While there is no such thing as a justifiable lynching, some lynchings were for particularly inexcusable reasons. The four that we’ll look at his week fall firmly in this category.
- In 1887, a black man was lynched for marrying a white woman.
- A year later, another man met the same fate for “insulting proposals” towards a white woman.
- Following a 1912 automobile accident, in which two white women were injured, a mob tracks down two black men to deadly results on all sides.
- Finally, a black United State soldier was lynched for being suspected of making “insulting proposals” to white women over the telephone.
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.
Lynched for Miscegenation
November 7, 1887
A Negro Hanged by Fastidious Whites – Facetious Verdict of the Coroner’s Jury.
Shreveport, La. Nov. 11 – The determination of some of the moral and religious people of North Louisiana to keep up the custom of miscegenation has resulted in the killing of two white men within a year, both accused of living with negro women, and of a negro man for committing the same offense with a white woman.
A fourth case has just transpired in the northern part of Caddo Parish. One Aaron Jones, a negro, had been living in the marital state with a white woman, and, although warned, he disregarded the order to leave the country [area].
Judge Lynch sat upon the case and decreed summary punishment. There is a missing link in the matter, but the body of Jones was found a few days after hanging to a tree on the Courtney place in the Black Bayou country.
Henry Hoffmers, one of the Justices of the Peace of Caddo Parish, held and inquest, and the jury brought in a verdict, which he filed yesterday at the court-house.
The verdict of the jury reads: “The said Aaron Jones came to his death by strangulation by having one end of a rope tied around his neck, the other end of the same rope around the limb of a chinaberry tree about twelve feel above the ground, and the body suspected about two and one-half feet above the ground, hanging dead.” 2Chicago Tribune; Chicago, Illinois; Sat, Nov 12, 1887 – Page 1. Here.
Negro Lynched for Insulting Proposal to White Woman
November 12, 1888
Memphis, Nov. 28 – News is just received of a lynching in Crittenden county, Ark.
Jim Smith, a negro, met the wife of a white farmer in the road and made an insulting proposal to her. She fled and he pursued, and was about to overtake her when the approach of a horseman frightened him away.
The woman reported what had occurred, and Smith was arrested by a deputy sheriff. On the way to jail at Marion the two were met by a mob of white men, who took charge of the prisoner and filled him with bullets.
The negroes are excited, and a number of them have left the neighborhood, fearing that the whites will carry their vengeance further. 3The Times-Democrat; New Orleans, Louisiana; Thu, Nov 29, 1888 – Page 8. Here.
Trail of Blood Left By Negro
November 10, 1912
Pursued by Posse, Alabama Negro Does Deadly Work
Wetumpka, Ala., November 10 – Two men are dead and another was fatally wounded in a manhunt participated in by scores of citizens of Elmore county today and tonight. A mob of citizens is scouring the woods near Floyd for a negro believed to be the cause of the bloodshed.
The dead are Claude Kidd, member of the posse, and a negro named Berney. John Chrisitzberg was shot and fatally wounded by the unknown negro now sought by the mob.
The trouble, it is stated, started when the negroes, Berney and his companion, by careless driving, caused a horse driven by Chrisitzberg’s daughters to run away, injuring the young women.
A posse started in pursuit of the negroes and in an exchange of shots, Kidd was killed and Chrisitzberg fatally injured. Berney and his companion escaped to the woods and the former took refuge in an abandoned cabin.
He was shot down only after the cabin was burned by the posse. His companion has succeeded in evading his pursuer. 4The Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta, Georgia; Mon, Nov 11, 1912 – Page 1. Here.
Slaying of Negro Who Insulted Women is Held Justifiable
November 7, 1943
Lewiston, Ill. – The verdict of a coroner’s jury today exonerated four farmers in the fatal shooting of a Negro soldier who made insulting proposals to farm women over a country telephone circuit.
The negro, Pvt. Hollie Willis of Camp Ellis, Ill., was shot to death early Monday as he fled the farm home of George Quigley, where he had made the telephone calls.
Authorities said the four farmers, who traced the calls to the Quigley home, armed themselves and confronted Willis there, believed that he was the same Negro soldier who raped Mrs. Quigley last Thursday.
Another Negro, however, Pvt. Morris Nichols of Cincinnati, later confessed the attack, which occurred at the Quigley home. The Quigleys had gone to live with relatives when Willis entered the farmhouse Sunday night and made the calls.
The coroner’s jury held that Willis’ slaying was “justifiable homicide,” because he was shot while “committing a felonious act.”
Authorities at Camp Ellis said Nichols, held pending prosecution either by civilian authorities or court martial, had repudiated his confession. Capt. Claude Connor of the camp military police, however, said the confession was made in “great detail.” 5The Coshocton Tribune; Coshocton, Ohio; Wed, Nov 10, 1943 – Page 8. Here.
Over Sixty Other Lynchings This Week
What follows is a list of all known racially-motivated lynchings between October 7 and November 13, 1877-1950. 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. 6For 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 understandably inadequate.Year Victim City State Race Sex Form Alleged Offense
November 71878 Hemp Neal Johnson AR Black Male Hanged Raping a young white woman, a widow 1882 Unnamed Negro #1 of 2 Lincoln LA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted murder and robbery 1882 Unnamed Negro #2 of 2 Lincoln LA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted murder and robbery 1887 Aaron Jones Caddo LA Black Male Hanged Miscegenation 1891 William Rice Conway AR Black Male Unknown 1893 Robert Kennedy Spartanburg SC Black Male Hanged Assaulted a married white woman 1894 Needham Smith Tipton TN Black Male Shot Indecent proposal to a respectable young white woman; attempted outrage on a married white woman 1898 S.W. Stewart Lacon IL Black Male Hanged Assault on white woman 1900 Lit Nabors Coahoma MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1903 Charles Young St. Clair AL Black Male Unreported Attempted criminal assault on a married white woman 1910 Bob Bryant Macon GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Accomplice in murder of a white man, a marshal 1910 John Walker Macon GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Murder of a white man, a marshal 1911 Judge Moseley Lauderdale MS Black Male Hanged/RwB Assaulting a prominent young white man 1913 John Tally Dyer TN Black Male Hanged Attempted assault on a married white woman 1931 Coleman Franks Lowndes MS Black Male Hanged Wounding a white man, a farmer 1943 Hallery/Hollis Willis Lewiston IL Black Male Shot Rape
November 81883 Lawrence White Rowan NC Black Male Hanged Murder of a black man 1888 Judson Cason Jefferson FL Black Male Drown/strangulation Cutting a white man 1889 James Thomas Emanuel GA Black Male Probably hanged Rape of unmarried white woman 1889 Owen Anderson Loudoun VA Black Male Hanged/RwB Outraged a 17 year-old white girl 1893 Henry Boggs Columbia FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Complicity in murder of a white man, a merchant 1894 Lee Lawrence Jasper GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Rape of white woman 1906 — Sloan Madison FL Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted assault of a young white woman 1906 Jett Hicks Mitchell GA Black Male Butchered Murder of a white man, a prominent farmer 1911 Riley Johnson Clarksville TX Black Male Shot Attacking a young white woman 1919 Robert Motley Quitman MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man, a prominent planter, and an altercation with another white man, his land lord
November 91882 Unnamed Negro Noxubee MS Black Male Hanged Rape and murder of an unmarried white woman of “loose reputation” 1888 Eugene Lulin St. Landry LA Black Male Unreported Unknown 1894 Charles A. Williams West CarrollLA White, possibly Mexican Male Shot to pieces Murder of a white man, a merchant 1894 Lawrence Younger West Carroll LA Mulatto Male Hanged Murder of a white man, a merchant 1895 Lewis Jefferson Clinch GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted criminal assault on a 10 year-old white girl 1898 Columbus Jackson Greenwood SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a white election manager and election riot 1898 Drayton Watts Greenwood SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a white election manager and election riot 1898 George Logan Greenwood SC Black Male Shot Political riot 1898 Jesse Williams Greenwood SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a white election manager and election riot 1898 Wade Hampton McKinney Greenwood SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a white election manager and election riot 1909 William “Froggie” James Cairo IL Black Male Hanged, Shot, Beaten Rape, Murder 1917 Jesse Stater Brooks GA Black Male Shot Insolent letter to white woman 1929 Will Larkins Gadsden FL Black Male Hanged and shot Criminal assault on a 12-13 year-old white girl
November 101898 Ben Collins Greenwood SC Black Male Probably shot Murder of a white election manager and election riot 1898 Essex Harrison Greenwood SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Trying/wanting to vote 1898 Jeff Darling Greenwood SC Black Male Probably shot Implicated in the murder of a white election manager and election riot 1908 Henry Leidy Harrison MS Black Male Hanged/strangulation Criminal assault on 15-17 year-old white girl 1912 — Berney Elmore AL Black Male Shot Injuring white girls [non-sexual] and killing a 55 year-old white men, their father 1918 William Bird Colbert AL Black Male Hanged Inflammatory remarks, creating a disturbance, and implicated in the murder of a white policeman
November 111905 Henry Schorrow Henderson TX Black Male Hanged Murder 1905 John Reese Henderson TX Black Male Hanged Murder 1905 Robert Askew Henderson TX Black Male Hanged Murder 1919 Jordan Jameson Columbia AR Black Male Burned Murder of a white man, a sheriff 1927 Henry Choate Maury TN Black Male Hanged-neck broken Attempted criminal assault of a white girl
November 121888 Jim Smith Mississippi AR Black Male Riddled with bullets Making insulting proposals and threatening a married white woman 1891 Joseph Mitchell Obion TN Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a 10 year-old white girl 1898 Sam Howard Florence SC Black Male Shot Living with a woman not his wife 1914 Henry Allen Muhlenberg KY White Male Hanged Possible falling out with a band of regulators 1914 John Evans Pinellas FL Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man and attacking his wife 1915 John Taylor Monroe MS Black Male Hanged Shooting at a white man, a deputy sheriff; commenting on the style of white women’s dresses 1918 George Whiteside Colbert AL Black Male Hanged Implicated in the murder of a white man, a policeman
November 131888 Unnamed Negro Ascension LA Black Male Hanged Attempted to outrage an 11 year-old white girl 1889 John Anthony Lincoln GA Black Male Unreported Attempted rape of a “respectable white lady” 1890 William McGregory Lafayette MS Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted assault on a married white woman 1893 David Nelson Lincoln AR Black Male Hanged/RwB Murder of an old black man 1902 John Davis Marshall TN Black Male Hanged Murder of a white 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.||⇡||Chicago Tribune; Chicago, Illinois; Sat, Nov 12, 1887 – Page 1. Here.|
|3.||⇡||The Times-Democrat; New Orleans, Louisiana; Thu, Nov 29, 1888 – Page 8. Here.|
|4.||⇡||The Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta, Georgia; Mon, Nov 11, 1912 – Page 1. Here.|
|5.||⇡||The Coshocton Tribune; Coshocton, Ohio; Wed, Nov 10, 1943 – Page 8. Here.|
|6.||⇡||For more information on all of this, please see our post here.|