This week, we’ll take a look at two news reports of lynchings and whipping in the Carolinas.
First, we’ll read about the Winston-Salem race riot that ended in the deaths of at least three unnamed black citizens, as well as a white fireman defending the jail from a white mob intent upon lynching a black man they knew to be falsely accused of murder and rape.
We’ll also read about two connected attacks by men in white hoods and robes. After whipping two black locals, they murdered another. The police assured the press, however, that the hooded men were not associated with the KKK.
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.
Race Riot at Winston-Salem, North Carolina
November 17, 1918
Jail Stormed and Negro Man Lynched
Sunday Night Was Wild Night in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem, Nov. 17 – At least two persons are known to have been killed and probably a score of others injured seriously, in a riot here tonight which resulted from the efforts of a mob of several thousand men to storm the city jail and lynch a negro accused of shooting J.E. Childress and Sheriff Flynt and attacking Mrs. Childress last night.
Late tonight firing still was going on in different parts of the city, the mob finally having broken into small groups. Efforts of the home guard and the police to restore order were unavailing even at that time and Governor Bickett was asked to intervene. He ordered home guards here from Greensboro and arranged to have a company of regular soldiers sent from Camp Polk, near Raleigh.
Rachael Levi, a young woman bystander, was shot through the lung, and Robert Young, fireman, also was shot.
Five of the more seriously injured, including two members of the home guard, were taken to hospitals, but many others were treated at their homes. The total number of injured was not known and the police would not even hazard an estimate.
The mob first formed this afternoon about 3:30 o’clock and stormed the jail. Three shots were fired and the negro accused of shooting the two men and attacking Mrs. Childress was seriously wounded, while a white prisoners named Tragg also was hit in the arm by a stray bullet.
After some difficulty, the police succeeded in clearing the crowd out of the building and then the mayor called out the home guards. Quiet reigned for a time, but later the report went around that the negro shot was not the man that had been sought. By nightfall the mob had reformed and started marching to the jail, which was surrounded by home guards.
Hardware stores were broken into and revolvers, shotguns and other weapons and ammunition taken. As the mob marched, it increased in size and when its objective was reached it numbered several thousand. The mayor sought to address the crowd, but could not be heart. In the meantime fire companies had arrived and when the mob broke for the jail the firemen turned water on them.
Firing immediately followed, and Young was shot dead. A bullet hit Miss Levi, who was watching nearby. The home guards answered the volley but the mob quickly overpowered them and went into the jail. Two member of the guard were badly hurt by being thrown bodily down a stairway which they were guarding.
Apparently the mob did not find the negro it sought, for no more of the prisoners were fired upon. After an hour or more the mob left the jail and started marching through the business section of the town. Gradually it broke into groups and for a time it was feared that there would be a race riot as some of the groups headed for the negro quarter. Late tonight, however, there had been no clash between whites and blacks. 2Greensboro Daily News; Greensboro, North Carolina; Mon, Nov 18, 1918 – Page 1, 5. Here and here.
This was the final report from the scene that evening – note how the blame is shifted:
Winston-Salem, N.C., Nov. 18 – Five persons, possibly more, were killed here Sunday night and many others were injured, when a race riot begun during the early part of the afternoon threw the entire city in a state of frenzy, causing an alarm to be spread over the entire state, in response to which volunteers were sent here to aid in quelling the disturbance.
The known dead are Robert Young, fireman; Miss Rachael Levi, and three negroes.
The trouble began when many negroes were searched in an effort to identify the weapon used by the person who Saturday night shot J.E. Childress and committed criminal assault on his wife.
Negro Not Identified
Soon after the crime was committed, Mr. Childress notified the police, stating that he oculd identify the negro and also the weapon used. One negro, who had on his person a weapon similar to the one employed, was arrested and placed in the city jail.
As soon as news of the incident was made known a mob gathered and demanded custody of the prisoner, stating, it is alleged, that “courts these days were too slow in dealing out justice.”
Mrs. Childress was called, and stated to the mob, it is said, that the man held was not the negro who assaulted her, whereupon the crowd seemed satisfied.
Negroes Start Trouble
When news reached the negro quarters of the city, demonstrations began immediately. Hardware stores and pawnshops were broken open, and the negroes procured arms and ammunition, completely ransacking the stock, and shooting wildly in the streets.
Later the negroes marched up the main streets of the city, firing at random, and leaving disorder in their wake.
Toward night the home guard and police were called out to quell the insurrection, and a pitched battle was fought.
Policeman Adams is missing and is believed to have been killed.
The seriously wounded include J.J. Cofer and Rob Bryant; E.E. Wooten, shot in jaw; Lieut. H.C. Horton, shot in face with shotgun; Frank O’Brien, of the home guard; Charles White, Marvin York, Jack Ramble, Glenn Hepler and a man named Jordan. It is thought the latter was only slightly wounded.
Towards nightfall the battle became more terrific, and it required several hours to drive the mob from the main sections of the city. With the aid of home guards from other cities, the frighting was gradually pushed toward the negro section, and at 2 o’clock this morning the fighting continued here.
The Greensboro company of home guards arrived at 12:45 this morning.
At 1 o’clock this morning dispatches from the Southern railway showed that the tank troops from Raleigh were being rushed to the scene with the utmost dispatch, and it is expected that the soldiers will be able to maintain order quickly.
It is impossible to form an estimate of the number slightly wounded, many of whom fell in the streets and were overlooked in the confusion. 3Greensboro Daily News; Greensboro, North Carolina; Mon, Nov 18, 1918 – Page 1. Here.
Night Riders in Two Acts of Violence in Single Night
November 16, 1933
George Green, Aged Negro, Shot to Death By Robed Band; Two Lashed at Greer
Greer, S.C., Nov. 17 – A negro man and woman were taken from a house near Greer by a band of robed and masked men and whipped less than two hours before about a dozen such figures entered the home of George Green, aged Negro, at Taylors and shot him to death Thursday night.
After partially undressing the pair, the night riders whipped them with a lash, returned them to the woman’s home with the instructions that they must move and that if the incident was reported, death would follow.
Deputy Sheriffs G.R. Richardson and J.H. Granger, as well as other members of the sheriff’s force, continued their investigation last night in the mysterious shooting to death of Green about 10 o’clock Thursday night but no arrests had been made at a late hour.
Coroner George W. McCoy announced the inquest in Green’s death would be held at 10 o’clock Monday morning.
Officers expressed the believe that the masked men were not members of the Ku Klux Klan.
No motive had been established for either of the two visits last night.
According to the story told officers by Green’s wife, about a dozen masked and robed men came to the home about 10 o’clock, forced an entrance through the front door and then through a second door. The couple were the only occupants of the house.
By this time, Green has arisen from his bed and taken up his axe. The men called to him to come out and when they started battering on his bedroom door, Green called out that he would kill the first man who came through the door.
Evidently hoping to hit on of the intruders, he smashed the axe through the door, nocking a panel out. Three shots were fired, one of them entering Green’s right chest. They then dragged him out to the front room. One of them remarked, “Well, we got him” and all left. The wife was jerked from the bed but was not harmed.
As quietly as they had come, the men left.
The sheriff’s office received a call about 11 o’clock. Deputies Richardson and Granger rushed to the negro home to find that Green had died a half hour earlier.
The wife said one of the men lifted his mask enough for her to see that he was white.
Presumably an hour and a half before the killing, about 25 robed and masked men, traveling in six automobiles, went to the home of a negro woman near city limits of Greer. The woman, with a negro man who had dropped in and a young negro woman who was visiting from another city, was taken out with no word as to why the action was done.
They were driven some distance away. The younger woman was exempted from the whipped when the men assured that she was only a visitor. The other woman and man were stripped form the waist down and whipped.
They were returned to the home and told to leave the country [area] and also not to make any report of the lashing under fear of death.
The case was brought to the attention of the sheriff’s office late yesterday. I was said the negroes were moving immediately. 4The Greenville News; Greenville, South; Carolina; Sat, Nov 18, 1933 – Page 3. Here.
Over Sixty Other Lynchings This Week
What follows is a list of all known racially-motivated lynchings between November 14 and November 20, 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. 5For 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
1890 Ned Stevens Hardin TN Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Murder of a white sheriff 1893 Unnamed Negro #1 of 3 Columbia FL Black Male Burned Complicity in murder of a white man, a merchant 1893 Unnamed Negro #2 of 3 Columbia FL Black Male Unreported Complicity in murder of a white man, a merchant 1893 Unnamed Negro #3 of 3 Columbia FL Black Male Unreported Complicity in murder of a white man, a merchant 1894 Robert Moseley Jefferson AL Black Male Shot Rape of a married white woman 1897 Joshua Ruff Glascock GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Assaulted black girl and robbing blacks 1897 Henry Phillips Mississippi AR Black Male Hanged Murder of a white merchant 1898 Eliza Goode Greenwood SC Black Female Shot Race prejudice 1908 Nick Veazey Tate MS Black Male Hanged Killing a white man 1912 Priest Niles Marion FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a 80 year-old white man and the man’s unmarried granddaughter, 18 years-old 1918 Charles Shipman TX Black Male Unknown Disagreement with white man on plantation 1920 David Hunt Wise VA Black Male Hanged Attempted assault on a 60 year-old white woman
1878 Sidney Frazier Bedford TN Black Male Shot Mortally wounding a white man 1885 Noah Cherry Princess Anne VA Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Attempted assault and murder of a 10 year-old white girl 1886 Charles Dinwiddie Carroll TN Black Male Riddled with bullets Assaulting and robbing a white man 1889 George Washington Pike MS Black Male Hanged Attempted rape of a white woman 1890 Sandy Wallace Panola MS Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a married white woman 1892 William Burnett Granville NC Black Male Hanged Attempted criminal assault on a 16 year-old white girl 1896 Charles Allen Carroll TN Black Male Riddled with bullets Outraging a 14 year-old white girl, an orphan; being a republican leader 1910 Unnamed Negro Mannford OK Black Male Unknown Killing a white man 1916 James Grant St. Landry LA Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Murder of a white man, a watchman for Standard Oil
1879 John Graham Jefferson MS Black Male Hanged Killing a white man 1889 Ed Gray Concordia LA Black Male Hanged Arson of a white man’s barn destroying mules and cotton 1890 Henry Smith Jefferson AL Black Male Hanged Outraged an old married white woman 1896 Mims Collier Lowndes MS Black Male Hanged Attempted assault on an unmarried white woman 1900 Elijah Myers Jefferson TX Black Male Hanged Murderous assault of white doctor 1900 Freeman Perhume Jefferson TX Black Male Hanged Murderous assault of white doctor 1900 Jim Shaw Jefferson TX Black Male Hanged Murderous assault of white doctor 1900 Preston (John) Porter, Jr Limon CO Black Male Burned at stake Killing young white girl 1902 Harlan Buckles Hardin KY Black Male Hanged Murder of a white deputy sheriff 1933 George Green Greenville SC Black Male Shot Refused to move off his land
1885 Cap Hamilton Johnson GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Arson of two general stores 1892 Duncan McPhatter Richmond NC Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a white man, a deputy sheriff 1895 James Bowens Frederick MD Black Male Hanged Rape 1914 Joseph Durfee Angleton TX Black Male Hanged Killing of a white woman 1917 Collins Johnson Mitchell GA Black Male Shot Verbal altercation with white men 1917 D. C. Johnson Mitchell GA Black Male Shot Verbal altercation with white men 1918 Robert Young Forsyth NC White Male Shot Defending the jail against a mob
1882 N. David Lee Franklin LA Black Male Hanged Hog stealing 1890 Jim Simmons Thomas GA Black Male Shot and throat cut Attempted rape of a young white woman 1895 Unnamed Negro #1 of 2 Henderson KY Black Male Shot Assault on a 18 year-old black girl 1895 Unnamed Negro #2 of 2 Henderson KY Black Male Shot Assault on a 18 year-old black girl 1896 Samuel M. McDonald Carroll TN Black Male Unreported Making threats 1897 Thomas Sweat Bryan TX Black Male Hanged Murder 1898 John Smartt Warren TN Black Male Shot Unknown 1920 Minnie Ivory Coffee GA Black Female Riddled with bullets Murder of a prominent young white planter 1920 William “Crip” Perry Coffee GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a prominent young white planter 1920 Willie “Boney” Ivory Coffee GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of a prominent young white planter 1921 William Turner Phillips AR Black Male Riddled with bullets Attack on a young white girl
1888 Wilks Arnold Yazoo MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man, a prominent citizen 1912 John Archer Marion FL Black Male Hanged Implicated in murder of a white man and the man’s granddaughter 1919 Wallace Baynes Morgan GA Black Male Hanged and riddled with bullets Murder of a prominent white man, an agent of the Georgia Railroad 1923 Edward Hardy Tunica MS Black Male Crushed skull Robbery and murder of a black woman 1932 William House Franklin LA Black Male Hanged Insulting white woman 1948 Robert "Big Duck" Mallard Toombs GA Black Male Shot Being "uppity"
1890 Unnamed Negro East Baton Rouge LA Black Male Unreported Unknown 1899 Unnamed Negro Butts GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted assault on a married white woman 1902 Elijah Wells Cross AR Black Male Hanged Murderous assault on a white man, a train conductor 1902 James Dillard Sullivan IN Black Male Hanged Rape 1909 William Estes Richland LA Black Male Hanged Murder of a white marshal
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.||⇡||Greensboro Daily News; Greensboro, North Carolina; Mon, Nov 18, 1918 – Page 1, 5. Here and here.|
|3.||⇡||Greensboro Daily News; Greensboro, North Carolina; Mon, Nov 18, 1918 – Page 1. Here.|
|4.||⇡||The Greenville News; Greenville, South; Carolina; Sat, Nov 18, 1933 – Page 3. Here.|
|5.||⇡||For more information on all of this, please see our post here.|