Carolina Race Riots, Lynchings and Whippings – This Week in Historical Lynchings

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.

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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.

Fighting Continues
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.

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The Anniston Star; Anniston, Alabama; Mon, Nov 21, 1932 – Page 1.
The Anniston Star; Anniston, Alabama; Mon, Nov 21, 1932 – Page 1.

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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.

Probe Shooting
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.

Sheriff Notified
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.

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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.

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

November 14

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


November 15

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

November 16

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

November 17

		
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

November 18

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

November 19

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"

November 13

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   [ + ]

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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