Assassination, Kidnapping, and a Very Silent Georgia Town – This Week in Lynchings

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.”

assassination Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sat, Jul 26, 1890
Harrisburg Telegraph, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sat, Jul 26, 1890

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

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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.

Negroes Shot

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

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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.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Wed, Jul 30, 1930
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Wed, Jul 30, 1930

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

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Armed Whites Kill Four Georgia Negroes (1946)

Band Waylays White Farmer and Four Colored Workers – No Masks Were Worn

Clipping from the Emporia Gazette Emporia, Kansas Fri, Jul 26, 1946.
Clipping from the Emporia Gazette
Emporia, Kansas
Fri, Jul 26, 1946.

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.

The Tennessean Nashville, Tennessee Sun, Jul 28, 1946.
The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, Sun, Jul 28, 1946.

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.

Flag announcing lynching, flown from the window of the NAACP headquarters on 69 Fifth Ave., New York City. 1936.
Flag announcing lynching, flown from the window of the NAACP headquarters on 69 Fifth Ave., New York City. 1936.

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


July 26

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

July 27

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

July 28

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

July 29

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

July 30

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

July 31

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   [ + ]

Eric
Eric has always had a love for history and the Civil War. During the 150th anniversary of the war, he wrote the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, which published daily for nearly five years. Wishing to continue the exploration, following the Charleston murders in 2015, and the activism around removing the Confederate Battle Flag, he decided to dig a little deeper into the causes and repercussions of the War.
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