The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Red Record, by Ida B. Wells-BarnettThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: The Red Record Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United StatesAuthor: Ida B. Wells-BarnettRelease Date: February 8, 2005 [EBook #14977]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE RED RECORD ***Produced by Suzanne Shell, Melissa Er-Raqabi and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at https://www.pgdp.net
Tabulated Statistics and
Alleged Causes of Lynching
in the United States
By Ida B. Wells-Barnett
[Transcriber's Note: This pamphlet was first published in 1895 but wassubsequently reprinted. It's not apparent if the curiosities in spellingdate back to the original or were introduced later; they have beenretained as found, and the reader is left to decide. Please verify withanother source before quoting this material.]
HON. FREDERICK DOUGLASS'S LETTER
DEAR MISS WELLS:
Let me give you thanks for your faithful paper on the lynch abominationnow generally practiced against colored people in the South. There hasbeen no word equal to it in convincing power. I have spoken, but my wordis feeble in comparison. You give us what you know and testify from actualknowledge. You have dealt with the facts with cool, painstaking fidelity,and left those naked and uncontradicted facts to speak for themselves.
Brave woman! you have done your people and mine a service which canneither be weighed nor measured. If the American conscience were only halfalive, if the American church and clergy were only half Christianized, ifAmerican moral sensibility were not hardened by persistent infliction ofoutrage and crime against colored people, a scream of horror, shame, andindignation would rise to Heaven wherever your pamphlet shall be read.
But alas! even crime has power to reproduce itself and create conditionsfavorable to its own existence. It sometimes seems we are deserted byearth and Heaven—yet we must still think, speak and work, and trust inthe power of a merciful God for final deliverance.
Very truly and gratefully yours,
Cedar Hill, Anacostia, D.C.
The Case Stated
Lynching of Innocent Men
Lynched for Anything or Nothing
History of Some Cases of Rape
The Crusade Justified
Miss Willard's Attitude
Lynching Record for 1894
THE CASE STATED
The student of American sociology will find the year 1894 marked by apronounced awakening of the public conscience to a system of anarchy andoutlawry which had grown during a series of ten years to be so common,that scenes of unusual brutality failed to have any visible effect uponthe humane sentiments of the people of our land.
Beginning with the emancipation of the Negro, the inevitable result ofunbribled power exercised for two and a half centuries, by the white manover the Negro, began to show itself in acts of conscienceless outlawry.During the slave regime, the Southern white man owned the Negro body andsoul. It was to his interest to dwarf the soul and preserve the body.Vested with unlimited power over his slave, to subject him to any and allkinds of physical punishment, the white man was still restrained from suchpunishment as tended to injure the slave by abating his physical powersand thereby reducing his financial worth. While slaves were scourgedmercilessly, and in countless cases inhumanly treated in other respects,still the white owner rarely permitted his anger to go so far as to take alife, which would entail upon him a loss of several hundred dollars. Theslave was rarely killed, he was too valuable; it was easier and quite aseffective, for discipline or revenge, to sell him "Down South."
But Emancipation came and the vested interests of the white man in theNegro's body were lost. The white man had no right to scourge theemancipated Negro, still less has he a right to kill him. But the Southernwhite people had been educated so long in that school of practice, inwhich might makes right, that they disdained to draw strict lines ofaction in dealing with the Negro. In slave times the Negro was keptsubservient and submissive by the frequency and severity of the scourging,but, with freedom, a new system of intimidation came into vogue; the Negrowas not only whipped and scourged; he was killed.
Not all nor nearly all of the murders done by white men, during the pastthirty years in the South, have come to light, but the statistics asgathered and preserved by white men, and which have not been questioned,show that during these years more than ten thousand Negroes have beenkilled in cold blood, without the formality of judicial trial and legalexecution. And yet, as evidence of the absolute impunity with which thewhite man dares to kill a Negro, the same record shows that during allthese years, and for all these murders only three white men have beentried, convicted, and executed. As no white man has been lynched for themurder of colored people, these three executions are the only instances ofthe death penalty being visited upon white men for murdering Negroes.
Naturally enough the commission of these crimes began to tell upon thepublic conscience, and the Southern white man, as a tribute to thenineteenth-century civilization, was in a manner compelled to give excusesfor his barbarism. His excuses have adapted themselves to the emergency,and are aptly outlined by that greatest of all Negroes, FrederickDouglass, in an article of recent date, in which he shows that there havebeen three distinct eras of Southern barbarism, to account for which threedistinct excuses have been made.
The first excuse given to the civilized world for the murder ofunoffending Negroes was the necessity of the white man to repress andstamp out alleged "race riots." For years immediately succeeding the warthere was an appalling slaughter of colored people, and the wires usuallyconveyed to northern people and the world the intelligence, first, that aninsurrection was being planned by Negroes, which, a few hours later, wouldprove to have been vigorously resisted by white men, and controlled with aresulting loss of several killed and wounded. It was always a remarkablefeature in these insurrections and riots that only Negroes were killedduring the rioting, and that all the white men escaped unharmed.
From 1865 to 1872, hundreds of colored men and women were mercilesslymurdered and the almost invariable reason assigned was that they met theirdeath by being alleged participants in an insurrection or riot. But thisstory at last wore itself out. No insurrection ever materialized; noNegro rioter was ever apprehended and proven guilty, and no dynamite everrecorded the black man's protest against oppression and wrong. It was toomuch to ask thoughtful people to believe this transparent story, and thesouthern white people at last made up their minds that some other excusemust be had.
Then came the second excuse, which had its birth during the turbulenttimes of reconstruction. By an amendment to the Constitution the Negro wasgiven the right of franchise, and, theoretically at least, his ballotbecame his invaluable emblem of citizenship. In a government "of thepeople, for the people, and by the people," the Negro's vote became animportant factor in all matters of state and national politics. But thisdid not last long. The southern white man would not consider that theNegro had any right which a white man was bound to respect, and the ideaof a republican form of government in the southern states grew intogeneral contempt. It was maintained that "This is a white man'sgovernment," and regardless of numbers the white man should rule. "NoNegro domination" became the new legend on the sanguinary banner of thesunny South, and under it rode the Ku Klux Klan, the Regulators, and thelawless mobs, which for any cause chose to murder one man or a dozen assuited their purpose best. It was a long, gory campaign; the blood chillsand the heart almost loses faith in Christianity when one thinks of Yazoo,Hamburg, Edgefield, Copiah, and the countless massacres of defenselessNegroes, whose only crime was the attempt to exercise their right to vote.
But it was a bootless strife for colored people. The government which hadmade the Negro a citizen found itself unable to protect him. It gave himthe right to vote, but denied him the protection which should havemaintained that right. Scourged from his home; hunted through the swamps;hung by midnight raiders, and openly murdered in the light of day, theNegro clung to his right of franchise with a heroism which would havewrung admiration from the hearts of savages. He believed that in thatsmall white ballot there was a subtle something which stood for manhood aswell as citizenship, and thousands of brave black men went to theirgraves, exemplifying the one by dying for the other.
The white man's victory soon became complete by fraud, violence,intimidation and murder. The franchise vouchsafed to the Negro grew to bea "barren ideality," and regardless of numbers, the colored people foundthemselves voiceless in the councils of those whose duty it was to rule.With no longer the fear of "Negro Domination" before their eyes, thewhite man's second excuse became valueless. With the Southern governmentsall subverted and the Negro actually eliminated from all participation instate and national elections, there could be no longer an excuse forkilling Negroes to prevent "Negro Domination."
Brutality still continued; Negroes were whipped, scourged, exiled, shotand hung whenever and wherever it pleased the white man so to treat them,and as the civilized world with increasing persistency held the whitepeople of the South to account for its outlawry, the murderers inventedthe third excuse—that Negroes had to be killed to avenge their assaultsupon women. There could be framed no possible excuse more harmful to theNegro and more unanswerable if true in its sufficiency for the white man.
Humanity abhors the assailant of womanhood, and this charge upon the Negroat once placed him beyond the pale of human sympathy. With such unanimity,earnestness and apparent candor was this charge made and reiterated thatthe world has accepted the story that the Negro is a monster which theSouthern white man has painted him. And today, the Christian world feels,that while lynching is a crime, and lawlessness and anarchy the certainprecursors of a nation's fall, it can not by word or deed, extend sympathyor help to a race of outlaws, who might mistake their plea for justice anddeem it an excuse for their continued wrongs.
The Negro has suffered much and is willing to suffer more. He recognizesthat the wrongs of two centuries can not be righted in a day, and he triesto bear his burden with patience for today and be hopeful for tomorrow.But there comes a time when the veriest worm will turn, and the Negrofeels today that after all the work he has done, all the sacrifices he hasmade, and all the suffering he has endured, if he did not, now, defend hisname and manhood from this vile accusation, he would be unworthy even ofthe contempt of mankind. It is to this charge he now feels he must makeanswer.
If the Southern people in defense of their lawlessness, would tell thetruth and admit that colored men and women are lynched for almost anyoffense, from murder to a misdemeanor, there would not now be thenecessity for this defense. But when they intentionally, maliciously andconstantly belie the record and bolster up these falsehoods by the wordsof legislators, preachers, governors and bishops, then the Negro must giveto the world his side of the awful story.
A word as to the charge itself. In considering the third reason assignedby the Southern white people for the butchery of blacks, the question mustbe asked, what the white man means when he charges the black man withrape. Does he mean the crime which the statutes of the civilized statesdescribe as such? Not by any means. With the Southern white man, anymesalliance existing between a white woman and a colored man is asufficient foundation for the charge of rape. The Southern white man saysthat it is impossible for a voluntary alliance to exist between a whitewoman and a colored man, and therefore, the fact of an alliance is a proofof force. In numerous instances where colored men have have been lynchedon the charge of rape, it was positively known at the time of lynching,and indisputably proven after the victim's death, that the relationshipsustained between the man and woman was voluntary and clandestine, andthat in no court of law could even the charge of assault have beensuccessfully maintained.
It was for the assertion of this fact, in the defense of her own race,that the writer hereof became an exile; her property destroyed and herreturn to her home forbidden under penalty of death, for writing thefollowing editorial which was printed in her paper, the Free Speech, inMemphis, Tenn., May 21,1892:
Eight Negroes lynched since last issue of the Free Speech one at Little Rock, Ark., last Saturday morning where the citizens broke(?) into the penitentiary and got their man; three near Anniston, Ala., one near New Orleans; and three at Clarksville, Ga., the last three for killing a white man, and five on the same old racket—the new alarm about raping white women. The same programme of hanging, then shooting bullets into the lifeless bodies was carried out to the letter. Nobody in this section of the country believes the old threadbare lie that Negro men rape white women. If Southern white men are not careful, they will overreach themselves and public sentiment will have a reaction; a conclusion will then be reached which will be very damaging to the moral reputation of their women.
But threats cannot suppress the truth, and while the Negro suffers thesoul deformity, resultant from two and a half centuries of slavery, he isno more guilty of this vilest of all vile charges than the white man whowould blacken his name.
During all the years of slavery, no such charge was ever made, not evenduring the dark days of the rebellion, when the white man, following thefortunes of war went to do battle for the maintenance of slavery. Whilethe master was away fighting to forge the fetters upon the slave, he lefthis wife and children with no protectors save the Negroes themselves. Andyet during those years of trust and peril, no Negro proved recreant to histrust and no white man returned to a home that had been dispoiled.
Likewise during the period of alleged "insurrection," and alarming "raceriots," it never occurred to the white man, that his wife and childrenwere in danger of assault. Nor in the Reconstruction era, when the hue andcry was against "Negro Domination," was there ever a thought that thedomination would ever contaminate a fireside or strike to death the virtueof womanhood. It must appear strange indeed, to every thoughtful andcandid man, that more than a quarter of a century elapsed before the Negrobegan to show signs of such infamous degeneration.
In his remarkable apology for lynching, Bishop Haygood, of Georgia, says:"No race, not the most savage, tolerates the rape of woman, but it may besaid without reflection upon any other people that the Southern people arenow and always have been most sensitive concerning the honor of theirwomen—their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters." It is not the purposeof this defense to say one word against the white women of the South. Suchneed not be said, but it is their misfortune that the chivalrous white menof that section, in order to escape the deserved execration of thecivilized world, should shield themselves by their cowardly and infamouslyfalse excuse, and call into question that very honor about which theirdistinguished priestly apologist claims they are most sensitive. Tojustify their own barbarism they assume a chivalry which they do notpossess. True chivalry respects all womanhood, and no one who reads therecord, as it is written in the faces of the million mulattoes in theSouth, will for a minute conceive that the southern white man had a verychivalrous regard for the honor due the women of his own race or respectfor the womanhood which circumstances placed in his power. That chivalrywhich is "most sensitive concerning the honor of women" can hope for butlittle respect from the civilized world, when it confines itself entirelyto the women who happen to be white. Virtue knows no color line, and thechivalry which depends upon complexion of skin and texture of hair cancommand no honest respect.
When emancipation came to the Negroes, there arose in the northern part ofthe United States an almost divine sentiment among the noblest, purestand best white women of the North, who felt called to a mission to educateand Christianize the millions of southern exslaves. From every nook andcorner of the North, brave young white women answered that call and lefttheir cultured homes, their happy associations and their lives of ease,and with heroic determination went to the South to carry light and truthto the benighted blacks. It was a heroism no less than that which callsfor volunteers for India, Africa and the Isles of the sea. To educatetheir unfortunate charges; to teach them the Christian virtues and toinspire in them the moral sentiments manifest in their own lives, theseyoung women braved dangers whose record reads more like fiction than fact.They became social outlaws in the South. The peculiar sensitiveness of thesouthern white men for women, never shed its protecting influence aboutthem. No friendly word from their own race cheered them in their work; nohospitable doors gave them the companionship like that from which they hadcome. No chivalrous white man doffed his hat in honor or respect. Theywere "Nigger teachers"—unpardonable offenders in the social ethics of theSouth, and were insulted, persecuted and ostracised, not by Negroes, butby the white manhood which boasts of its chivalry toward women.
And yet these northern women worked on, year after year, unselfishly, witha heroism which amounted almost to martyrdom. Threading their way throughdense forests, working in schoolhouse, in the cabin and in the church,thrown at all times and in all places among the unfortunate and lowlyNegroes, whom they had come to find and to serve, these northern women,thousands and thousands of them, have spent more than a quarter of acentury in giving to the colored people their splendid lessons for homeand heart and soul. Without protection, save that which innocence gives toevery good woman, they went about their work, fearing no assault andsuffering none. Their chivalrous protectors were hundreds of miles away intheir northern homes, and yet they never feared any "great dark-facedmobs," they dared night or day to "go beyond their own roof trees." Theynever complained of assaults, and no mob was ever called into existence toavenge crimes against them. Before the world adjudges the Negro a moralmonster, a vicious assailant of womanhood and a menace to the sacredprecincts of home, the colored people ask the consideration of the silentrecord of gratitude, respect, protection and devotion of the millions ofthe race in the South, to the thousands of northern white women who haveserved as teachers and missionaries since the war.
The Negro may not have known what chivalry was, but he knew enough topreserve inviolate the womanhood of the South which was entrusted to hishands during the war. The finer sensibilities of his soul may have beencrushed out by years of slavery, but his heart was full of gratitude tothe white women of the North, who blessed his home and inspired his soulin all these years of freedom. Faithful to his trust in both of theseinstances, he should now have the impartial ear of the civilized world,when he dares to speak for himself as against the infamy wherewith hestands charged.
It is his regret, that, in his own defense, he must disclose to the worldthat degree of dehumanizing brutality which fixes upon America the blot ofa national crime. Whatever faults and failings other nations may have intheir dealings with their own subjects or with other people, no othercivilized nation stands condemned before the world with a series of crimesso peculiarly national. It becomes a painful duty of the Negro toreproduce a record which shows that a large portion of the American peopleavow anarchy, condone murder and defy the contempt of civilization. Thesepages are written in no spirit of vindictiveness, for all who give thesubject consideration must concede that far too serious is the conditionof that civilized government in which the spirit of unrestrained outlawryconstantly increases in violence, and casts its blight over a continuallygrowing area of territory. We plead not for the colored people alone, butfor all victims of the terrible injustice which puts men and women todeath without form of law. During the year 1894, there were 132 personsexecuted in the United States by due form of law, while in the same year,197 persons were put to death by mobs who gave the victims no opportunityto make a lawful defense. No comment need be made upon a condition ofpublic sentiment responsible for such alarming results.
The purpose of the pages which follow shall be to give the record whichhas been made, not by colored men, but that which is the result ofcompilations made by white men, of reports sent over the civilized worldby white men in the South. Out of their own mouths shall the murderers becondemned. For a number of years the Chicago Tribune, admittedly one ofthe leading journals of America, has made a specialty of the compilationof statistics touching upon lynching. The data compiled by that journaland published to the world January 1, 1894, up to the present time has notbeen disputed. In order to be safe from the charge of exaggeration, theincidents hereinafter reported have been confined to those vouched for bythe Tribune.
From the record published in the Chicago Tribune, January 1, 1894, thefollowing computation of lynching statistics is made referring only to thecolored victims of Lynch Law during the year 1893:
Sept. 15, Paul Hill, Carrollton, Ala.; Sept. 15, Paul Archer, Carrollton,Ala.; Sept. 15, William Archer, Carrollton, Ala.; Sept. 15, Emma Fair,Carrollton, Ala.
Dec. 23, unknown negro, Fannin, Miss.
Dec. 25, Calvin Thomas, near Brainbridge, Ga.
Dec. 28, Tillman Green, Columbia, La.
Jan. 26, Patrick Wells, Quincy, Fla.; Feb. 9, Frank Harrell, Dickery,Miss.; Feb. 9, William Filder, Dickery, Miss.
Feb. 21, Richard Mays, Springville, Mo.; Aug. 14, Dug Hazleton,Carrollton, Ga.; Sept. 1, Judge McNeil, Cadiz, Ky.; Sept. 11, Frank Smith,Newton, Miss.; Sept. 16, William Jackson, Nevada, Mo.; Sept. 19, RileyGulley, Pine Apple, Ala.; Oct. 9, John Davis, Shorterville, Ala.; Nov. 8,Robert Kennedy, Spartansburg, S.C.
Feb. 16, Richard Forman, Granada, Miss.
Oct. 14, David Jackson, Covington, La.
Sept. 21, Thomas Smith, Roanoke, Va.
Dec. 12, four unknown negroes, near Selma, Ala.
Jan. 30, Thomas Carr, Kosciusko, Miss.; Feb. 7, William Butler, HickoryCreek, Texas; Aug. 27, Charles Tart, Lyons Station, Miss.; Dec. 7, RobertGreenwood, Cross county, Ark.; July 14, Allen Butler, Lawrenceville, Ill.
Oct. 24, two unknown negroes, Knox Point, La.
ALLEGED BARN BURNING
Nov. 4, Edward Wagner, Lynchburg, Va.; Nov. 4, William Wagner, Lynchburg,Va.; Nov. 4, Samuel Motlow, Lynchburg, Va.; Nov. 4, Eliza Motlow,Lynchburg, Va.
Jan. 21, Robert Landry, St. James Parish, La.; Jan. 21, Chicken George,St. James Parish, La.; Jan. 21, Richard Davis, St. James Parish, La.; Dec.8, Benjamin Menter, Berlin, Ala.; Dec. 8, Robert Wilkins, Berlin, Ala.;Dec. 8, Joseph Gevhens, Berlin, Ala.
ALLEGED COMPLICITY IN MURDER
Sept. 16, Valsin Julian, Jefferson Parish, La.; Sept. 16, Basil Julian,Jefferson Parish, La.; Sept. 16, Paul Julian, Jefferson Parish, La.; Sept.16, John Willis, Jefferson Parish, La.
June 29, Samuel Thorp, Savannah, Ga.; June 29, George S. Riechen,Waynesboro, Ga.; June 30, Joseph Bird, Wilberton, I.T.; July 1, JamesLamar, Darien, Ga.; July 28, Henry Miller, Dallas, Texas; July 28, AdaHiers, Walterboro, S.C.; July 28, Alexander Brown, Bastrop, Texas; July30, W.G. Jamison, Quincy, Ill.; Sept. 1, John Ferguson, Lawrens, S.C.;Sept. 1, Oscar Johnston, Berkeley, S.C.; Sept. 1, Henry Ewing, Berkeley,S.C.; Sept. 8, William Smith, Camden, Ark.; Sept. 15, Staples Green,Livingston, Ala.; Sept. 29, Hiram Jacobs, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29,Lucien Mannet, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, Hire Bevington, Mount Vernon,Ga.; Sept. 29, Weldon Gordon, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Sept. 29, ParseStrickland, Mount Vernon, Ga.; Oct. 20, William Dalton, Cartersville, Ga.;Oct. 27, M.B. Taylor, Wise Court House, Va.; Oct. 27, Isaac Williams,Madison, Ga.; Nov. 10, Miller Davis, Center Point, Ark.; Nov. 14, JohnJohnston, Auburn, N.Y.
Sept. 27, Calvin Stewart, Langley, S.C.; Sept. 29, Henry Coleman, Denton,La.; Oct. 18, William Richards, Summerfield, Ga.; Oct. 18, James Dickson,Summerfield, Ga.; Oct. 27, Edward Jenkins, Clayton county, Ga.; Nov. 9,Henry Boggs, Fort White, Fla.; Nov. 14, three unknown negroes, Lake CityJunction, Fla.; Nov. 14, D.T. Nelson, Varney, Ark.; Nov. 29, Newton Jones,Baxley, Ga.; Dec. 2, Lucius Holt, Concord, Ga.; Dec. 10, two unknownnegroes, Richmond, Ala.; July 12, Henry Fleming, Columbus, Miss.; July 17,unknown negro, Briar Field, Ala.; July 18, Meredith Lewis, Roseland, La.July 29, Edward Bill, Dresden, Tenn.; Aug. 1, Henry Reynolds, Montgomery,Tenn.; Aug. 9, unknown negro, McCreery, Ark.; Aug. 12, unknown negro,Brantford, Fla.; Aug. 18, Charles Walton, Morganfield, Ky; Aug. 21,Charles Tait, near Memphis, Tenn.; Aug. 28, Leonard Taylor, New Castle,Ky; Sept. 8, Benjamin Jackson, Quincy, Miss.; Sept. 14, John Williams,Jackson, Tenn.
July 30, unknown negro, Wingo, Ky.
Aug. 18, two unknown negroes, Franklin Parish, La.
ALLEGED WELL POISONING
Sept. 15, Benjamin Jackson, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, Mahala Jackson,Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, Louisa Carter, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 15, W.A.Haley, Jackson, Miss.; Sept. 16, Rufus Bigley, Jackson, Miss.
Feb. 18, John Hughes, Moberly, Mo.; June 2, Isaac Lincoln, Fort Madison,S.C.
April 20, Daniel Adams, Selina, Kan.
July 21, Charles Martin, Shelby Co., Tenn.; July 30, William Steen, Paris,Miss.; Aug. 31, unknown negro, Yarborough, Tex.; Sept. 30, unknown negro,Houston, Tex.; Dec. 28, Mack Segars, Brantley, Ala.
July 7, Charles T. Miller, Bardwell, Ky.; Aug. 10, Daniel Lewis, Waycross,Ga.; Aug. 10, James Taylor, Waycross, Ga.; Aug. 10, John Chambers,Waycross, Ga.
ALLEGED STOCK POISONING
Dec. 16, Henry G. Givens, Nebro, Ky.
Dec. 23, Sloan Allen, West Mississippi.
SUSPICION OF RAPE
Feb. 14, Andy Blount, Chattanooga, Tenn.
TURNING STATE'S EVIDENCE
Dec. 19, William Ferguson, Adele, Ga.
Jan. 19, James Williams, Pickens Co., Ala.; Feb. 11, unknown negro, ForestHill, Tenn.; Feb. 26, Joseph Hayne, or Paine, Jellico, Tenn.; Nov. 1,Abner Anthony, Hot Springs, Va.; Nov. 1, Thomas Hill, Spring Place, Ga.;April 24, John Peterson, Denmark, S.C.; May 6, Samuel Gaillard, ——,S.C.; May 10, Haywood Banks, or Marksdale, Columbia, S.C.; May 12, IsraelHalliway, Napoleonville, La.; May 12, unknown negro, Wytheville, Va.; May31, John Wallace, Jefferson Springs, Ark.; June 3, Samuel Bush, Decatur,Ill.; June 8, L.C. Dumas, Gleason, Tenn.; June 13, William Shorter,Winchester, Va.; June 14, George Williams, near Waco, Tex.; June 24,Daniel Edwards, Selina or Selma, Ala.; June 27, Ernest Murphy, Daleville,Ala.; July 6, unknown negro, Poplar Head, La.; July 6, unknown negro,Poplar Head, La.; July 12, Robert Larkin, Oscola, Tex.; July 17, WarrenDean, Stone Creek, Ga.; July 21, unknown negro, Brantford, Fla.; July 17,John Cotton, Connersville, Ark.; July 22, Lee Walker, New Albany, Miss.;July 26, —— Handy, Suansea, S.C.; July 30, William Thompson, Columbia,S.C.; July 28, Isaac Harper, Calera, Ala.; July 30, Thomas Preston,Columbia, S.C.; July 30, Handy Kaigler, Columbia, S.C.; Aug. 13, MonroeSmith, Springfield, Ala.; Aug. 19, negro tramp, near Paducah, Ky.; Aug.21, John Nilson, near Leavenworth, Kan.; Aug. 23, Jacob Davis, Green Wood,S.C.; Sept. 2, William Arkinson, McKenney, Ky.; Sept. 16, unknown negro,Centerville, Ala.; Sept. 16, Jessie Mitchell, Amelia C.H., Va.; Sept. 25,Perry Bratcher, New Boston, Tex.; Oct. 9, William Lacey, Jasper, Ala.;Oct. 22, John Gamble, Pikesville, Tenn.
OFFENSES CHARGED ARE AS FOLLOWS
Rape, 39; attempted rape, 8; alleged rape, 4; suspicion of rape, 1;murder, 44; alleged murder, 6; alleged complicity in murder, 4; murderousassault, 1; attempted murder, 1; attempted robbery, 4; arson, 4;incendiarism, 3; alleged stock poisoning, 1; poisoning wells, 2; allegedpoisoning wells, 5; burglary, 1; wife beating, 1; self-defense, 1;suspected robbery, 1; assault and battery, 1; insulting whites, 2;malpractice, 1; alleged barn burning, 4; stealing, 2; unknown offense, 4;no offense, 1; race prejudice, 4; total, 159.
LYNCHINGS BY STATES
Alabama, 25; Arkansas, 7; Florida, 7; Georgia, 24; Indian Territory, 1;Illinois, 3; Kansas, 2; Kentucky, 8; Louisiana, 18; Mississippi, 17;Missouri, 3; New York, 1; South Carolina, 15; Tennessee, 10; Texas, 8;Virginia, 10.
RECORD FOR THE YEAR 1892
While it is intended that the record here presented shall includespecially the lynchings of 1893, it will not be amiss to give the recordfor the year preceding. The facts contended for will always appearmanifest—that not one-third of the victims lynched were charged withrape, and further that the charges made embraced a range of offenses frommurders to misdemeanors.
In 1892 there were 241 persons lynched. The entire number is divided amongthe following states:
Alabama, 22; Arkansas, 25; California, 3; Florida, 11; Georgia, 17; Idaho,8; Illinois, 1; Kansas, 3; Kentucky, 9; Louisiana, 29; Maryland, 1;Mississippi, 16; Missouri, 6; Montana, 4; New York, 1; North Carolina, 5;North Dakota, 1; Ohio, 3; South Carolina, 5; Tennessee, 28; Texas, 15;Virginia, 7; West Virginia, 5; Wyoming, 9; Arizona Territory, 3; Oklahoma,2.
Of this number 160 were of Negro descent. Four of them were lynched in NewYork, Ohio and Kansas; the remainder were murdered in the South. Five ofthis number were females. The charges for which they were lynched cover awide range. They are as follows:
Rape, 46; murder, 58; rioting, 3; race prejudice, 6; no cause given, 4;incendiarism, 6; robbery, 6; assault and battery, 1; attempted rape, 11;suspected robbery, 4; larceny, 1; self-defense, 1; insulting women, 2;desperadoes, 6; fraud, 1; attempted murder, 2; no offense stated, boy andgirl, 2.
In the case of the boy and girl above referred to, their father, namedHastings, was accused of the murder of a white man; his fourteen-year-olddaughter and sixteen-year-old son were hanged and their bodies filled withbullets, then the father was also lynched. This was in November, 1892, atJonesville, Louisiana.
(An Arkansas Butchery)
The only excuse which capital punishment attempts to find is upon thetheory that the criminal is past the power of reformation and his life isa constant menace to the community. If, however, he is mentallyunbalanced, irresponsible for his acts, there can be no more inhuman actconceived of than the wilful sacrifice of his life. So thoroughly is thatprinciple grounded in the law, that all civilized society surrounds humanlife with a safeguard, which prevents the execution of a criminal who isinsane, even if sane at the time of his criminal act. Should he becomeinsane after its commission the law steps in and protects him during theperiod of his insanity. But Lynch Law has no such regard for human life.Assuming for itself an absolute supremacy over the law of the land, it hastime and again dyed its hands in the blood of men who were imbeciles. Twoor three noteworthy cases will suffice to show with what inhuman ferocityirresponsible men have been put to death by this system of injustice.
An instance occurred during the year 1892 in Arkansas, a report of whichis given in full in the Arkansas Democrat, published at Little Rock, inthat state, on the eleventh day of February of that year. The papermentioned is perhaps one of the leading weeklies in that state and theaccount given in detail has every mark of a careful and conscientiousinvestigation. The victims of this tragedy were a colored man, named HampBiscoe, his wife and a thirteen-year-old son. Hamp Biscoe, it appears, wasa hard working, thrifty farmer, who lived near England, Arkansas, upon asmall farm with his family. The investigation of the tragedy wasconducted by a resident of Arkansas named R.B. Caries, a white man, whofurnished the account to the Arkansas Democrat over his own signature.He says the original trouble which led to the lynching was a quarrelbetween Biscoe and a white man about a debt. About six years after Biscoepreempted his land, a white man made a demand of $100 upon him forservices in showing him the land and making the sale. Biscoe denied theservice and refused to pay the demand. The white man, however, broughtsuit, obtained judgment for the hundred dollars and Biscoe's farm was soldto pay the judgment.
The suit, judgment and subsequent legal proceedings appear to have drivenBiscoe almost crazy and brooding over his wrongs he grew to be a confirmedimbecile. He would allow but few men, white or colored, to come upon hisplace, as he suspected every stranger to be planning to steal his farm. Aweek preceding the tragedy, a white man named Venable, whose farm adjoinedBiscoe's, let down the fence and proceeded to drive through Biscoe'sfield. The latter saw him; grew very excited, cursed him and drove himfrom his farm with bitter oaths and violent threats. Venable went away andsecured a warrant for Biscoe's arrest. This warrant was placed in thehands of a constable named John Ford, who took a colored deputy and twowhite men out to Biscoe's farm to make the arrest. When they arrived atthe house Biscoe refused to be arrested and warned them he would shoot ifthey persisted in their attempt to arrest him. The warning was unheeded byFord, who entered upon the premises, when Biscoe, true to his word, firedupon him. The load tore a part of his clothes from his body, one shotgoing through his arm and entering his breast. After he had fallen, Forddrew his revolver and shot Biscoe in the head and his wife through thearm. The Negro deputy then began firing and struck Biscoe in the small ofthe back. Ford's wound was not dangerous and in a few days he was able tobe around again. Biscoe, however, was so severely shot that he was unableto stand after the firing was over.
Two other white men hearing the exchange of shots went to the rescue ofthe officers, forced open the door of Biscoe's cabin and arrested him, hiswife and thirteen-year-old son, and took them, together with a babe at thebreast, to a small frame house near the depot and put them under guard.The subsequent proceedings were briefly told by Mr. Carlee in the columnsof the Arkansas Democrat above mentioned, from whose account thefollowing excerpt is taken:
It was rumored here that the Negroes were to be lynched that night, but I do not think it was generally credited, as it was not believed that Ford was greatly hurt and the Negro was held to be fatally injured and crazy at that. But that night, about 8 o'clock, a party of perhaps twelve or fifteen men, a number of whom were known to the guards, came to the house and told the Negro guards they would take care of the prisoners now, and for them to leave; as they did not obey at once they were persuaded to leave with words that did not admit of delay.
The woman began to cry and said, "You intend to kill us to get our money." They told her to hush (she was heavy with child and had a child at her breast) as they intended to give her a nice present. The guards heard no more, but hastened to a Negro church near by and urged the preacher to go up and stop the mob. A few minutes after, the shooting began, perhaps about forty shots being fired. The white men then left rapidly and the Negroes went to the house. Hamp Biscoe and his wife were killed, the baby had a slight wound across the upper lip; the boy was still alive and lived until after midnight, talking rationally and telling who did the shooting.
He said when they came in and shot his father, he attempted to run out of doors and a young man shot him in the bowels and that he fell. He saw another man shoot his mother and a taller young man, whom he did not know, shoot his father. After they had killed them, the young man who had shot his mother pulled off her stockings and took $220 in currency that she had hid there. The men then came to the door where the boy was lying and one of them turned him over and put his pistol to his breast and shot him again. This is the story the dying boy told as near as I can get it. It is quite singular that the guards and those who had conversed with him were not required to testify. The woman was known to have the money as she had exposed it that day. She also had $36 in silver, which the plunderer of the body did not get. The Negro was undoubtedly insane and had been for several years. The citizens of this community condemn the murder and have no sympathy with it. The Negro was a well-to-do farmer, but had become crazed because he was convinced some plot had been made to steal his land and only a few days ago declared that he expected to die in defense of his home in a short time and he did not care how soon. The killing of a woman with the child at her breast and in her condition, and also a young boy, was extremely brutal. As for Hamp Biscoe he was dangerous and should long have been confined in the insane asylum. Such were the facts as near as I can get them and you can use them as you see fit, but I would prefer you would suppress the names charged by the Negroes with the killing.
Perhaps the civilized world will think, that with all these facts laidbefore the public, by a writer who signs his name to his communication, ina land where grand juries are sworn to investigate, where judges andjuries are sworn to administer the law and sheriffs are paid to executethe decrees of the courts, and where, in fact, every instrument ofcivilization is supposed to work for the common good of all citizens, thatthis matter was duly investigated, the criminals apprehended and thepunishment meted out to the murderers. But this is a mistake; nothing ofthe kind was done or attempted. Six months after the publication, abovereferred to, an investigator, writing to find out what had been done inthe matter, received the following reply:
SHERIFF AND COLLECTOR,
Lonoke, Ark., 9-12-1892
Geo. Washington, Esq.,
DEAR SIR:—The parties who killed Hamp Briscoe February the ninth, have never been arrested. The parties are still in the county. It was done by some of the citizens, and those who know will not tell.
S.S. GLOVER, Sheriff
Thus acts the mob with the victim of its fury, conscious that it willnever be called to an account. Not only is this true, but the moralsupport of those who are chosen by the people to execute the law, isfrequently given to the support of lawlessness and mob violence. The pressand even the pulpit, in the main either by silence or open apology, havecondoned and encouraged this state of anarchy.
TORTURED AND BURNED IN TEXAS
Never In the history of civilization has any Christian people stooped tosuch shocking brutality and indescribable barbarism as that whichcharacterized the people of Paris, Texas, and adjacent communities on thefirst of February, 1893. The cause of this awful outbreak of human passionwas the murder of a four-year-old child, daughter of a man named Vance.This man, Vance, had been a police officer in Paris for years, and wasknown to be a man of bad temper, overbearing manner and given to harshlytreating the prisoners under his care. He had arrested Smith and, it issaid, cruelly mistreated him. Whether or not the murder of his child wasan art of fiendish revenge, it has not been shown, but many persons whoknow of the incident have suggested that the secret of the attack on thechild lay in a desire for revenge against its father.
In the same town there lived a Negro, named Henry Smith, a well-knowncharacter, a kind of roustabout, who was generally considered a harmless,weak-minded fellow, not capable of doing any important work, butsufficiently able to do chores and odd jobs around the houses of the whitepeople who cared to employ him. A few days before the final tragedy, thisman, Smith, was accused of murdering Myrtle Vance. The crime of murder wasof itself bad enough, and to prove that against Smith would have beenamply sufficient in Texas to have committed him to the gallows, but thefinding of the child so exasperated the father and his friends, that theyat once shamefully exaggerated the facts and declared that the babe hadbeen ruthlessly assaulted and then killed. The truth was bad enough, butthe white people of the community made it a point to exaggerate everydetail of the awful affair, and to inflame the public mind so that nothingless than immediate and violent death would satisfy the populace. As amatter of fact, the child was not brutally assaulted as the world has beentold in excuse for the awful barbarism of that day. Persons who saw thechild after its death, have stated, under the most solemn pledge to truth,that there was no evidence of such an assault as was published at thattime, only a slight abrasion and discoloration was noticeable and thatmostly about the neck. In spite of this fact, so eminent a man as BishopHaygood deliberately and, it must also appear, maliciously falsified thefact by stating that the child was torn limb from limb, or to quote hisown words, "First outraged with demoniacal cruelty and then taken by herheels and torn asunder in the mad wantonness of gorilla ferocity."
Nothing is farther from the truth than that statement. It is acoldblooded, deliberate, brutal falsehood which this Christian(?) Bishopuses to bolster up the infamous plea that the people of Paris were drivento insanity by learning that the little child had been viciouslyassaulted, choked to death, and then torn to pieces by a demon in humanform. It was a brutal murder, but no more brutal than hundreds of murderswhich occur in this country, and which have been equalled every year infiendishness and brutality, and for which the death penalty is prescribedby law and inflicted only after the person has been legally adjudgedguilty of the crime. Those who knew Smith, believe that Vance had at sometime given him cause to seek revenge and that this fearful crime was theoutgrowth of his attempt to avenge himself of some real or fancied wrong.That the murderer was known as an imbecile, had no effect whatever uponthe people who thirsted for his blood. They determined to make an exampleof him and proceeded to carry out their purpose with unspeakably greaterferocity than that which characterized the half-crazy object of theirrevenge.
For a day or so after the child was found in the woods, Smith remained inthe vicinity as if nothing had happened, and when finally becoming awarethat he was suspected, he made an attempt to escape. He was apprehended,however, not far from the scene of his crime and the news flashed acrossthe country that the white Christian people of Paris, Texas and thecommunities thereabout had deliberately determined to lay aside all formsof law and inaugurate an entirely new form of punishment for the murder.They absolutely refused to make any inquiry as to the sanity or insanityof their prisoner, but set the day and hour when in the presence ofassembled thousands they put their helpless victim to the stake, torturedhim, and then burned him to death for the delectation and satisfaction ofChristian people.
Lest it might be charged that any description of the deeds of that day areexaggerated, a white man's description which was published in the whitejournals of this country is used. The New York Sun of February 2, 1893,contains an account, from which we make the following excerpt:
PARIS, Tex., Feb. 1, 1893.—Henry Smith, the negro ravisher of four-year-old Myrtle Vance, has expiated in part his awful crime by death at the stake. Ever since the perpetration of his awful crime this city and the entire surrounding country has been in a wild frenzy of excitement. When the news came last night that he had been captured at Hope, Ark., that he had been identified by B.B. Sturgeon, James T. Hicks, and many other of the Paris searching party, the city was wild with joy over the apprehension of the brute. Hundreds of people poured into the city from the adjoining country and the word passed from lip to lip that the punishment of the fiend should fit the crime that death by fire was the penalty Smith should pay for the most atrocious murder and terrible outrage in Texas history. Curious and sympathizing alike, they came on train and wagons, on horse, and on foot to see if the frail mind of a man could think of a way to sufficiently punish the perpetrator of so terrible a crime. Whisky shops were closed, unruly mobs were dispersed, schools were dismissed by a proclamation from the mayor, and everything was done in a business-like manner.
MEETING OF CITIZENS
About 2 o'clock Friday a mass meeting was called at the courthouse andcaptains appointed to search for the child. She was found mangled beyondrecognition, covered with leaves and brush as above mentioned. As soon asit was learned upon the recovery of the body that the crime was soatrocious the whole town turned out in the chase. The railroads put upbulletins offering free transportation to all who would join in thesearch. Posses went in every direction, and not a stone was left unturned.Smith was tracked to Detroit on foot, where he jumped on a freight trainand left for his old home in Hempstead county, Arkansas. To this county hewas tracked and yesterday captured at Clow, a flag station on the Arkansas& Louisiana railway about twenty miles north of Hope. Upon beingquestioned the fiend denied everything, but upon being stripped forexamination his undergarments were seen to be spattered with blood and apart of his shirt was torn off. He was kept under heavy guard at Hope lastnight, and later on confessed the crime.
This morning he was brought through Texarkana, where 5,000 people awaitedthe train, anxious to see a man who had received the fate of Ed. Coy. Atthat place speeches were made by prominent Paris citizens, who asked thatthe prisoner be not molested by Texarkana people, but that the guard beallowed to deliver him up to the outraged and indignant citizens of Paris.Along the road the train gathered strength from the various towns, thepeople crowded upon the platforms and tops of coaches anxious to see thelynching and the negro who was soon to be delivered to an infuriated mob.
BURNED AT THE STAKE
Arriving here at 12 o'clock the train was met by a surging mass ofhumanity 10,000 strong. The negro was placed upon a carnival float inmockery of a king upon his throne, and, followed by an immense crowd, wasescorted through the city so that all might see the most inhuman monsterknown in current history. The line of march was up Main Street to thesquare, around the square down Clarksville street to Church Street, thenceto the open prairies about 300 yards from the Texas & Pacific depot. HereSmith was placed upon a scaffold, six feet square and ten feet high,securely bound, within the view of all beholders. Here the victim wastortured for fifty minutes by red-hot iron brands thrust against hisquivering body. Commencing at the feet the brands were placed against himinch by inch until they were thrust against the face. Then, beingapparently dead, kerosene was poured upon him, cottonseed hulls placedbeneath him and set on fire. In less time than it takes to relate it, thetortured man was wafted beyond the grave to another fire, hotter and moreterrible than the one just experienced.
Curiosity seekers have carried away already all that was left of thememorable event, even to pieces of charcoal. The cause of the crime wasthat Henry Vance when a deputy policeman, in the course of his duty wascalled to arrest Henry Smith for being drunk and disorderly. The Negro wasunruly, and Vance was forced to use his club. The Negro swore vengeance,and several times assaulted Vance. In his greed for revenge, lastThursday, he grabbed up the little girl and committed the crime. Thefather is prostrated with grief and the mother now lies at death's door,but she has lived to see the slayer of her innocent babe suffer the mosthorrible death that could be conceived.
TORTURE BEYOND DESCRIPTION
Words to describe the awful torture inflicted upon Smith cannot be found.The Negro, for a long time after starting on the journey to Paris, did notrealize his plight. At last when he was told that he must die by slowtorture he begged for protection. His agony was awful. He pleaded andwrithed in bodily and mental pain. Scarcely had the train reached Paristhan this torture commenced. His clothes were torn off piecemeal andscattered in the crowd, people catching the shreds and putting them awayas mementos. The child's father, her brother, and two uncles then gatheredabout the Negro as he lay fastened to the torture platform and thrust hotirons into his quivering flesh. It was horrible—the man dying by slowtorture in the midst of smoke from his own burning flesh. Every groan fromthe fiend, every contortion of his body was cheered by the thickly packedcrowd of 10,000 persons. The mass of beings 600 yards in diameter, thescaffold being the center. After burning the feet and legs, the hotirons—plenty of fresh ones being at hand—were rolled up and down Smith'sstomach, back, and arms. Then the eyes were burned out and irons werethrust down his throat.
The men of the Vance family having wreaked vengeance, the crowd piled allkinds of combustible stuff around the scaffold, poured oil on it and setit afire. The Negro rolled and tossed out of the mass, only to be pushedback by the people nearest him. He tossed out again, and was roped andpulled back. Hundreds of people turned away, but the vast crowd stilllooked calmly on. People were here from every part of this section. Theycame from Dallas, Fort Worth, Sherman, Denison, Bonham, Texarkana, FortSmith, Ark., and a party of fifteen came from Hempstead county, Arkansas,where he was captured. Every train that came in was loaded to its utmostcapacity, and there were demands at many points for special trains tobring the people here to see the unparalleled punishment for anunparalleled crime. When the news of the burning went over the countrylike wildfire, at every country town anvils boomed forth the announcement.
SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN AN ASYLUM
It may not be amiss in connection with this awful affair, in proof of ourassertion that Smith was an imbecile, to give the testimony of awell-known colored minister, who lived at Paris, Texas, at the time of thelynching. He was a witness of the awful scenes there enacted, andattempted, in the name of God and humanity, to interfere in the programme.He barely escaped with his life, was driven out of the city and became anexile because of his actions. Reverend King was in New York about themiddle of February, and he was there interviewed for a daily paper forthat city, and we quote his account as an eye witness of the affair. Saidhe:
I was ridden out of Paris on a rail because I was the only man in Lamar county to raise my voice against the lynching of Smith. I opposed the illegal measures before the arrival of Henry Smith as a prisoner, and I was warned that I might meet his fate if I was not careful; but the sense of justice made me bold, and when I saw the poor wretch trembling with fear, and got so near him that I could hear his teeth chatter, I determined to stand by him to the last.
I hated him for his crime, but two crimes do not make a virtue; and in the brief conversation I had with Smith I was more firmly convinced than ever that he was irresponsible.
I had known Smith for years, and there were times when Smith was out of his head for weeks. Two years ago I made an effort to have him put in an asylum, but the white people were trying to fasten the murder of a young colored girl upon him, and would not listen. For days before the murder of the little Vance girl, Smith was out of his head and dangerous. He had just undergone an attack of delirium tremens and was in no condition to be allowed at large. He realized his condition, for I spoke with him not three weeks ago, and in answer to my exhortations, he promised to reform. The next time I saw him was on the day of his execution.
"Drink did it! drink did it," he sobbed. Then bowing his face in his hands, he asked: "Is it true, did I kill her? Oh, my God, my God!" For a moment he seemed to forget the awful fate that awaited him, and his body swayed to and fro with grief. Some one seized me by the shoulder and hurled me back, and Smith fell writhing to the ground in terror as four men seized his arms to drag him to the float on which he was to be exhibited before he was finally burned at the stake.
I followed the procession and wept aloud as I saw little children of my own race follow the unfortunate man and taunt him with jeers. Even at the stake, children of both sexes and colors gathered in groups, and when the father of the murdered child raised the hissing iron with which he was about to torture the helpless victim, the children became as frantic as the grown people and struggled forward to obtain places of advantage.
It was terrible. One little tot scarcely older than little Myrtle Vance clapped her baby hands as her father held her on his shoulders above the heads of the people.
"For God's sake," I shouted, "send the children home."
"No, no," shouted a hundred maddened voices; "let them learn a lesson."
I love children, but as I looked about the little faces distorted with passion and the bloodshot eyes of the cruel parents who held them high in their arms, I thanked God that I have none of my own.
As the hot iron sank deep into poor Henry's flesh a hideous yell rent the air, and, with a sound as terrible as the cry, of lost souls on judgment day, 20,000 maddened people took up the victim's cry of agony and a prolonged howl of maddened glee rent the air.
No one was himself now. Every man, woman and child in that awful crowd was worked up to a greater frenzy than that which actuated Smith's horrible crime. The people were capable of any new atrocity now, and as Smith's yells became more and more frequent, it was difficult to hold the crowd back, so anxious were the savages to participate in the sickening tortures.
For half an hour I tried to pray as the beads of agony rolled down my forehead and bathed my face.
For an instant a hush spread over the people. I could stand no more, and with a superhuman effort dashed through the compact mass of humanity and stood at the foot of the burning scaffold.
"In the name of God," I cried, "I command you to cease this torture."
The heavy butt of a Winchester rifle descended on my head and I fell to the ground. Rough hands seized me and angry men bore me away, and I was thankful.
At the outskirts of the crowd I was attacked again, and then several men, no doubt glad to get away from the fearful place, escorted me to my home, where I was allowed to take a small amount of clothing. A jeering crowd gathered without, and when I appeared at the door ready hands seized me and I was placed upon a rail, and, with curses and oaths, taken to the railway station and placed upon a train. As the train moved out some one thrust a roll of bills into my hand and said, "God bless you, but it was no use."
When asked if he should ever return to Paris, Mr. King said: "I shallnever go south again. The impressions of that awful day will stay with meforever."
LYNCHING OF INNOCENT MEN
(Lynched on Account of Relationship)
If no other reason appealed to the sober sense of the American people tocheck the growth of Lynch Law, the absolute unreliability and recklessnessof the mob in inflicting punishment for crimes done, should do so. Severalinstances of this spirit have occurred in the year past. In Louisiana,near New Orleans, in July, 1893, Roselius Julian, a colored man, shot andkilled a white judge, named Victor Estopinal. The cause of the shootinghas never been definitely ascertained. It is claimed that the Negroresented an insult to his wife, and the killing of the white man was anact of a Negro (who dared) to defend his home. The judge was killed in thecourt house, and Julian, heavily armed, made his escape to the swamps nearthe city. He has never been apprehended, nor has any information ever beengleaned as to his whereabouts. A mob determined to secure the fugitivemurderer and burn him alive. The swamps were hunted through and through invain, when, being unable to wreak their revenge upon the murderer, the mobturned its attention to his unfortunate relatives. Dispatches from NewOrleans, dated September 19, 1893, described the affair as follows:
Posses were immediately organized and the surrounding country was scoured, but the search was fruitless so far as the real criminal was concerned. The mother, three brothers and two sisters of the Negro were arrested yesterday at the Black Ridge in the rear of the city by the police and taken to the little jail on Judge Estopinal's place about Southport, because of the belief that they were succoring the fugitive.
About 11 o'clock twenty-five men, some armed with rifles and shotguns, came up to the jail. They unlocked the door and held a conference among themselves as to what they should do. Some were in favor of hanging the five, while others insisted that only two of the brothers should be strung up. This was finally agreed to, and the two doomed negroes were hurried to a pasture one hundred yards distant, and there asked to take their last chance of saving their lives by making a confession, but the Negroes made no reply. They were then told to kneel down and pray. One did so, the other remained standing, but both prayed fervently. The taller Negro was then hoisted up. The shorter Negro stood gazing at the horrible death of his brother without flinching. Five minutes later he was also hanged. The mob decided to take the remaining brother out to Camp Parapet and hang him there. The other two were to be taken out and flogged, with an order to get out of the parish in less than half an hour. The third brother, Paul, was taken out to the camp, which is about a mile distant in the interior, and there he was hanged to a tree.
Another young man, who was in no way related to Julian, who perhaps didnot even know the man and who was entirely innocent of any offense inconnection therewith, was murdered by the same mob. The same paper says:
During the search for Julian on Saturday one branch of the posse visited the house of a Negro family in the neighborhood of Camp Parapet, and failing to find the object of their search, tried to induce John Willis, a young Negro, to disclose the whereabouts of Julian. He refused to do so, or could not do so, and was kicked to death by the gang.
AN INDIANA CASE
Almost equal to the ferocity of the mob which killed the three brothers,Julian and the unoffending, John Willis, because of the murder of JudgeEstopinal, was the action of a mob near Vincennes, Ind. In this case awealthy colored man, named Allen Butler, who was well known in thecommunity, and enjoyed the confidence and respect of the entire country,was made the victim of a mob and hung because his son had become undulyintimate with a white girl who was a servant around his house. There wasno pretense that the facts were otherwise than as here stated. The womanlived at Butler's house as a servant, and she and Butler's son fell inlove with each other, and later it was found that the girl was in adelicate condition. It was claimed, but with how much truth no one hasever been able to tell, that the father had procured an abortion, orhimself had operated on the girl, and that she had left the house to goback to her home. It was never claimed that the father was in any wayresponsible for the action of his son, but the authorities procured thearrest of both father and son, and at the preliminary examination thefather gave bail to appear before the Grand Jury when it should convene.On the same night, however, the mob took the matter in hand and with theintention of hanging the son. It assembled near Sumner, while the boy, whohad been unable to give bail, was lodged in jail at Lawrenceville. As itwas impossible to reach Lawrenceville and hang the son, the leaders of themob concluded they would go to Butler's house and hang him. Butler wasfound at his home, taken out by the mob and hung to a tree. This was inthe lawabiding state of Indiana, which furnished the United States itslast president and which claims all the honor, pride and glory of northerncivilization. None of the leaders of the mob were apprehended, and nosteps whatever were taken to bring the murderers to justice.
KILLED FOR HIS STEPFATHER'S CRIME
An account has been given of the cremation of Henry Smith, at Paris,Texas, for the murder of the infant child of a man named Vance. It wouldappear that human ferocity was not sated when it vented itself upon ahuman being by burning his eyes out, by thrusting a red-hot iron down histhroat, and then by burning his body to ashes. Henry Smith, the victim ofthese savage orgies, was beyond all the power of torture, but a few milesoutside of Paris, some members of the community concluded that it would beproper to kill a stepson named William Butler as a partial penalty for theoriginal crime. This young man, against whom no word has ever been said,and who was in fact an orderly, peaceable boy, had been watched with theseverest scrutiny by members of the mob who believed he knew something ofthe whereabouts of Smith. He declared from the very first that he did notknow where his stepfather was, which statement was well proven to be afact after the discovery of Smith in Arkansas, whence he had fled throughswamps and woods and unfrequented places. Yet Butler was apprehended,placed under arrest, and on the night of February 6, taken out on HickoryCreek, five miles southeast of Paris, and hung for his stepfather's crime.After his body was suspended in the air, the mob filled it with bullets.
LYNCHED BECAUSE THE JURY ACQUITTED HIM
The entire system of the judiciary of this country is in the hands ofwhite people. To this add the fact of the inherent prejudice againstcolored people, and it will be clearly seen that a white jury is certainto find a Negro prisoner guilty if there is the least evidence to warrantsuch a finding.
Meredith Lewis was arrested in Roseland, La., in July of last year. Awhite jury found him not guilty of the crime of murder wherewith he stoodcharged. This did not suit the mob. A few nights after the verdict wasrendered, and he declared to be innocent, a mob gathered in his vicinityand went to his house. He was called, and suspecting nothing, wentoutside. He was seized and hurried off to a convenient spot and hanged bythe neck until he was dead for the murder of a woman of which the jury hadsaid he was innocent.
LYNCHED AS A SCAPEGOAT
Wednesday, July 5, about 10 o'clock in the morning, a terrible crime wascommitted within four miles of Wickliffe, Ky. Two girls, Mary and RubyRay, were found murdered a short distance from their home. The news ofthis terrible cowardly murder of two helpless young girls spread like wildfire, and searching parties scoured the territory surrounding Wickliffeand Bardwell. Two of the searching party, the Clark brothers, saw a manenter the Dupoyster cornfield; they got their guns and fired at thefleeing figure, but without effect; he got away, but they said he was awhite man or nearly so. The search continued all day without effect, savethe arrest of two or three strange Negroes. A bloodhound was brought fromthe penitentiary and put on the trail which he followed from the scene ofthe murder to the river and into the boat of a fisherman named Gordon.Gordon stated that he had ferried one man and only one across the riverabout about half past six the evening of July 5; that his passenger sat infront of him, and he was a white man or a very bright mulatto, who couldnot be told from a white man. The bloodhound was put across the river inthe boat, and he struck a trail again at Bird's Point on the Missouriside, ran about three hundred yards to the cottage of a white farmer namedGrant and there lay down refusing to go further.
Thursday morning a brakesman on a freight train going out of Sikeston,Mo., discovered a Negro stealing a ride; he ordered him off and had hotwords which terminated in a fight. The brakesman had the Negro arrested.When arrested, between 11 and 12 o'clock, he had on a dark woolen shirt,light pants and coat, and no vest. He had twelve dollars in paper, twosilver dollars and ninety-five cents in change; he had also four rings inhis pockets, a knife and a razor which were rusted and stained. TheSikeston authorities immediately jumped to the conclusion that this manwas the murderer for whom the Kentuckians across the river were searching.They telegraphed to Bardwell that their prisoner had on no coat, but worea blue vest and pants which would perhaps correspond with the coat foundat the scene of the murder, and that the names of the murdered girls werein the rings found in his possession.
As soon as this news was received, the sheriffs of Ballard and Carlislecounties and a posse(?) of thirty well-armed and determined Kentuckians,who had pledged their word the prisoner should be taken back to the sceneof the supposed crime, to be executed there if proved to be the guiltyman, chartered a train and at nine o'clock Thursday night started forSikeston. Arriving there two hours later, the sheriff at Sikeston, who hadno warrant for the prisoner's arrest and detention, delivered him into thehands of the mob without authority for so doing, and accompanied them toBird's Point. The prisoner gave his name as Miller, his home atSpringfield, and said he had never been in Kentucky in his life, but thesheriff turned him over to the mob to be taken to Wickliffe, that FrankGordon, the fisherman, who had put a man across the river might identifyhim.
In other words, the protection of the law was withdrawn from C.J. Miller,and he was given to a mob by this sheriff at Sikeston, who knew that theprisoner's life depended on one man's word. After an altercation with thetrain men, who wanted another $50 for taking the train back to Bird'sPoint, the crowd arrived there at three o'clock, Friday morning. Here wasanchored The Three States, a ferryboat plying between Wickliffe, Ky,Cairo, Ill., and Bird's Point, Mo. This boat left Cairo at twelve o'clock,Thursday, with nearly three hundred of Cairo's best(?) citizens and thirtykegs of beer on board. This was consumed while the crowd and thebloodhound waited for the prisoner.
When the prisoner was on board The Three States the dog was turnedloose, and after moving aimlessly around, followed the crowd to whereMiller sat handcuffed and there stopped. The crowd closed in on the pairand insisted that the brute had identified him because of that action.When the boat reached Wickliffe, Gordon, the fisherman, was called on tosay whether the prisoner was the man he ferried over the river the day ofthe murder.
Lynching of C.J. Miller, at Bardwell, Kentucky, July 7, 1893.
The sheriff of Ballard County informed him, sternly that if the prisonerwas not the man, he (the fisherman) would be held responsible as knowingwho the guilty man was. Gordon stated before, that the man he ferriedacross was a white man or a bright colored man; Miller was a dark brownskinned man, with kinky hair, "neither yellow nor black," says the CairoEvening Telegram of Friday, July 7. The fisherman went up to Miller frombehind, looked at him without speaking for fully five minutes, then slowlysaid, "Yes, that's the man I crossed over." This was about six o'clock,Friday morning, and the crowd wished to hang Miller then and there. ButMr. Ray, the father of the girls, insisted that he be taken to Bardwell,the county seat of Ballard, and twelve miles inland. He said he thought awhite man committed the crime, and that he was not satisfied that was theman. They took him to Bardwell and at ten o'clock, this same excited,unauthorized mob undertook to determine Miller's guilt. One of the Clarkbrothers who shot at a fleeing man in the Dupoyster cornfield, said theprisoner was the same man; the other said he was not, but the testimony ofthe first was accepted. A colored woman who had said she gave breakfast toa colored man clad in a blue flannel suit the morning of the murder, saidpositively that she had never seen Miller before. The gold rings found inhis possession had no names in them, as had been asserted, and Mr. Raysaid they did not belong to his daughters. Meantime a funeral pyre for thepurpose of burning Miller to death had been erected in the center of thevillage. While the crowd swayed by passion was clamoring that he be burnt,Miller stepped forward and made the following statement: "My name isC.J. Miller. I am from Springfield, Ill.; my wife lives at 716 N. 2dStreet. I am here among you today, looked upon as one of the most brutalmen before the people. I stand here surrounded by men who are excited, menwho are not willing to let the law take its course, and as far as thecrime is concerned, I have committed no crime, and certainly no crimegross enough to deprive me of my life and liberty to walk upon the greenearth."
A telegram was sent to the chief of the police at Springfield, Ill.,asking if one C.J. Miller lived there. An answer in the negative wasreturned. A few hours after, it was ascertained that a man named Miller,and his wife, did live at the number the prisoner gave in his speech, butthe information came to Bardwell too late to do the prisoner any good.Miller was taken to jail, every stitch of clothing literally torn from hisbody and examined again. On the lower left side of the bosom of his shirtwas found a dark reddish spot about the size of a dime. Miller said it waspaint which he had gotten on him at Jefferson Barracks. This spot was onlyon the right side, and could not be seen from the under side at all, thusshowing it had not gone through the cloth as blood or any liquid substancewould do.
Chief-of-Police Mahaney, of Cairo, Ill., was with the prisoner, and hetook his knife and scraped at the spot, particles of which came off in hishand. Miller told them to take his clothes to any expert, and if the spotwas shown to be blood, they might do anything they wished with him. Theytook his clothes away and were gone some time. After a while they werebrought back and thrown into the cell without a word. It is needless tosay that if the spot had been found to be blood, that fact would have beenannounced, and the shirt retained as evidence. Meanwhile numbers of rough,drunken men crowded into the cell and tried to force a confession of thedeed from the prisoner's lips. He refused to talk save to reiterate hisinnocence. To Mr. Mahaney, who talked seriously and kindly to him, tellinghim the mob meant to burn and torture him at three o'clock, Miller said:"Burning and torture here lasts but a little while, but if I die with alie on my soul, I shall be tortured forever. I am innocent." For more thanthree hours, all sorts of pressure in the way of threats, abuse andurging, was brought to bear to force him to confess to the murder and thusjustify the mob in its deed of murder. Miller remained firm; but as thehour drew near, and the crowd became more impatient, he asked for apriest. As none could be procured, he then asked for a Methodist minister,who came, prayed with the doomed man, baptized him and exhorted Miller toconfess. To keep up the flagging spirits of the dense crowd around thejail, the rumor went out more than once, that Miller had confessed. Butthe solemn assurance of the minister, chief-of-police, and leadingeditor—who were with Miller all along—is that this rumor is absolutelyfalse.
At three o'clock the mob rushed to the jail to secure the prisoner. Mr.Ray had changed his mind about the promised burning; he was still in doubtas to the prisoner's guilt. He again addressed the crowd to that effect,urging them not to burn Miller, and the mob heeded him so far, that theycompromised on hanging instead of burning, which was agreed to by Mr. Ray.There was a loud yell, and a rush was made for the prisoner. He wasstripped naked, his clothing literally torn from his body, and his shirtwas tied around his loins. Some one declared the rope was a "white man'sdeath," and a log-chain, nearly a hundred feet in length, weighing overone hundred pounds, was placed round Miller's neck and body, and he wasled and dragged through the streets of the village in that conditionfollowed by thousands of people. He fainted from exhaustion several times,but was supported to the platform where they first intended burning him.
The chain was hooked around his neck, a man climbed the telegraph pole andthe other end of the chain was passed up to him and made fast to thecross-arm. Others brought a long forked stick which Miller was made tostraddle. By this means he was raised several feet from the ground andthen let fall. The first fall broke his neck, but he was raised in thisway and let fall a second time. Numberless shots were fired into thedangling body, for most of that crowd were heavily armed, and had beendrinking all day.
Miller's body hung thus exposed from three to five o'clock, during whichtime, several photographs of him as he hung dangling at the end of thechain were taken, and his toes and fingers were cut off. His body wastaken down, placed on the platform, the torch applied, and in a fewmoments there was nothing left of C.J. Miller save a few bones and ashes.Thus perished another of the many victims of Lynch Law, but it is thehonest and sober belief of many who witnessed the scene that an innocentman has been barbarously and shockingly put to death in the glare of thenineteenth-century civilization, by those who profess to believe inChristianity, law and order.
LYNCHED FOR ANYTHING OR NOTHING
(Lynched for Wife Beating)
In nearly all communities wife beating is punishable with a fine, and inno community is it made a felony. Dave Jackson, of Abita, La., was acolored man who had beaten his wife. He had not killed her, nor seriouslywounded her, but as Louisiana lynchers had not filled out their quota ofcrimes, his case was deemed of sufficient importance to apply the methodof that barbarous people. He was in the custody of the officials, but themob went to the jail and took him out in front of the prison and hangedhim by the neck until he was dead. This was in Nov. 1893.
HANGED FOR STEALING HOGS
Details are very meagre of a lynching which occurred near Knox Point, La.,on the twenty-fourth of October, 1893. Upon one point, however, there wasno uncertainty, and that is, that the persons lynched were Negroes. It wasclaimed that they had been stealing hogs, but even this claim had not beensubjected to the investigation of a court. That matter was not considerednecessary. A few of the neighbors who had lost hogs suspected these menwere responsible for their loss, and made up their minds to furnish anexample for others to be warned by. The two men were secured by a mob andhanged.
LYNCHED FOR NO OFFENSE
Perhaps the most characteristic feature of this record of lynch law forthe year 1893, is the remarkable fact that five human beings were lynchedand that the matter was considered of so little importance that thepowerful press bureaus of the country did not consider the matter ofenough importance to ascertain the causes for which they were hanged. Ittells the world, with perhaps greater emphasis than any other feature ofthe record, that Lynch Law has become so common in the United States thatthe finding of the dead body of a Negro, suspended between heaven andearth to the limb of a tree, is of so slight importance that neither thecivil authorities nor press agencies consider the matter worthinvestigating. July 21, in Shelby County, Tenn., a colored man by the nameof Charles Martin was lynched. July 30, at Paris, Mo., a colored man namedWilliam Steen shared the same fate. December 28, Mack Segars was announcedto have been lynched at Brantley, Alabama. August 31, at Yarborough,Texas, and on September 19, at Houston, a colored man was found lynched,but so little attention was paid to the matter that not only was no recordmade as to why these last two men were lynched, but even their names werenot given. The dispatches simply stated that an unknown Negro was foundlynched in each case.
There are friends of humanity who feel their souls shrink from anycompromise with murder, but whose deep and abiding reverence for womanhoodcauses them to hesitate in giving their support to this crusade againstLynch Law, out of fear that they may encourage the miscreants whose deedsare worse than murder. But to these friends it must appear certain thatthese five men could not have been guilty of any terrible crime. They weresimply lynched by parties of men who had it in their power to kill them,and who chose to avenge some fancied wrong by murder, rather than submittheir grievances to court.
LYNCHED BECAUSE THEY WERE SAUCY
At Moberly, Mo., February 18 and at Fort Madison, S.C., June 2, both in1892, a record was made in the line of lynching which should certainlyappeal to every humanitarian who has any regard for the sacredness ofhuman life. John Hughes, of Moberly, and Isaac Lincoln, of Fort Madison,and Will Lewis in Tullahoma, Tenn., suffered death for no more seriouscharge than that they "were saucy to white people." In the days of slaveryit was held to be a very serious matter for a colored person to fail toyield the sidewalk at the demand of a white person, and it will not besurprising to find some evidence of this intolerance existing in the daysof freedom. But the most that could be expected as a penalty for acting orspeaking saucily to a white person would be a slight physical chastisementto make the Negro "know his place" or an arrest and fine. But Missouri,Tennessee and South Carolina chose to make precedents in their cases andas a result both men, after being charged with their offense andapprehended, were taken by a mob and lynched. The civil authorities, whoin either case would have been very quick to satisfy the aggrieved whitepeople had they complained and brought the prisoners to court, by imposingproper penalty upon them, did not feel it their duty to make anyinvestigation after the Negroes were killed. They were dead and out of theway and as no one would be called upon to render an account for theirtaking off, the matter was dismissed from the public mind.
LYNCHED FOR A QUARREL
One of the most notable instances of lynching for the year 1893, occurredabout the twentieth of September. It was notable for the fact that themayor of the city exerted every available power to protect the victim ofthe lynching from the mob. In his splendid endeavor to uphold the law, themayor called out the troops, and the result was a deadly fight between themilitia and mob, nine of the mob being killed. The trouble occurred atRoanoke, Va. It is frequently claimed that lynchings occur only insparsely settled districts, and, in fact, it is a favorite plea ofgovernors and reverend apologists to couple two arrant falsehoods, statingthat lynchings occur only because of assaults upon white women, and thatthese assaults occur and the lynchings follow in thinly inhabiteddistricts where the power of the law is entirely inadequate to meet theemergency. This Roanoke case is a double refutation, for it not onlydisproves the alleged charge that the Negro assaulted a white woman, aswas telegraphed all over the country at the time, but it also showsconclusively that even in one of the largest cities of the old state ofVirginia, one of the original thirteen colonies, which prides itself ofbeing the mother of presidents, it was possible for a lynching to occur inbroad daylight under circumstances of revolting savagery.
When the news first came from Roanoke of the contemplated lynching, it wasstated that a big burly Negro had assaulted a white woman, that he hadbeen apprehended and that the citizens were determined to summarilydispose of his case. Mayor Trout was a man who believed in maintaining themajesty of the law, and who at once gave notice that no lynching would bepermitted in Roanoke, and that the Negro, whose name was Smith, being inthe custody of the law, should be dealt with according to law; but the mobdid not pay any attention to the brave words of the mayor. It evidentlythought that it was only another case of swagger, such as frequentlycharacterizes lynching episodes. Mayor Trout, finding immense crowdsgathering about the city, and fearing an attempt to lynch Smith, calledout the militia and stationed them at the jail.
It was known that the woman refused to accuse Smith of assaulting her, andthat his offense consisted in quarreling with her about the change ofmoney in a transaction in which he bought something from her market booth.Both parties lost their temper, and the result was a row from which Smithhad to make his escape. At once the old cry was sounded that the woman hadbeen assaulted, and in a few hours all the town was wild with peoplethirsting for the assailant's blood. The further incidents of that day maywell be told by a dispatch from Roanoke under date of the twenty-first ofSeptember and published in the Chicago Record. It says:
It is claimed by members of the military company that they frequently warned the mob to keep away from the jail, under penalty of being shot. Capt. Bird told them he was under orders to protect the prisoner whose life the mob so eagerly sought, and come what may he would not allow him to be taken by the mob. To this the crowd replied with hoots and derisive jeers. The rioters appeared to become frenzied at the determined stand taken by the men and Captain Bird, and finally a crowd of excited men made a rush for the side door of the jail. The captain directed his men to drive the would-be lynchers back.
At this moment the mob opened fire on the soldiers. This appeared for a moment to startle the captain and his men. But it was only for a moment. Then he coolly gave the command: "Ready! aim! fire!" The company obeyed to the instant, and poured a volley of bullets into that part of the mob which was trying to batter down the side door of the jail.
The rioters fell back before the fire of the militia, leaving one man writhing in the agonies of death at the doorstep. There was a lull for a moment. Then the word was quickly passed through the throng in front of the jail and down the street that a man was killed. Then there was an awful rush toward the little band of soldiers. Excited men were yelling like demons.
The fight became general, and ere it was ended nine men were dead and more than forty wounded.
This stubborn stand on behalf of law and order disconcerted the crowd andit fell back in disorder. It did not long remain inactive but assembledagain for a second assault. Having only a small band of militia, andknowing they would be absolutely at the mercy of the thousands who weregathering to wreak vengeance upon them, the mayor ordered them to disperseand go to their homes, and he himself, having been wounded, was quietlyconveyed out of the city.
The next day the mob grew in numbers and its rage increased in itsintensity. There was no longer any doubt that Smith, innocent as he was ofany crime, would be killed, for with the mayor out of the city and thegovernor of the state using no effort to control the mob, it was only aquestion of a few hours when the assault would be repeated and its victimput to death. All this happened as per programme. The description of thatmorning's carnival appeared in the paper above quoted and reads asfollows:
A squad of twenty men took the negro Smith from three policemen just before five o'clock this morning and hanged him to a hickory limb on Ninth Avenue, in the residence section of the city. They riddled his body with bullets and put a placard on it saying: "This is Mayor Trout's friend." A coroner's jury of Bismel was summoned and viewed the body and rendered a verdict of death at the hands of unknown men. Thousands of persons visited the scene of the lynching between daylight and eight o'clock when the body was cut down. After the jury had completed its work the body was placed in the hands of officers, who were unable to keep back the mob. Three hundred men tried to drag the body through the streets of the town, but the Rev. Dr. Campbell of the First Presbyterian church and Capt. R.B. Moorman, with pleas and by force prevented them.
Capt. Moorman hired a wagon and the body was put in it. It was then conveyed to the bank of the Roanoke, about two miles from the scene of the lynching. Here the body was dragged from the wagon by ropes for about 200 yards and burned. Piles of dry brushwood were brought, and the body was placed upon it, and more brushwood piled on the body, leaving only the head bare. The whole pile was then saturated with coal oil and a match was applied. The body was consumed within an hour. The cremation was witnessed by several thousand people. At one time the mob threatened to burn the Negro in Mayor Trout's yard.
Thus did the people of Roanoke, Va., add this measure of proof to maintainour contention that it is only necessary to charge a Negro with a crime inorder to secure his certain death. It was well known in the city before hewas killed that he had not assaulted the woman with whom he had had thetrouble, but he dared to have an altercation with a white woman, and hemust pay the penalty. For an offense which would not in any civilizedcommunity have brought upon him a punishment greater than a fine of a fewdollars, this unfortunate Negro was hung, shot and burned.
SUSPECTED, INNOCENT AND LYNCHED
Five persons, Benjamin Jackson, his wife, Mahala Jackson, hismother-in-law, Lou Carter, Rufus Bigley, were lynched near Quincy, Miss.,the charge against them being suspicion of well poisoning. It appears fromthe newspaper dispatches at that time that a family by the name ofWoodruff was taken ill in September of 1892. As a result of their illnessone or more of the family are said to have died, though that matter is notstated definitely. It was suspected that the cause of their illness wasthe existence of poison in the water, some miscreant having placed poisonin the well. Suspicion pointed to a colored man named Benjamin Jackson whowas at once arrested. With him also were arrested his wife andmother-in-law and all were held on the same charge.
The matter came up for judicial investigation, but as might have beenexpected, the white people concluded it was unnecessary to wait the resultof the investigation—that it was preferable to hang the accused first andtry him afterward. By this method of procedure, the desired result wasalways obtained—the accused was hanged. Accordingly Benjamin Jackson wastaken from the officers by a crowd of about two hundred people, while theinquest was being held, and hanged. After the killing of Jackson, theinquest was continued to ascertain the possible connection of the otherpersons charged with the crime. Against the wife and mother-in-law of theunfortunate man there was not the slightest evidence and the coroner'sjury was fair enough to give them their liberty. They were declaredinnocent and returned to their homes. But this did not protect the womenfrom the demands of the Christian white people of that section of thecountry. In any other land and with any other people, the fact that thesetwo accused persons were women would have pleaded in their favor forprotection and fair play, but that had no weight with the MississippiChristians nor the further fact that a jury of white men had declared theminnocent. The hanging of one victim on an unproven charge did not begin tosatisfy the mob in its bloodthirsty demands and the result was that evenafter the women had been discharged, they were at once taken in charge bya mob, which hung them by the neck until they were dead.
Still the mob was not satisfied. During the coroner's investigation thename of a fourth person, Rufus Bigley, was mentioned. He was acquaintedwith the Jacksons and that fact, together with some testimony adduced atthe inquest, prompted the mob to decide that he should die also. Searchwas at once made for him and the next day he was apprehended. He was notgiven over into the hands of the civil authorities for trial nor did thecoroner's inquest find that he was guilty, but the mob was quitesufficient in itself. After finding Bigley, he was strung up to a tree andhis body left hanging, where it was found next day. It may be remarkedhere in passing that this instance of the moral degradation of the peopleof Mississippi did not excite any interest in the public at large.American Christianity heard of this awful affair and read of its detailsand neither press nor pulpit gave the matter more than a passing comment.Had it occurred in the wilds of interior Africa, there would have been anoutcry from the humane people of this country against the savagery whichwould so mercilessly put men and women to death. But it was an evidence ofAmerican civilization to be passed by unnoticed, to be denied or condonedas the requirements of any future emergency might determine.
LYNCHED FOR AN ATTEMPTED ASSAULT
With only a little more aggravation than that of Smith who quarreled atRoanoke with the market woman, was the assault which operated as theincentive to a most brutal lynching in Memphis, Tenn. Memphis is one ofthe queen cities of the south, with a population of about seventy thousandsouls—easily one of the twenty largest, most progressive and wealthiestcities of the United States. And yet in its streets there occurred a sceneof shocking savagery which would have disgraced the Congo. No woman washarmed, no serious indignity suffered. Two women driving to town in awagon, were suddenly accosted by Lee Walker. He claimed that he demandedsomething to eat. The women claimed that he attempted to assault them.They gave such an alarm that he ran away. At once the dispatches spreadover the entire country that a big, burly Negro had brutally assaulted twowomen. Crowds began to search for the alleged fiend. While hunting himthey shot another Negro dead in his tracks for refusing to stop whenordered to do so. After a few days Lee Walker was found, and put in jailin Memphis until the mob there was ready for him.
The Memphis Commercial of Sunday, July 23, contains a full account ofthe tragedy from which the following extracts are made:
At 12 o'clock last night, Lee Walker, who attempted to outrage Miss Mollie McCadden, last Tuesday morning, was taken from the county jail and hanged to a telegraph pole just north of the prison. All day rumors were afloat that with nightfall an attack would be made upon the jail, and as everyone anticipated that a vigorous resistance would be made, a conflict between the mob and the authorities was feared.
At 10 o'clock Capt. O'Haver, Sergt. Horan and several patrolmen were on hand, but they could do nothing with the crowd. An attack by the mob was made on the door in the south wall, and it yielded. Sheriff McLendon and several of his men threw themselves into the breach, but two or three of the storming party shoved by. They were seized by the police, but were not subdued, the officers refraining from using their clubs. The entire mob might at first have been dispersed by ten policemen who would use their clubs, but the sheriff insisted that no violence be done.
The mob got an iron rail and used it as a battering ram against the lobby doors. Sheriff McLendon tried to stop them, and some one of the mob knocked him down with a chair. Still he counseled moderation and would not order his deputies and the police to disperse the crowd by force. The pacific policy of the sheriff impressed the mob with the idea that the officers were afraid, or at least would do them no harm, and they redoubled their efforts, urged on by a big switchman. At 12 o'clock the door of the prison was broken in with a rail.
As soon as the rapist was brought out of the door calls were heard for a rope; then someone shouted, "Burn him!" But there was no time to make a fire. When Walker got into the lobby a dozen of the men began beating and stabbing him. He was half dragged, half carried to the corner of Front Street and the alley between Sycamore and Mill, and hung to a telegraph pole.
Walker made a desperate resistance. Two men entered his cell first and ordered him to come forth. He refused, and they failing to drag him out, others entered. He scratched and bit his assailants, wounding several of them severely with his teeth. The mob retaliated by striking and cutting him with fists and knives. When he reached the steps leading down to the door he made another stand and was stabbed again and again. By the time he reached the lobby his power to resist was gone, and he was shoved along through the mob of yelling, cursing men and boys, who beat, spat upon and slashed the wretch-like demon. One of the leaders of the mob fell, and the crowd walked ruthlessly over him. He was badly hurt—a jawbone fractured and internal injuries inflicted. After the lynching friends took charge of him.
The mob proceeded north on Front Street with the victim, stopping at Sycamore Street to get a rope from a grocery. "Take him to the iron bridge on Main Street," yelled several men. The men who had hold of the Negro were in a hurry to finish the job, however, and when they reached the telephone pole at the corner of Front Street and the first alley north of Sycamore they stopped. A hastily improvised noose was slipped over the Negro's head, and several young men mounted a pile of lumber near the pole and threw the rope over one of the iron stepping pins. The Negro was lifted up until his feet were three feet above the ground, the rope was made taut, and a corpse dangled in midair. A big fellow who helped lead the mob pulled the Negro's legs until his neck cracked. The wretch's clothes had been torn off, and, as he swung, the man who pulled his legs mutilated the corpse.
One or two knife cuts, more or less, made little difference in the appearance of the dead rapist, however, for before the rope was around his neck his skin was cut almost to ribbons. One pistol shot was fired while the corpse was hanging. A dozen voices protested against the use of firearms, and there was no more shooting. The body was permitted to hang for half an hour, then it was cut down and the rope divided among those who lingered around the scene of the tragedy. Then it was suggested that the corpse be burned, and it was done. The entire performance, from the assault on the jail to the burning of the dead Negro was witnessed by a score or so of policemen and as many deputy sheriffs, but not a hand was lifted to stop the proceedings after the jail door yielded.
As the body hung to the telegraph pole, blood streaming down from the knife wounds in his neck, his hips and lower part of his legs also slashed with knives, the crowd hurled expletives at him, swung the body so that it was dashed against the pole, and, so far from the ghastly sight proving trying to the nerves, the crowd looked on with complaisance, if not with real pleasure. The Negro died hard. The neck was not broken, as the body was drawn up without being given a fall, and death came by strangulation. For fully ten minutes after he was strung up the chest heaved occasionally, and there were convulsive movements of the limbs. Finally he was pronounced dead, and a few minutes later Detective Richardson climbed on a pile of staves and cut the rope. The body fell in a ghastly heap, and the crowd laughed at the sound and crowded around the prostrate body, a few kicking the inanimate carcass.
Detective Richardson, who is also a deputy coroner, then proceeded to impanel the following jury of inquest: J.S. Moody, A.C. Waldran, B.J. Childs, J.N. House, Nelson Bills, T.L. Smith, and A. Newhouse. After viewing the body the inquest was adjourned without any testimony being taken until 9 o'clock this morning. The jury will meet at the coroner's office, 51 Beale Street, upstairs, and decide on a verdict. If no witnesses are forthcoming, the jury will be able to arrive at a verdict just the same, as all members of it saw the lynching. Then someone raised the cry of "Burn him!" It was quickly taken up and soon resounded from a hundred throats. Detective Richardson, for a long time, single-handed, stood the crowd off. He talked and begged the men not to bring disgrace on the city by burning the body, arguing that all the vengeance possible had been wrought.
While this was going on a small crowd was busy starting a fire in the middle of the street. The material was handy. Some bundles of staves were taken from the adjoining lumber yard for kindling. Heavier wood was obtained from the same source, and coal oil from a neighboring grocery. Then the cries of "Burn him! Burn him!" were redoubled.
Half a dozen men seized the naked body. The crowd cheered. They marched to the fire, and giving the body a swing, it was landed in the middle of the fire. There was a cry for more wood, as the fire had begun to die owing to the long delay. Willing hands procured the wood, and it was piled up on the Negro, almost, for a time, obscuring him from view. The head was in plain view, as also were the limbs, and one arm which stood out high above the body, the elbow crooked, held in that position by a stick of wood. In a few moments the hands began to swell, then came great blisters over all the exposed parts of the body; then in places the flesh was burned away and the bones began to show through. It was a horrible sight, one which, perhaps, none there had ever witnessed before. It proved too much for a large part of the crowd and the majority of the mob left very shortly after the burning began.
But a large number stayed, and were not a bit set back by the sight of a human body being burned to ashes. Two or three white women, accompanied by their escorts, pushed to the front to obtain an unobstructed view, and looked on with astonishing coolness and nonchalance. One man and woman brought a little girl, not over twelve years old, apparently their daughter, to view a scene which was calculated to drive sleep from the child's eyes for many nights, if not to produce a permanent injury to her nervous system. The comments of the crowd were varied. Some remarked on the efficacy of this style of cure for rapists, others rejoiced that men's wives and daughters were now safe from this wretch. Some laughed as the flesh cracked and blistered, and while a large number pronounced the burning of a dead body as a useless episode, not in all that throng was a word of sympathy heard for the wretch himself.
The rope that was used to hang the Negro, and also that which was used to lead him from the jail, were eagerly sought by relic hunters. They almost fought for a chance to cut off a piece of rope, and in an incredibly short time both ropes had disappeared and were scattered in the pockets of the crowd in sections of from an inch to six inches long. Others of the relic hunters remained until the ashes cooled to obtain such ghastly relics as the teeth, nails, and bits of charred skin of the immolated victim of his own lust. After burning the body the mob tied a rope around the charred trunk and dragged it down Main Street to the courthouse, where it was hanged to a center pole. The rope broke and the corpse dropped with a thud, but it was again hoisted, the charred legs barely touching the ground. The teeth were knocked out and the fingernails cut off as souvenirs. The crowd made so much noise that the police interfered. Undertaker Walsh was telephoned for, who took charge of the body and carried it to his establishment, where it will be prepared for burial in the potter's field today.
Scene of lynching at Clanton, Alabama, August 1891.
Facsimile of back of photograph. W.R. MARTIN, Traveling Photographer. (Handwritten: This S.O.B. was hung at Clanton Ala. Friday Aug 21st/91 for murdering a little boy in cold blood for 35¢ in cash. He is a good specimen of your "Black Christian hung by White Heathens" [illegible] of the Committee.)
A prelude to this exhibition of nineteenth-century barbarism was thefollowing telegram received by the Chicago Inter Ocean, at 2 o'clock,Saturday afternoon—ten hours before the lynching:
MEMPHIS TENN., July 22, To Inter-Ocean, Chicago.
Lee Walker, colored man, accused of raping white women, in jail here, will be taken out and burned by whites tonight. Can you send Miss Ida Wells to write it up? Answer. R.M. Martin, with Public Ledger.
The Public Ledger is one of the oldest evening daily papers in Memphis,and this telegram shows that the intentions of the mob were well knownlong before they were executed. The personnel of the mob is given by theMemphis Appeal-Avalanche. It says, "At first it seemed as if a crowd ofroughs were the principals, but as it increased in size, men in all walksof life figured as leaders, although the majority were young men."
This was the punishment meted out to a Negro, charged, not with rape, butattempted assault, and without any proof as to his guilt, for the womenwere not given a chance to identify him. It was only a little lesshorrible than the burning alive of Henry Smith, at Paris, Texas, February1, 1893, or that of Edward Coy, in Texarkana, Texas, February 20, 1892.Both were charged with assault on white women, and both were tied to thestake and burned while yet alive, in the presence of ten thousand persons.In the case of Coy, the white woman in the case applied the match, evenwhile the victim protested his innocence.
The cut which is here given is the exact reproduction of the photographtaken at the scene of the lynching at Clanton, Alabama, August, 1891. Thecause for which the man was hanged is given in the words of the mob whichwere written on the back of the photograph, and they are also given. Thisphotograph was sent to Judge A.W. Tourgee, of Mayville, N.Y.
In some of these cases the mob affects to believe in the Negro's guilt.The world is told that the white woman in the case identifies him, or theprisoner "confesses." But in the lynching which took place in BarnwellCounty, South Carolina, April 24, 1893, the mob's victim, John Peterson,escaped and placed himself under Governor Tillman's protection; not onlydid he declare his innocence, but offered to prove an alibi, by whitewitnesses. Before his witnesses could be brought, the mob arrived at theGovernor's mansion and demanded the prisoner. He was given up, andalthough the white woman in the case said he was not the man, he washanged twenty-four hours after, and over a thousand bullets fired into hisbody, on the declaration that "a crime had been committed and someone hadto hang for it."
HISTORY OF SOME CASES OF RAPE
It has been claimed that the Southern white women have been slanderedbecause, in defending the Negro race from the charge that all colored men,who are lynched, only pay penalty for assaulting women. It is certain thatlynching mobs have not only refused to give the Negro a chance to defendhimself, but have killed their victim with a full knowledge that therelationship of the alleged assailant with the woman who accused him, wasvoluntary and clandestine. As a matter of fact, one of the prime causes ofthe Lynch Law agitation has been a necessity for defending the Negro fromthis awful charge against him. This defense has been necessary because theapologists for outlawry insist that in no case has the accusing woman beena willing consort of her paramour, who is lynched because overtaken inwrong. It is well known, however, that such is the case. In July of thisyear, 1894, John Paul Bocock, a Southern white man living in New York, andassistant editor of the New York Tribune, took occasion to defy thepublication of any instance where the lynched Negro was the victim of awhite woman's falsehood. Such cases are not rare, but the press and peopleconversant with the facts, almost invariably suppress them.
The New York Sun of July 30,1894, contained a synopsis of interviewswith leading congressmen and editors of the South. Speaker Crisp, of theHouse of Representatives, who was recently a Judge of the Supreme Court ofGeorgia, led in declaring that lynching seldom or never took place, savefor vile crime against women and children. Dr. Hass, editor of the leadingorgan of the Methodist Church South, published in its columns that it washis belief that more than three hundred women had been assaulted by Negromen within three months. When asked to prove his charges, or give a singlecase upon which his "belief" was founded, he said that he could do so, butthe details were unfit for publication. No other evidence but his "belief"could be adduced to substantiate this grave charge, yet Bishop Haygood, inthe Forum of October, 1893, quotes this "belief" in apology forlynching, and voluntarily adds: "It is my opinion that this is anunderestimate." The "opinion" of this man, based upon a "belief," hadgreater weight coming from a man who has posed as a friend to "Our Brotherin Black," and was accepted as authority. An interview of Miss Frances E.Willard, the great apostle of temperance, the daughter of abolitionistsand a personal friend and helper of many individual colored people, hasbeen quoted in support of the utterance of this calumny against a weak anddefenseless race. In the New York Voice of October 23, 1890, after atour in the South, where she was told all these things by the "best whitepeople," she said: "The grogshop is the Negro's center of power. Betterwhisky and more of it is the rallying cry of great, dark-faced mobs. Thecolored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt. The grogshop is itscenter of power. The safety of woman, of childhood, the home, is menacedin a thousand localities at this moment, so that men dare not go beyondthe sight of their own roof-tree."
These charges so often reiterated, have had the effect of fastening theodium upon the race of a peculiar propensity for this foul crime. TheNegro is thus forced to a defense of his good name, and this chapter willbe devoted to the history of some of the cases where assault upon whitewomen by Negroes is charged. He is not the aggressor in this fight, butthe situation demands that the facts be given, and they will speak forthemselves. Of the 1,115 Negro men, women and children hanged, shot androasted alive from January 1, 1882, to January 1, 1894, inclusive, only348 of that number were charged with rape. Nearly 700 of these personswere lynched for any other reason which could be manufactured by a mobwishing to indulge in a lynching bee.
A WHITE WOMAN'S FALSEHOOD
The Cleveland, Ohio, Gazette, January 16, 1892, gives an account of oneof these cases of "rape."
Mrs. J.C. Underwood, the wife of a minister of Elyria, Ohio, accused anAfro-American of rape. She told her husband that during his absence in1888, stumping the state for the Prohibition Party, the man came to thekitchen door, forced his way in the house and insulted her. She tried todrive him out with a heavy poker, but he overpowered and chloroformed her,and when she revived her clothing was torn and she was in a horriblecondition. She did not know the man, but could identify him. Shesubsequently pointed out William Offett, a married man, who was arrested,and, being in Ohio, was granted a trial.
The prisoner vehemently denied the charge of rape, but confessed he wentto Mrs. Underwood's residence at her invitation and was criminallyintimate with her at her request. This availed him nothing against thesworn testimony of a minister's wife, a lady of the highestrespectability. He was found guilty, and entered the penitentiary,December 14, 1888, for fifteen years. Sometime afterwards the woman'sremorse led her to confess to her husband that the man was innocent. Theseare her words: "I met Offett at the postoffice. It was raining. He waspolite to me, and as I had several bundles in my arms he offered to carrythem home for me, which he did. He had a strange fascination for me, and Iinvited him to call on me. He called, bringing chestnuts and candy for thechildren. By this means we got them to leave us alone in the room. Then Isat on his lap. He made a proposal to me and I readily consented. Why Idid so I do not know, but that I did is true. He visited me several timesafter that and each time I was indiscreet. I did not care after the firsttime. In fact I could not have resisted, and had no desire to resist."
When asked by her husband why she told him she had been outraged, shesaid: "I had several reasons for telling you. One was the neighbors sawthe fellow here, another was, I was afraid I had contracted a loathsomedisease, and still another was that I feared I might give birth to a Negrobaby. I hoped to save my reputation by telling you a deliberate lie." Herhusband, horrified by the confession, had Offett, who had already servedfour years, released and secured a divorce.
There have been many such cases throughout the South, with the differencethat the Southern white men in insensate fury wreak their vengeancewithout intervention of law upon the Negro who consorts with their women.
TRIED TO MANUFACTURE AN OUTRAGE
The Memphis (Tenn.) Ledger, of June 8, 1892, has the following:
If Lillie Bailey, a rather pretty white girl, seventeen years of age, who is now at the city hospital, would be somewhat less reserved about her disgrace there would be some very nauseating details in the story of her life. She is the mother of a little coon. The truth might reveal fearful depravity or the evidence of a rank outrage. She will not divulge the name of the man who has left such black evidence of her disgrace, and in fact says it is a matter in which there can be no interest to the outside world. She came to Memphis nearly three months ago, and was taken in at the Woman's Refuge in the southern part of the city. She remained there until a few weeks ago when the child was born. The ladies in charge of the Refuge were horrified. The girl was at once sent to the city hospital, where she has been since May 30. She is a country girl. She came to Memphis from her father's farm, a short distance from Hernando, Miss. Just when she left there she would not say. In fact she says she came to Memphis from Arkansas, and says her home is in that state. She is rather good looking, has blue eyes, a low forehead and dark red hair. The ladies at the Woman's Refuge do not know anything about the girl further than what they learned when she was an inmate of the institution; and she would not tell much. When the child was born an attempt was made to get the girl to reveal the name of the Negro who had disgraced her, she obstinately refused and it was impossible to elicit any information from her on the subject.
Note the wording: "The truth might reveal fearful depravity or rankoutrage." If it had been a white child or if Lillie Bailey had told apitiful story of Negro outrage, it would have been a case of woman'sweakness or assault and she could have remained at the Woman's Refuge. Buta Negro child and to withhold its father's name and thus prevent thekilling of another Negro "rapist" was a case of "fearful depravity." Hadshe revealed the father's name, he would have been lynched and his takingoff charged to an assault upon a white woman.
BURNED ALIVE FOR ADULTERY
In Texarkana, Arkansas, Edward Coy was accused of assaulting a whitewoman. The press dispatches of February 18, 1892, told in detail how hewas tied to a tree, the flesh cut from his body by men and boys, and aftercoal oil was poured over him, the woman he had assaulted gladly set fireto him, and 15,000 persons saw him burn to death. October 1, the ChicagoInter Ocean contained the following account of that horror from the penof the "Bystander" Judge Albion W. Tourgee—as the result of hisinvestigations:
1. The woman who was paraded as victim of violence was of bad character; her husband was a drunkard and a gambler.
2. She was publicly reported and generally known to have been criminally intimate with Coy for more than a year previous.
3. She was compelled by threats, if not by violence, to make the charge against the victim.
4. When she came to apply the match Coy asked her if she would burn him after they had "been sweethearting" so long.
5. A large majority of the "superior" white men prominent in the affair are the reputed fathers of mulatto children.
These are not pleasant facts, but they are illustrative of the vital phase of the so-called race question, which should properly be designated an earnest inquiry as to the best methods by which religion, science, law and political power may be employed to excuse injustice, barbarity and crime done to a people because of race and color. There can be no possible belief that these people were inspired by any consuming zeal to vindicate God's law against miscegenationists of the most practical sort. The woman was a willing partner in the victim's guilt, and being of the "superior" race must naturally have been more guilty.
NOT IDENTIFIED BUT LYNCHED
February 11, 1893, there occurred in Shelby County, Tennessee, the fourthNegro lynching within fifteen months. The three first were lynched in thecity of Memphis for firing on white men in self-defense. This Negro,Richard Neal, was lynched a few miles from the city limits, and thefollowing is taken from the Memphis (Tenn.) Scimitar:
As the Scimitar stated on Saturday the Negro, Richard Neal, who raped Mrs. Jack White near Forest Hill, in this county, was lynched by a mob of about 200 white citizens of the neighborhood. Sheriff McLendon, accompanied by Deputies Perkins, App and Harvey and a Scimitar reporter, arrived on the scene of the execution about 3:30 in the afternoon. The body was suspended from the first limb of a post oak tree by a new quarter-inch grass rope. A hangman's knot, evidently tied by an expert, fitted snugly under the left ear of the corpse, and a new hame string pinioned the victim's arms behind him. His legs were not tied. The body was perfectly limber when the Sheriff's posse cut it down and retained enough heat to warm the feet of Deputy Perkins, whose road cart was converted into a hearse. On arriving with the body at Forest Hill the Sheriff made a bargain with a stalwart young man with a blonde mustache and deep blue eyes, who told the Scimitar reporter that he was the leader of the mob, to haul the body to Germantown for $3.
When within half-a-mile of Germantown the Sheriff and posse were overtaken by Squire McDonald of Collierville, who had come down to hold the inquest. The Squire had his jury with him, and it was agreed for the convenience of all parties that he should proceed with the corpse to Germantown and conduct the inquiry as to the cause of death. He did so, and a verdict of death from hanging by parties unknown was returned in due form.
The execution of Neal was done deliberately and by the best people of the Collierville, Germantown and Forest Hill neighborhoods, without passion or exhibition of anger.
He was arrested on Friday about ten o'clock, by Constable Bob Cash, who carried him before Mrs. White. She said: "I think he is the man. I am almost certain of it. If he isn't the man he is exactly like him."
The Negro's coat was torn also, and there were other circumstances against him. The committee returned and made its report, and the chairman put the question of guilt or innocence to a vote.
All who thought the proof strong enough to warrant execution were invited to cross over to the other side of the road. Everybody but four or five negroes crossed over.
The committee then placed Neal on a mule with his arms tied behind him, and proceeded to the scene of the crime, followed by the mob. The rope, with a noose already prepared, was tied to the limb nearest the spot where the unpardonable sin was committed, and the doomed man's mule was brought to a standstill beneath it.
Then Neal confessed. He said he was the right man, but denied that he used force or threats to accomplish his purpose. It was a matter of purchase, he claimed, and said the price paid was twenty-five cents. He warned the colored men present to beware of white women and resist temptation, for to yield to their blandishments or to the passions of men, meant death.
While he was speaking, Mrs. White came from her home and calling Constable Cash to one side, asked if he could not save the Negro's life. The reply was, "No," and Mrs. White returned to the house.
When all was in readiness, the husband of Neal's victim leaped upon the mule's back and adjusted the rope around the Negro's neck. No cap was used, and Neal showed no fear, nor did he beg for mercy. The mule was struck with a whip and bounded out from under Neal, leaving him suspended in the air with his feet about three feet from the ground.
DELIVERED TO THE MOB BY THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE
John Peterson, near Denmark, S.C., was suspected of rape, but escaped,went to Columbia, and placed himself under Gov. Tillman's protection,declaring he too could prove an alibi by white witnesses. A white reporterhearing his declaration volunteered to find these witnesses, andtelegraphed the governor that he would be in Columbia with them on Monday.In the meantime the mob at Denmark, learning Peterson's whereabouts, wentto the governor and demanded the prisoner. Gov. Tillman, who had duringhis canvass for reelection the year before, declared that he would lead amob to lynch a Negro that assaulted a white woman, gave Peterson up to themob. He was taken back to Denmark, and the white girl in the case aspositively declared that he was not the man. But the verdict of the mobwas that "the crime had been committed and somebody had to hang for it,and if he, Peterson, was not guilty of that he was of some other crime,"and he was hung, and his body riddled with 1,000 bullets.
LYNCHED AS A WARNING
Alabama furnishes a case in point. A colored man named Daniel Edwards,lived near Selma, Alabama, and worked for a family of a farmer near thatplace. This resulted in an intimacy between the young man and a daughterof the householder, which finally developed in the disgrace of the girl.After the birth of the child, the mother disclosed the fact that Edwardswas its father. The relationship had been sustained for more than a year,and yet this colored man was apprehended, thrown into jail from whence hewas taken by a mob of one hundred neighbors and hung to a tree and hisbody riddled with bullets. A dispatch which describes the lynching, endsas follows. "Upon his back was found pinned this morning the following:'Warning to all Negroes that are too intimate with white girls. This thework of one hundred best citizens of the South Side.'"
There can be no doubt from the announcement made by this "one hundred bestcitizens" that they understood full well the character of the relationshipwhich existed between Edwards and the girl, but when the dispatches weresent out, describing the affair, it was claimed that Edwards was lynchedfor rape.
SUPPRESSING THE TRUTH
In a county in Mississippi during the month of July the Associated Pressdispatches sent out a report that the sheriff's eight-year-old daughterhad been assaulted by a big, black, burly brute who had been promptlylynched. The facts which have since been investigated show that the girlwas more than eighteen years old and that she was discovered by her fatherin this young man's room who was a servant on the place. But these factsthe Associated Press has not given to the world, nor did the same agencyacquaint the world with the fact that a Negro youth who was lynched inTuscumbia, Ala., the same year on the same charge told the white girl whoaccused him before the mob, that he had met her in the woods often byappointment. There is a young mulatto in one of the State prisons of theSouth today who is there by charge of a young white woman to screenherself. He is a college graduate and had been corresponding with, andclandestinely visiting her until he was surprised and run out of her roomen deshabille by her father. He was put in prison in another town to savehis life from the mob and his lawyer advised that it were better to savehis life by pleading guilty to charges made and being sentenced for years,than to attempt a defense by exhibiting the letters written him by thisgirl. In the latter event, the mob would surely murder him, while therewas a chance for his life by adopting the former course. Names, places anddates are not given for the same reason.
The excuse has come to be so safe, it is not surprising that aPhiladelphia girl, beautiful and well educated, and of good family, shouldmake a confession published in all the daily papers of that city October,1894, that she had been stealing for some time, and that to cover one ofher thefts, she had said she had been bound and gagged in her father'shouse by a colored man, and money stolen therefrom by him. Had this beendone in many localities, it would only have been necessary for her to"identify" the first Negro in that vicinity, to have brought about anotherlynching bee.
A VILE SLANDER WITH SCANT RETRACTION
The following published in the Cleveland (Ohio) Leader of Oct. 23, 1894,only emphasizes our demand that a fair trial shall be given those accusedof crime, and the protection of the law be extended until time for adefense be granted.
The sensational story sent out last night from Hicksville that a Negro had outraged a little four-year-old girl proves to be a base canard. The correspondents who went into the details should have taken the pains to investigate, and the officials should have known more of the matter before they gave out such grossly exaggerated information.
The Negro, Charles O'Neil, had been working for a couple of women and, it seems, had worked all winter without being remunerated. There is a little girl, and the girl's mother and grandmother evidently started the story with idea of frightening the Negro out of the country and thus balancing accounts. The town was considerably wrought up and for a time things looked serious. The accused had a preliminary hearing today and not an iota of evidence was produced to indicate that such a crime had been committed, or that he had even attempted such an outrage. The village marshal was frightened nearly out of his wits and did little to quiet the excitement last night.
The affair was an outrage on the Negro, at the expense of innocent childhood, a brainless fabrication from start to finish.
The original story was sent throughout this country and England, but theCleveland Leader, so far as known, is the only journal which haspublished these facts in refutation of the slander so often publishedagainst the race. Not only is it true that many of the alleged cases ofrape against the Negro, are like the foregoing, but the same crimecommitted by white men against Negro women and girls, is never punished bymob or the law. A leading journal in South Carolina openly said somemonths ago that "it is not the same thing for a white man to assault acolored woman as for a colored man to assault a white woman, because thecolored woman had no finer feelings nor virtue to be outraged!" Yetcolored women have always had far more reason to complain of white men inthis respect than ever white women have had of Negroes.
ILLINOIS HAS A LYNCHING
In the month of June, 1893, the proud commonwealth of Illinois joined theranks of Lynching States. Illinois, which gave to the world the immortalheroes, Lincoln, Grant and Logan, trailed its banner of justice in thedust—dyed its hands red in the blood of a man not proven guilty of crime.
June 3,1893, the country about Decatur, one of the largest cities of thestate was startled with the cry that a white woman had been assaulted by acolored tramp. Three days later a colored man named Samuel Bush wasarrested and put in jail. A white man testified that Bush, on the day ofthe assault, asked him where he could get a drink and he pointed to thehouse where the farmer's wife was subsequently said to have beenassaulted. Bush said he went to the well but did not go near the house,and did not assault the woman. After he was arrested the alleged victimdid not see him to identify him—he was presumed to be guilty.
The citizens determined to kill him. The mob gathered, went to the jail,met with no resistance, took the suspected man, dragged him out tearingevery stitch of clothing from his body, then hanged him to a telegraphpole. The grand jury refused to indict the lynchers though the names ofover twenty persons who were leaders in the mob were well known. In facttwenty-two persons were indicted, but the grand jurors and the prosecutingattorney disagreed as to the form of the indictments, which caused thejurors to change their minds. All indictments were reconsidered and thematter was dropped. Not one of the dozens of men prominent in that murderhave suffered a whit more inconvenience for the butchery of that man, thanthey would have suffered for shooting a dog.
COLOR LINE JUSTICE
In Baltimore, Maryland, a gang of white ruffians assaulted a respectablecolored girl who was out walking with a young man of her own race. Theyheld her escort and outraged the girl. It was a deed dastardly enough toarouse Southern blood, which gives its horror of rape as excuse forlawlessness, but she was a colored woman. The case went to the courts andthey were acquitted.
In Nashville, Tennessee, there was a white man, Pat Hanifan, who outrageda little colored girl, and from the physical injuries received she wasruined for life. He was jailed for six months, discharged, and is now adetective in that city. In the same city, last May, a white man outraged acolored girl in a drug store. He was arrested and released on bail at thetrial. It was rumored that five hundred colored men had organized to lynchhim. Two hundred and fifty white citizens armed themselves withWinchesters and guarded him. A cannon was placed in front of his home, andthe Buchanan Rifles (State Militia) ordered to the scene for hisprotection. The colored mob did not show up. Only two weeks before, Eph.Grizzard, who had only been charged with rape upon a white woman, had beentaken from the jail, with Governor Buchanan and the police and militiastanding by, dragged through the streets in broad daylight, knives plungedinto him at every step, and with every fiendish cruelty that a frenziedmob could devise, he was at last swung out on the bridge with hands cut topieces as he tried to climb up the stanchions. A naked, bloody example ofthe bloodthirstiness of the nineteenth-century civilization of the Athensof the South! No cannon nor military were called out in his defense. Hedared to visit a white woman.
At the very moment when these civilized whites were announcing theirdetermination "to protect their wives and daughters," by murderingGrizzard, a white man was in the same jail for raping eight-year-oldMaggie Reese, a colored girl. He was not harmed. The "honor" of grownwomen who were glad enough to be supported by the Grizzard boys and Ed.Coy, as long as the liaison was not known, needed protection; they werewhite. The outrage upon helpless childhood needed no avenging in thiscase; she was black.
A white man in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory, two months after inflictedsuch injuries upon another colored girl that she died. He was notpunished, but an attempt was made in the same town in the month of June tolynch a colored man who visited a white woman.
In Memphis, Tennessee, in the month of June, Ellerton L. Dorr, who is thehusband of Russell Hancock's widow, was arrested for attempted rape onMattie Cole, a neighbor's cook; he was only prevented from accomplishinghis purpose by the appearance of Mattie's employer. Dorr's friends say hewas drunk and, not responsible for his actions. The grand jury refused toindict him and he was discharged.
In Tallahassee, Florida, a colored girl, Charlotte Gilliam, was assaultedby white men. Her father went to have a warrant for their arrest issued,but the judge refused to issue it.
In Bowling Green, Virginia, Moses Christopher, a colored lad, was chargedwith assault, September 10. He was indicted, tried, convicted andsentenced to death in one day. In the same state at Danville, two weeksbefore—August 29, Thomas J. Penn, a white man, committed a criminalassault upon Lina Hanna, a twelve-year-old colored girl, but he has notbeen tried, certainly not killed either by the law or the mob.
In Surrey county, Virginia, C.L. Brock, a white man, criminally assaulteda ten-year-old colored girl, and threatened to kill her if she told.Notwithstanding, she confessed to her aunt, Mrs. Alice Bates, and thewhite brute added further crime by killing Mrs. Bates when she upbraidedhim about his crime upon her niece. He emptied the contents of hisrevolver into her body as she lay. Brock has never been apprehended, andno effort has been made to do so by the legal authorities.
But even when punishment is meted out by law to white villians for thishorrible crime, it is seldom or never that capital punishment is invoked.Two cases just clipped from the daily papers will suffice to show how thiscrime is punished when committed by white offenders and black.
LOUISVILLE, KY., October 19.—Smith Young, colored, was today sentenced tobe hanged. Young criminally assaulted a six-year-old child about sixmonths ago.
Jacques Blucher, the Pontiac Frenchman who was arrested at that place fora criminal assault on his daughter Fanny on July 29 last, pleaded nolocontendere when placed on trial at East Greenwich, near Providence, R.I.,Tuesday, and was sentenced to five years in State Prison.
Charles Wilson was convicted of assault upon seven-year-old Mamie Keys inPhiladelphia, in October, and sentenced to ten years in prison. He waswhite. Indianapolis courts sentenced a white man in September to eightyears in prison for assault upon a twelve-year-old white girl.
April 24, 1893, a lynching was set for Denmark, S.C., on the charge ofrape. A white girl accused a Negro of assault, and the mob was about tolynch him. A few hours before the lynching three reputable white men rodeinto the town and solemnly testified that the accused Negro was at workwith them 25 miles away on the day and at the hour the crime had beencommitted. He was accordingly set free. A white person's word is taken asabsolutely for as against a Negro.
THE CRUSADE JUSTIFIED
(Appeal from America to the World)
It has been urged in criticism of the movement appealing to the Englishpeople for sympathy and support in our crusade against Lynch Law that ouraction was unpatriotic, vindictive and useless. It is not a part of theplan of this pamphlet to make any defense for that crusade nor to indictany apology for the motives which led to the presentation of the facts ofAmerican lynchings to the world at large. To those who are not willfullyblind and unjustly critical, the record of more than a thousand lynchingsin ten years is enough to justify any peaceable movement tending toameliorate the conditions which led to this unprecedented slaughter ofhuman beings.
If America would not hear the cry of men, women and children whose dyinggroans ascended to heaven praying for relief, not only for them but forothers who might soon be treated as they, then certainly no fair-mindedperson can charge disloyalty to those who make an appeal to thecivilization of the world for such sympathy and help as it is possible toextend. If stating the facts of these lynchings, as they appeared fromtime to time in the white newspapers of America—the news gathered bywhite correspondents, compiled by white press bureaus and disseminatedamong white people—shows any vindictiveness, then the mind which socharges is not amenable to argument.
But it is the desire of this pamphlet to urge that the crusade started andthus far continued has not been useless, but has been blessed with themost salutary results. The many evidences of the good results can not herebe mentioned, but the thoughtful student of the situation can himselffind ample proof. There need not here be mentioned the fact that for thefirst time since lynching began, has there been any occasion for thegovernors of the several states to speak out in reference to these crimesagainst law and order.
No matter how heinous the act of the lynchers may have been, it wasdiscussed only for a day or so and then dismissed from the attention ofthe public. In one or two instances the governor has called attention tothe crime, but the civil processes entirely failed to bring the murderersto justice. Since the crusade against lynching was started, however,governors of states, newspapers, senators and representatives and bishopsof churches have all been compelled to take cognizance of the prevalenceof this crime and to speak in one way or another in the defense of thecharge against this barbarism in the United States. This has not beenbecause there was any latent spirit of justice voluntarily assertingitself, especially in those who do the lynching, but because the entireAmerican people now feel, both North and South, that they are objects inthe gaze of the civilized world and that for every lynching humanity asksthat America render its account to civilization and itself.
AWFUL BARBARISM IGNORED
Much has been said during the months of September and October of 1894about the lynching of six colered men who on suspicion of incendiarismwere made the victims of a most barbarous massacre.
They were arrested, one by one, by officers of the law; they werehandcuffed and chained together and by the officers of the law loaded in awagon and deliberately driven into an ambush where a mob of lynchersawaited them. At the time and upon the chosen spot, in the darkness of thenight and far removed from the habitation of any human soul, the wagon washalted and the mob fired upon the six manacled men, shooting them to deathas no humane person would have shot dogs. Chained together as they were,in their awful struggles after the first volley, the victims tumbled outof the wagon upon the ground and there in the mud, struggling in theirdeath throes, the victims were made the target of the murderous shotguns,which fired into the writhing, struggling, dying mass of humanity, untilevery spark of life was gone. Then the officers of the law who had them incharge, drove away to give the alarm and to tell the world that they hadbeen waylaid and their prisoners forcibly taken from them and killed.
It has been claimed that the prompt, vigorous and highly commendable stepsof the governor of the State of Tennessee and the judge havingjurisdiction over the crime, and of the citizens of Memphis generally, wasthe natural revolt of the humane conscience in that section of thecountry, and the determination of honest and honorable men to rid thecommunity of such men as those who were guilty of this terrible massacre.It has further been claimed that this vigorous uprising of the people andthis most commendably prompt action of the civil authorities, is ampleproof that the American people will not tolerate the lynching of innocentmen, and that in cases where brutal lynchings have not been promptly dealtwith, the crimes on the part of the victims were such as to put themoutside the pale of humanity and that the world considered their death anecessary sacrifice for the good of all.
But this line of argument can in no possible way be truthfully sustained.The lynching of the six men in 1894, barbarous as it was, was in no waymore barbarous than took nothing more than a passing notice. It was onlythe other lynchings which preceded it, and of which the public fact thatthe attention of the civilized world has been called to lynching inAmerica which made the people of Tennessee feel the absolute necessity fora prompt, vigorous and just arraignment of all the murderers connectedwith that crime. Lynching is no longer "Our Problem," it is the problem ofthe civilized world, and Tennessee could not afford to refuse the legalmeasures which Christianity demands shall be used for the punishment ofcrime.
MEMPHIS THEN AND NOW
Only two years prior to the massacre of the six men near Memphis, thatsame city took part in a massacre in every way as bloody and brutal asthat of September last. It was the murder of three young colored men andwho were known to be among the most honorable, reliable, worthy andpeaceable colored citizens of the community. All of them were engaged inthe mercantile business, being members of a corporation which conducted alarge grocery store, and one of the three being a letter carrier in theemploy of the government. These three men were arrested for resisting anattack of a mob upon their store, in which melee none of the assailants,who had armed themselves for their devilish deeds by securing courtprocesses, were killed or even seriously injured. But these three men wereput in jail, and on three or four nights after their incarceration a mobof less than a dozen men, by collusion with the civil authorities, enteredthe jail, took the three men from the custody of the law and shot them todeath. Memphis knew of this awful crime, knew then and knows today who themen were who committed it, and yet not the first step was ever taken toapprehend the guilty wretches who walk the streets today with the brand ofmurder upon their foreheads, but as safe from harm as the most uprightcitizen of that community. Memphis would have been just as calm andcomplacent and self-satisfied over the murder of the six colored men in1894 as it was over these three colored men in 1892, had it not recognizedthe fact that to escape the brand of barbarism it had not only to speakits denunciation but to act vigorously in vindication of its name.
AN ALABAMA HORROR IGNORED
A further instance of this absolute disregard of every principle ofjustice and the indifference to the barbarism of Lynch Law may be citedhere, and is furnished by white residents in the city of Carrolton,Alabama. Several cases of arson had been discovered, and in their searchfor the guilty parties, suspicion was found to rest upon three men and awoman. The four suspects were Paul Hill, Paul Archer, William Archer, hisbrother, and a woman named Emma Fair. The prisoners were apprehended,earnestly asserted their innocence, but went to jail without making anyresistance. They claimed that they could easily prove their innocence upontrial.
One would suspect that the civilization which defends itself against thebarbarisms of Lynch Law by stating that it lynches human beings only whenthey are guilty of awful attacks upon women and children, would have beenvery careful to have given these four prisoners, who were simply chargedwith arson, a fair trial, to which they were entitled upon every principleof law and humanity. Especially would this seem to be the case when if isconsidered that one of the prisoners charged was a woman, and if thenineteenth century has shown any advancement upon any lines of humanaction, it is preeminently shown in its reverence, respect and protectionof its womanhood. But the people of Alabama failed to have any regard forwomanhood whatever.
The three men and the woman were put in jail to await trial. A few dayslater it was rumored that they were to be subjects of Lynch Law, and, sureenough, at night a mob of lynchers went to the jail, not to avenge anyawful crime against womanhood, but to kill four people who had beensuspected of setting a house on fire. They were caged in their cells,helpless and defenseless; they were at the mercy of civilized whiteAmericans, who, armed with shotguns, were there to maintain the majesty ofAmerican law. And most effectively was their duty done by these splendidrepresentatives of Governor Fishback's brave and honorable whitesoutherners, who resent "outside interference." They lined themselves upin the most effective manner and poured volley after volley into thebodies of their helpless, pleading victims, who in their bolted prisoncells could do nothing but suffer and die. Then these lynchers wentquietly away and the bodies of the woman and three men were taken out andburied with as little ceremony as men would bury hogs.
No one will say that the massacre near Memphis in 1894 was any worse thanthis bloody crime of Alabama in 1892. The details of this shocking affairwere given to the public by the press, but public sentiment was not movedto action in the least; it was only a matter of a day's notice and thenwent to swell the list of murders which stand charged against the noble,Christian people of Alabama.
But there is now an awakened conscience throughout the land, and Lynch Lawcan not flourish in the future as it has in the past. The close of theyear 1894 witnessed an aroused interest, an assertative humane principlewhich must tend to the extirpation of that crime. The awful butchery lastmentioned failed to excite more than a passing comment In 1894, but fardifferent is it today. Gov. Jones, of Alabama, in 1893 dared to speak outagainst the rule of the mob in no uncertain terms. His address indicated amost helpful result of the present agitation. In face of the many denialsof the outrages on the one hand and apologies for lynchers on the other,Gov. Jones admits the awful lawlessness charged and refuses to join inthe infamous plea made to condone the crime. No stronger nor moreeffective words have been said than those following from Gov. Jones.
While the ability of the state to deal with open revolts against the supremacy of its laws has been ably demonstrated, I regret that deplorable acts of violence have been perpetrated, in at least four instances, within the past two years by mobs, whose sudden work and quick dispersions rendered it impossible to protect their victims. Within the past two years nine prisoners, who were either in jail or in the custody of the officers, have been taken from them without resistance, and put to death. There was doubt of the guilt of the defendants in most of these cases, and few of them were charged with capital offenses. None of them involved the crime of rape. The largest rewards allowed by law were offered for the apprehension of the offenders, and officers were charged to a vigilant performance of their duties, and aided in some instances by the services of skilled detectives; but not a single arrest has been made and the grand juries in these counties have returned no bills of indictment. This would indicate either that local public sentiment approved these acts of violence or was too weak to punish them, or that the officers charged with that duty were in some way lacking in their performance. The evil cannot be cured or remedied by silence as to its existence. Unchecked, it will continue until it becomes a reproach to our good name, and a menace to our prosperity and peace; and it behooves you to exhaust all remedies within your power to find better preventives for such crimes.
A FRIENDLY WARNING
From England comes a friendly voice which must give to every patrioticcitizen food for earnese thought. Writing from London, to the ChicagoInter Ocean, Nov. 25, 1894, the distinguished compiler of our lastcensus, Hon. Robert P. Porter, gives the American people a mostinteresting review of the antilynching crusade in England, submittingeditorial opinions from all sections of England and Scotland, showing theconsensus of British opinion on this subject. It hardly need be said, thatwithout exception, the current of English thought deprecates the rule ofmob law, and the conscience of England is shocked by the revelation madeduring the present crusade. In his letter Mr. Porter says:
While some English journals have joined certain American journals in ridiculing the well-meaning people who have formed the antilynching committee, there is a deep under current on this subject which is injuring the Southern States far more than those who have not been drawn into the question of English investment for the South as I have can surmise. This feeling is by no means all sentiment. An Englishman whose word and active cooperation could send a million sterling to any legitimate Southern enterprise said the other day: "I will not invest a farthing in States where these horrors occur. I have no particular sympathy with the antilynching committee, but such outrages indicate to my mind that where life is held to be of such little value there is even less assurance that the laws will protect property. As I understand it the States, not the national government, control in such matters, and where those laws are strongest there is the best field for British capital."
Probably the most bitter attack on the antilynching committee has comefrom the London Times. Those Southern Governors who had their bombasticletters published in the Times, with favorable editorial comment, mayhave had their laugh at the antilynchers here too soon. A few days ago, incommenting on an interesting communication from Richard H. Edmonds, editorof the Manufacturer's Record, setting forth the industrial advantages ofthe Southern States, which was published in its columns, the Times says:
Without in any way countenancing the impertinence of "antilynching" committee, we may say that a state of things in which the killing of Negroes by bloodthirsty mobs is an incident of not unfrequent occurrence is not conducive to success in industry. Its existence, however, is a serious obstacle to the success of the South in industry; for even now Negro labor, which means at best inefficient labor, must be largely relied on there, and its efficiency must be still further diminished by spasmodic terrorism.
Those interested in the development of the resources of the Southern States, and no one in proportion to his means has shown more faith in the progress of the South than the writer of this article, must take hold of this matter earnestly and intelligently. Sneering at the antilynching committee will do no good. Back of them, in fact, if not in form, is the public opinion of Great Britain. Even the Times cannot deny this. It may not be generally known in the United States, but while the Southern and some of the Northern newspapers are making a target of Miss Wells, the young colored woman who started this English movement, and cracking their jokes at the expense of Miss Florence Balgarnie, who, as honorable secretary, conducts the committee's correspondence, the strongest sort of sentiment is really at the back of the movement. Here we have crystallized every phase of political opinion. Extreme Unionists like the Duke of Argyll and advanced home rulers such as Justin McCarthy; Thomas Burt, the labor leader; Herbert Burrows, the Socialist, and Tom Mann, representing all phases of the Labor party, are cooperating with conservatives like Sir T. Eldon Gorst. But the real strength of this committee is not visible to the casual observer. As a matter of fact it represents many of the leading and most powerful British journals. A.E. Fletcher is editor of the London Daily Chronicle; P.W. Clayden is prominent in the counsels of the London Daily News; Professor James Stuart is Gladstone's great friend and editor of the London Star, William Byles is editor and proprietor of the Bradford Observer, Sir Hugh Gilzen Reid is a leading Birmingham editor; in short, this committee has secured if not the leading editors, certainly important and warm friends, representing the Manchester Guardian, the Leeds Mercury, the Plymouth Western News, Newcastle Leader, the London Daily Graphic, the Westminster Gazette, the London Echo, a host of minor papers all over the kingdom, and practically the entire religious press of the kingdom.
The greatest victory for the antilynchers comes this morning in the publication in the London Times of William Lloyd Garrison's letter. This letter will have immense effect here. It may have been printed in full in the United States, but nevertheless I will quote a paragraph which will strengthen the antilynchers greatly in their crusade here:
A year ago the South derided and resented Northern protests; today it listens, explains and apologizes for its uncovered cruelties. Surely a great triumph for a little woman to accomplish! It is the power of truth simply and unreservedly spoken, for her language was inadequate to describe the horrors exposed.
If the Southern states are wise, and I say this with the earnestness of afriend and one who has built a home in the mountain regions of the Southand thrown his lot in with them, they will not only listen, but stoplawlessness of all kinds. If they do, and thus secure the confidence ofEnglishmen, we may in the next decade realize some of the hopes for thenew South we have so fondly cherished.
MISS WILLARD'S ATTITUDE
No class of American citizens stands in greater need of the humane andthoughtful consideration of all sections of our country than do thecolored people, nor does any class exceed us in the measure of gratefulregard for acts of kindly interest in our behalf. It is, therefore, to us,a matter of keen regret that a Christian organization, so large andinfluential as the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, should refuse togive its sympathy and support to our oppressed people who ask no furtherfavor than the promotion of public sentiment which shall guarantee toevery person accused of crime the safeguard of a fair and impartial trial,and protection from butchery by brutal mobs. Accustomed as we are to theindifference and apathy of Christian people, we would bear this instanceof ill fortune in silence, had not Miss Willard gone out of her way toantagonize the cause so dear to our hearts by including in her AnnualAddress to the W.C.T.U. Convention at Cleveland, November 5, 1894, astudied, unjust and wholly unwarranted attack upon our work.
In her address Miss Willard said:
The zeal for her race of Miss Ida B. Wells, a bright young colored woman, has, it seems to me, clouded her perception as to who were her friends and well-wishers in all high-minded and legitimate efforts to banish the abomination of lynching and torture from the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is my firm belief that in the statements made by Miss Wells concerning white women having taken the initiative in nameless acts between the races she has put an imputation upon half the white race in this country that is unjust, and, save in the rarest exceptional instances, wholly without foundation. This is the unanimous opinion of the most disinterested and observant leaders of opinion whom I have consulted on the subject, and I do not fear to say that the laudable efforts she is making are greatly handicapped by statements of this kind, nor to urge her as a friend and well-wisher to banish from her vocabulary all such allusions as a source of weakness to the cause she has at heart.
This paragraph, brief as it is, contains two statements which have not theslightest foundation in fact. At no time, nor in any place, have I madestatements "concerning white women having taken the initiative in namelessacts between the races." Further, at no time, or place nor under anycircumstance, have I directly or inferentially "put an imputation uponhalf the white race in this country" and I challenge this "friend andwell-wisher" to give proof of the truth of her charge. Miss Willardprotests against lynching in one paragraph and then, in the next,deliberately misrepresents my position in order that she may criticise amovement, whose only purpose is to protect our oppressed race fromvindictive slander and Lynch Law.
What I have said and what I now repeat—in answer to her first charge—is,that colored men have been lynched for assault upon women, when the factswere plain that the relationship between the victim lynched and thealleged victim of his assault was voluntary, clandestine and illicit. Forthat very reason we maintain, that, in every section of our land, theaccused should have a fair, impartial trial, so that a man who is coloredshall not be hanged for an offense, which, if he were white, would not beadjudged a crime. Facts cited in another chapter—"History of Some Casesof Rape"—amply maintain this position. The publication of these facts indefense of the good name of the race casts no "imputation upon half thewhite race in this country" and no such imputation can be inferred exceptby persons deliberately determined to be unjust.
But this is not the only injury which this cause has suffered at the handsof our "friend and well-wisher." It has been said that the Women'sChristian Temperance Union, the most powerful organization of women inAmerica, was misrepresented by me while I was in England. Miss Willard wasin England at the time and knowing that no such misrepresentation came toher notice, she has permitted that impression to become fixed andwidespread, when a word from her would have made the facts plain.
I never at any time or place or in any way misrepresented thatorganization. When asked what concerted action had been taken by churchesand great moral agencies in America to put down Lynch Law, I was compelledin truth to say that no such action had occurred, that pulpit, press andmoral agencies in the main were silent and for reasons known tothemselves, ignored the awful conditions which to the English peopleappeared so abhorent. Then the question was asked what the great moralreformers like Miss Frances Willard and Mr. Moody had done to suppressLynch Law and again I answered nothing. That Mr. Moody had never said aword against lynching in any of his trips to the South, or in the Northeither, so far as was known, and that Miss Willard's only public utteranceon the situation had condoned lynching and other unjust practices of theSouth against the Negro. When proof of these statements was demanded, Isent a letter containing a copy of the New York Voice, Oct. 23,1890, inwhich appeared Miss Willard's own words of wholesale slander against thecolored race and condonation of Southern white people's outrages againstus. My letter in part reads as follows:
But Miss Willard, the great temperance leader, went even further in putting the seal of her approval upon the southerners' method of dealing with the Negro. In October, 1890, the Women's Christian Temperance Union held its national meeting at Atlanta, Georgia. It was the first time in the history of the organization that it had gone south for a national meeting, and met the southerners in their own homes. They were welcomed with open arms. The governor of the state and the legislature gave special audiences in the halls of state legislation to the temperance workers. They set out to capture the northerners to their way of seeing things, and without troubling to hear the Negro side of the question, these temperance people accepted the white man's story of the problem with which he had to deal. State organizers were appointed that year, who had gone through the southern states since then, but in obedience to southern prejudices have confined their work to white persons only. It is only after Negroes are in prison for crimes that efforts of these temperance women are exerted without regard to "race, color, or previous condition." No "ounce of prevention" is used in their case; they are black, and if these women went among the Negroes for this work, the whites would not receive them. Except here and there, are found no temperance workers of the Negro race; "the great dark-faced mobs" are left the easy prey of the saloonkeepers.
There was pending in the National Congress at this time a Federal Election Bill, the object being to give the National Government control of the national elections in the several states. Had this bill become a law, the Negro, whose vote has been systematically suppressed since 1875 in the southern states, would have had the protection of the National Government, and his vote counted. The South would have been no longer "solid"; the Southerners saw that the balance of power which they unlawfully held in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College, based on the Negro population, would be wrested from them. So they nick-named the pending elections law the "Force Bill"—probably because it would force them to disgorge their ill-gotten political gains—and defeated it. While it was being discussed, the question was submitted to Miss Willard: "What do you think of the race problem and the Force Bill?"
Said Miss Willard: "Now, as to the 'race problem' in its minified, current meaning, I am a true lover of the southern people—have spoken and worked in, perhaps, 200 of their towns and cities; have been taken into their love and confidence at scores of hospitable firesides; have heard them pour out their hearts in the splendid frankness of their impetuous natures. And I have said to them at such times: 'When I go North there will be wafted to you no word from pen or voice that is not loyal to what we are saying here and now.' Going South, a woman, a temperance woman, and a Northern temperance woman—three great barriers to their good will yonder—I was received by them with a confidence that was one of the most delightful surprises of my life. I think we have wronged the South, though we did not mean to do so. The reason was, in part, that we had irreparably wronged ourselves by putting no safeguards on the ballot box at the North that would sift out alien illiterates. They rule our cities today; the saloon is their palace, and the toddy stick their sceptre. It is not fair that they should vote, nor is it fair that a plantation Negro, who can neither read nor write, whose ideas are bounded by the fence of his own field and the price of his own mule, should be entrusted with the ballot. We ought to have put an educational test upon that ballot from the first. The Anglo-Saxon race will never submit to be dominated by the Negro so long as his altitude reaches no higher than the personal liberty of the saloon, and the power of appreciating the amount of liquor that a dollar will buy. New England would no more submit to this than South Carolina. 'Better whisky and more of it' has been the rallying cry of great dark-faced mobs in the Southern localities where local option was snowed under by the colored vote. Temperance has no enemy like that, for it is unreasoning and unreasonable. Tonight it promises in a great congregation to vote for temperance at the polls tomorrow; but tomorrow twenty-five cents changes that vote in favor of the liquor-seller.
"I pity the southerners, and I believe the great mass of them are as conscientious and kindly intentioned toward the colored man as an equal number of white church-members of the North. Would-be demagogues lead the colored people to destruction. Half-drunken white roughs murder them at the polls, or intimidate them so that they do not vote. But the better class of people must not be blamed for this, and a more thoroughly American population than the Christian people of the South does not exist. They have the traditions, the kindness, the probity, the courage of our forefathers. The problem on their hands is immeasurable. The colored race multiplies like the locusts of Egypt. The grog-shop is its center of power. 'The safety of woman, of childhood, of the home, is menaced in a thousand localities at this moment, so that the men dare not go beyond the sight of their own roof-tree.' How little we know of all this, seated in comfort and affluence here at the North, descanting upon the rights of every man to cast one vote and have it fairly counted; that well-worn shibboleth invoked once more to dodge a living issue.
"The fact is that illiterate colored men will not vote at the South until the white population chooses to have them do so; and under similar conditions they would not at the North." Here we have Miss Willard's words in full, condoning fraud, violence, murder, at the ballot box; rapine, shooting, hanging and burning; for all these things are done and being done now by the Southern white people. She does not stop there, but goes a step further to aid them in blackening the good name of an entire race, as shown by the sentences quoted in the paragraph above. These utterances, for which the colored people have never forgiven Miss Willard, and which Frederick Douglass has denounced as false, are to be found in full in the Voice of October 23,1890, a temperance organ published at New York City.
This letter appeared in the May number of Fraternity, the organ of thefirst Anti-Lynching society of Great Britain. When Lady Henry Somersetlearned through Miss Florence Balgarnie that this letter had beenpublished she informed me that if the interview was published she wouldtake steps to let the public know that my statements must be received withcaution. As I had no money to pay the printer to suppress the editionwhich was already published and these ladies did not care to do so, theMay number of Fraternity was sent to its subscribers as usual. Threedays later there appeared in the daily Westminster Gazette an"interview" with Miss Willard, written by Lady Henry Somerset, which wasso subtly unjust in its wording that I was forced to reply in my owndefense. In that reply I made only statements which, like those concerningMiss Willard's Voice interview, have not been and cannot be denied. Itwas as follows:
LADY HENRY SOMERSET'S INTERVIEW WITH MISS WILLARD
To the Editor of the Westminster Gazette: Sir—The interview published in your columns today hardly merits a reply, because of the indifference to suffering manifested. Two ladies are represented sitting under a tree at Reigate, and, after some preliminary remarks on the terrible subject of lynching, Miss Willard laughingly replies by cracking a joke. And the concluding sentence of the interview shows the object is not to determine how best they may help the Negro who is being hanged, shot and burned, but "to guard Miss Willard's reputation."
With me it is not myself nor my reputation, but the life of my people, which is at stake, and I affirm that this is the first time to my knowledge that Miss Willard has said a single word in denunciation of lynching or demand for law. The year 1890, the one in which the interview appears, had a larger lynching record than any previous year, and the number and territory have increased, to say nothing of the human beings burnt alive.See Alsospencer klavan boyfriend joshInstitute Of Diabetes And Endocrinology Medford, Or – Guide for Curing Diabetes (For Good!) - Diabetes GreenThe Integumentary System: Your Skin, Hair, Nails, and Glands8 Razones/Signos por los que debe ver a un endocrinólogo lo antes posible
If so earnest as she would have the English public believe her to be, why was she silent when five minutes were given me to speak last June at Princes' Hall, and in Holborn Town Hall this May? I should say it was as President of the Women's Christian Temperance Union of America she is timid, because all these unions in the South emphasize the hatred of the Negro by excluding him. There is not a single colored woman admitted to the Southern W.C.T.U., but still Miss Willard blames the Negro for the defeat of Prohibition in the South. Miss Willard quotes from Fraternity, but forgets to add my immediate recognition of her presence on the platform at Holborn Town Hall, when, amidst many other resolutions on temperance and other subjects in which she is interested, time was granted to carry an anti-lynching resolution. I was so thankful for this crumb of her speechless presence that I hurried off to the editor of Fraternity and added a postscript to my article blazoning forth that fact.
Any statements I have made concerning Miss Willard are confirmed by the Hon. Frederick Douglass (late United States minister to Hayti) in a speech delivered by him in Washington in January of this year, which has since been published in a pamphlet. The fact is, Miss Willard is no better or worse than the great bulk of white Americans on the Negro questions. They are all afraid to speak out, and it is only British public opinion which will move them, as I am thankful to see it has already begun to move Miss Willard. I am, etc.,
IDA B. WELLS
Unable to deny the truth of these assertions, the charge has been madethat I have attacked Miss Willard and misrepresented the W.C.T.U. If tostate facts is misrepresentation, then I plead guilty to the charge.
I said then and repeat now, that in all the ten terrible years ofshooting, hanging and burning of men, women and children in America, theWomen's Christian Temperance Union never suggested one plan or made onemove to prevent those awful crimes. If this statement is untrue therecords of that organization would disprove it before the ink is dry. Itis clearly an issue of fact and in all fairness this charge ofmisrepresentation should either be substantiated or withdrawn.
It is not necessary, however, to make any representation concerning theW.C.T.U. and the lynching question. The record of that organization speaksfor itself. During all the years prior to the agitation begun againstLynch Law, in which years men, women and children were scourged, hanged,shot and burned, the W.C.T.U. had no word, either of pity or protest; itsgreat heart, which concerns itself about humanity the world over, was,toward our cause, pulseless as a stone. Let those who deny this speak bythe record. Not until after the first British campaign, in 1893, was evena resolution passed by the body which is the self-constituted guardian for"God, home and native land."
Nor need we go back to other years. The annual session of thatorganization held in Cleveland in November, 1894, made a record whichconfirms and emphasizes the silence charged against it. At that session,earnest efforts were made to secure the adoption of a resolution ofprotest against lynching. At that very time two men were being tried forthe murder of six colored men who were arrested on charge of barn burning,chained together, and on pretense of being taken to jail, were driven intothe woods where they were ambushed and all six shot to death. The sixwidows of the butchered men had just finished the most pathetic recitalever heard in any court room, and the mute appeal of twenty-seven orphansfor justice touched the stoutest hearts. Only two weeks prior to thesession, Gov. Jones of Alabama, in his last message to the retiring statelegislature, cited the fact that in the two years just past, nine coloredmen had been taken from the legal authorities by lynching mobs andbutchered in cold blood—and not one of these victims was even chargedwith an assault upon womanhood.
It was thought that this great organization, in face of these facts, wouldnot hesitate to place itself on record in a resolution of protest againstthis awful brutality towards colored people. Miss Willard gave assurancethat such a resolution would be adopted, and that assurance was relied on.The record of the session shows in what good faith that assurance waskept. After recommending an expression against Lynch Law, the Presidentattacked the antilynching movement, deliberately misrepresenting myposition, and in her annual address, charging me with a statement I nevermade.
Further than that, when the committee on resolutions reported their work,not a word was said against lynching. In the interest of the cause Ismothered the resentment. I felt because of the unwarranted and unjustattack of the President, and labored with members to secure an expressionof some kind, tending to abate the awful slaughter of my race. Aresolution against lynching was introduced by Mrs. Fessenden and read, andthen that great Christian body, which in its resolutions had expresseditself in opposition to the social amusement of card playing, athleticsports and promiscuous dancing; had protested against the licensing ofsaloons, inveighed against tobacco, pledged its allegiance to theProhibition party, and thanked the Populist party in Kansas, theRepublican party in California and the Democratic party in the South,wholly ignored the seven millions of colored people of this country whoseplea was for a word of sympathy and support for the movement in theirbehalf. The resolution was not adopted, and the convention adjourned.
In the Union Signal Dec. 6, 1894, among the resolutions is found thisone:
Resolved, That the National W.C.T.U, which has for years counted among its departments that of peace and arbitration, is utterly opposed to all lawless acts in any and all parts of our common lands and it urges these principles upon the public, praying that the time may speedily come when no human being shall be condemned without due process of law; and when the unspeakable outrages which have so often provoked such lawlessness shall be banished from the world, and childhood, maidenhood and womanhood shall no more be the victims of atrocities worse than death.
This is not the resolution offered by Mrs. Fessenden. She offered the onepassed last year by the W.C.T.U. which was a strong unequivocaldenunciation of lynching. But she was told by the chairman of thecommittee on resolutions, Mrs. Rounds, that there was already a lynchingresolution in the hands of the committee. Mrs. Fessenden yielded the flooron that assurance, and no resolution of any kind against lynching wassubmitted and none was voted upon, not even the one above, taken from thecolumns of the Union Signal, the organ of the national W.C.T.U!
Even the wording of this resolution which was printed by the W.C.T.U.,reiterates the false and unjust charge which has been so often made as anexcuse for lynchers. Statistics show that less than one-third of thelynching victims are hanged, shot and burned alive for "unspeakableoutrages against womanhood, maidenhood and childhood;" and that nearly athousand, including women and children, have been lynched upon any pretextwhatsoever; and that all have met death upon the unsupported word of whitemen and women. Despite these facts this resolution which was printed,cloaks an apology for lawlessness, in the same paragraph which affects tocondemn it, where it speaks of "the unspeakable outrages which have sooften provoked such lawlessness."
Miss Willard told me the day before the resolutions were offered that theSouthern women present had held a caucus that day. This was after I, asfraternal delegate from the Woman's Mite Missionary Society of the A.M.E.Church at Cleveland, O., had been introduced to tender its greetings. Inso doing I expressed the hope of the colored women that the W.C.T.U. wouldplace itself on record as opposed to lynching which robbed them ofhusbands, fathers, brothers and sons and in many cases of women as well.No note was made either in the daily papers or the Union Signal of thatintroduction and greeting, although every other incident of that morningwas published. The failure to submit a lynching resolution and the wordingof the one above appears to have been the result of that Southern caucus.
On the same day I had a private talk with Miss Willard and told her shehad been unjust to me and the cause in her annual address, and asked thatshe correct the statement that I had misrepresented the W.C.T.U, or that Ihad "put an imputation on one-half the white race in this country." Shesaid that somebody in England told her it was a pity that I attacked thewhite women of America. "Oh," said I, "then you went out of your way toprejudice me and my cause in your annual address, not upon what you hadheard me say, but what somebody had told you I said?" Her reply was that Imust not blame her for her rhetorical expressions—that I had my way ofexpressing things and she had hers. I told her I most assuredly did blameher when those expressions were calculated to do such harm. I waited foran honest an unequivocal retraction of her statements based on "hearsay."Not a word of retraction or explanation was said in the convention and Iremained misrepresented before that body through her connivance andconsent.
The editorial notes in the Union Signal, Dec. 6, 1894, however, containsthe following:
In her repudiation of the charges brought by Miss Ida Wells against white women as having taken the initiative in nameless crimes between the races, Miss Willard said in her annual address that this statement "put an unjust imputation upon half the white race." But as this expression has been misunderstood she desires to declare that she did not intend a literal interpretation to be given to the language used, but employed it to express a tendency that might ensue in public thought as a result of utterances so sweeping as some that have been made by Miss Wells.
Because this explanation is as unjust as the original offense, I am forcedin self-defense to submit this account of differences. I desire no quarrelwith the W.C.T.U., but my love for the truth is greater than my regard foran alleged friend who, through ignorance or design misrepresents in themost harmful way the cause of a long suffering race, and then unable tomaintain the truth of her attack excuses herself as it were by the wave ofthe hand, declaring that "she did not intend a literal interpretation tobe given to the language used." When the lives of men, women and childrenare at stake, when the inhuman butchers of innocents attempt to justifytheir barbarism by fastening upon a whole race the obloque of the mostinfamous of crimes, it is little less than criminal to apologize for thebutchers today and tomorrow to repudiate the apology by declaring it afigure of speech.
LYNCHING RECORD FOR 1894
The following tables are based on statistics taken from the columns of theChicago Tribune, Jan. 1, 1895. They are a valuable appendix to theforegoing pages. They show, among other things, that in Louisiana, April23-28, eight Negroes were lynched because one white man was killed by theNegro, the latter acting in self defense. Only seven of them are given inthe list.
Near Memphis, Tenn., six Negroes were lynched—this time charged withburning barns. A trial of the indicted resulted in an acquittal, althoughit was shown on trial that the lynching was prearranged for them. Sixwidows and twenty-seven orphans are indebted to this mob for theircondition, and this lynching swells the number to eleven Negroes lynchedin and about Memphis since March 9, 1892.
In Brooks County, Ga., Dec. 23, while this Christian country was preparingfor Christmas celebration, seven Negroes were lynched in twenty-four hoursbecause they refused, or were unable to tell the whereabouts of a coloredman named Pike, who killed a white man. The wives and daughters of theselynched men were horribly and brutally outraged by the murderers of theirhusbands and fathers. But the mob has not been punished and again womenand children are robbed of their protectors whose blood cries unavenged toHeaven and humanity. Georgia heads the list of lynching states.
Jan. 9, Samuel Smith, Greenville, Ala., Jan. 11, Sherman Wagoner,Mitchell, Ind.; Jan. 12, Roscoe Parker, West Union, Ohio; Feb. 7, HenryBruce, Gulch Co., Ark.; March 5, Sylvester Rhodes, Collins, Ga.; March 15,Richard Puryea, Stroudsburg, Pa.; March 29, Oliver Jackson, Montgomery,Ala.; March 30, —— Saybrick, Fisher's Ferry, Miss.; April 14, WilliamLewis, Lanison, Ala.; April 23, Jefferson Luggle, Cherokee, Kan.; April23, Samuel Slaugate, Tallulah, La.; April 23, Thomas Claxton, Tallulah,La.; April 23, David Hawkins, Tallulah, La.; April 27, Thel Claxton,Tallulah, La.; April 27, Comp Claxton, Tallulah, La.; April 27, ScotHarvey, Tallulah, La.; April 27, Jerry McCly, Tallulah, La.; May 17, HenryScott, Jefferson, Tex.; May 15, Coat Williams, Pine Grove, Fla.; June 2,Jefferson Crawford, Bethesda, S.C.; June 4, Thondo Underwood, Monroe, La.;June 8, Isaac Kemp, Cape Charles, Va.; June 13, Lon Hall, Sweethouse,Tex.; June 13, Bascom Cook, Sweethouse, Tex.; June 15, Luke Thomas,Biloxi, Miss.; June 29, John Williams, Sulphur, Tex.; June 29, UlyssesHayden, Monett, Mo.; July 6, —— Hood, Amite, Miss.; July 7, James Bell,Charlotte, Tenn.; Sept. 2, Henderson Hollander, Elkhorn, W. Va.; Sept. 14,Robert Williams, Concordia Parish, La.; Sept. 22, Luke Washington, Meghee,Ark.; Sept. 22, Richard Washington, Meghee, Ark.; Sept. 22, HenryCrobyson, Meghee, Ark.; Nov. 10, Lawrence Younger, Lloyd, Va.; Dec. 17,unknown Negro, Williamston, S.C.; Dec. 23, Samuel Taylor, Brooks County,Ga.; Dec. 23, Charles Frazier, Brooks County, Ga.; Dec. 23, Samuel Pike,Brooks County, Ga.; Dec. 22, Harry Sherard, Brooks County, Ga.; Dec. 23,unknown Negro, Brooks County, Ga.; Dec. 23, unknown Negro, Brooks County,Ga.; Dec. 23, unknown Negro, Brooks County, Ga.; Dec. 26, Daniel McDonald,Winston County, Miss.; Dec. 23, William Carter, Winston County, Miss.
Jan. 17, John Buckner, Valley Park, Mo.; Jan. 21, M.G. Cambell, JellicoMines, Ky.; Jan. 27, unknown, Verona, Mo.; Feb. 11, Henry McCreeg, nearPioneer, Tenn.; April 6, Daniel Ahren, Greensboro, Ga.; April 15, SeymourNewland, Rushsylvania, Ohio; April 26, Robert Evarts, Jamaica, Ga.; April27, James Robinson, Manassas, Va.; April 27, Benjamin White, Manassas,Va.; May 15, Nim Young, Ocala, Fla.; May 22, unknown, Miller County, Ga.;June 13, unknown, Blackshear, Ga.; June 18, Owen Opliltree, Forsyth, Ga.;June 22, Henry Capus, Magnolia, Ark.; June 26, Caleb Godly, Bowling Green,Ky.; June 28, Fayette Franklin, Mitchell, Ga.; July 2, Joseph Johnson,Hiller's Creek, Mo.; July 6, Lewis Bankhead, Cooper, Ala.; July 16, MarionHoward, Scottsville, Ky.; July 20, William Griffith, Woodville, Tex.; Aug.12, William Nershbread, Rossville, Tenn.; Aug. 14, Marshall Boston,Frankfort, Ky; Sept. 19, David Gooseby, Atlanta, Ga.; Oct. 15, WillisGriffey, Princeton, Ky; Nov. 8, Lee Lawrence, Jasper County, Ga.; Nov. 10,Needham Smith, Tipton County, Tenn.; Nov. 14, Robert Mosely, Dolinite,Ala.; Dec. 4, William Jackson, Ocala, Fla.; Dec. 18, unknown, MarionCounty, Fla.
March 6, Lamsen Gregory, Bell's Depot, Tenn.; March 6, unknown woman, nearMarche, Ark.; April 14, Alfred Brenn, Calhoun, Ga.; June 8, Harry Gill,West Lancaster, S.C.; Nov. 23, unknown, Landrum, S.C.; Dec. 5, Mrs. TeddyArthur, Lincoln County, W. Va.
Jan. 14, Charles Willis, Ocala, Fla.
Jan. 18, unknown, Bayou Sarah, La.
June 14, J.H. Dave, Monroe, La.
ENTICING SERVANT AWAY
Feb. 10, —— Collins, Athens, Ga.
Feb. 10, Jesse Dillingham, Smokeyville, Tex.
June 3, unknown, Dublin, Ga.
Nov. 8, Gabe Nalls, Blackford, Ky.; Nov. 8, Ulysses Nails, Blackford, Ky.
Dec. 20, James Allen, Brownsville, Tex.
Dec. 23, George King, New Orleans, La.
Dec. 28, Scott Sherman, Morehouse Parish, La.
May 29, Henry Smith, Clinton, Miss.; May 29, William James, Clinton,Miss.
June 4, Ready Murdock, Yazoo, Miss.
July 14, unknown Negro, Biloxi, Miss.; July 26, Vance McClure, New Iberia,La.; July 26, William Tyler, Carlisle, Ky.; Sept. 14, James Smith, Stark,Fla.; Oct. 8, Henry Gibson, Fairfield, Tex.; Oct. 20, —— Williams, UpperMarlboro, Md.; June 9, Lewis Williams, Hewett Springs, Miss.; June 28,George Linton, Brookhaven, Miss.; June 28, Edward White, Hudson, Ala.;July 6, George Pond, Fulton, Miss.; July 7, Augustus Pond, Tupelo, Miss.
June 10, Mark Jacobs, Bienville, La.; July 24, unknown woman, SampsonCounty, Miss.
June 10, James Perry, Knoxville, Ark.
March 2, Lentige, Harland County, Ky.
May 29, J.T. Burgis, Palatka, Fla.
June 20, Archie Haynes, Mason County, Ky.; June 20, Burt Haynes, MasonCounty, Ky.; June 20, William Haynes, Mason County, Ky.
WRITING LETTER TO WHITE WOMAN
May 9, unknown Negro, West Texas.
July 12, James Nelson, Abbeyville, S.C.
Jan. 5, Alfred Davis, Live Oak County, Ark.
April 18, Henry Montgomery, Lewisburg, Tenn.
July 19, John Brownlee, Oxford, Ala.
July 20, Allen Myers, Rankin County, Miss.
June 1, Frank Ballard, Jackson, Tenn.
April 5, Negro, near Selma, Ala.; April 5, Negro, near Selma, Ala.
May 17, Samuel Wood, Gates City, Va.
April 22, Thomas Black, Tuscumbia, Ala.; April 22, John Williams,Tuscumbia, Ala.; April 22, Toney Johnson, Tuscumbia, Ala.; July 14,William Bell, Dixon, Tenn.; Sept. 1, Daniel Hawkins, Millington, Tenn.;Sept. 1, Robert Haynes, Millington, Tenn.; Sept. 1, Warner Williams,Millington, Tenn.; Sept. 1, Edward Hall, Millington, Tenn.; Sept. 1, JohnHaynes, Millington, Tenn.; Sept. 1, Graham White, Millington, Tenn.
ASKING WHITE WOMAN TO MARRY HIM
May 23, William Brooks, Galesline, Ark.
OFFENSES CHARGED FOR LYNCHING
Suspected arson, 2; stealing, 1; political causes, 1; murder, 45; rape,29; desperado, 1; suspected incendiarism, 1; train wrecking, 1; enticingservant away, 1; kidnapping, 1; unknown offense, 6; larceny, 1; barnburning, 10; writing letters to a white woman, 1; without cause, 1;burglary, 1; asking white woman to marry, 1; conspiracy, 1; attemptedmurder, 1; horse stealing, 3; highway robbery, 1; alleged rape, 1;attempted rape, 11; race prejudice, 2; introducing smallpox, 1; givinginformation, 1; conjuring, 1; incendiarism, 2; arson, 1; assault, 1; nooffense, 1; alleged murder, 2; total (colored), 134.
Mississippi, 15; Arkansas, 8; Virginia, 5; Tennessee, 15; Alabama, 12;Kentucky, 12; Texas, 9; Georgia, 19; South Carolina, 5; Florida, 7;Louisiana, 15; Missouri, 4; Ohio, 2; Maryland, 1; West Virginia, 2;Indiana, 1; Kansas, 1; Pennsylvania, 1.
LYNCHING BY THE MONTH
January, 11; February, 17; March, 8; April, 36; May, 16; June, 31; July,21; August, 4; September, 17; October, 7; November, 9; December, 20; totalcolored and white, 197.
July 24, unknown woman, race prejudice, Sampson County, Miss.; March 6,unknown, woman, unknown offense, Marche, Ark.; Dec. 5, Mrs. Teddy Arthur,unknown cause, Lincoln County, W. Va.
It is a well-established principle of law that every wrong has a remedy.Herein rests our respect for law. The Negro does not claim that all of theone thousand black men, women and children, who have been hanged, shot andburned alive during the past ten years, were innocent of the charges madeagainst them. We have associated too long with the white man not to havecopied his vices as well as his virtues. But we do insist that thepunishment is not the same for both classes of criminals. In lynching,opportunity is not given the Negro to defend himself against theunsupported accusations of white men and women. The word of the accuser isheld to be true and the excited bloodthirsty mob demands that the rule oflaw be reversed and instead of proving the accused to be guilty, thevictim of their hate and revenge must prove himself innocent. No evidencehe can offer will satisfy the mob; he is bound hand and foot and swunginto eternity. Then to excuse its infamy, the mob almost invariablyreports the monstrous falsehood that its victim made a full confessionbefore he was hanged.
With all military, legal and political power in their hands, only two ofthe lynching States have attempted a check by exercising the power whichis theirs. Mayor Trout, of Roanoke, Virginia, called out the militia in1893, to protect a Negro prisoner, and in so doing nine men were killedand a number wounded. Then the mayor and militia withdrew, left the Negroto his fate and he was promptly lynched. The business men realized theblow to the town's were given light sentences, the highest being one oftwelve financial interests, called the mayor home, the grand juryindicted and prosecuted the ringleaders of the mob. They months in Stateprison. The day he arrived at the penitentiary, he was pardoned by thegovernor of the State.
The only other real attempt made by the authorities to protect a prisonerof the law, and which was more successful, was that of Gov. McKinley, ofOhio, who sent the militia to Washington Courthouse, O., in October, 1894,and five men were killed and twenty wounded in maintaining the principlethat the law must be upheld.
In South Carolina, in April, 1893, Gov. Tillman aided the mob by yieldingup to be killed, a prisoner of the law, who had voluntarily placed himselfunder the Governor's protection. Public sentiment by its representativeshas encouraged Lynch Law, and upon the revolution of this sentiment wemust depend for its abolition.
Therefore, we demand a fair trial by law for those accused of crime, andpunishment by law after honest conviction. No maudlin sympathy forcriminals is solicited, but we do ask that the law shall punish all alike.We earnestly desire those that control the forces which make publicsentiment to join with us in the demand. Surely the humanitarian spirit ofthis country which reaches out to denounce the treatment of the RussianJews, the Armenian Christians, the laboring poor of Europe, the Siberianexiles and the native women of India—will not longer refuse to lift itsvoice on this subject. If it were known that the cannibals or the savageIndians had burned three human beings alive in the past two years, thewhole of Christendom would be roused, to devise ways and means to put astop to it. Can you remain silent and inactive when such things are donein our own community and country? Is your duty to humanity in the UnitedStates less binding?
What can you do, reader, to prevent lynching, to thwart anarchy andpromote law and order throughout our land?
1st. You can help disseminate the facts contained in this book by bringingthem to the knowledge of every one with whom you come in contact, to theend that public sentiment may be revolutionized. Let the facts speak forthemselves, with you as a medium.
2d. You can be instrumental in having churches, missionary societies,Y.M.C.A.'s, W.C.T.U.'s and all Christian and moral forces in connectionwith your religious and social life, pass resolutions of condemnation andprotest every time a lynching takes place; and see that they axe sent tothe place where these outrages occur.
3d. Bring to the intelligent consideration of Southern people the refusalof capital to invest where lawlessness and mob violence hold sway. Manylabor organizations have declared by resolution that they would avoidlynch infested localities as they would the pestilence when seeking newhomes. If the South wishes to build up its waste places quickly, there isno better way than to uphold the majesty of the law by enforcing obedienceto the same, and meting out the same punishment to all classes ofcriminals, white as well as black. "Equality before the law," must becomea fact as well as a theory before America is truly the "land of the freeand the home of the brave."
4th. Think and act on independent lines in this behalf, remembering thatafter all, it is the white man's civilization and the white man'sgovernment which are on trial. This crusade will determine whether thatcivilization can maintain itself by itself, or whether anarchy shallprevail; Whether this Nation shall write itself down a success at selfgovernment, or in deepest humiliation admit its failure complete; whetherthe precepts and theories of Christianity are professed and practiced byAmerican white people as Golden Rules of thought and action, or adopted asa system of morals to be preached to, heathen until they attain to theintelligence which needs the system of Lynch Law.
5th. Congressman Blair offered a resolution in the House ofRepresentatives, August, 1894. The organized life of the country canspeedily make this a law by sending resolutions to Congress indorsing Mr.Blair's bill and asking Congress to create the commission. In no betterway can the question be settled, and the Negro does not fear the issue.The following is the resolution:
Resolved, By the House of Representatives and Senate in congress assembled, That the committee on labor be instructed to investigate and report the number, location and date of all alleged assaults by males upon females throughout the country during the ten years last preceding the passing of this joint resolution, for or on account of which organized but unlawful violence has been inflicted or attempted to be inflicted. Also to ascertain and report all facts of organized but unlawful violence to the person, with the attendant facts and circumstances, which have been inflicted upon accused persons alleged to have been guilty of crimes punishable by due process of law which have taken place in any part of the country within the ten years last preceding the passage of this resolution. Such investigation shall be made by the usual methods and agencies of the Department of Labor, and report made to Congress as soon as the work can be satisfactorily done, and the sum of $25,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated to pay the expenses out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.
The belief has been constantly expressed in England that in the UnitedStates, which has produced Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Henry Ward Beecher, JamesRussell Lowell, John G. Whittier and Abraham Lincoln there must be thoseof their descendants who would take hold of the work of inaugurating anera of law and order. The colored people of this country who have beenloyal to the flag believe the same, and strong in that belief have begunthis crusade. To those who still feel they have no obligation in thematter, we commend the following lines of Lowell on "Freedom."
Men! whose boast it is that ye
Come of fathers brave and free,
If there breathe on earth a slave
Are ye truly free and brave?
If ye do not feel the chain,
When it works a brother's pain,
Are ye not base slaves indeed,
Slaves unworthy to be freed?
Women! who shall one day bear
Sons to breathe New England air,
If ye hear without a blush,
Deeds to make the roused blood rush
Like red lava through your veins,
For your sisters now in chains,—
Answer! are ye fit to be
Mothers of the brave and free?
Is true freedom but to break
Fetters for our own dear sake,
And, with leathern hearts, forget
That we owe mankind a debt?
No! true freedom is to share
All the chains our brothers wear,
And, with heart and hand, to be
Earnest to make others free!
There are slaves who fear to speak
For the fallen and the weak;
They are slaves who will not choose
Hatred, scoffing, and abuse,
Rather than in silence shrink
From the truth they needs must think;
They are slaves who dare not be
In the right with two or three.
A FIELD FOR PRACTICAL WORK
The very frequent inquiry made after my lectures by interested friends is"What can I do to help the cause?" The answer always is: "Tell the worldthe facts." When the Christian world knows the alarming growth and extentof outlawry in our land, some means will be found to stop it.
The object of this publication is to tell the facts, and friends of thecause can lend a helping hand by aiding in the distribution of thesebooks. When I present our cause to a minister, editor, lecturer, orrepresentative of any moral agency, the first demand is for facts andfigures. Plainly, I can not then hand out a book with a twenty-five-centtariff on the information contained. This would be only a new method inthe book agents' art. In all such cases it is a pleasure to submit thisbook for investigation, with the certain assurance of gaining a friend tothe cause.
There are many agencies which may be enlisted in our cause by the generalcirculation of the facts herein contained. The preachers, teachers,editors and humanitarians of the white race, at home and abroad, must havefacts laid before them, and it is our duty to supply these facts. TheCentral Anti-Lynching League, Room 9, 128 Clark St., Chicago, hasestablished a Free Distribution Fund, the work of which can be promoted byall who are interested in this work.
Antilynching leagues, societies and individuals can order books from thisfund at agents' rates. The books will be sent to their order, or, ifdesired, will be distributed by the League among those whose cooperativeaid we so greatly need. The writer hereof assures prompt distribution ofbooks according to order, and public acknowledgment of all orders throughthe public press.
In A Red Record, Ida B. Wells exposed the practice of lynching as a tactic designed to maintain white supremacy and limit African American opportunities for economic, social, and political power.What is the purpose of Ida B Wells Red record? ›
Expanding on her groundbreaking exposé Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases (1892), A Red Record used mainstream white newspapers to document a resurgence of white mob violence, finding that more than 10,000 African Americans had been killed by lynching in the South between 1864 and 1894.Did Ida B Wells write a red record? ›
In 1895, Wells published The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States, 1892-1894. She continued to use quantitative work on lynching throughout her career (including statistics compiled by her hometown newspaper, the Chicago Tribune).What was Ida B Wells famous quote? ›
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”