Once again, we’re looking more closely at four different lynchings that took place this week in history. The earliest, from 1890, is rare in that a white man was lynched during the Jim Crow era. The reasons, however, should not be surprising. We’ll also hear how a 70 year old black man was beaten to death by hooded and robed men simply because he was the county Republican chairman. Then, in a single Louisiana town, we’ll see four people lynched in two separate and surprisingly unrelated lynchings. Finally, we’ll dive deep into yet another 1946 mass lynching that was investigated by the FBI – a pointless exercise as the town closed ranks and kept the identities of the murderers secret.
Between the Civil War and World War II, the black community, especially in the South, was terrorized by an epidemic of lynchings. As opposed to public executions, the point of lynching was to avoid the court of law, judge and jury. Often times, the victim, in a holding cell for an offense, was kidnapped by a mob before even being arraigned. According to a recent report issued by the Equal Justice Initiate, there were 4,075 lynchings of black Americans across the South between 1877 and 1950. 1In this case, “The South” pertains to the dozen states where the most lynchings occurred: Mississippi (614), Georgia (595), Louisiana (559), Arkansas (491), Alabama (363), Texas (344), Florida (307), Tennessee (238), South Carolina (184), Kentucky (170), North Carolina (122), and Virginia (88). See the EJI site here.
White Man Lynched in Mississippi (1890)
New Orleans, July 25 – The Times-Democrat’s Meridian, Miss., special says: “T.M.B. Cook, a widely-known Republican politician of Jasper county, who was a candidate for Congress on the Republican ticket in this district at the election two years ago, was assassinated Wednesday afternoon near Mount Zion church in Jasper county. He was a candidate for the Constitutional Convention, and made a very incendiary speech during the day, which probably led to his death, the particulars of which are not known. His chief desire seemed to be to antagonize and to engender all the race prejudices possible.”
This dispatch is Associated Press in the South, and is a quotation from a Southern paper, so that it will be necessary to read between the lines to understand the words “incendiary” and “race prejudice.”
Mississippi has always borne a bad reputation. From the days when Aaron Burr hatched treason against the Government within its borders down to the assassination of Cook yesterday, violence and bloodshed, treason and dishonor has marked its history.
Its record is a bad one. Its public men have taken pleasure in the title of fire-eater and its policy has encouraged turmoil and strife.
One of the largest slave-holding States in the ante-bellum days after the war when these slaves were enfranchised, with the white men who despised the old Democratic leaders of the State, there was a majority against the Democracy, and for a short time that majority was in power, but only for a short time.
It was not long before the training of slavery days was manifest in the ease with which the shot fun was adopted as the most persuasive stump orator, and the colored man, hampered with the memory of the power of “master” and “mistress,” was driven from the polls and deprived of the rights and privileges supposed to have been secured to him by the amendments to the Constitution.
He soon became citizen only so far as that citizenship affected Congressional and Electoral apportionments, but for all other purposes he speedily dropped out of sight as a citizen. And politically he is today the merest nonentity.
If elections were conducted in Mississippi as they are in Pennsylvania; if campaigners were permitted to use the arguments common in our own State, and if votes were cast and counted without fear, the Republican majority in that State would be quite as safe and as much to be depended upon as it is in this State.
But such is not the case. Only one side is heard in Mississippi and only one side votes, and the assassination of Cook is only another item of evidence that demonstrates this fact beyond the peradventure of a doubt.
In Mississippi all speeches that attack the Democratic policy, or that advise white or black to vote and vote against Democracy are incendiary in the opinions of the assassins. The man is a fool who can not understand the situation in the light of the history of the last ten years.
There is and has been no protection in Mississippi for the Republican who dares to assert himself by vote or speech. And therefore we have doubted the wisdom of the election bill before Congress. We have believed and still believe that unless the Government meant to enforce it by ball and bayonet, that it was worse than useless – only a provocation for new outrages and more assassinations.
Cook was a candidate for a seat in a constitutional convention to be held this summer, in which it is proposed to deprive the colored man of his political rights by a skillfully drawn instrument that, according to a certain Captain Young, who is one of the Democratic leaders, will make it unnecessary in the future to use the shot gun, the midnight raid or perjury to keep Republicans out of power in the State. They did not want Cook in the convention and they took the shortest and most effective way to secure his absence – they killed him.
What is the remedy? There is none. Except another resort to arms. And nobody wants that. That the situation is disgraceful to our civilization, all will admit. But it is much like the yellow fever. It must be submitted to, and endured as a shocking example of the power of the bludgeon of injustice.
-Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sat, Jul 26, 1890
Two Separate Lynchings – Same Town, Same Night (1909)
Near the town of Ville Platte, Louisiana, four black men were lynched in two separate and unrelated lynchings. So close were they in time, that it’s not even possible to know which happened first.
Louisiana Negroes Shot Down By Mob
One Had Shot at a White and Other Was Accused of Theft and Harboring Thomas
Opelousas, La., July 31 – Onezime Thomas and Emile Antoine, negroes, were taken from the officers by a gang of thirty masked men near Grand Prairie and shot to death last night. Thomas had shot and slightly wounded Dave Fontent, white, at Grand Prairie, and was also accused of numerous robberies. Antoine was accused of four thefts and of harboring Thomas. On the outskirts of Grand Prairie the men overpowered the officers. Marching the negroes to the woods, they shot them and left their bodies on the ground.
-The Republic, Columbus, Indiana, Sat, Jul 31, 1909.
A few days later, the press reported that two more bodies were discovered.
Two Found in Woods With Stolen Goods and Killed.
Ville Platta, La., Aug 2 – Following a number a daring burglaries in which many housewives were intimidated during their husbands’ absence, a “jury” of 12 searched for the marauders in the woods.
They found Ed Jackson and Will Miller, negroes, camped in the woods with alleged plunder from the residences looted, and shot and killed them.
-Lead Daily Call, Lead, South Dakota, Mon, Aug 2, 1909
Georgia Republican Tells of Abduction By Masked and Robed Men – Later Dies (1930)
Mount Vernon, Ga., July 29 – S.S. Mincey, 70 years old, Negro Republican leader of Ailey, in Montgomery County, who said he had been kidnapped from his home and carried to Toombs County where he was beaten early today, died this afternoon.
He had related how he was struck on the head with a rifle before being taken from his home. Doctors said this blow caused his death.
Mincey had just been elected grand secretary of the Georgia Negro Masons.
Mincey was found bruised and mangled near Gray’s Landing in Toombs County today.
He said he had been kidnapped by a gang of masked, robed men, and carried away in an automobile. The gang that beat him exacted a promise that he would resign as county Republican chairman, he said. His grandson was beaten in the home and his wife threatened, it developed.
-The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Wed, Jul 30, 1930
Armed Whites Kill Four Georgia Negroes (1946)
Band Waylays White Farmer and Four Colored Workers – No Masks Were Worn
Monroe, Ga., July 26 – A band of armed white men waylaid a white farmer and four Negroes on a secluded northeast Georgia Road late Thursday. Sheriff E.S. Gordon said today, and while holding the white man at gun point shot the negroes to death.
Coroner W.T. Brown after an examination of the bodies estimated that 60 shots had been fired into the bodies of the four Negroes. The hands of the two Negro men had been tied behind their backs. Their wives were the other victims.
Of the Negroes, Roger Malcolm, 27, the sheriff said, had just been released from jail under a $600 bond on charges of stabbing his employer, Barney Hester, a farmer.
The sheriff identified the other Negroes as Malcom’s wife, and George Dorsey and his wife.
The Negroes, riding in an automobile with Loy Harrison, a farmer, were enroute from Monroe to Harrison’s farm in adjoining Oconee county when they were waylaid at a bridge over the Apalache river, the sheriff said.
Harrison, at a coroner’s inquest Thursday night, the sheriff said, testified that he could not identify any members of the band which waylaid him. The jury returned a verdict of death at the hands of unknown persons.
The slayings, the sheriff said, occurred about eight miles east of Monroe, the county seat of Walton county, which is about 40 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Found Bodies in Bushes
The sheriff said he went to the scene immediately and found the bullet riddled bodies in the bushes along the side road about 40 feet from where Harrison’s car had been parked at the entrance to the bridge.
The sheriff quoted Harrison as saying none of the men wore a mask.
The nearest house to the scene of the slayings was about a half mile away, the sheriff said.
Sheriff Gordon said that without identification of any member of the armed band, he had gone as far as he could with his investigation. He said he had called in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, a division of the state police, and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had called him.
A Probe Promised
Attorney General Tom Clark’s office announced today that he has ordered a “complete investigation” into the slayings of four Negroes near Monroe, Ga., Thursday.
The announcement said without further elaboration that the inquiry would be carried out by the civil rights section of the Department of Justice.
-The Emporia Gazette, Emporia, Kansas, Fri, Jul 26, 1946.
The Federal probe lasted for months, but the towns people were silent about who was responsible. 2Here. Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, Sun, Jul 28, 1946 Though there were a few suspects, 3Here. Moberly Monitor-Index, Moberly, Missouri, Fri, Aug 9, 1946 ultimately, the FBI was “too busy” to continue. 4Here. Lubbock Morning Avalanche, Lubbock, Texas, Fri, Oct 4, 1946. In December, a Federal Grand Jury called 125 witnesses, but they too came up short. 5Here. Medford Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, Thu, Dec 19, 1946. Two of the witnesses were black, and at least two local white men, both brothers, beat him mercilessly. 6Here. The Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fri, Jan 3, 1947 They were indicted in March 1947 7Here. The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sat, Mar 1, 1947.. In June, one of the brothers was acquitted as the other brother admitted to “beating the hell out of him.” 8Here. The Evening News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Wed, Jun 4, 1947. The other was to stand trial that December, but no information can be found regarding the results of that trial.
Nearly Ninty Other Lynchings This Week
What follows is a list of all known racially-motivated lynchings between July 25 and July 31, 1877-1946. It should be in the forefront of your mind that the “crimes” listed are only what the victims of the lynchings were accused of committing. They were allowed no trials, and thus they were not guilty in the eyes of the law. Certainly some may have done what they were accused of doing, but in a constitutional society that values law and order over mob rule, each and every lynching was a miscarriage of justice and a horrible wrong. 9For more information on all of this, please see our post here.
It must also be remembered that this list is incomplete. Not only were there unreported lynchings, but the databases I draw from are woefully inadequate. For example – Texas, the state with more lynchings than almost any other, is completely uncounted. I’m working on ways to fix this.
Year Victim City State Race Sex Form Alleged Offense
July 2510I know that most folks don’t take too close of a look at these lists, but pay extra attention to July 25 – there are a bunch of abnormalities. We have three black females who were lynched – an oddity in itself. We have a white man lynched for being a Republican (progressive). There were five different lynching victims in three different lynching in West Virginia. The list also includes two mass-lynchings (four or more). The accusations are even atypical. There are your obligatory rape and murder, but there’s also “race prejudice,” “horse theft,” an altercation with a land lord, witnessing a lynching, and more race hatred. It was an incredibly dark day.
1882 Martin Beckett Hampton SC Black Male Hanged Outraging a 12 year-old white orphan girl 1885 Peter Stamps Douglas GA Black Male Hanged Rape and murder of a 13 year-old white girl, daughter of a well-to-do farmer 1886 Mary Hollenbeck Tattnall GA Black Female Burned Murder of young black child—cannibalism 1890 F. M. B. Cook Jasper MS White Male Riddled with buckshot Republican political activities 1891 John Brown Madison TN Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man, a railroad worker 1895 Thomas Johnson Perry MS Black Male Riddled with bullets Killing a married white woman and her daughter, and assaulting another daughter 1899 Charles Mack Early GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Robbery and rape 1900 August Thomas Orleans LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice 1900 Lewis Taylor Orleans LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice 1900 Unnamed Negro Orleans LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice 1901 Frank Earle Montgomery GA Black Male Shot Robbery 1902 Arthur McCauly Harris GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Unknown 1902 Peter Jackson Elkins WV Black Male Unknown Mistaken identity 1902 Rudolph Clements Wanelsdorf WV Black Male Hanged Murder 1902 Russell Taylor Caddo LA Black Male Riddled with bullets Horse thief 1902 Unknown #1 Wanelsdorf WV Black Male Shot Murder 1902 Unknown #2 Wanelsdorf WV Black Male Hanged/Riddled with Bullets Murder 1902 William Carroll Wanelsdorf WV Black Male Shot Murder 1903 J.D. Mayfield Danville IL Black Male Hanged, Beaten Shot at white man in mob 1905 William Harris Tallahatchie MS Black Male Hanged Shooting two white men, plantation managers 1921 James Dixon Yazoo MS Black Male Drown Attempted attack on a young white woman, daughter of a farmer 1934 Henry Bedford Rankin MS Black Male Whipped Altercation with his white land lord over a rental agreement; speaking “disrespectfully” to a white land lord 1946 Dorothy Malcom Walton GA Black Female Riddled with bullets Witness to the lynching of George Dorsey and Roger Malcolm 1946 George Dorsey Walton GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Race hatred 1946 Mae Murray Dorsey Walton GA Black Female Riddled with bullets Witness to the lynching of George Dorsey and Roger Malcolm 1946 Roger Malcom Walton GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Stabbed a white man
1887 Reuben Coles Surry VA Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a married white woman 1889 James Kelly Bourbon KY Black Male Hanged Rape of a married white woman, wife of a section boss of the Kentucky Central railroad 1891 Jesse Underwood Colbert AL Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a young white girl 1893 Unnamed Negro Graves KY Black Male Thrown into a threshing machine Self-defense—cut a white man with a knife 1894 William Tyler Nicholas KY Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a 13 year-old white girl 1899 Stanley Hayes Rankin MS Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted criminal assault on a 14 year-old white girl 1903 Jennie Steer Caddo LA Black Female Hanged/riddled with bullets Murder of a 16 year-old white girl 1906 John Black Polk FL Black Male Hanged/riddled with bullets Murder of a white naval stores (turpentine) operator 1906 Will Hagin Polk FL Black Male Hanged/riddled with bullets Murder of a white naval stores (turpentine) operator 1908 Andrew Harris Caddo LA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted outrage on a young white woman
1877 Iveson Evans Tangipahoa LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a young white man 1881 Felix Wylie Lake TN Black Male Hanged Rape and murder of a young white “lady” 1887 Loyd Martin Sunflower MS Black Male Hanged Killing his aged father-in-law 1887 Reuben John Hudson DeKalb GA Black Male Hanged Attempted assault of a married white woman 1888 Bruce Younger Halifax VA Black Male Hanged and shot Assaulted upon a married white woman 1888 Eli Bryant Winston MS Black Male Hanged Attempted criminal assault on a married white woman 1893 Edgar Bell Weakley TN Black Male Hanged Murder of his brother-in-law 1895 Charles Burwell Lauderdale MS Black Male Hanged To prevent reporting on the murderers of a white man and his wife 1899 Unknown NegroEast Feliciana LA Black Male Shot Mistaken identity 1900 Anna Mabry Orleans LA Black Female Shot Race prejudice; thought to be hiding a black man accused of killing white policemen 1900 Unnamed Negro #1 Orleans LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice 1900 Unnamed Negro #2 Orleans LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice 1902 Lee Newton Columbia AR Black Male Hanged Discovered in the bedroom of two young white “ladies” from a prominent family; attempted criminal assault 1913 John Shake Houston GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Robbery and assault on a white merchant
1884 Dan C. Oliver Logan AR Black Male Unreported Attempted rape of a white girl, daughter of “one of the best citizens of Logan county” 1892 Lee McDaniel Whitfield GA Black Male Hanged Attempted assault of a 15 year-old white girl 1893 Lindsay Harper Chilton AL Black Male Hanged/RwB Entering the bedroom of a married white woman 1902 John Wise Bryan GA Black Male Hanged /RwB Assaulted white woman 1907 James Reed Crisfield MD Black Male Beaten, Shot, Burned Murder 1908 Alonzo Williams Toombs GA Black Male Hanged/RwB, throat cut Rape of an unmarried 14-17 year-old white girl 1921 — Jordan Choctaw AL Black Male Unreported Murder of a young white man 1922 John West Hempstead AR Black Male Riddled with bullets Quarrel with a white man
1879 Herman Morter Claiborne LA Black Male Hanged Murder of white girl and outraged another white girl 1880 Bob Thompson Clayton GA Black Male Testifying against a white planter in an assault case 1880 Milly Johnson Clayton GA Black Female Shot Testifying against a white planter in an assault case 1901 — Siegler Nevada AR Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Killing two brothers of a prominent white man 1902 Alonzo Williams Pasco FL Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Criminal assault on a young white woman 1907 Samuel Washington Warren MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a black man 1908 Leander Shaw Escambia FL Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Raped a married white woman 1908 Lige Nelms Jefferson AL Black Male Shot Strikebreaker 1909 Ed Jackson St. Landry LA Black Male Shot Burglary and intimidating housewives 1909 Emile Antoine St. Landry LA Black Male Shot Aiding murderer of a white man 1909 Onezime Thomas St. Landry LA Black Male Shot Murder of a white man 1909 Will Miller St. Landry LA Black Male Shot Burglary and intimidating housewives 1917 Daniel Rout Tangipahoa LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1917 Jerry Rout Tangipahoa LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1923 William Minnifield Yazoo MS Black Male Burned Murderous assault on a married white woman, wife of a wealthy planter 1930 S. S. Mincey Toombs GA Black Male Beaten Race hatred and political beliefs
1878 Henry Atkinson Ouachita LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white constable 1878 Jim Beaty Ouachita LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white constable 1878 Ples Phillips Ouachita LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white constable 1878 Tom Ross Ouachita LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white constable 1883 Thomas Wyatt Howard AR White Male Riddled with bullets Altercation with two black men and assaulting a black girl 1884 Aaron Coachman Early GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted rape of married white woman (wife of a lawyer) and rape of a black woman 1892 Eugene Baker Drew AR Black Male Shot Shot man white man in self-defense 1892 Loab Sanders Weakley TN Black Male Unreported Attempted rape of 10 year-old white girl, a farmer’s daughter 1893 Tom Preston Lexington SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Implicated in a rape of a married white woman, a farmer’s wife 1893 Will Thompson Lexington SC Black Male Hanged/RwB Implicated in a rape of a married white woman, a farmer’s wife 1893 William Steen Lafayette MS Black Male Hanged Unknown 1896 Godfrey Gould Monroe AR Black Male Hanged Assault on a white woman 1896 Unnamed Negro Monroe AR Black Male Unreported Criminal assault and murder of a 10 year-old white girl 1899 Solomon Jones Butler AL Black Male Hanged Attempted assault on a white girl, daughter of a prosperous farmer 1909 Simeon Anderson Houston GA Black Male Shot Peeping into window of white girls’ bedroom 1910 Barney Baker Holmes FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Rape and murder of a 13 year-old white girl 1910 Jean Price Holmes FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Rape and murder of a 13 year-old white girl 1910 Tom Johnson Holmes FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Rape and murder of a 13 year-old white girl 1910 Unnamed Negro Grady GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Entered white girl's bedroom 1917 Andrew Avery Miller AR Black Male Hanged Robbery and murderous assault on a white levee contractor 1920 Juster Jennings Dale AL Black Male Shot Implicated in a murderous assault on a married white woman 1920 Sills Spinks Dale AL Black Male Shot Murderous assault on a married white woman 1935 Govan “Sweet” Ward Franklin NC Black Male Hanged/RwB Axe Murder of a prominent white farmer
1885 John Hopkins Jasper GA Black Male Shot Assaulting his white landlord with a knife 1893 Handy Kaigler Lexington SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Rape of a married white woman, a farmer’s wife 1902 Charles Craven Loudoun VA Black Male Hanged/RwB Murder of a white man, a farmer 1906 Floyd Carmichael Fulton GA Black Male Shot Rape of 14/15 year-old white girl 1910 Bill Walker Mobile AL Black Male Riddled with bullets Criminal assault on a married white woman, wife of the superintendent of a truck farm, and murder of a black man
References [ + ]
|1.||⇡||In this case, “The South” pertains to the dozen states where the most lynchings occurred: Mississippi (614), Georgia (595), Louisiana (559), Arkansas (491), Alabama (363), Texas (344), Florida (307), Tennessee (238), South Carolina (184), Kentucky (170), North Carolina (122), and Virginia (88). See the EJI site here.|
|2.||⇡||Here. Arizona Republic, Phoenix, Arizona, Sun, Jul 28, 1946|
|3.||⇡||Here. Moberly Monitor-Index, Moberly, Missouri, Fri, Aug 9, 1946|
|4.||⇡||Here. Lubbock Morning Avalanche, Lubbock, Texas, Fri, Oct 4, 1946.|
|5.||⇡||Here. Medford Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, Thu, Dec 19, 1946.|
|6.||⇡||Here. The Wilkes-Barre Record, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fri, Jan 3, 1947|
|7.||⇡||Here. The Pittsburgh Courier, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sat, Mar 1, 1947.|
|8.||⇡||Here. The Evening News, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Wed, Jun 4, 1947.|
|9.||⇡||For more information on all of this, please see our post here.|
|10.||⇡||I know that most folks don’t take too close of a look at these lists, but pay extra attention to July 25 – there are a bunch of abnormalities. We have three black females who were lynched – an oddity in itself. We have a white man lynched for being a Republican (progressive). There were five different lynching victims in three different lynching in West Virginia. The list also includes two mass-lynchings (four or more). The accusations are even atypical. There are your obligatory rape and murder, but there’s also “race prejudice,” “horse theft,” an altercation with a land lord, witnessing a lynching, and more race hatred. It was an incredibly dark day.|