively, from the experiencing 
organisms involved. Considering in the same manner the 
activity of mobs, it is evident that the actions of all 
are nothing more than the sum of the actions of each 
taken separately. 

But there must be some sort of mob mind that 
dominates the group, some general spirit that invades the 
v/hole atmostphere, we are told, because the behavior of 
mobs is \in thinkable for the men involved were they in 
their"right mind^' and in isolation. Possibly not one in 
a thousand v/quld burn a Negro, or even punish him without 
evidence of his guilt; flog a white man for saying, 
"Hurrah for Lincoln"; shoot a girl whose brother lad com- 
mitted a petty crime; burn tliree Negroes and hang another 
for a crime only thought to have been committed by one 
of the number.^ Because mobs have done these tilings 

T". CFI Allport, op. clt. pp. 4, 5. 
5. Cf. 7/. G. Sumner, Folkways, p. 21. 



388 



does not prove - logically needs not suggest - a 
"collective mind". It merely means that Individuals 
react differently In different situations - a matter of 
common observation and knowledge. A "mob" is an abstraction, 
a term useful only for purposes of general discussion. It 
is the man In the mob with which the psychologist is 
concerned. To say that a crowd or mob is excited, de- 
termined, "hungry for blood", irrational, impulsive, 
emotional, can only mean that the individuals that compose 
the group are so affected. The explanation of the be- 
havior of a mob, therefore. Involves a consideration of 
the reactions of the individual under the particular 
situation. 

Tilhile the implication is theoretically sound, it 
is practically impossible to make the study thus re- 
quired for any individual, much less for a wnole group. 
Any attempt at a psychological analysis based upon this 
type of study is outside the scope of the present study. 
It seems v/ise, however, to summarize available infor- 
mation follov/ing such an outline as would be used in a 
strictly psychological analysis. The following outline 
has been used in the field of social psychology. ^ (i) 
A study of what may be called the constitution of the 
individual; (2) conditions of the formation of the con- 
course out of which the mob developed; (3) change from 



b. Englisn Bagby, Lectures on Social Psycholon-y — 55 — ^^ff 
Also class notei"li ' " -^^jL' -f-f 



> 



389 



a concourse to a croY/d., then to a mo-o; (4) the precipi- 
tating stimulus; (5) the resulting mob behavior. 

This division, if somewhat arbitrary, needs hardly 
to be defended. The first - a study of the constitution 
of the individual - is required because different persons 
react differently in similar situations. Every psy- 
chologist v/ould admit that v/hat the individual is when he 
comes into a situation plays its part in determining the 
particular reaction made in that situation. The other 
divisions are merely different phases throvigh which, in 
general, a nvimber of individuals pass in a mob episode. 
These divisions may be considered as points about which 
the phenomena under consideration may be grouped for pur- 
poses of discussion. They are yet sufficiently broad as 
not to lend to a priori description and reasoning, for they 
require consideration of all the phenomena in question, as 
is indicated by the more detailed case studies in the 
preceding chapter. 

Pacts presented throughout this study indicate 
general social factors in the South that lend to mob 
action. The historical data reviev/ed, the story of the 
origin and past history of mob action is suggestive. 
Some of the case- studies offer added information on the 
general characteristics of the individuals that compose 



7, English Bagby, Lectures on Social Psycliology , pp. 52ff. 
Also class notes. 



390 

the particular lynching mobs. V/hlle it would be invalid 
"reasoning in a circle" to base conclusions at t'^iis point 
on mob behavior itself, this behavior may be suggestive 
in that the reactions of an organism in any situation 
are indicative of the general character of the organism - 
its neural structure, habits, emotional nature. Thus v/liile 
it is recognized that scientific conclusions as to the 
psychological explanation of mob action would require 
more detailed and individual study than has been found 
possible, yet it is believed that, in view of the historical, 
statistical and case data presented, valuable indications 
concerning the nature of mob action in the South and some 
of the various factors involved may come frona a con- 
sideration of available data according to the above out- 
line. 

p In reading case-studies of mob action one is struck 
by the similarity between them in many respects. In a 
study of southern lynching mobs the variations are 
generally slight as regards the conditions of concourse, 
the emergence of a crowd, then the mob, and the resulting 
mob behavior. A Negro shoots a white man or "assaults" him, 
"insults a w'-dte woman", aids a criminal to escape, or is 
suspected of burning a cotton gin. if for any reason a 
concourse of people is already gathered they immediately 
become a crowd by beginning to react to one another in 
the general situation - the crlme-and- the- criminal. If 
there is not already a concourse, it is a crov/d that soon 



391 

gathers. One or more leaders emerge. Throiigh continued 
inter- stimulation the crowd members begin to react with 
exaggerated emotions; the mob emerges; and the lynching 
^ results. 

Recent Factors Conditioning Emotion 

The ease with wriich a mob emerges - leaving for 
later consideration the "constitution" of the members - 
no doubt depends largely upon the nature of the crime, but 
is influenced also by recent factors fixing the emotions. 
It is noted over and over that if a lynching occurs in 
a community, possibly for an atrocious crime, others may 
follow for lesser or no crimes. Mob members may decide 
"to get all the Kegroes", to 'V/ipe out the whole bunch of 
hog-stealers", to "lynch every nigger that had anything 
to do with it". But a previous lynching is not the only 
recent factor that functions in conditioning mobs. UV/hile 
no doubt it is often a rationalization, mob members 
frequently maintain that the courts are uncertain and 
inadequate. If they can point to a recent case in v/hich 
a criminal v,'?.s released on some technicality, even though 
his guilt v/as evident, apparently mob violence is more 
likely to occur J In Case One, for e:<anple, it v/as in- 
dicated that the negro preacher v/as lynched because he 
had been in court a year before and had "come clear". 
It seems not improbable that the neighbors, v/ho appear to 
have done the lynching, v/ere emotional toward this Kegro 



392 

partially tecause they nad considered the court decision 
as unfair. Such expressions as "he ought to have a visit 
from a mob" or "the Ku Klux ought to have handled that case" 
are sometimes heard among "average citizens" while discussing 
the uncertainties of the courts, it is doubtless true 
that the precariousness and inefficiency of the courts 
play a minor part in conditioning certain individuals to 
join in mohs. 

Possibly the greatest recent factor in conditioning 
the emotions 'of large numbers, especially in cases of 
crimes committed by Negroes, is the nev;spaper. Crime in 
general is more highly featured in the American press than 
any other current news. ^In the South newspapers have 
featured Negro crimes in a way certain to play a part in 
exciting numerous individuals. The tv/o most conspicuous 
instances in v/hich the newspapers seem to have featured 
in bringing atout mob action on a large scale were the 
Elaine, Arkansas, and the 7/ashington race riots J In 
Araknsas, for example, as was later shown in court proceedings, 
certain landlords v/ere holding Negroes in virtual slavery. 
They repeatedly refused the tenants a "settlement" and would 
not present them with itemized statements of their ac- 
counts. A group of Negroes employed a lawyer to handle 
their grievances, and held lodge meetings at v/hich these 
were discussed. 

According to Chief Justice Holmes who handed down 
a final decision on cases growing out of the riot, v.-hlte 



393 

men fired into one of these meetings. Indiscriminate 
shooting followed and one of the whites v/as kijled. On 
October 4, the "Arkansas Gazette" explained that these white 
men had been on their way to arrest a white boot-legger, 
and that they "had trouble with their car" and stopped 
at the Negro chvirch. It was said that the straase coin- 
cidence of a car breaking dov/n immediately in front of 
the Negro church at the time a lodge meeting was in 
session proved unfortunate; for the Negroes "opened 
fire, killing Adkins ("special agent" for the Missouri- 
Pacific Railroad) and severely wounding Pratt" (deputy 
sheriff). On October 5, a dispatch from Helena stated 
that a wide-spread uprising had evidently been planned, 
that at Hoop Sptir (where the first shooting occurred) 
"there were one hundred armed Negroes in the church at 
the scene of the shooting". The Little Rock Gazette 
asserted that some of this armed group were Negro women 
"carrying automatic revolvers in their stockings" (Oct, 
6, 1919). 

On the same day tlii s leading paper of the State 
carried a conspicuous account of 50,000 rounds of arami- 
nition being "found" at a colored school in Pine Bluff, 
half v/ay across the State from Elaine. This "finding", 
it was asserted, hacs led "authorities here to believe 
the contemplated uprising was of more than a local nature, 
possibly planned for the entire South". Although a 



394 

subsequent dispatch, inconspicuously printed, showed 
that the ammunition at Pine Bluff was government property 
and had no connection with the Elaine affair, the story 
had its effect. Tliere was a tenseness in far away sections 
of the State, and no doubt in other States, that would 
hardly have been without this story. 

The Memphis "Commercial Appeal" fou.nd that "Negroes 
Had Planned General Slaughter" and the Arkansas "Gazette" 
carried the large type headlines: "Vicious Blacks Were 
Planning Great Uprising - All Evidence Points to Care- 
fully Planned Rebellion". Nev/spapers from other sections 
helped to scatter abroad the fullest details of the 
"plot" of the Negroes. The New York "Evening Telegram." 
of October 6 annoimced: "All VvTiites Marked for Slaughter"; 
and the "Times" gave details under the headline: "Planned 
Massacre of 7/hites To-day". The New York "Tribune" 
announced: "Negro Plot to Massacre All Whites Found". 
While rioting on the day follov/ing the shooting at .loop 
Spur v;as not conditioned by publicity, it seems safe to 
conclude that the later outbreaks would not have occvirred 
without the publicity. Even if they had, the soldiers 
sent in from Little Rock would doubtless not have used 
so freely their machine guns. The soldiers were sent to 
restore order, but - according to a "saying" in Arkansas - 
"mowed dov/n niggers like they were rats". 

Southern nev/spapers have at times gone even fxirther 
than to spread "news" destined to create a state of 



395 



emotionalism. They have suggested lynchlngs and announced 
that no troops would be available; they have featured 
a Governor's statement that he was powerless to prevent 
a lynching; they have displayed bold headlines announcing 
the exact ho\ir at v/i ich a lynching would occur, and how 
many persons were expected to be present; they have fea- 
tured under large headlines the details of a lynching 
program. The following photostats, while frankly selected 
and certainly extreme instances of inflammatory newspaper 
publicity, indicate to what extent southern newspapers 
have functioned in conditioning individuals to mob violence. 
That the newspaper has pretty generally played a vital 
part, especially in tiie cases of mob action occurring 
from one to several days after the crime, becomes con- 
vincing upon a study of the subject) 

In addition to general factors and agents making 
for high emotionality, there are doubtless less general 
conditions and incidents affecting smaller groups, and 
still others affecting individuals. In Case Two, for 
example, it seems to have been the feeling that Bud 
Johnson deserved burning because "he thinl:s he is a 
soldier", etc. Throughout the report there are indi- 
cations that the mob members were not only burning the 
Negro for the alleged crime but also because they "had 
it in for" Negro soldiers. It is notable in Case Eight 
that the Negro was brought to Princeton to be lynched. 



t'- 'x.i^^ii-T'i/ij':^ 



^mKmm. 



MEMfHIS. TtHH 



rftlCE THRCr CENTi 



WEDNESDAY 



T he M e mphis Pre s s fina c 



TROOPS ORDERED TO NODENA. ARK. 

GOV. M'RAE MAKES FRIHIIISS 

lfS"iI!LSSL*?r NEGRO TAKEN FROM TRAIN AND 
"fMHHK HURRIED TOWARD CRME SCENE; 

tance telephone this afternoon that he has not ordered a^mglf^ |iriinrnO AT I HOAI UnTri 

r/a.s"Jb„'chSsreV.„st" ''"■■ '" "' "' MOB MEMBtRS AT LOCAL HOTEL 

. who is to be lynched at Nodena, Ark., tonight, other al- 



WBmammM 



mWmMMMMmiMmm 



tiMflgjimii 



he on his job7 It's the wo:.t o^^trage in the world to put a dined at Hotel Jeabody today 



upon me fo 



liltllinHiTII^SiU!! 



Arkansas' and taken him direct to the penitenitairy at 
Little Rock. , „ . ■ 

"I had heard that the negro was taken off a tram 
at Sardis, Miss., this morning, but I didn't know they were 
bringing him back to Arkansas." 

— o 



The Memphis Press 

D.i!, erc^l S«dv y>J MEMPHIS PRESS CO. l»d.- 

k 1» p..<l.nl PotilkOr, Fio..ciJlT. C<>»m«ci.llr. Enltr.d 

.1 M»pkii P-lWfic. u S.c.»d.Cb.. M«a IUtl«r. 



Which U the Better Way? 

r VN a railroad traJn ils a negro in the custody ot officers of the law. 



The alleged members of the mob were met at the 



them were gathered in the hotel lobby, laughing and talk- 



The five men who have Lowry passed Millington at 
noon ep route to Richardson's Landing, Tenn., where they 
ai-e,:lo.;x:ros3 the river on » ferry. Nodena, Ark., is just 
opffosite. 

Reports rcceivpd here indicate that Lowry and three 
or four other hegroeg — perhaps even more — are to be 
lyViched at Nodena tonight. "The other negroes arc al- 
feged to have aided Lowry to escape to El Paso, Tex., after 
he had killed two w'hite persons and wounded two others 
at Nodena on Dec. 25. 

No Street Parade. J. J. Greer, from whom tho pris 

The mob leader announced at oner was taken by the mob at th( 

Sardis. Mlsa.. this morning that train stopped at Sardis, minglec 

Lowry would be paraded thru with the crowd in the hotel lobby 

Memphis streets and taken across They were met here by Shcrif 

the Harahaii bridge here. Blackwood of Mississippi county 

Police immediately guarded all Arkansas, who wa4 to have acconi 

ronds entering the city to prevent panipd ihem to Osceola with ih< 

them from bringing the prisoner prisoner tonight, 

here. The mob must have learned None of tho men in the Peabod; 



win pav the proper penalty for his crime. 

Armed men board the'train. From the officers of the law they 
take the negro. They put him into an automobile and carry hira thru 
pans of three states to the scene of the crime. With bravado it is 
announced that he will be lynched at a certain hour. 

The crime ot which th? negro is accused is atrociou*. .Such a 
slayer should himself meet death as quickly as legal process will allow. 
There is no doubt but that he will quickly come (o legal death. 

Another nogro committed a murder that is oven more atrocious. 
If possible, than the first. He is arrested at his home. There arc 
many people around, somr of them close friends of the victim's sor- 
rowing family. There is every opportunity for Jiidge Lynch to claim 
this second negro. But the second negro is today all^e in a peniten- 
tiary cell, awaiting tho seemingly certain Verdict of electrocution. 

Which is the better way? 



they neared Memphis Lowry was 
turned over to five men in a closed 
car, who skirted tho city. 

The other men. it Is alleged, 
drove their nutos into Memphis 
and went directly to the Peabody 
hotel. 

Deputy Sheriffs B. H. Dixon and 



mumbera of the mob that boarde< 
the train, but several of then 
evaded the question in a laughlni 
manner. 

Some of the, men were miidd; 
and appeared to be travel-staine( 
as the result of a long automobll 
trip over muddy roads. 



sf y 



SiOOO WILL BURN NEGRO 



Fnnk SimonJ 



1 NEW ORLEANS STATES 



' nw omkMMm. ia 



From the Jncksou, Mis.s., Daily Xeii's. Thursday, June 26, igiQ. 



27lh YEAR 



JOHN HARTHELD WILL BE 
LYNCHED BY ELLISVILLE MOB 
AT 5 OUOCK THIS AHERNOON 

Governor Bilbo Says He Is Powerless to Prevent It- 
Thousands of People Are Flocking Into Ellisville to 
Attend the Event— Sheriff and Authorities Are Power- 
less to Prevent It. 

HATTIESBURG, June 3<J.— Jolin Haitfieltl, the negro 
alleRed to have assaulted an Kllisville. yoiinR yoinan. has 
been taken to Ellisville ami i. Rua.ded by olViee.. .n ^^^^^^ 
of Dr. Carter in that eit.>. He is v%ounded in the shoiildei hut 
not seriously. The otlicers have aftrtnd to turn h.ui ovei to 
the people of the eity at * o'eloek this afternoon ^vhen .t js 
expect€Hl he will he burned. The negro is said to haxe niadt 
a partial confession. ,,^^^. j,^.^.„ „„., 



r.iW. BII.BO «4YS . 
MK l<« FOWKHMCSS. 



Wnr"Vi!;^'i!!u»: w.s M,own the l-n .03Po,-.t.d .0 ^^J^^^^:^^^ 



r liove ilisij.'iirh anJ askfd what 
ation, if ;iiiy. ho iiitcndfil to lake 
Co prt-VfiU tin- affair, lii; said: 

I am jjDWiTltss to pri'Vent It. 
'W* hav.- KUiis for ;;tato imlitia. 
but no nun. It i.-« impossible to 
■«-no iroops to tlio scene for the 
obvit. !■< ii-ason llial wu have no 
trnoiih 

-S*' ral '• ivs Ti-'O. •>■•• '"'oatin" 



for 111.- lyn.hlne J>;>« "O*^' ''*'^" '^"''^ 

for five l>. ni . . 

. :....« ^t i;>ii!>:villi> tilizcns has 



arr.inKoments for tl..- event, and the 
mob IS i.lcdKfd to art in conformity 
with tlics.- arranjrfnienlB. 

Rev L. O. Gales, pastor of the First 
Bapti.-t .liurch of Laurel, left here at 
one oelock for -Kllisville to entreat the 
mob to use discretion. 

THOl S\.\U» *-•'"* '■ 



NEGRO JERKY 
UNDSULLEII 



To Be Taken to Scene o( 
Crime and Stood Be- 
fore Crowd 



F.LI.ISVU.Ur. M»»».. Jun« ?(L 

— <<iprrl>l>— .\.o four «'rlark m^ 
proarhw .totin Narirtold. M>»il- 
ani of Ot» KIIUvlU* i»hU» i>rt. 
U b»lnf r»r»«ull> tu»rd«id In Iho 
•rrw «( I>r. Cwnmt of thta .^»y. 

Tli» mnvn&f* ixwre haa fO€». 
rtMMl and »••»"• »»ry iMr\o«»^ 

DUsMitlon !»•». b"*™ »"« 

to »h»l t«»p»»««fc<n 
made af Ihr prU««o»r. 

II I. *aJd a>r n*tra wtll fca 
takrn I*. Ih« «r»n» W hla rf'i"*; 
,^r the ElttaTin. ^n»M'»'« 
trark>. where he allarked .Mi" 



.Meek, and will be M 
c«eryhod> ran »ee •""• , ,. 

Some of •IM' »n*r) clUaen*. It 
I* aald. want IUrin«*d Ijnrha* , 
while otlwrH wani btan bam«4. 

KLLISVIIXK .Mia... Juna M.— 



WUI It4»«en.. iwo larmer*. 
niemi>er. •» the BO.-e *•«• •hot 
HartlleM In the .hauMcr. and af- 
feeled hi« r.»p«ure. 

Thr»» ihou»»i»tl »lr»nfB»» ar» li 
KUIii\lllr io<;a,» I" wiloeaa Iha dia- 
•Milwn of John llarlftcld. nefro 
I^Zailarl ol Mlaa Maah. 

OOloeni ara anabla U oMCral 
tba rraad*. 

lIATTir.SRl RO. XUaa.. Jatt* ML 



of aa F.ll»»ill» >oun* 
keen brou(hl l« t.Ml»«-llle ftvm 
rolling joil i> ituirded by atnrrea 
ill the «fn<e of r>e « arter In I'.iat 

U* \% aouiMtcO ifi the ^miMcr 



him ov»r 10 1 . . 

IhU a/u^nonn «-H«a U U eipert^d 

he win bo burned. 



HtMrHU, Tiim. 
WEDNESDAY 

JANUARY ». ini 



The Memphis Press 



nuci Twiu ctmi 

NobrTEwnw 

umno PWM uiivici 



LYNCHING PARTY ON WAY TO 
ARK. TO PASS THRU MEMPHIS 

Negro Who Killed Two On 
Christinas Day Taken From 
Officers At Sardis, Mississippi 



Henry Lowry. negro murderer, 
was taken from officers on a train 
at Sardis, Miss., at 5 a.m. today by 
a mol) of he»^'ily armed men who 
arc now enroute to Memphis in 
'automobiles, according to word re 



men epokc. a word, apparently' by 
order. 

"We've got 50 automobiles spot- 
ted out along the road between 
here and Memphis, and when we 
gel to Memphis wc are going to 



The mob, it Is said, is taking st.. before we cross the bridge," 
Lowry back to. Wilson, Ark., near the leader continued, 
where he shot and killed two The train's Whistle was heard, 
white persons on Dec. 25, and Is to and at a command from thei* 
cross the Harahaji^brldge over the leader the men left the hotel and 

Mississippi river here. .. followed him to the depot. On the 

Parado Do>™ Main St. ""-^platform they formed in single 

"We are goUig to parade hj=: til^.-, 
thru Main st. when we pass thru Disarm Offi<*rs. 

Memphis," the Icarie,- of thc"*nob ^h^ moment the train stopped 
boasted at Sardis. ';Then we are|p^^y^j,„ ^^^^. ^ ..evolver and the 

... . , J .... „ er boarded the negro coach. 

tliut. will bo the end of him. fbUowed closely by the others. Not 

-.Sltho the roads are in very bad ^ ^.^^^ ^^^ spoken. 
condrtloB..ti.e mob i8.e.xjj.ected here Lowry was handcuffed to Dep- 
before noon. As the roads to the , ^ ^ , ^„ 

Helena ferry are impassable there ^J jjixon stood guard 

>s no other route by which they [ Approaching them from behind, 
can cross the nver. - ,^ the mob members sef^ied the depu- 



• ly after the murders, fled to E ;— "took the handcuff keys from 



BPtiV.'<|»'f^K\^1f M4ii*f^liI^<Mti1iHi*'lhl 




illJ.iffiJ.til 



I yew Orleans, last night with their .""'' V,- lZi^,-k^ 

rpri.-!Ouer orfHllnois Central Train »?>» """«" ^«»»"»«- 
! is'o. 2. Take Deputies Off Train. 



then they all drew them at. once. 
Some of them had two guns. 
None Wear Macks. 

"Several other negro passengeri 
got up and moved to the other end 
of the coach when the mob enter- 
ed. And those feUows wore all 
men, too — Ihero wasn't a boy in 
the crowd. None of them wore 
masks." 

During his conversation at the 
h&tel the mob leader stated to 
Marshal Johnson that he had been 
appraised by a telegram from New 
Orleans that the officers and the 
negro were on that train. 

Apparently nobody but the mar- 
shal and the telegraph operator 
knew the mob was (n Sardis. 

Deputies Greer and Dixin came 
to Memphis on the next train that 
left Sardis. They gave Lowry's 
overcoat, which the mob left be- 
hind, to the marshal as a souve- 
nir. 

Christmivs Day Crime. 

The mob did not return the 
deputies' revolvers. 

On Christmas Day Lowry shot 

and killed O. C. Craig, 72, wealthy 

[Planter residing near Wilson. Ark.. 



ljlislMiJ;lmlflBUBM ! IW<i W 



Crttlg. 
J i"^^-'""«r uu li.mu.s v«....ai. ..a.u DcDuOes Off Train '^^'' "^^ro escaped a mob which 

No- 2. lake Deputies on train. scoured the country for a week. 

I Tells Plans to Marshal. Just as the train started off and fled to El Paso, where ho was 

} Thirty minutes before this train 1 "gain, the mob leader commanded located by means of letters which 

was due in Sardis at 4:56 this I ConduJtor Sitton to stop it. He be wrote to relatives in Wilson. He 

morning, five or six muddy andl^'ld- „ _, • , was preparing to flee into Mexico. 

travel-stained automobilesTolled I Deputies Greer and Dixon were El Pa.so police arrested Lowry and 

into the little town. Several menjUien made to leave the train, al- held him until Arkansas officere 

alighted from each auto, and went jtho they begged to be allowed to arrived to take him back. 

to the Illinois Central depot. uroceed to Memphis. 

"We are here to take that negro "No." the mob leader said; 

off the train and carry him back "you'll sUy here and wait for the 

to Wilson, Ark.." the leader of the jnext train. It will be »long at 6:39 

mob said as he approached ITlght o'clock.'' 

Marshal W. E. Johnson, "ini we Waiting until the officers alight- 

hopc^ we wont have to cause any ed and the train pulled out., the 

trouble hero." mob placed Lowry in one of the 

Behipd him were about 15 grim automobiles and departed. They 

and determined-looking men, none were driving northward when last 

of whom said a word. seen. ... 

Marshal Johns onlnvited them "It was the coolest job I ever 

across the street to the Sardis saw." sa-id A. I. Campbell, night 

hotel, to wait until the train ar- telegraph operator at the depot, 

rived, and built a warm fire for who witnessed the scene thru one 

them. of the coach windows. 

! "Our names." the mob leader "Not a word was spoken, except 

I continued as they sat around the by the leader, and every man seem- 

Ifirc, "arc Smith, Brown and ed to kno win advance Just what 

! Jones '• he was supposed to do," Campbell 

The -leader chatted with the. said. "They didn't draw their pls- 

MTiarshal, but none of the other tola until thfe train arrived.' and 



400 



LOWRY LYNCHERS ANNOUNCE PROGRAM 



NEGRO TO PAY MOB'S PENALTY FOR CRIME 



lOPAYS NEWS IBOAV 

MSOCidit^Mtss'stimct 

liaTEMtTIOIu'liEWS SERVICE 



r Price Three Cents 



Ctje ^t\xiiS 



Price Three Cents 



iinceinrec \^enis I f^w^^Tli 

r r FINAL C I T Y . 

ctmvtar Leditioh 



MKMi'iii^. ti:nn. 



.lAM AHY Ji;. I'lJI 



AVENGERS SET 
6 O'CLOCK AS 
LYNCHING HOUR 

Husky Arkansas Men Take Henry Loivry, 

Craig Slayer, From Train and 

Whisk Him Away. 

MILLINGTON, Tenn., Jan. 26.— A party of seven in two 
automobiles with Henry Lowry, negro murderer of two mem- 
bers of the Craig family on Christmas day, stopped here at 
12:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon on the way from Sardis, 
where they took the prisoner from officers, to Richardson's 



jandmg, where they will cross an! be joined by a party wait- 
ing on the Arkansas side, prepared to lynch Lowry promptly 
at 6 o'clock. 

The party stopped at Fowler's restaurant for lunch. The 
negro was taken into the restaurant and kept under observ»- 
tion while the party ate. 

The negro said nothing, but showed the strain he was 
under. He realized that he was on his way to death. A num- 
ber of Millington citizens were attracted to the restaurant, and 
a few accompanied the party to the landing. They are not ex- 
pected to cross 'the river. 

Nothing occurred to mar the serenity of the joumev. The 
party ate leisurely and after finishing went to E. A. Harrold's 
store, where a quantity of rope was purchased. It was said thar* 
the rope would be used in place of chains for the automobiles. 
The road is very bad and slippery at the approach to the landing. 

The cars apparently were making very good time. About 
one hour and a half before they reached Millington it is thought 
that the same machines passed through Whitehaven. Very 
likely the men drove to Memphis, around the Parkway and out 
the Millington road. Citizens at Raleigh said they did not re- 
call seeing cars of this description. 

Wilson and Nodena arc. across the river from Richardson's 
Landing. 



NEGRO BURNED AT STAKE 



ITODAY'S NEWS TODAY 

mecitT tP niEit 'sEiiiricE 

IITEMtTIOatL IE« lEniCE 



Price Three Ccnts^ 



^ . rrice i nree v^nis. j IP T T? S HP 

r , pnrct TfwEC ants, 

cimitar leditjon 



IITEMtTIOatL IE« lEniCE ^^^ %^ V (7 VVW^ 

VOLUME 41.^ ■ MWII'IUS. TliN.N.. •illXTtSO.Vk .U li;il.N(«».N. .lAM AHV •-•;. 1! 



500 WATCH SLAYER ROAST FOR 30 MINUTES 



401 



A fev/ days before the time in question, at 
Princeton, a town ten miles av/ay (from the scene of the 
alleged crime), the r\:unor went forth that a Negro had 
insulted a white woman. He escaped unp\inlshed as 
there was no evidence against Mm... "".Thite woman- 
hood" had been Insulted, and feeling ran high. . . 

In addition to this conditioning factor came the head- 
lines in the Bluefield "Daily Telegraph": 

Negro Fiend Attacks Bluefield Girl and Entire City 
is Stirred as Never Before. Enraged Citizens Gather 
to Wreak Vengeance on Negro Accused of Crime. 

In Case 10 it v/as shovm how, through continued 
publicity, a whole community became so aroused that doubt 
changed to certainty and a Negro was burned before 
thousands. The Memphis "Press" especially was doubt- 
less responsible in part for the great excitement. 
It was hinted that with all the evidence - even the 
alleged confession - there v/as yet a possibility that the 
Negro would escape pvmishment. The announcement was 
made that regardless of a change of venue the victim 
would have to be brought to Memphis. That no militia 
would be called was also made plain. Long before the 
Negro was brought back to I,Iemphis anxious crowds gathered 
at the station to meet trains from Nashville. 

It was pointed out in Case 13 that after the 
minister's sermon, "I'he people went from the church livid 
with passion, and early this morning the deed was done". 
There had been the crime, then the aggravating delay 
in court procedure. On Sunday morning the preacher 
"Drew an agonizing picture of the murder of Kiss Bishop... 



402 

denounced the Supreme Coiirt... drew a forecast of 
precisely what happened and sternly laid the blame at the 
feet of the judges of the court, and added a final 
appeal to the passions of L:is audience by dramatically 
waiving over his head blood-stained leaves from the 
thicket in which P.elen Bishop had been killed " . If 
in some cases of mob violence no recent experiences 
conditioning the emotional reaction are necessary, it 
seems evident that such experiences as discussed above, 
including the reading of exciting publicity, are some- 
times at least contributory factors. 

The Precipitating Stimulus 

The precipitating stimulus to mob action varies 
with different cases. In many lynching episodes it is 
difficult to determine just v/hen the mob, as distinguished 
from the crowd, emerges. The latter is defined as a 
group of individuals reacting to one another; the 
former signifies a number of individuals responding 
with exaggerated emotion to a more limited field of 
stimuli. Whatever it may be, then, that brings the 
change from general inter-group stimulation and reaction 
to a more centered attention and a more specific and 
exaggerated emotional response is the precipitating 
stimulus, 'ffiille mob action may begin some time before 
the lynching is accomplished, technically it is no doubt 



403 

true that more often the mob emerges immediately be- 
fore the lynching. 

Often the precipitating stimulus is difficult to 
to determine, while in some cases it may be clearly 
distinguished with suggestive indications concerning the 
constitution, and especially the emotional condition, of 
the crov/d members at the time. Prom this viewpoint 
the subject would prove interesting were it possible 
to study at first-hand numerous mob episodes. In a 
majority of availa'.-jle case-studies the precipitating 
stimu.lus is not stated. From these cases it may well be 
supposed that in many instances it v/ould have been diffi- 
cult or impossible to know just what tills stimulus v/as - 
whether the actual crime Itself, the words of some highly 
excitable person, or the appearance of a calculating 
individual bent upon capitalizing the general implicit 
emotional state of the crowd. 

Under proper conditions the statement, "Get ropes, 
get coal oil and gasoline and let's burn tiiis Negro 
up... He thinlrs he is a soldier" may precipitate mob 
action, or stimulate further and hitherto uncontemplated 
violence. In Case Seven it is not improbable that the 
big driver of the beer truck from whom the precipitating 
stimulus came was less excited than calculating. There 
is some evidence that the lynchlnc was partially deliberate 
on the part of some - for political purposes, xiowever 
this may have been, the setting was perfect at the 



404 

moment for the truck driver's loud cry from the rear, 
"Get the nigger I" Exaggerated explicit emotional be- 
havior was the result. In the case of the "Delaware 
Lynching" it mifjht almost fce said that it was a mob that 
left the church on Sunday morning after the minister had 
"drawn an agonizing picture of the murder of Miss Bishop", 
recited a "forecast of precisely v/hat happened", and 
"added a final appeal to the passions of his audiences 
by dramatically waiving over his head blood-stained leaves 
from the thicket in which Helen Bishop had been killed". 
It seems not improbable that only the conventionalized 
restrair.ts on explicit emotional behavior delayed the 
lynching until night. Darkness greatly removes restraint. 
There is v/isdom in the old saying of Plato that if 
man could become invisible at will, no virgin would be 
safe, no strong box unrifled. 

A clear example of the important role of the 
precipitating stimulus in mob action is shovm above in 
Case Eight. While it is not stated why the railroad 
men took Johnson to the court house, the implications 
are that they were bent upon lynching him immediately. 
The speech as reported from the Rev. ..amilton could hardly 
have been better worded by a trained psychologist. He 
used the terms that would strike at the "complexes" or 
sentiments of the crov/d - "Sunday school", "alter", 
"church", "bright sweet girl", "family", "this sweet girl" 
- then ventured to suggest that he v/as trying "to save 



405 

you men from a terrible mis take. . .and from a crime", - 

o 

that of taking the lav/ into their own hands .. . The 
crowd began to disperse and the Negro was placed in jail 
\inder guard of members of the crov.'d v/hio had been sworn 
in as deputies. That the Negro v/ould have had a trial 
in court seems certain but for what occiirred just as 
the crowd began to disperse. Neta V.liite's father arrived 
in an automobile; he came to "identify the man" . 
According to his statement he was highly emotional, "crazy 
wild". He "saw that the nigger was guilty". "So I said 
it T/as he and I said I wanted him lynched". Tlien suddenly 
the crov/d changed into a seething mob v/nich perpetrated 
the only lynching ever to occur in that part of '.Vest 
Virginia. 

Thus far, the discussion evidently embraces only 
minor factors in an explanation of the conditions por- 
trayed in the four preceding chapters. In all countries 
of the v/orld there are those 7^0 fail to adjust adequately 
to the group standards - tliat is, there are criminals. 
In all states of .anerica there are presumably those who 
murder, commit rape, insult v/omen, commit assault "v/ith 
intent to kill", cornj-2lt theft, burglary and other minor 
offenses. But lynching mobs do not function in all 
countries, ;'jor in all states of .^unerica; they are largely 
and increasingly concentrated in a fev/ states of the 
South, and in a relatively fev; counties of these states. 

8. Cf. Giddings, F. H., Elements of Sociology, pp. 123ff. ; 
Allport, op. cit. pp. 96-97; Hart, The Psyciiology of 
Insanity, pp. 62ff. 



406 



/ Wlxy VO per cent of all whites and more than 90 per cent 
of all women lynched in the Nation since 1900 have met 
that fate in the South; why 62 per cent of all lynchings 
in the Nation, and 78 per cent of all lynchings in the 
South have occurred in seven southern states - evidently 
these facts are hardly to be accounted for on the basis 
of the crimes carmnitted, lack of respect for the courts, 
and inflammatory nev/spaper publicity. The latter two 
factors would appear to be effects as well as causes, 
and not as peculiar to the South as the particular type 
of mob violence under consideration. Moreover the 
precipitating stimuli to mob action in the South, as 
indicated in the discussion of this topic, grov/s out of 
and takes effect because of the peculiar constitution 
of those individuals who become members of lynching 
Ljnobs. It is hardly conceivable, for example, that in a 
majority of the states a man would ever think of crying 
out in a court room, "Get the nigger", as the latter 
TfiSiS being sentenced to hang in less than four hours. 
On the other hand it is evident that such a statement 
would appear ridiculous in any but a most peculiar 
situation. 

The factors discussed thus far have been, for the 
most part, those noted by students of mobs in general, 
irrespective of country or of locality. Upon the 
presumption that our outline is inclusive there is, then, 
one explanation left for the frequency and nature of 



407 



southern mob action as it differs in these respects from 
mob violence in other sections. 

The Constitution of the Mob Members 

What is the constitution of the persons involved 
in lynching mobs? This is the fundamental question to 
be answered, the one on vmich in the very nature of the 
present study little definite information has been 
gathered, and yet a question on which it seems altogether 
possible to throw considerable light. The constitution 
of the individual from the psychological viewpoint has 
reference to his fundamental nature, - neural structxire, 
emotions, habits, attitudes. This involves broadly 
heredity and environment; more specifically, in addition 
to heredity, all remote experiences conditioning emotional 
reaction. Recent experiences for conditioning emotion 
may be considered, psychologically, as a part of the 
mob episode itself, hence are not properly considered 
under this topic. 

While many reports of southern mob action state 
that "prominent citizens" were present, it has been noted 
in late years by practically all students of the subject 
that it is the "lov/er elements" who actively participate. 
As we have seen, this was not alv/ays the case with re- 
spect to American lynching mobs. In later years, how- 
ever, expecially since about 1900 when public sentiment 



408 



against the practice of lynching began to grow, it has 
been the general assumption or statement of practically 
every writer on the subject of southern mobs that the 
mob participants are among the more unstable of the 
population. V/hile no definite study had been made to 
determine this point scientifically the similarity of the 
statements with those of students of mob action in 
general, some of them students of other countries, is 
striking, 
p Le Bon long ago pointed out that the crov/d "is 
a servile flock that is incapable of ever doing with- 
out a master"; that the leaders of crov/ds are often 
the most emotional and unstable of the group. They are 
men of action, not thinkers. "They are especially 
recruited from the ranl-:s of those morbidly nervous, 
excitable, half -deranged persons who are bordering on 

Q 

madness" . 

A southern writer recently pointed out that southern 
mobs are largely made up of people from r\iral districts, 
and commented on the fact that "The whites of the rural 
districts in the South are unfortunately much given to 
sensationalism in religion"; thus suggesting v/hat is 
called high emotionality. As indicated in previous 
chapters of the present study it is true that a vast 



"5^ Le bon, Gustav, op. cit., p. 134. 

10. See The Texas Review, Vol. IV, p. 217. 



409 

majority of the lynching mobs are composed of rural or 

sraall-tovm people. This v/riter states further that many 

mobs are composed largely of young fellows, often of 

good families, "who are seeking a sensation". The 

Chicago Race Commission quotes the coroner's jury which 

conducted inquests into the 38 riot deaths in 1919: 

Hoodlioms are the nucleus of a mob - the young, idle, 
vicious, and in many instances degenerate and criminal, 
impatient of restraint of law, gather together and when 
fortified by sufficient numbers start out on a mission 
of disorder, lav/-breaking, destruction, and murder. 
Mobs, white or colored, grov/ a:out a nucleus of tiiis 
character .-^-2 

Judge Stephenson of North Carolina closed a 
paper on the subject of how mob action might be pre- 
vented in the South by suggesting that the Judges refer 
specifically to lynching in charging the Grand Jury. 
His suggestion was based on the theory that "the crowd 
that hangs around the court house never read or hear 
other speeches". He stated that "this group is the one 
that does the lynching" .^"^ C. M. Bishop maintains that tlie 
mob is always made up of the lower elements of the 
community but that among the followers are often "other- 
wise respectable citizens", v/omen and children. '-Re- 
ferring particularly to Southern mobs Martin suggests 
the type of personnel as follows: 



11. Indem . 

12. The Negro in Chicago , p. 17. 

13. Lawlessness or Civilization , p. 21. 

14. "The Causes, Consequences, and Cure of Mob Violence", 
Report of the Southern Sociological Conference, 
1916-1918, pp. 195ff. 



410 



And it must be said that In general the kind of people 
whose feeliigs of personal superiority can find no 
other social support than the mere fact that they 
happen to belong to the white race - and I think it 
will be found that the mobs who attack Negroes are 
uniformly made of people who belong to this element - 
naturally find their self-feeling injured if "a nigger 
puts on airs". -^^ J 

Without quoting others who stress the point that it is 
the more unstable of the community v/ho participate in 
lynching mobs, suggestive indications may be gathered 
from the case-studies presented. 

In Case One the letter quoted from Nev;berry, 
Florida, shows the writer to be from what would be 
called the lower \xn thinking element of the population. 
He not only states that a Negro is unworthy of an 
education - a statement which might possibly come from 
more eminent southerners - but continues: "All the 
mean crimes that are done are committed by some un- 
educated Negro. ..it (the Bible) will tell you that he first 
originated from an animal. We Southern people don't 
care to equal ourselves v/lth animals... The people in 
the South don't think any more of killing the black 
fellows than you would think of killing a flea. So you 
have my opinion of ?^r. Negro and if I was to live 1000 
years that v/ould be my opinion and every Southern man...". 
The lynching record of the county from which the above 
letter came implies that others there must have had some- 
what similar feelings tov/ard the Negro. 

15. Ivlartin, Sverett Dean, The .-iehavior of Crowds, p. 122. 



411 

In Case Two there is evidence of instability, 
especially on the part of those who mad'^ such remarks 
as: "Let's tie him up to a limb." "The v/ay to stop 
Negro soldiers is to burn them." ";vhen we get this one 
we will get all the Negroes." "This is the way we do 
all Negroes who refuse to do what we want done." Al- 
though the leaders in one of the lynchings in Brooks 
and Lowndes Counties, Georgia (Case Three) v/ere 
"professional men" from Quitman, their reputations are 
apparently not of the highest type. The punishment 
meted out to Mary Turner is s\iggestive of abnormally 
developed sadistic tendencies on the part of the 
tormentors. In the Vicksburg Case the leader is 
quoted as saying finally, "Have you had enough fun, boys?" 
"Yes, cut him down," was the reply. In addition to the 
numerous indications of this sadistic tendency on the 
part of lynchers, the follov/ing quotation from the 
Memphis "News -Scimitar" - one among many of similar con- 
tent which could be cited - is suggestive; 

All waited patiently. Women, v/ith babies, made 
themselves comfortable. At last the irons v/ere hot. 
A red streak shot out, a poker in a brawny hand was 
boring out one of the Negro's eyes. The Negro bore 
the ordeal with courage, only low moans escaping him. 
Jbiother poker was working like an auger on the other 
orbit. Swish. Once, twice, tliree times a red hot 
iron dug gaping places in Latidn Scott's back and 
sides. "Fetch a hotter one," somebody said. The 
execution went on. 

Now some one had another poker - jabi^ing its 
fiery point into the ribs of the doomed black. Then 
rubbish was piled about the agonized body, squirming 
beneath its load. More and more wood and rubbish 



412 



were fed the fire, but at three o'clock Latlon Scott 
was not dead. Life finally fled at four o'clock. 
V/O'ien scarcely changed countenance as the Negro's 
back Y/as ironed with the hot bands. Even the 
executioners maintained their poise in the face of 
bloody creases left by the irons, - Irons which some 
housewife had been using. Three and a half hours 
were required to complete the execution. 

In a high proportion of the reports of lynchings 

something is said of the gathering of souvenirs by mob 

members and onlookers. Tliis is probably a significant 

index to the nature of these individuals. The following 

excerpts are quoted from reports received from several 

students in a southern college on the subject on 

"Lynching Souvenirs". Names are omitted by request. 



Case 1 

Reported by II. P. S., an Eyewitness 

Near Prosperity, , a mob placed a Negro, 

who had shot a white farmer, between two trees and made 
ready to lynch him. First, several men fired at him 
from a distance with shot-guns. The negro was uninjiired, 
however, and merely pulled 1-is cap over his face to shield 
it from the shot. Then more than a hundred men formed a 
half circle a few yards from the i'^egro. They fired a 
volley. The man's body was sjiot almost into a pulp. 
Before all of the powder smoke had lifted, a 
number of the mob had rushed forv/ard to the body of the 



413 



victim. There the^' fell upon their knees beside the 
torn corpse and struggled with each other for such 
souvenirs as bones, fingers, teeth, etc., which they 
eagerly picked up or cut off from the body with their 
pocket-knives. 



Case 2 

Reported by J. W. H . 
, T/hite man, Vifho lives about 14 miles from 



Fairfax, , has in liis possession a dried toe of 

the Negro - , who was lynched in County about 

1916 or 1917 after having been killed in by a 

posse. His dead body was then hanged and riddled with 
bullets. For some time L. B.'s father, b. B. , carried 
this toe upon '^.is v/atch chain. B. B. is now dead... 
(Student has seen the toe which appears to be a valued 
possession. ) 



Case 3 

Reported by C. P. P . 
A Negro named v/as lynched in 



County, . The leader of the mob was Mr 



16. The reports were that he was killed while resisting 
arrest, hence r.is name does not appear in the list 



of those lynched. 



414 



a lawyer. For some months after the lynching Mr. 



carried In his pocket, and proudly exhibited, the little 

finger of the Negro. ISr, was himself shot and 

killed not long after in a dispute over a case in court. 



Case 4 

Reported hy H. C. B . 

About 1917 a Negro named was pursued by 

a mob in County. The Hegro was accused, probably 

falsely, of attempted criminal assault. (the 

Negro) killed several of the mob and escaped to . 

There a sheriff's posse shot him - probably after he had 

surrendered. His dead body was then brought to 

County, strung up, and riddled with bullets. 

His and (sex organs), preserved 

in alcohol, were some months afterv/ard exhibited upon the 
streets of one of the towns of the County... 



Case 5 

Reported b:, D. F. H . 

In 1925 a white man near , had as a v/atch 

charm several teeth of a negro v/ho had been lynched after 
"killing several persons". Holes had been bored in the 
teeth; they v/ere then strung upon the v/atch chain. 

It is not at all certain, r^owever, that every 



415 

lynching in the South is committed by wliat would be 
called "the rabble", 'i'he conclusion that different types 
of persons go to make up the lynching mobs of the South 
seems warranted. Some of the cases cited indicate that 
what we call the average citizens, under proper stimulation, 
may make up what proves to be an extremely vicious lynch- 
ing mob. If this be true, there must be other factors 
by which southern lynching mobs can be accounted for ttian 
hereditary instability and abnormally developed morbid 
impulses of a sadistic nature. Whether or not these 
factors are more common in the South than in other sections 
is doubtful, and must remain so until unfo\inded dogmatic 
statements are superseded by known facts. It seem.s 
altogether possible that the phenomena in question may be 
accounted for without these particular facts; that this 
may be done on a culture basis. It v/as for this purpose 
tliat the historical chapters were included. On the 
basis of these chapters let us summarize briefly the 
background, the remote factors for conditioning southern 
individuals to the type of reactions made in mob 
violence. 

Accounts of the origin of lynch-law indicate that 
the practice is not indigenous to this country. ^Vhile 
it seems altogether probable that there is some connection 
between this form of mob violence in Ireland and 
England and the early practices in America, it is not 



416 

certain. It seems significant that the earliest form 
of "lynching" was ver'j similar to the behavior connoted 
by the old Anglo-Saxon verb "linch". Hov/ever this may 
be, it appears that the practice sprung up in the early 
history of America as a natural result of imperative 
conditions. Lynch law had its origin where communities 
were lacking in organized government. At the time it 
v/as practically the only "law" to v/hich an outraged 
citizenry could appeal. It was not a defiance of law 
but a substitute for a better law. It was an attempt 
to correct defects in an Inchoate society, and was 
uncontaminated v/ith race prejudice. For many years the 
most frequent victims of mobs were white men, who would 
be lynched no less speedily than Negroes or foreigners. 

Starting in the colonies, the practice spread 
to the border States where outlav/s congregated and courts 
were weak. V/hen courts were firmly established in the 
colonies lynch-lav/ seems generally to have waned, although 
there Hre instances of its degeneration to the regulation 
of morals and family relations .-'■'^ In some of the colonies, 
and m.ore especially in the nev/er states there v/as a 
struggle betv/een the law and the advocates of extra- 
legal regulation as the former gradually developed. This 
seems to have been determined not only by the local 
conditions but by tlie type of settlers. Many of the people 

17. Chapter 11^ 



417 

had come to escape l&vi; they were slow to come again 

under its domination. They considr^red themselves a law 

unto themselves. To use the words of the English traveler: 

They surrender with reluctance, and only by halves, 
their right of defence against every aggression even 
to the lav/s wliich they themselves have constituted. 

The attitude was handed down. The conception of 

"democracy" held by many Americans, possibly today, is 

that "v/e make the laws, therefore we can unmake them". 

This statement has been made by members of mobs bent 

upon taking criminals from officers for the purpose of 

lynching them. "If we say what the judge can do, v/hy 

can't we do this thing ourselves when we want to?" is 

the attitude sometimes expressed. Cutler points out that 

"this is the spirit exhibited, the vague and perhaps 

iinconscious attitude tov/ard the lavir, which seems par- 

18 

ticularly to pervade the United States". No doubt 

such an attlt-ude played its part ±n the early history of 
mob violence and is a partial explanation for the general 
lav;lessness characteristic of America until today. 
(^ In Chapter III we have noted hov/, in early days, 

lynch-law was practiced in the South. The practice of 
lynching was greatly increased during the anti-slavery 
agitation, and it was at this time that the Negroes 
began to be involved to an appreciable extent. Tliey 
committed more crimes, apparently, and the masters tightened 
their hold on them by making "public examples" of 
criminals. It is doubtless true, too, that som.e of the 

18. Op. clt., p. 269. 



418 

concentration of punishment on the Kegro at tliis time 

19 
was in the form of a rage reaction against the abolitionist. 

It was at t' is time also that fear of the Negro 
arose in the South. Previously he had been docile, scarce- 
ly ever an individual criminal, and never known to rise 
in an organized group to strike against his master. 
The Nat Turner insurrection, especially, left behind 
both fear and hatred. Under the spur of anti-slavery 
agitation other uprisings were planned and still others 
were thought to have been contemplated. Rumors later 
found to have no foundation were spread abroad; and 
doubtless played a part in creating added fear and hatred 
of the Negro. The term - and practice of - "lynch-law" 
now came into general use in the South. First Kegro 
insurrectionists, criminals, and abolitionists were 
lynched in increased numbers; then the practice having . 
become habitual spread to strangers - "\inknown to the 
inhabitants" - who were "lynched and sent out of town". 
Between 1830 and 1860 y/hen there was a marked increase 
of crimes by Negroes, the practice of burning was begun 
in the South. This was not, of course, the first 
punishment by burning. Heretics were btirned during the 
Middle Ages. 20 The precedent for burning Negroes seems 
to have been set in New .ork. "As early as 1712 New York 

T^T^Cf. Letter from ilouston, 'IqX&s, quoted in Chapter III. 
20. 3umner, W. G., op. cit., p. 244. 



419 



hanged and burnt slaves and left some in chains to 
starve to death. And in 1741 the city of New York burnt 
14 Negroes and hanged twenty-one. "^l For the double crime 
of murder and rape two Negroes v/ere burned at the stake in 
Alabama as early as 1835. During the decade between 
1850 and the Civil War lynch-law was increasingly 
practiced in the South. It was during this time that the 
term came more and more to signify death. 

After the V/ar the terra "lynching" soon came to 
connote s\ammary punishment by death. Previously the 
Negro's economic value had insured nis life save in 
cases of outrageous crimes. Nov/ his economic value 
to the white man was gone - he was theoretically "free 
and equal". It was during the Reconstruction Period, 
therefore, that an actual "race problem" took shape. 
Whereas before the two races had lived side by side in 
a state of almost perfect accomodation, there now came 
a sudden change which brought about marked disorgani- 
zation. This would have been a difficult situation under 
the best of conditions - but these were not forthcoming. 

The "carpet-bagger" came South in large numbers; 
Negroes turned from cotton pickers to politicians - 
some of them apparently were less corrupt than the 
"carpet-Baggers" only in proportion to the difference 
in education. Negro soldiers, policemen and Congress- 

'>.^ . Duncan. H. 6.. Changing Relationships etc., p. lUl. 



420 

men were distasteful especially to the "low whites", 
some of whom had been against slavery itiOre because they 
disliked the masters than because they liked or pitied 
the slaves. 

The Freedraen's Bureau, i<egro soldiers, and crime 
renev/ed and intensified the fear of the Negro v/hich had 
been somewhat allayed diiring the Vfer. It may be signi- 
ficant that some of the worst lynching states today v/ere 
those in which Negro troops were stationed. The influence 
of Negro crimes committed during these years, and rore 
especially such stories circulated about them as "The 
Lone Star of Texas", "?,1ilitary Rule in Alabama" and "Negro 
Soldiers and White Girl" as given in Chapter IV cannot 
be measured. That both the incidents and the recitals 
of them v/ere influential in conditioning southern 
people to fear and rage reactions to the Negro seems 
certain. 

The Ku Klux Klan emerged quite as naturally as 
lynching had long before. At first it was an organi- 
zation that attempted to fulfill a real need. Inherent 
in it, however, were vi^eaknesses that spelled failure and 
worse. There were "vile desperadoes Vi^hite and black" 
whom it was desirable to regul te for public safety, 
but the failure made by the Klan to accomplish this 
purpose might v/ell have been foreseen. As shown by the 
cases cited in Chapter IV, some of the vilest of criminals 



421 



soon tecame Klansmen. During the decade following the War 
there was an unrivaled wave of lawlessness over the South. 
If the Klan was an effect, it was also a cause of law- 
lessness. It left as a part of the social heritage for 
futvire southern generations the practice of handing 
together under cover of hoods and darkness to wreak 
vengeance on criminals or others who had come into dis- 
favor. For years after its official disbanding news- 
paper reports of lynchings would read: "by the Ku Klux." 
There was a marked increase in the number of prosecutions 

of lynchers. 

Respect for law had been weakened for years to 
come. "Thus lawlessness, or an attitude of denial and 
defiance of law, became an irremovable element in the 
antagonism of the races. "22 Race prejudice first became 
a vital factor in inter-racial relations. The disposition 
to punish criminals, especially Negroes, extra-legally 
iiad become a habit to be handed dovm from one generation 
to another. Thus Professor Sumner has pointed out that 
"respect for law" is not in our mores, while physical 
pain in the form of lynching has been employed "to en- 
force comformity, and to suppress dissent from current 
mores" of society. 23 

By the process of conditioning, the natural 
response for the small boys shovm in the following 



22. Bishop, Charles 11., op. clt. p. i^'^. 

23. Sumner, W. C-., Folkv/ays , pp. 115, 221. 



422 

photograph to make in later years when a Negro comrnits a 
crime would be to lynch him. This response not only 
carries the sanction of their elders; it is a tense 
emotional experience. ^ vVhile by no means all 
southern children actually see lynchings there are per- 
haps none who fail to read about or hear them discussed. 
So long as children read or hear their elders repeat 
such expressions as, "He ought to be lynched"; "It was 
what he deserved"; "Burning is too good for him"; the 
natxiral thing to expect is the "lynching" response when 
a corresponding situation arises.^ This perhaps 
Accounts largely for the surprising statistics in 
Chapter VI; shows why it is in the South that 70 per cent 
of all v/hites and more than 90 per cent of all wom.en 
lynched since 1900 have met that fate. Given crime, there 
is a vicious circle that conditions the "lynching" response 
in each generation. 

There are evidently other aspects of the remote 
experience factor in conditioning southern individuals 
to the type of mob action characteristic of that section. 
We are now three generations removed from the Civil Vifar. 
The lynching statistics treated In this study were made 
by the second and third generation after the "nightmare 

24. The original of this and a fev/ other photographs 
Y/hich we have collected siiggests clearly the high 
emotionality of children in viewing lynchings. 
Ntimerous case reports state that women and children were 
present. Cf. Allport, op. cit., pp. 96-97. 

25. Cf. Allport, op. cit., pp. 76, 249. 



423 



S A. 



M 






x^ \ 



,;■:■■ --i^ 



? 



r^\.^ 




424 



of Reconstruction". By this time, unless there were other 
aggravating factors, the impetus to mob violence gained at 
that period would doubtless have waned more than it has. 
It is significant that since 1882 the proportion 
of Negroes to the total niimber of persons lynched has 
increased from 37 to 90 per cent. The well-knovm fact 
that no crime for which men are lynched is charactc-lstic 
of the Negro alone suggests marked significance for the 
racial factor per se. That a i'iegro is much more likely 
than a white man to be lynched for Murder, for fighting 
a white man, for theft, for throwing stones, for failure 
to turn out of the road; for rape, attempted rape, 
insulting a v/hite woman, contemplated elopement with a 
white woman, or for misceiigenatlon, - this fact is 
usually explained by "race prejudice", as ordinarily 
used the phrase is a blahlret term signifying an attitude 
of antagonism toward the Negro. "Race prejudice" say 
Park and Burgess, "may be regarded as a spontaneous, more 
or less instinctive, defense reaction, the practical 
effect of which is to restrict competition betv/een 
races" . ° Bogardus speaks of race prejudice as "an 
antagonistic attitude of members of one race toward those 
of another", and adds, "It is usually a non-scientific 
pre-judgment".^'^ In a discussion of the subject Young 



26. Op. cit., p. 62. ~" 

27. Fundamentals of Social Psychology , p. 321. Cf. 
Lximley, F. E., Means of Social Control, pp. 126-127, 



425 



stresses what is intimated in the statement by Bogardus - 
the non-personal experience basis of race prejudice. 
"Prejudice is, in short, a name for a group of mental 
patterns which become thoroughly ingrained in the in- 
dividual from infancy. "2® 

Now race prejudice of a more or less marked degree 
is practically universal. 'A'ithout aggravating circum- 
stances, however, the race prejudice against the Negro 
in the South - v/hich, on the part of some, sanctions 
lynching for the most trivial of offenses - would hardly 
persist. Without constant experience factors this 
"group of mental patterns" would not be "thoroughly" 
ingrained in infancy for succeeding generations. Young 
emphasizes this aspect of the subject as follows: ^^ 

It should be clear at once that prejudice is connected 
with the in-group attitudes in reference to out-groups. 
...It bespeaks, on the one hand, the attitudes of 
superiority and class domination. On the other hand, 
it reveals fear, jealousy and concern over the rising 
competition with the other- or out-group. 

^ Broadly speaking it may be said, then, that the 

attitude of antagonism is kept alive by the different 

types of culture in close juxtaposition. in an article 

on race prejudice Professor Dewey says:^^ 

The qestion is not primarily one of race at all, but 
of the adjustment of different types of culture to 

28. Young, Kimball, Source liook for Social Psychology , 
p. 482. 

29. Loc. cit. 

30. "Racial Prejudice and F'riction," The Chinese Social 
and Political Science Review, March, 1922, pp. 23-24. 



, < i 



426 



one another. These differences of culture include... 
differences of speech, manner, religion, moral codes, 
each of which is pregnant with causes of misunder- 
standing and friction... Ihey include also economic 
and industrial differences involving differences in 
planes or standards of daily life on the part of the 
masses, '^at is called race prejudice is not then the 
cause of friction. It is rather a product and sign of 
the friction, which is generated by these other deep- 
seated causes. Like other social effects, it becomes 
in turn a cause of further consequences; expecially it 
intensifies and exasperates the other sources of 
friction. . . 

This attitude of antagonism kept alive in each 
generation by economic competition and the differences in 
cultiire is thus passed on to the next. It is a part of the 
constitution of the individuals who exhibit the lynching 
reaction when a Negro commits, or is supposed to have com- 
mitted, a crime. This no doubt explains, at least in part, 
the extremely high proportion of Negroes lynched in the 
, South where 85 per cent of the Negroes live. 

The Next Step 

If the increasing concentration in the South of 
all lynchings, black and white, men and Yvomen, and the 
increasing concentration of this form of mob violence 
against the Negro race is accounted for on the basis of 
the factors discussed in this chapter, there are yet other 
facts that call for further study. That there are vast 
differences in some of the conditions leading to mob action 
in different localities is clearly shov/n in preceding 
chapters. 7lhj 78 per cent of all lynchings in the South 



■Jh 



427 

are concentrated In seven states, three of which have 
had betv;een 200 and 300 mob victims since 1900; v/hy these 
1,348 lynchinjs are fxorther cor.centrated in a few counties 
of the major lynching states in v/!:^ich there are wide dif- 
ferences in the proportions of Illiteracy, farm tenancy, 
and Negro popvilation; why there is a variation from state 
to state in lynchings per season and per month; why striking 
differences in the reported "causes" of lynchings are noted 
from state to state and from county to county, - these 
facts indicate differences in local conditions which are 
beyond the bounds of the present study to determine. 

If we have succeeded in picturing with a fair 
degree of accuracy the situation in the South as regards 
its characteristic type of mob action; if we have succeeded 
in pointing out the general background from which this 
type of social phenomena comes and the general factors 
involved in its persistence into the third decade of thse 
Twentieth Century, our purpose is accomplished and the 
next step is clear. 



428 



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Nation, Vol. 108, pp. 938ff. 

"A Study of the Mob"; Atlantic 
Monthly LX:W. pp. 188-197. (Library 
of Congress.) 

"Statisches uber das Lyncher in 
Nordamerika" ; Archiv fvir Krimiaalan- 
thropologie und kriminalistik, 
April, 1903, pp. 224-227. (Library 
of Congress.) 






436 



Stev.art, H. L. 
Strong, E. K. Jr, 

Tansley, A. G. 

^ Terrell, Mary C. 



V 



u/ 



U. S. Court 



Weather ford, v;. D. 



\/ Young, Earle Edward 



"The Casuistry of Lynch Law"; The 
Nation, Vol. 103, pp. 173ff. 

"Control of Propaganda as a Psy- 
chological Problem"; Scientific 
Monthly, Vol. 14, March, 1922. 

"Complex and Sentiment"; British 
Journal of Psychology, General 
Series, Oct., 1922. 

"Lynching from a Negro's Point of ^ 
Viev/"; North American Reviev/, Vol. 
178, 1904. 

"Proceedings at the Ku Klux Trials, 
at Columbia, S. C, November Term, 
1871"; State Printers, Colvunbia, 
S. C, 1872. 

"Lawlessness o/ Civilization, which?" 
Lav/ and Order Conference, Blue 
Ridge, N. C, Aug., 1917. 

"Lynching and Political Areas"; 
Sociology and Social Research, Vol. 
XII, 1928. 



Nev/spapers, Reports, and General References 



References under this category actually drav/n from 
are listed. To list all of the newspaper clippings 
and articles cearlng on the subject is impractical. 

Files of Birmingham ITews 

Files of Boston Evening Post 

Piles of Bronson Florida Mews 

Files of Bureau of Education Bulletins 

Files of Commercial Appeal 

Encyclopedia Brittanica, 11th edition, "Lynch Lav/", Vol. XVII 

Files of Green i:.afe 

Hampton Institute, "Lynching: A National Menace", reprinted 

from "Tiie Southern V/orkman", 1919. 

Files of Lexington, Kentucky, Herald. 



437 



Piles of Liberator (Library of Congress) 

Files of Literary Digest 

Files of London Gazette 

Files of London Spectator 

Files of Memphis Press 

Piles of ivlobile , Alabama, Register 

National Association Advancement of Colored People, nuinercxis 

articles from the Crisis , various 
supplements to the "Tlirty Years 
Lynching", reprints, and correspon- 
dence files. 

Files of New York Evening Post 

Files of Key; York Times 

Files of Nev/ York V/orld 

Files of Hiles' Register 

Personal Correspondence 

Files of Raleigh Times 

Report of Joint Committee on Reconstruction, Vol. Ill 

Senate Document 

Senate Report on Labor and Capital, Testimony, Vol. IV 

Files of The Nation 

U. S. Census Reports 









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