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Tyranny in the New World
((Part of the) World Gone Mad)
1910 - 1919
• The government of New Jersey punished a woman for dancing the turkey trot. Her sentence:
50 days or $25. 61
• Fifteen female employees of Ladies’ Home Journal were fired for dancing during lunchtime.
• Sign in a popular Chicago nightclub: “ Do not wiggle the shoulders. Do not shake the hips. Do
not twist the body. Do not flounce the elbows. Do not pump the arms. Do not hop — glide
instead. Avoid low, fantastic and acrobatic dips.” Dancing must’ ve been quite boring there. 61
• The Vice Commission of Chicago recommended that healthy women living in wedlock should
have ten children. The government should never take action that causes the population to
1910 - The Yahi were victims of extermination following the California Gold Rush. The
population of Native Americans in California was reduced from 100,000 in 1848 to 20,000 in
1910 - The United States Supreme Court extended the 1907 Naturalization Act to other Asian
nationalities, making them ineligible for citizenship.
John Raker, a racist Democratic congressman, and Anthony W. Caminetti, who became
President Wilson's immigration commissioner, worked very hard to restrict Indian immigration.
Both of these men pushed for and finally secured the passage of the "Barred Zone Act" on
February 4, 1917. This act effectively said that certain people from the barred zone, which
included India, could not immigrate to the U.S. 238
1910 - The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the “ crime against nature” and “ sodomy” are
synonymous terms. 4
1910 - The Maine Supreme Court ruled that there are no common-law crimes in the state. 4
1910 - An Ohio appellate court determined that the state’ s strangely worded 1889 sodomy law
did, as apparently intended, outlaw fellatio. 4
1910 - In New York, two men were convicted of sodomy after police saw them speaking on a
corner and followed them into a hotel, looking into their room through the transom. 4
1910 - The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the “ crime against nature” did not include oral
1910 - The Illinois Supreme Court correctly wrote: “ The public school is supported by the taxes
which each citizen, regardless of his religion or his lack of it, is compelled to pay. The school,
like the government, is simply a civil institution. It is secular, and not religious, in its purposes.
The truths of the Bible are the truths of religion, which do not come within the province of the
public school . . . No one denies that they should be taught to the youth of the State. The
constitution and the law do not interfere with such teaching, but they do banish theological
polemics from the schools and the school districts. This is done, not from any hostility to
religion, but because it is no part of the duty of the State to teach religion — to take the money of
all and apply it to teaching the children of all the religion of a part, only. Instruction in religion
must be voluntary.” People ex rel. Ring v. Board of Education, 245 Ill. 334, 92 N. E. 251
1910 - Illinois has banned all abortions except those to save the life of the mother. 88
1910 - The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the state’ s “ crime against nature” law
outlaws fellatio. 4
1910 - Gambling was outlawed in Nevada.
1910 - In Denver, an engineering student and son of a professor committed suicide. He had been
arrested at the YMCA for homosexual conduct. 239
1910 - The Angel Island Immigration Station opened on January 22 to prevent escape by the
immigrants, to isolate those with possible contagious diseases, and to keep the immigrants from
communicating with the Chinese outside the station prior to admittance to the United States.
Men and women were separated from one another, even husbands and wives, and not allowed to
see or communicate with each other until they were admitted into the country or deported.
Immigrants were locked into dormitories; a barbed wire fence prevented escapes. No visitors
were allowed, and letters and packages were inspected.
A health examination started the admission process. Later, long interrogations with as many
as eighty-seven pages of testimony were taken. If one answered incorrectly, admission was
denied. In order to assist in the process, study sheets were developed by the sponsoring family
and given to the emigrant to study and memorize. 238
1910 - “ A negro robbed a man on the public highway near Birmingham of 20 cents and goes to
the pen 25 years.” The Moulton (Alabama) Advertiser, February 1, 1910.
1910 - On February 2, a black man was lynched in Beaumont, Texas.
1910 - On February 20, Daniel Lambkin was lynched for being the father of a murderer in
1910 - On March 2, Will Williamson was lynched for attempted rape in Vidalia, Georgia.
1910 - The Palace Drugstore dominated a
prime commercial corner just under one of
downtown Dallas's most prominent
architectural landmarks, the soaring Elk's
Arch. Together, they formed a makeshift
amphitheater for the last act of the tragic
comedy of March 3; the Palace's two story
facade providing an urban backdrop with
box office seats for Elk's Arch's dramatic
shell. The first incongruous notes that
sliced the routine lunchtime din, wafted
through the open second-floor windows,
drawing the curious and, undoubtedly,
alarming a few. Within minutes, the elevated onlookers spotted, in the increasingly agitated
streets down below, a man scaling the arch and securing a rope. Then, from off the sullied
pavement and over the heads of thousands of riveted Dallasites, the mutilated corpse of a naked,
elderly Negro ascended. Audible to some were the words of commendation a mob leader had for
his fellow lynchers.
"You did the work of men today and your deeds will resound in every state, village, and
hamlet where purity and innocence are cherished and bestiality and lechery condemned."
The H. J. Buvens family had esteemed Allen Brooks a trusted servant until Flora
Daingerfield, a second servant, claimed to have discovered Brooks with their missing three-year-
old daughter in the barn. Dr. W. W. Brandau examined the child and concluded, rather vaguely,
that there was "evidence of brutal treatment." A local newspaper described the alleged crime as
"one of the most heinous since the days of Reconstruction." Immediately following Brooks'
arrest, a mob attempted, but failed, to kidnap him from authorities. But while his trial was
underway, a second mob, of two hundred whites and one "conspicuous Negro," entered the
courtroom and successfully overwhelmed a "defending force" of fifty armed deputies and twenty
No shots were fired. The defenseless Brooks was trapped on an upper floor. The mobsters
tightened a noose around his neck and threw him down to the hungry pack twenty feet below.
Dozens savagely attacked, kicking and crushing his face until he was covered in blood. The
adherents of hanging overruled those with a taste for burning. The unholy pilgrimage from
courthouse to arch began.
"Contact with the pavement and obstacles on it wore most of the clothes off the Negro
before the arch was reached," noted the Dallas Morning News. "At one point his coat was torn
off, at another his shoes were dragged from his feet, and finally his trousers yielded to the
friction of the passage along the street." What remnants of clothing that clung to the corpse were
soon stripped away by souvenir hunters. 170
1910 - On March 7, a black man was lynched in Manatee, Florida. He was implicated in a
1910 - On March 7, Samuel and Wade Ellis were lynched for murder in Tampa, Florida.
1910 - On March 14, Eli Dempsey was lynched for murder in Rayville, Louisiana.
1910 - On March 18, Robert Austin and Charley Richardson were lynched for jailbreak in
1910 - On March 25, Judge Jones was lynched for harassing a white woman in Pine Bluff,
1910 - On March 26, Congress amended the Immigration Act; criminals, paupers, anarchists, and
disease carriers are now forbidden to enter the United States.
1910 - On March 29, Charles Carroll was lynched in Edmonson, Kentucky.
1910 - On April 5, Frank Bates was lynched in Centerville, Texas.
1910 - On April 5, Laura Mitchell and Frank Pride were lynched for murder in Lonoke,
1910 - On April 11, James Tabor was lynched for rape in Alamo, Georgia.
1910 - On April 13, Thomas O'Neil was lynched for murder in Meridian, Mississippi.
1910 - On April 15, Albert Royal was lynched in Amboy, Georgia. He had sued a white man.
Charles Jackson was also lynched for testifying against the white man.
1910 - On April 23, Congress opened the Flathead Indian reservation to White land seekers. An
allotment lottery system was established and by the end of the year, six thousand names had been
drawn and the remaining allotments were open to a land rush. 273
1910 - On May 6, 15-year-old Irving Hanchett was hanged for murder by the government of
1910 - On May 13, Doc McClain was lynched for assault in Ashdown, Arkansas.
1910 - On May 26, a black man was lynched in Charlotte, North Carolina.
1910 - On May 27, Charles Wilson was lynched for attempted rape in Albany, Georgia.
1910 - On May 27, Jesse Matson was lynched for murder in Calera, Alabama.
Unknown lynching victim
May 30, 1910, New Madrid, Missouri
Unknown lynching victims, c. 1910
1910 - On June 6, a black man was lynched in Orange, Texas.
1910 - On June 11, Robert Matthews was lynched for attempted rape in Escambia, Florida.
1910 - On June 13, Elmo Curl was lynched for murder in Mastadon, Mississippi.
1910 - On June 13, William Hunter was lynched for entering a woman's bedroom in Star City,
1910 - On June 15, Otto Holmes was lynched in Durant, Mississippi.
1910 - On June 15, Otho Mitchell was lynched for attempted murder in Holmes, Mississippi.
1910 - On June 25, the White-Slave-Traffic Act (Mann Act) became U.S. law. It read:
“ That any person who shall knowingly transport or cause to be transported across
state lines, or aid or assist in obtaining transportation for, or in transporting, any woman
or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any immoral purpose, or with
the intent and purpose to induce, entice or compel such woman or girl to become a
prostitute, or to give herself up to debauchery, or to engage in any other immoral practice
shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $5000, or by imprisonment of not more than
five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.” 61
1910 - On June 26, Leonard Johnson was lynched in Rusk, Texas.
1910 - On June 27, Jones was lynched for murder in Simpson, Mississippi.
1910 - On July 2, an investigator for The Social Evil in Chicago took special note of “ a young
woman with her skirts up to her knees talking to the young men who were sitting next to her.”
1910 - On July 2, Henry McKinney was lynched for entering a girl's room in Dothan, Alabama.
1910 - On July 3, Robert Coleman and Samuel Field were lynched for murder in Charleston,
1910 - On July 5, a black man was lynched in Rodney, Texas.
1910 - On July 5, a black man was lynched due to mistaken identity in White, Arkansas.
1910 - On July 6, Sam Powell was lynched for robbery and arson in Huttig, Arkansas.
1910 - On July 9, Samuel McIntosh was lynched for attempted murder in Kathleen, Florida.
1910 - On July 10, J. C. Freeman was lynched for murder in Richland, Louisiana.
1910 - On July 15, 3 black men were lynched in Tampa, Florida.
1910 - On July 18, Evan Roberts was lynched for attempted rape in Screven County, Georgia.
1910 - On July 30, 2 black men were lynched for rape and murder in Bonifay, Florida.
1910 - On July 30, 18 black people were lynched in Palestine, Texas.
1910 - On July 31, a black man was lynched for entering a girl's room in Cairo, Georgia.
1910 - On July 31, Bill Walker was lynched for rape and murder in Mobile, Alabama.
1910 - On August 1, William Wallace was lynched in Axis, Alabama.
1910 - On August 1, 3 black men were lynched for rape and murder in Bonifay, Florida.
1910 - On August 2, a black man was lynched in Bonifay, Florida.
1910 - On August 11, Jim Toler was lynched for entering a girl's room in Montgomery County,
1910 - On August 25, Laura Porter was lynched in Monroe, Louisiana.
1910 - On September 1, Nicholas Thompson was lynched for rape in Armory, Mississippi.
1910 - On September 2, Edward Christian and Hattie Bowman were lynched for murder in
1910 - On September 2, 17-year-old Harry Poe was hanged for rape by the government of
1910 - On September 6, a black man named Oglesby and another black man were lynched for
attempted burglary and murder in Clark County, Georgia.
1910 - Tampa had built a
flourishing cigar manufacturing
industry by providing liberal
incentives to manufacturers. The
unionizing of workers and the
violence erupting from strikes
threatened the town's economy.
Two Italian immigrants —
Castenego Ficarrotta and Angelo
Albano —were accused of union
sympathy and of shooting J. F.
Esterling, a bookkeeper for the West
Tampa cigar factory. City fathers
were alarmed that an "American"
would be subjected to attack. While
the "conspicuous" immigrants, neither one of which was
recognized previously as strikers, were being taken to a safer jail in a horse-drawn hack on
September 9, a mob separated them from a suspiciously modest guard consisting of one deputy
sheriff and fireman. The mob fled in automobiles, a luxury afforded by only the elite in Tampa,
which suggested that they were "men with boiled shirts, high collars, diamonds, and kid gloves."
The lynchers' note read: "Beware! Others take notice or go the same way. We know even
more. We are watching you. If any more citizens are molested look out." The note was signed,
"Justice." Warning notes posted at lynching sites were common forms of intimidation; in this
case it was a clear threat to other strikebreakers. 170
Inscribed "Burning of the negro who killed Jim Mitchell August 1910"
1910 - On September 12, Robert Bruce and William Sharp were lynched for attempted rape in
1910 - On September 14, Isaac Glover was lynched for murder in St. Clair, Alabama.
1910 - On October 1, a black man was lynched for rape in Calhoun, Alabama.
1910 - On October 3, a black man named Reeves was lynched for rape and murder in Covington,
1910 - On October 3, Bush Rivers was lynched for rape in Sanford, Alabama.
1910 - On October 7, John Dell was lynched for “ race prejudice” in Montgomery, Alabama.
1910 - On October 8, a black man was lynched for robbery in Rockingham, North Carolina.
1910 - On October 11, Grant Richardson was lynched for rape in Centerville, Alabama.
1910 - On October 14, a black man was lynched in Huntington, West Virginia.
1910 - In the American Southwest, people of Mexican descent often fell prey to the virulence of
mob violence. On November 3, 1910, white citizens of the small ranching community of Rock
Springs, Texas lynched a young Mexican cowboy to death for supposedly murdering an "Anglo"
woman. Antonio Rodriguez was captured and taken a mile outside of town only to be tied to a
mesquite cactus, doused in kerosene, and burned alive.
According to the white community of Rock Springs, Rodriguez had stopped at the
Henderson ranch and killed Mrs. Clem Henderson after the two had had an argument. The crime,
in the minds of "Anglos," was particularly heinous — rumors circulated that Rodriguez had
committed the murderous act as Mrs. Henderson's five-year-old daughter looked on. His guilt,
based solely upon a third-hand description of the suspect delivered over the telephone and
supplied to mob members by the slain woman's husband — would never have been established
by a fair-minded court of law and in actuality, was almost certainly a tragic case of mistaken
Widely publicized in the Mexican press, the lynching in Texas led to large anti-American
demonstrations in both Mexico City and Guadalajara. While damage to American property was
minor and injuries to a very few American citizens were slight, coverage of the lynching and the
reaction to it was wildly sensationalized except for articles published in the Philadelphia Public
Ledger. Rooting out the facts, only the Ledger condemned the atrocity committed against
Antonio Rodriguez rather than emphasizing the minimal losses to white Americans living in
Mexico. It editorialized "whether he [Rodriguez] was guilty or innocent the mob with incredible
barbarity, burned him alive. Can it be wondered that the newspapers at the capitol of Mexico
demand 'Where is the boasted Yankee civilization?'" (Philadelphia Public Ledger, November 13,
In Texas, publicity of the lynching and riots provoked attacks of Mexicans. Because
Mexicans "displayed an impudent attitude", they were attacked in Galveston. In construction
camps and ranches in Webb, Duval, LaSalle, Dimmit and Starr Counties, Anglos attacked
Mexicans who were reportedly "sullen and threatening since the burning of Rodriquez at Rock
Springs." Anti-Mexican sentiment in Texas was widespread. An excerpt from a letter to U.S.
President William Howard Taft from F. W. Meyer, a hattier from Bonney, Texas, was typical:
"Because an admitted low lifed mexican Criminal, who murdered a Texas Woman and destroyed
an American HOME, the Mexicans murder good Americans because said greaser got his just
dues," he wrote. 172
1910 - On November 8, Bob Bryant was lynched for murder in Macon County, Georgia.
1910 - On November 8, William Barnes and John Walker were lynched for murder in
1910 - On November 11, 17-year-old John Eccles was electrocuted for murder by the
government of Virginia.
1910 - On November 15, a black man was lynched in Mannford, Oklahoma.
1910 - On November 22, Robert Matthews was lynched for attempted criminal assault in Gull
1910 - On November 25, Flute Clark was lynched for murder and attempted rape in Little
Mountain, South Carolina.
1910 - On November 25, Richard Lowe was lynched for entering a girl's room in Mayo, Florida.
1910 - On November 30, Mach Neal was lynched in Warren, Virginia.
1910 - On December 16, 17-year-old Harry Sitlington was electrocuted for murder by the
government of Virginia.
1910 - On December 19, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance
designating the boundaries of black and white neighborhoods. This ordinance was followed by
similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk,
Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis,
Missouri. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Louisville ordinance to be unconstitutional in
1910 - On December 26, Oscar Chitwood was lynched for murder in Garland, Arkansas.
1911 - The human rights activist Emma Goldman published Patriotism, a
Menace to Liberty. She wrote: “ Of all the evil results I have just described
none seems to me so detrimental to human integrity as the spirit patriotism
has produced in the case of Private William Buwalda. Because he foolishly
believed that one can be a soldier and exercise his rights as a man at the
same time, the military authorities punished him severely. True, he had
served his country fifteen years, during which time his record was
unimpeachable. According to General Funston, who reduced Buwalda’ s
sentence to three years, “ the first duty of an officer or an enlisted man is
unquestioned obedience and loyalty to the government, and it makes no
difference whether he approves of that government or not.” Thus Funston stamps the true
character of allegiance. According to him, entrance into the army abrogates the principles of the
Declaration of Independence.
“ What a strange development of patriotism that turns a thinking being into a loyal
“ In justification of this most outrageous sentence of Buwalda, General Funston tells the
American people that the soldier’ s action was “ a serious crime equal to treason.” Now, what
did this “ terrible crime” really consist of? Simply in this: William Buwalda was one of fifteen
hundred people who attended a public meeting in San Francisco; and, oh, horrors, he shook
hands with the speaker, Emma Goldman. A terrible crime, indeed, which the General calls “ a
great military offense, infinitely worse than desertion.” 89
1911 - Missouri amended its sodomy law to include oral sex. 4
1911 - The Vice Commission of Chicago published The Social Evil in Chicago. The commission
published page after page of recommendations, new sexual taboos: No immoral or vulgar dances
should be permitted in saloons, no intoxicating liquor should be allowed at any public dance.
Laws against private wine rooms should be enforced. 61
Dealing mostly with heterosexual prostitution, the report also described a largely effeminate
segment of Chicago homosexual life. 243
1911 - The outlaw Elmer McCurdy died. His mummified corpse became a tourist attraction in a
small Oklahoma funeral home, and later was taken across country in carnivals and roving wax
1911 - Newspapers were at least consistent at assessing the guilt of the accused. Of course it
mattered less that a legal trial never took place. Reporters wrote inflammatory comments such
• “ . . . well known as a criminal character to the officers of Clarke County.” (The
Atlanta Constitution, Feb. 16, 1921)
• “ A Negro Desperado Lynched” (Boston Evening Transcript, July 21, 1886)
• “ The Negro was killed irregularly, but justifiably.” (The Chicago Chronicle, June 19,
• “ . . . unspeakable wretch . . . no more thought need be given to his death than to that
of a dog.” (The Indianapolis News, June 19, 1897)
• “ help lynch the brute.” (The Intelligencer, October 12, 1911). In this last example, a
lynching that took place on October 11, 1911 in Anderson County, South Carolina, the
mob was led by State Legislator Joshua Ashley and the editor of the local newspaper. The
target of that mob was one Willis Jackson who was accused of attacking a white child.
He was hung from a tree upside down and shot numerous times. 62
• The New Orleans Picayune described an African-American who was lynched in
Hammond, Louisiana for robbery as a "big, burly negro" and a "Black wretch." 179
1911 - Emma Goldman, a leading advocate of the Free Love Movement, wrote a critique of the
institution of marriage calling it a form of slavery. 249
1911- A report from the Chicago Vice Commission on The Social Evil in Chicago managed to
mix disapproval, fascination, and paranoia, suggesting that “ sex perverts” were a small
minority but that their “ secret language” pervaded ordinary entertainment. Vice Commission of
Chicago, The Social Evil in Chicago: A Study of Existing Conditions with Recommendations
(Chicago, Gunthorp-Warren 1911).
1911 - California forbade the conviction of any person based on the uncorroborated testimony of
an accomplice, a law that benefited gay men and lesbians prosecuted for private, consensual
1911 - The Washington Supreme Court upheld a sodomy conviction over the contention that the
requirement that all jurors be taxpayers created a biased jury and after leading questions were
1911 - The Washington Supreme Court upheld a sodomy conviction over the contention of the
defendant that the “ victim” had syphilis of the mouth and that the defendant didn’ t have
syphilis. The defendant wanted to prove that the “ victim” was actually an accomplice. 4
1911 - The Washington Supreme Court upheld a sodomy conviction even though a witness gave
contradictory and admittedly untrue evidence. 4
1911 - On January 1, a black woman and her three children were lynched in Rayne, Louisiana.
1911 - On January 1, 45 black Americans were lynched in Rayne, Louisiana.
1911 - On January 14, a black man was lynched in Benton, Arkansas.
1911 - On January 15, Eugene Marshall was lynched for murder in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Wade
Patterson was lynched for assault and James West was lynched for flirting with a white girl.
1911 - On January 20, Oval Poulard was lynched for murder in Opelousas, Louisiana.
1911 - On January 22, William Johnson was lynched for murder in Jefferson County, Georgia.
1911 - On February 1, 3 people were lynched in Crowley, Louisiana.
1911 - On February 5, Pearly Kurtz was lynched for attempted murder in Laurens County,
1911 - On February 7, Seattle Mayor Hiram Gill was recalled. Gill sought to preside over a city
tolerant of gambling and prostitution.
1911 - On February 12, Iver Peterson was lynched for attempted rape in Eufala, Alabama.
1911 - On February 25, Robert Jones and John Veazey were lynched for murder in Augusta,
1911 - On February 25, Charlie Jones was lynched for murder in Warren County, Georgia.
1911 - On March 1, 4 black people were lynched in Lafayette, Louisiana.
1911 - On March 4, Calvin Baker was lynched for disorderly conduct in Marianna, Florida.
1911 - On March 11, Jackson Walker was lynched for rape in Pike, Alabama.
1911 - On March 25, a black man was lynched for murder in Copiah, Mississippi.
1911 - On April 1, a man named Cheatham was lynched for being an informer in Decatur,
1911 - On April 1, 5 people named Cassaway were lynched in San Antonio, Texas.
1911 - On April 2, Abberdine Johnson was lynched for rape in Union Springs, Alabama.
1911 - On April 5, Congressman Victor Berger of Milwaukee demanded the withdrawal of U.S.
troops from the Mexican border, where they threatened the Mexican Revolution. 235
1911 - On April 7, Charles Hale was lynched for rape in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
1911 - On April 8, Murray Burton, Dawson Jordon and Charles Pickett were lynched for murder
in Ellaville, Georgia.
1911 - On April 20, William Potter was lynched for murder in Livermore, Kentucky.
1911 - On April 21, Henry Jackson was lynched for making threats in Bulloch County, Georgia.
1911 - On May 2, the first worker compensation law in the U.S. was enacted in Wisconsin. 235
1911 - On May 5, Cliff Jones and Bruce White were lynched for poisoning well water in
1911 - On May 18, John McLeod was lynched for murder in Swainsboro, Georgia.
1911 - On May 21, Jerry Gusto and 4 other black people were lynched for murder in Columbia,
1911 - On May 21, Mark Norris, Jr. was lynched for
murder in Lake City, Florida.
1911 - On May 21, Benjamin Smith was lynched for
murder in Swainsboro, Georgia.
1911 - On May 22, Joseph Moore was lynched for
murder in Crawfordville, Georgia.
1911 - On May 23, James Sweet was lynched for
murder in Gallatin, Tennessee.
1911 - America's newspapers, while decrying the
savage brutality of the lynch mobs, in general gave
only loosely detailed, ultimately sympathetic reports
that absolved the communities and officials of any
collusion or guilt.
The following account of the lynching of Laura and L. W. Nelson on May 25 was drawn
from Oklahoma papers: A teenage boy, L. W. Nelson, shot and killed Deputy George Loney,
whose posse was searching the Nelson cabin for stolen meat. Laura Nelson, trying to protect her
son, claimed to have shot Loney. Her innocence was determined weeks before the lynching. The
boy's father pled guilty to stealing cattle "and was taken to the pen, which probably saved his
Forty men rode into Okemah at night and entered the sheriff's office unimpeded (the door
was "usually locked"). The jailer, a man named Payne, lied that the two prisoners had been
moved somewhere else, but when a revolver was "pressed into his temple," he led the mob down
a hall to the cell where L. W. Nelson was sleeping. Payne unlocked the cell, and they took the
frightened boy, "fourteen and yellow and ignorant," and "stifled and gagged" him.
"Next they went up to the female jail (a cage in the courthouse) and took the woman out."
She was "very small of stature, very black, about thirtyfive years old, and vicious." Mother and
son were hauled by wagon six miles west of town to a new steel bridge crossing the Canadian
River "in a negro settlement," where they were "gagged with tow sacks" and hung from the
bridge. "The rope was halfinch hemp, and the loops were made in the regular hangman's knot.
The woman's arms were swinging at her side, untied, while about twenty feet away swung the
boy with his clothes partly torn off and his hands tied with a saddle string. The only marks on
either body were those made by the ropes upon the necks. Gently swaying in the wind, the
ghastly spectacle was discovered by a Negro boy taking his cow to water. Hundreds of people
from Okemah and the western part of the country went to view the scene."
"Sheriff Dunagan thought at first that negro neighbors of Nelson's had come and turned
them lose." "No attempt to follow the mob was made." "The work of the lynching party was
executed with silent precision that makes it appear as a master piece of planning." "While the
general sentiment is adverse to the method, it is generally thought that the Negroes got what
would have been due them under process of
District Judge Caruthers convened a
grand jury in June 1911 to investigate the
lynching. In his instructions to the jury, he
said, "The people of the state have said by
recently adopted constitutional provision
that the race to which the unfortunate
victims belonged should in large measure be
divorced from participation in our political
contests, because of their known racial
inferiority and their dependent credulity,
which very characteristic made them the
mere tool of the designing and cunning. It is well known that I heartily concur in this
constitutional provision of the people's will. The more then does the duty devolve upon us of a
superior race and of greater intelligence to protect this weaker race from unjustifiable and
lawless attacks." 170
1911 - On June 2, Patrick Crump was lynched for attempted rape in White Haven, Tennessee.
1911 - On June 8, Dave and John Winston were lynched for murder in Lafayette, Tennessee.
1911 - On June 16, William Bradford was lynched for assault in Chunky, Mississippi.
1911 - On June 18, Lawrence Cranford was lynched for rape in Jasper County, Georgia.
1911 - On June 30, Thomas Allen, a rape suspect, was taken from prison officials and shot by a
mass mob in Monroe, Georgia. In refusing to grant extra protection for Thomas Allen, the judge
stated he “ would not imperil the life of one man to save the lives of a hundred Negroes.”
Allen’ s body hung for a long duration to serve as a warning to other African-Americans.
Photographs of his body sold briskly in Monroe. Many photos were mounted and framed for
display. The same mob lynched Joe (sometimes written Foser or Foster) Watts for “ suspicious
1911 - On June 30, a man was lynched in Brooks County, Georgia.
1911 - On July 11, William McGriff was lynched for murder in Baconton, Georgia.
1911 - On July 24, Miles Taylor was lynched for murder in Claibourne Parish, Louisiana.
1911 - On August 12, Commodore Jones was lynched in Farmersville, Texas.
1911 - Zachariah Walker, a black man from Virginia, had traveled to Coatesville, Pennsylvania
to work in the Worth Brothers Steel Company. As was common among the factory workers —
European-born immigrants and migrant blacks alike — Walker passed the afternoon of Saturday,
August 12, drinking alcoholic beverages in downtown Coatesville with his coworkers. While
walking back to his temporary lodgings to get some sleep, Walker was probably somewhat
inebriated when he took out his pistol and fired it in the general direction of two Polish
steelworkers who were approaching him on the road from the opposite direction. Although his
shots failed to strike either man, Edgar Rice, a security guard employed by the Worth Brothers
factory —heard the shots and came out to apprehend Walker. A scuffle ensued. It soon escalated,
with both men drawing their weapons. Walker got his shot off first, killing Rice, before heading
off drunkenly in a homeward direction. Not making it, he slept in a neighboring barn until the
Rice's body was soon discovered. After the Polish immigrants helped establish Walker as
his probable murderer, search parties began the hunt for him. Two men from the search party
found Zachariah Walker early the next morning. Sober again, he'd been walking down a dirt road
heading out of town. Climbing into a cherry tree, the terrified Walker eluded capture for several
hours as he watched men passing beneath the tree and doggedly searching for him. Giving up all
hope of survival, Walker attempted to commit suicide. Shooting himself in the head, he
succeeded only in shattering his own jaw, and was carried to the town hospital after falling from
the tree and being discovered.
When Walker awoke at the hospital, he confessed to the killing of Edgar Rice in self-
defense. A deputy was left to guard him at the hospital. (Contained by a straitjacket and bound
by shackles —Walker's left ankle was chained to the footboard of his hospital bed.) The town
sheriff, Charles Umsted, a big man of six foot three and over 250 pounds, was familiarly known
as "Jumbo" or "Jummy" and had a reputation for toughness and a well-honed facility for
surviving the fiercely-contested elections for town police chief. Umsted was up for re-election in
September, and on the night of August 13, as the crowd around him grew, he saw a chance to
earn a few votes. Taking care to speak loudly enough for bystanders to eavesdrop, he avowed
that Walker had boasted about killing Rice, and he made no mention of Walker's claim of self-
defense. Before concluding his staged monologue, with an increasingly roused crowd gathered
around him, Umsted virtually promised the mob that he would not intervene in the event of a
lynching. "I would be the devil if somebody should happen to go after that fellow — Gentlemen,
allow me to say that I am not going to get hurt."
Encouraged by such prompting, a mob broke into the hospital and kidnapped Walker. His
ankle, still chained to the bed, dragged the footboard behind him. The mob dragged Walker
toward a farmhouse near the outskirts of town. When Umsted arrived at the hospital, Walker's
agonized screams were still audible in the distance, but he made no effort to follow them.
Instead, he walked casually back to town. Writes Robert F. Worth, a descendant of the steel mill
owning family, in the Spring 1998 issue of The American Scholar: The mob's leaders dragged
Walker half a mile, stopping in a clearing bordered by split-rail fences just beyond the Newlin
farmhouse. It made a good theater, and the all-white crowd — now nearly four thousand strong —
poured up from the road to take their places. As men ran back and forth from the barn with dry
straw and firewood, Walker shouted from the fence railing: "For God's sake, give a man a
chance! I killed Rice in self-defense. Don't give me no crooked death because I ain't white!" But
the fire was soon blazing up, illuminating the faces not only of men but also of women and
children, who had been drawn by the commotion on the way home from church.
Within minutes, Walker was hurled onto the pyre, his body quickly enveloped in flames.
The crowd roared its approval, and those close to the fire hunched forward, according to a
newspaper report, "eagerly watching the look of mingled horror and terror that distorted his
blood-smeared face." As the flames scorched his skin, Walker let out a series of awful screams
that were heard, according to later testimony, almost a mile away. He seemed close to death
when he managed, somehow, to crawl out of the fire. Still breathing, he reached the fence, his
back —as one boy later testified — "all raw with burns.” The onlookers paused in shock for a
moment; no one had anticipated this. Then several of them beat him or pushed him with fence
rails back into the flames. Shrieking with pain, Walker managed to struggle out a second time,
still shackled to the burning footboard. According to witnesses, when he was pushed back in
again, his flesh was visibly hanging from his body. To the crowd's amazement, Walker struggled
out of the fire a third time. This time they allowed him to crawl almost to their feet, astonished
and horrified by what one reporter called "the revolting spectacle his maimed and half-burned
body presented to them." Finally, several men swung a rope around his neck, holding it taut at
both ends, and pulled him back into the coals. His resistance gone, Zachariah Walker gave one
last terrible scream and collapsed. His body was soon obscured by a wall of fire, and the smoke
carried the smell of roasting human flesh into the night sky.
The following day, the Coatesville Record remarked on the politeness of the crowd: "Five
thousand men, women, and children stood by and watched the proceedings as though it were a
ball game or another variety of spectator sport." Boys had stopped for cold soda afterward at the
Coatesville Candy Company to retell the story. Many returned to the site the next day to gather
fragments of bone and charred flesh as souvenirs. 172
1911 - According to the August 14th issue
of The Durant (Oklahoma) Daily Democrat,
John Lee died at 11:15 p.m. on the 13th at
the hands of a posse of 500. An additional
1,500 citizens were estimated to have been
involved in the manhunt. Reports indicate
that Lee exchanged gunfire with his would-
be captors until his ammunition was spent.
The posse "calmly emptied their guns into
Lee was accused of a range of crimes,
the most serious of which was the critical
wounding of a white woman, Mrs. Redden Campbell. She identified the corpse as that of her
assailant. Mrs. Campbell expired later the same day. The mob took John Lee's body to a vacant
lot near the railroad tracks, where they built a pyre of gathered lumber and set the remains on
fire. It burned from nine in the morning until late in the afternoon. All that remained were ashes
and a "few charred parcels."
Whites rioted throughout the town of Durant. The city's remaining blacks were warned "not
to let the sun go down on them here." All left by sunset.
Rumors spread that blacks were organizing to return and avenge the death of John Lee.
Durant's white citizens armed for the coming "race war." In several days, without additional
violence, tensions calmed. 170
1911 - On August 18, a black man was lynched in Durant, Oklahoma.
1911 - On August 18, a man was lynched for aiding an alleged criminal in Early County,
1911 - On August 24, Peter Carter was lynched in Purcell, Oklahoma.
1911 - On August 29, Will Davis was lynched for murder in Clayton, Alabama.
1911 - On August 29, Peter Davis was lynched for murder in Fort Gaines, Georgia.
1911 - On September 9, Arthur Dean was lynched for rape and murder in Augusta, Arkansas.
Lynched by a Mob of Negroes —
Three Colored Murders Are Executed by Their Own People.
Special to the Record Herald. Wickliffe, Ky. Sept. 12. —
“ Late last night a mob of Negroes
invaded the jail here, took out three negro
murderers and hanged them to a cross beam in
McAuley's mill at the river's edge. The three
Negroes, Ernest Harrison, Sam Reed and Frank
Howard, confessed to the murder of
Washington Thomas, an aged, respectable
colored man. Thomas was employed in a
tobacco factory, and Saturday night the three
men waylaid him along the railroad track,
killed him and robbed his clothes of his salary.
They were speedily captured and placed in jail.
During the night the colored people of
Wickliffe held secret meetings and decided to
lynch the murderers. Everything was quietly
done. The bodies of the lynched men were left hanging until noon today, and there will be no
effort by the authorities to apprehend the executioners." 170
1911 - On September 15, Walter Byrd was lynched in Winnsboro, Louisiana.
1911 - On September 24, a black man was lynched for assault in Habersham, Georgia.
1911 - On September 27, Charles Malpass was lynched in Desha, Arkansas. He was the father of
1911 - On October 5, Frank Mack was lynched for attempted rape in Dublin, Georgia.
1911 - On October 10, Willis Jackson was lynched for rape in Greenville, South Carolina. The
mob was led by State Rep. Joshua Ashley.
1911 - On October 11, A. B. Richardson was lynched for robbery in Caruthersville, Missouri.
Benjamin Woods was lynched for rape.
1911 - On October 11, Andrew Chapman was lynched for attempted rape in Wilkinson County,
1911 - On October 16, Nathan Lacey was lynched for attempted rape in Forrest City, Arkansas.
1911 - On October 17, Charles Lewis was lynched for making threats in Hope, Arkansas.
1911 - On October 19, Terry Lovelace was lynched for murderous assault in Manchester,
1911 - On October 22, Edward Suddeth was lynched in Corneta, Oklahoma.
1911 - On October 28, T. W. Walker was lynched in Washington, Georgia. Convicted and
sentenced to die by a court of law, Walker was shot and wounded in the courthouse by the dead
man’ s brother. He was then dragged outside and lynched by the mob. When an African-
American publication printed a story explaining that Walker’ s victim had first brutally assaulted
his wife, the editor of the publication was arrested for libel. The dead man’ s brother was never
prosecuted for murder. 244
1911 - On October 29, a black man was lynched in Marshall, Texas.
1911 - On November 1, Honea Path was lynched in Anderson, South Carolina.
1911 - On November 6, Maine became a dry state.
1911 - On November 7, Judge Moseley was lynched for murderous assault in Lockhart,
1911 - On November 8, Riley Johnson was lynched in Clarksville, Texas.
1911 - On November 8, William Nixon was lynched in Delhi, Louisiana.
1911 - On November 26, Norbert Randall was lynched in Lafayette, Louisiana.
1911 - On December 3, Bud Walker and 2 other black men were lynched in Mannford,
1911 - On December 6, Ben Pettigrew and his 2 daughters were lynched in Clifton, Tennessee.
1911 - On December 21, John Warrant was lynched for murder in Donald, Georgia.
1911 - On December 23, John D. Warren was lynched for murder in Decatur County, Georgia.
1911 - On December 25, King Davis was lynched in Brooklyn, Maryland.
1912 - President William Howard Taft (1909-1913) pleaded for better enforcement of existing
state laws following the June 24 lynching of Annie Barksdale in Pinehurst, Georgia. As a former
president, Taft signed an NAACP proclamation entitled “ An Address to the Nation on
Lynching,” which called for Congress to make lynching a federal crime. President Taft's former
Attorney General also signed the proclamation, stating “ common humanity requires some action
to be taken.” Later, as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Taft indicated that a
federal law to punish the lynchers of aliens was constitutional and greatly needed. 244
1912 - The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the right of juries to return verdicts of attempt
to commit sodomy rather than for the completed act. 4
1912 - The Michigan Supreme Court upheld a sodomy conviction despite possible prejudice
against the defendant. 4
1912 - The threat of arrest and forced labor had become a fixture of black life in many rural areas
of Alabama. In Barbour County, that threat took the form of brothers William M. and Robert B.
Teal. In 1911, when term-limit law forced William to give up his job as sheriff, Robert was
elected to the job, and William became chief deputy. "The brothers just swapped places,"
according to the local newspaper.
Based on jail records the brothers kept, the Teals typically arrested fewer than 20 people a
month. Then suddenly, every few months, dozens of minor offenders were rounded up over a
few days, charged with vagrancy, alcohol violations or other minor offenses. Nearly all were
sentenced to hard labor and shipped to a mine within 10 days.
One day in the summer of 1912, Edwin Collins was being held in the county jail on the
charge of eavesdropping. Another black man, Josia Marcia, was in for allegedly having sexual
relations with a white woman. Louis Denham was jailed for vagrancy. Housed with them were
Ad Rumph, Henry Demas, Jackson Daniels and Peter Ford, four African-American men accused
in the murder of a sharecropper named George Blue.
Whatever evidence was presented against the various defendants has been lost, along with
any record of their trials or whether the men had access to attorneys. By fall, though, all had been
convicted and sentenced to varying terms of hard labor. Each of the accused murderers received
between 20 years and life. Mr. Collins, the eavesdropper, received six months of hard labor; Mr.
Denham, the vagrant, got five months. No sentence was recorded for Mr. Marcia.
The African-American men in the Barbour County jail bore all the outward signs of
grinding poverty. Will Miller, charged with a separate murder, was logged into the state's
Descriptive Record as having "one good tooth on top," "shot through top of right shoulder,"
"badly burnt on back left leg."
Mr. Demas, 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, bore scars across his frame —the most prominent a
six-inch gash stretching from above his left eye down the side of his face. Messrs. Collins and
Denham apparently survived their terms; convict-board death records don't mention them. Mr.
Miller died the following April in a Pratt Consolidated mine, "killed by convict," according to
convict-board records. In November 1916, Mr. Rumph died of tuberculosis in a state prison
hospital. Mr. Demas died the following month of pneumonia, at Pratt Consolidated's Banner
mine. Mr. Daniels was killed July 27, 1917, while attempting to escape from the Sloss-Sheffield
mine at Flat Top. 186
1912 - Thirty-five percent of the U.S. male population was circumcised.
“ The little sufferer lay in his mother’ s lap. The dropsy . . . had taken the form of
hydrocephalus . . . I then circumcised the child . . . The head diminished in size and in
two weeks the condition of hydrocephalus had disappeared and the child was once more
dismissed as cured.” E. H. Pratt, Circumcision, Orificial Surgery: Its Philosophy,
Application and Technique. Edited by B. E. Dawson. Newark: Physicians Drug News Co.
1912. pp. 396-398.
“ Circumcision promotes cleanliness, prevents disease, and by reducing
oversensitiveness of the parts tends to relieve sexual irritability, thus correcting any
tendency which may exist to improper manipulations of the genital organs and the
consequent acquirement of evil sexual habits, such as masturbation.” Lydston G. Frank,
Sex Hygiene for the Male. Chicago: Riverton Press, 1912. 52
1912 - American-born Tang Tun was refused re-entry by the U.S. Supreme Court. Tang Tun v.
Edsell, 223 U.S. 673 (1912). 238
1912 - The Supreme Court extended the concept of eminent domain to include intangibles,
including "a charter, or any kind of contract." City of Cincinnati vs. Louisville & N. R. Co., 223
U.S. 390 (1912).
1912 - Corset makers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, went on strike to protest the behavior of
supervisors, who regularly suggested to female workers that they trade sexual favors for sewing
thread. The strikers were arrested. 61
1912 - Into this radical environment came Margaret Sanger, a former nurse
and mother of three. Russian anarchist Emma Goldman gave her the works
of pioneer sexologist Havelock Ellis to digest. Soon Sanger was holding
forth on the beauties of sex and orgasm at Mabel Dodge’ s Greenwich
Village salon, listening to other radicals attack the slavery of marriage.
At the request of a fellow radical organizer, Sanger started lecturing
workers’ groups on the facts of life. She later collected this information in a
pamphlet called What Every Girl Should Know. What she preached would
bring her the unwanted attention of Anthony Comstock.
To demonstrate how radical was Margaret Sanger’ s frank discussion of
sex, consider how Good Housekeeping suggested imparting the facts of life to a teenager:
“ Mother and Father love each other very much. All our friends know that. Where love is there
God is, and God wants little ones to be. When God wants to send a little child into a home, he
fits up just beneath the mother’ s heart a snug nest not unlike the nests birds live in. Then out of
two tiny eggs the father and mother bring together in the nest, a little child is hatched just like a
little bird. It is all very wonderful. No fairy tale is half so beautiful. And best of all, the story is
true, every word of it.”
Sanger was aware that birth was not a fairy tale. She attended a poor woman, Sadie Sacks,
who was recovering from trying to abort her umpteenth pregnancy. Sanger listened as the
woman pleaded with a doctor for information on how to prevent conception. “ Oh ho,” laughed
the doctor. “ You want your cake while you eat it, too, do you? Well, it can’ t be done. I’ ll tell
you the only sure thing to do. Tell Jake to sleep on the roof.”
Three months later the telephone rang. Sadie Sacks was dying. Finding herself pregnant, she
had tried again to self-abort. She died within ten minutes of Sanger’ s arrival.
Sanger says that on that night she vowed to fight abortion by finding ways of controlling
She attempted in 1912 to serialize What Every Girl Should Know in the Call, a radical
newsletter published by friends in the Village. When the editors told readers that the final
installment would discuss venereal disease, the line was crossed. Anthony Comstock ordered the
Post Office to revoke the Call’ s mailing permit if it ran the article. 61
1912 - Ohio Governor Judson Harmon commuted Earl Henderson’ s 20-year sodomy sentence
to 6 years due to “ decided uncertainty” of his guilt. This left him with two-and-one-half years
left in prison, even though he may not have been guilty. 4
1912 - The Nevada Supreme Court overturned a conviction for assault to commit sodomy
because the jury was not instructed on possible “ innocent motive.” 4
1912 - A report issued by Utah’ s State Board of Insanity recommended sterilization of persons
convicted of sexual crimes. 4
1912 - In Philadelphia, Rev. Alfred Mortimer of the Episcopal Church was forced to resign and
leave the country because of sex with male parishioners. 4
1912 - The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that fellatio was not outlawed by the term “ crime
against nature.” 4
1912 - In January, Aaron T. Layman was charged for "crime against nature" in Logan County,
1912 - On January 1, Samuel Turner was lynched in Muldrow, Oklahoma.
1912 - On January 15, Neely Giles was lynched in Sucarnoochee, Mississippi.
1912 - On January 17, Jim Hill was lynched in Pike, Mississippi.
1912 - On January 20, 5 people named Broussard were lynched in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
1912 - On January 22, Dusty Crutchfield, Eugene Haming, Belle Hathaway and John Moore
were lynched for murder in Hamilton, Georgia.
1912 - On January 28, John Chandler was lynched for murder in Jefferson, Alabama.
1912 - On January 30, Albert Hamilton was lynched for rape in Cordele, Georgia.
1912 - On February 4, Charles Powell was lynched for rape in Macon, Georgia.
1912 - On February 6, Homer Stewart was lynched for murder in Toombs County, Georgia.
1912 - On February 13, Mary Jackson and George Saunders were lynched in Marshall, Texas.
1912 - On February 14, Mann Hamilton was lynched for murderous assault in Starkesville,
1912 - On February 15, a black man named Waterboy was lynched for assaulting a girl in
1912 - On February 18, a black man was lynched for murder in Dothan, Alabama.
1912 - On February 19, Walter Greer, David Neal and Green Boman were lynched for murder in
1912 - On March 13, Alfred and Richard Dublin and Peter Rivers were lynched for attempted
arson in Olar, South Carolina.
1912 - On March 21, Homer Howell was lynched for murder in Cochran, Georgia.
1912 - On March 24, Sanford Lewis was lynched for murder in Sebastian, Arkansas.
1912 - On March 27, 6 black Americans were lynched in Glidden, Texas.
1912 - On March 29, Joseph Brinson and Frank Whisonant were
lynched for assault in Blackville, South Carolina.
1912 - On April 2, Abe Coleman was lynched for murderous
assault in Starkesville, Mississippi.
1912 - On April 9, Thomas Miles was lynched for insulting a
white woman in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1912 - On April 11, 5 people named Burton were lynched in San
1912 - On April 14, 3 black people were lynched in Hempstead,
1912 - On April 15, Sam Arline was lynched in Tampa, Florida.
1912 - On April 17, Lee Chitwood was lynched for incest in Crisp, Georgia.
1912 - On April 23, a black man was lynched for making threats in Delhi, Louisiana.
1912 - On April 26, Henry Etheridge was lynched in Jackson, Georgia. He had recruited Blacks
to settle in Africa.
1912 - On May 2, Ernest Allums was lynched in Bienville, Louisiana. He had written an
insulting letter to a white woman.
1912 - On May 5, a black man was lynched for attempted rape in Greenville, Mississippi.
1912 - On May 6, George W. Edd was lynched for murderous assault in Macon, Mississippi.
1912 - On May 25, Dan Davis, an Afro-American man charged with the attempted rape of a
Euro-American woman was lynched by burning alive. There was some disappointment in the
crowd and criticism of those who had bossed the arrangements, because the fire was so slow in
reaching the Negro. It was really only ten minutes after the fire started that the smoking shoe
soles and twitching of the Negro's feet indicated that his lower extremities were burning, but the
time seemed much longer. The spectators had waited so long to see him tortured that they
begrudged the ten minutes before his suffering really began.
The Negro had uttered but few words. When he was led to where he was to be burned he
said quite calmly, "I wish some of you gentlemen would be Christian enough to cut my throat,"
but nobody responded. When the fire started, he screamed, "Lord, have mercy on my soul," and
that was the last word he spoke, though he was conscious for fully twenty minutes after that. His
exhibition of nerve aroused the admiration even of his torturers.
A slight hitch in the proceedings occurred when the Negro was about half burned. His
clothing had been stripped off and burned to ashes by the flames and his black body hung nude
in the gray dawn light. The flesh had been burned from his legs as high as the knees when it was
seen that the wood supply was running short. None of the men or boys wanted to miss an instant
of the torture. All feared something of more than usual interest might happen, and it would be
embarrassing to admit later on of not having seen it on account of being absent after more wood.
Something had to be done, however, and a few men by the edge of the crowd, ran after
more dry-goods boxes, and by reason of this "public-service" gained standing room in the inner
circle after having delivered the fuel. Meanwhile the crowd jeered the dying man and uttered
shocking comments suggestive of a cannibalistic spirit. Some danced and sang to testify to their
enjoyment of the occasion. 172
1912 - On May 27, Jacob Samuels was lynched in Robertson County, Tennessee.
1912 - On June 4, Massachusetts passed the first U.S. minimum wage law.
1912 - On June 13, a black man was lynched for murderous assault in Wilcox County, Georgia.
1912 - On June 19, Tom Jackson was lynched for murder in Clarke, Alabama.
1912 - On July 2, William English was lynched for insulting white woman in Bradentown,
1912 - On July 4, Jonathan Williams was lynched for murder in Plummerville, Arkansas.
1912 - On August 4, Sam Verge was lynched for being an accomplice to murder in Marengo,
1912 - On August 8, a black man was lynched in Richmond, Virginia.
1912 - On August 13, T. Z. Cotton was lynched for murder in Columbus, Georgia.
1912 - On August 16, 17-year-old Virginia Christian was electrocuted for robbery and murder by
the government of Hampton County, Virginia.
1912 - On August 19, Monroe Franklin was lynched for rape in Russellville, Arkansas.
1912 - On August 22, George W., a colored boy, nineteen years old, was arrested on the charge
of rape in Chicago. On the late afternoon of that day an old woman of eighty-three was assaulted
by a negro and was saved from the horrible attack only by the timely arrival of her daughter, who
so frightened the assailant that he jumped out of a window. Two days later George was arrested,
charged with the crime. At the police station he was not allowed to sleep; was beaten, cuffed and
kicked, and finally, battered and frightened, he confessed that he had committed the crime.
When he appeared in court, his lawyer advised him to plead guilty, although the boy
explained that he had not committed the crime and had confessed simply because he was forced
to do so. The evidence against him was so flimsy that the judge referred to it in his instructions to
the jury. The State's Attorney had failed to establish the ownership of the cap dropped by the
fleeing assailant and the time of the attempted act was changed during the testimony. Though the
description given by the people who saw the colored man running away did not agree with
George's appearance, nevertheless the jury brought in a verdict of guilty and the judge sentenced
the boy to fourteen years in the penitentiary.
When one of the men who had seen the guilty man running away from the old woman's
house was asked why he did not make his testimony more explicit, he replied, "Oh, well, he's
only a nigger anyway." The case was brought to the Juvenile Protective Association by the
employer of George W., who, convinced of the boy's good character, felt that he had not had a
fair trial. The Association found that the boy could absolutely prove an alibi at the time of the
crime and is making an effort to get him out of the penitentiary. 275
1912 - On August 24, the Cathlamet tribe was awarded $7,000, the Clatsop $16,000 and the
Chinook $20,000 for claims from loss of aboriginal lands at the mouth of the Columbia River. 235
1912 - On August 27, Willis Perkins was lynched for “ race prejudice” in Hackleburg,
1912 - In September, Claude Osborn was charged for "crime against nature" in Logan County,
1912 - On September 4, Robert Johnson was lynched in Bluefield, West Virginia.
1912 - On September 10, a mob entered the Cumming, Georgia jail where Edward Collins
(sometimes written Robert Edwards) was being held for alleged complicity in a murder and shot
him to death. Subsequently, the mob forced more than a thousand African-Americans to flee
their homes at gunpoint. Prior to the lynching, Forsyth County had a stable African-American
population of about 1,100. By the time of the 1920 census there were only thirty African-
Americans residing in the county; in 1930 there were seventeen; in 1960 the number was four. 244
1912 - On September 13, H. Murphy was lynched for attempted rape in Atlon, Florida.
1912 - On September 13, James Winfield was lynched in Romeo, Illinois.
1912 - On September 25, Samuel Johnson was lynched for murder in Grand Cane, Louisiana.
1912 - Jack Johnson, born in Texas in 1878, was the first black boxer to win the heavyweight
championship of the world. In a bout fought in Reno on July 4, 1910, he knocked out Jim Jeffries
in the 15th round. He became the most hated man in America —as one writer noted, “ no longer
the respectful darky, hat in hand.” He had defeated a white man. Not entirely coincidentally, in
the aftermath of the fight, race riots swept the country.
Johnson, an educated man who read Shakespeare and Victor Hugo, was a connoisseur who
collected exotic cars. He threatened the old order in a more direct way — he married a white
woman and kept several white mistresses scattered throughout the country.
Lucille Cameron was one of the latter. She had come to Chicago from Minneapolis,
ostensibly to work at Johnson’ s Cafe’ de Champion. Cameron’ s mother reported Johnson to
the feds. They arrested him in October 1912 on charges of abduction and violating the Mann Act.
Cameron refused to testify against Johnson, and upon her release from custody, she married
the fighter. (Johnson’ s wife had committed suicide.) The case seemed closed, until the feds
located Belle Schreiber, another of Johnson’ s former mistresses, also white. The black fighter
was convicted in 1913 and sentenced to one year in jail for transporting Schreiber for “ immoral
With racial tension high (the governor of South Carolina told fellow governors “ the black
brute who lays his hands upon a white woman ought not to have any trial), Johnson fled the
country. He later returned and served his sentence.
The law had another unanticipated consequence: The Mann Act created a whole industry of
blackmailers who tracked wealthy men as they traveled with women who were not their wives. A
member of the gang would pose as a federal agent, flash a badge, threaten arrest — and then
collect hush money.
Women threatened reluctant suitors with arrest. Angry wives called on the state to arrest
errant husbands who conducted reckless affairs. 61
1912 - On October 2, Frank Wigfall was lynched for rape in Rawlins, Wyoming.
1912 - On October 5, Babe Yarborough was lynched for attempted rape in Americus, Georgia.
1912 - In November, following two unrelated and seemingly purely coincidental incidents that
gave Portland, Oregon police a list of names of homosexual men in the city, the so-called "Vice
Clique" Scandal broke wide open. (The name "Vice Clique" was given to this group by the
contemporary local newspapers.) One incident was a teenager arrested for shoplifting who
offered the defense that he had been "corrupted" by a number of men in town. The second was a
happenstance discovery by a private investigator who learned that a resident of the YMCA was
well known there for sexual relations with other men. When all was said and done, 68 men were
named as involved, one of them the noted attorney Edward McAllister. All of the men involved
were charged with private, consensual sexual relations.
McAllister was out of town on legal business in the Coos Bay area when the first newspaper
reports of the scandal and arrests were printed. McAllister was one of the most wanted names.
He was arrested and escorted back to Portland by the Medford chief of police.
McAllister was returned to a Portland abuzz with the biggest sex scandal ever to hit the city.
An investigative committee was at work to determine if the YMCA, where several arrestees
lived, was involved in promotion of sexual activity therein. Several men had fled Portland, either
after being named in the newspapers or in anticipation of being so named. Some were allowed to
leave, but others were returned by police detectives pulled from their regular duties and specially
assigned to find them. The grand jury began indicting arrestees. One YMCA resident, after being
taken from work for questioning, was fired from his job of 27 years, and then attempted suicide.
In December, a physician and a bookkeeper each were tried and convicted. In January 1913,
three other arrested men pleaded guilty. In February, McAllister's turn came. Given his
prominence, he had no difficulty assembling a defense team of four other prominent lawyers.
Presiding over the trial was Judge John Kavanaugh, a mild-mannered but staunchly conservative
As with the other arrestees who went to trial, McAllister was indicted for sexual relations
with one other man, but faced a string of men on the witness stand testifying to relations they had
with him as well, or as to solicitations by him. Among the information these men gave about
McAllister was that he was well known by the nickname Mother McAllister because of his
importuning men on the street, and that he cruised Lownsdale Square (ironically, right across the
street from the Multnomah County Courthouse where he practiced law and now faced a jury as a
defendant). Also as in other vice clique cases that went to trial, many of the witnesses against
McAllister faced indictments of their own for sexual relations with still others and thus were
forced to give testimony incriminating themselves. The chief witness against McAllister, Roy
Kadel, got nothing out of his cooperation with authorities. He was fired from his job as a
mailman by superintendent John Merritt Jones, who later became Portland's postmaster.
Three respected Portland businessmen and friends of his, a tailor, a restauranteur and a
railroad official, each lent their name to McAllister's claim that pretrial prejudice due to all the
headlines made a fair trial impossible. Prior to the jury's retirement in his case, McAllister made
what newspapers called "an eloquent plea" on his behalf to the jury. Though no record of the
plea is known to have survived, it obviously was quite powerful. The jury spent 10 hours
deliberating before returning a verdict of guilty with a curious recommendation for "leniency."
Judge Kavanaugh thought otherwise, and gave McAllister the maximum sentence of one to five
years in the Oregon penitentiary. He, like physician Harry Start and bookkeeper Edward
Wedemeyer, convicted before him, filed a notice of appeal with the Oregon Supreme Court.
Because of their earlier convictions, the Start and Wedemeyer appeals were heard in an
earlier term of the high court. McAllister, his law partnership ended by his partner, could do
nothing but wait for the court's decision. In May, a precedent was created in Oregon when the
court handed down State v. Start, 132 P. 512. Criminal defendants could not have testimony of
witnesses to acts other than those faced by a defendant in an indictment admitted in a trial, owing
to their likelihood to prejudice the jury. Why McAllister wasn't released as a result of the Start
decision isn't clear, except that the decision was by only a 3-2 vote and the Oregon legislature
just increased the Court's membership to seven justices. Two new members of the Court would
be appointed and, if they joined the dissenters in Start, would create a new majority to overrule
the decision in the fall.
Fortunately for McAllister, the two new justices split their votes, giving him a 4-3 victory
reaffirming the Start rule. The McAllister decision was handed down on November 20, 1913.
Just five days later, as if having been preparing for exactly this eventuality, a motion was made
by the Multnomah Bar Association to expel McAllister from membership, even though no
disciplinary complaint had been filed against him with the Oregon Supreme Court. Two months
later, the minutes of the association reveal that the expulsion motion carried, although neither
any discussion nor recorded vote is shown.
1912 - On November 1, William Smith was lynched for murder in Bessemer, Alabama.
1912 - On November 2, Dr. Douglas C. McMurtrie published an article in a medical journal
about female sexual inversion. He stated that identifying sexual inversion in females is more
difficult because women are naturally affectionate toward each other, and because "women are
very generally ignorant of the details of their sexual character, not recognizing in themselves the
character of their tendencies." 250
1912 - On November 10, a black man named Berney was lynched for injuring a girl in
1912 - On November 14, Priest Niles was lynched for murder in Ocala, Florida.
1912 - On November 19, Jonathan Archie was lynched after being implicated in a murder in
1912 - On November 22, William Thomas was lynched for murder in Newberry, South Carolina.
1912 - On November 28, Mood Burke and Silas Jimmerson were lynched for murderous assault
in Benton, Louisiana.
1912 - On November 28, Jim Hurd was lynched for murderous assault in Bossier, Louisiana.
1912 - On November 30, Chesbly Williams was lynched for murder in Cordele, Georgia.
1912 - On December 6, Azariah Curtis was lynched for murder in Butler, Alabama.
1912 - On December 12, Senator Hiram Johnson (R-Calif.) denounced the U.S. invasion of
revolutionary Russia. 235
1912 - On December 17, Joe Beeman was lynched for murderous assault in Jackson, Mississippi.
1912 - On December 19, a black man was lynched for murder in Cuba, Alabama.
1912 - On December 19, 17-year-old Leo Temples was hanged for rape by the government of
1912 - On December 20, John Felder was lynched for stealing in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
1912 - On December 21, Henry Fitts was lynched in Norway, South Carolina.
1912 - On December 23, Norm Cadore was lynched for murder in West Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
1913 - Prison reformer Margaret Otis observed intense personal relations between black and
white female inmates; in her nascent theory of "situational lesbianism," she argued that the
difference in color substituted for gender difference. Otis refers to the white women involved
with black women as "nigger lovers," suggesting the extent to which reformers understood
black/white homosexual relations through reference to the taboo against black/white
1913 - Most of the maids employed in Chicago’ s houses of prostitution were colored girls;
many employment agencies quite openly sent them there, although they would not take the risk
of sending a white girl to a place where, if she was forced into a life of prostitution, the agency
would be liable to a charge of pandering. 275
1913 - On the west side of Chicago, a colored woman bought a lot near a small park, upon which
she built a cottage. It was not until she moved into the completed house that the neighbors
discovered that a colored family had acquired property there. They immediately began a crusade
of insults and threats. When this brought no results, a "night raid" company was organized. In the
middle of the night a masked band broke into the house; told the family to keep quiet or they
would be murdered; then they tore down the newly built house, destroying everything in it.
This was, of course, an extreme instance, but there have been many similar to it. In
Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago, animosity against negro residents resulted in the organization of
an anti-negro committee which requested the dismissal of all negroes who were employed in the
town as gardeners, janitors, etc., because the necessity of housing their families depressed real
estate values. 275
1913 - An estimated 5-8,000 suffragists parading in Washington, D.C. distracted onlookers
awaiting the arrival of newly elected U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. 249
1913 - President Woodrow Wilson, a Virginian, ordered federal workers in Washington to be
1913 - In Alabama, a white man was executed for murdering a black man.
1913 - In Chicago, a young colored girl who at the age of fifteen had been sent to a house of
prostitution by an employment agency, was rescued from the house, treated in a hospital and sent
to her sister in a western state. 275
1913 - An effort was recently made by some colored people on the South Side of Chicago to start
a model dance hall. The white people of the vicinity, assuming that it would be an objectionable
place, successfully opposed it as a public nuisance and this effort toward better recreation
facilities had to be abandoned. 275
1913 - Even the waters of Lake Michigan are not available for colored children. They are not
welcomed by the white children at the bathing beaches and late last summer one little colored
boy who attempted to bathe at the Thirty-ninth Street beach was mobbed and treated so roughly
that the police were obliged to send in a riot call. 275
1914 - A Jefferson County, Alabama convict-board report showed that five black men were in
prison for allegedly having sex with white women. 186
1913 - The largest suffrage parade in American history paraded along Fifth Avenue in New
1913 - Dr. Ross Moore of Los Angeles stated his concern that psychiatrists may be doing society
an injustice by letting homosexual patients know that they are homosexual when they come for
help only for impotence or general neurosis. This was stated at the annual meeting of the
American Medical Association. 239
1913 - Ida Wells-Barnett established the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago, the first African-
American women’ s suffragette organization in Illinois. 249
1913 - Alice Paul and Lucy Burns established the Congressional Union (National Women’ s
Party); members picketed for women’ s suffrage outside the White House and engaged in other
forms of civil disobedience. 249
1913 - Following the Vice Clique scandal in Portland, Oregon, a unique statute was adopted
rewording the sodomy law:
"If any person shall commit sodomy or the crime against nature, or any act or practice of
sexual perversity, either with mankind or beast, or sustain osculatory relations with the
private parts of any man, woman or child, or permit such relations to be sustained with
his or her private parts, such person shall upon conviction thereof, be punished by
imprisonment in the penitentiary not less than one year nor more than fifteen years."
In addition to the incredible breadth of the statute that covered practically any kind of erotic
activity, the maximum penalty was tripled.
The Oregon Supreme Court overturned the convictions of three men involved in the Vice
Clique Scandal because the prosecution admitted into evidence sexual acts other than those with
which the defendants had been indicted.
An emotional, "anti-gay" dissent was written by Justice Charles McNary, who later became
a U.S. Senator. McNary argued for "a controlled and natural sex instinct for the opposite
gender," and claimed that "sodomy and its allied vicious concomitants are never committed
except by persons impelled by a perverted and diseased mind." 271
1913 - Korean farm workers were driven out of Hemet, California. 238
1913 - Portland's Vice Clique scandal was followed by similar scandals in Philadelphia in 1913;
in Los Angeles in 1914; and just after WWI, in 1919, in Newport, Rhode Island.
1913 - Following national publicity of an Oregon sex scandal, investigations were launched
elsewhere in the country. In the city of Mystic, Connecticut, seven of the "most prominent
citizens" were arrested on charges of sex between males. 4
1913 - The Utah Supreme Court ruled that fellatio did not violate the state’ s “ crime against
nature” law. 4
1913 - The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that cunnilingus does not violate the state’ s anti-oral
sex law. It said that the charge of “ sexual intercourse with the mouth” is a contradiction in
1913 - Nebraska amended its sodomy law apparently to outlaw fellatio, but not cunnilingus,
using the same wording as Ohio and Iowa. This was three years after the Nebraska Supreme
Court decided that “ crime against nature” did not cover fellatio. 4
1913 - Arizona passed a new criminal code and extended its sodomy law to cover fellatio, but
not cunnilingus. The code also permitted a wife to testify at her discretion either for or against
her husband if he is on trial for the “ crime against nature.” It also reduced the penalty to a
maximum of 5 years in prison. 4
1913 - Some United States courts ruled that, without a penis, there could be no sodomy. Foster et
al. v. State, 1 Ohio C.C. 467 (Ohio, 1886); Ex Parte Benites, 140 P. 436 (Nevada, 1914). This
rule precluded criminal penalties under extant laws for Lesbians by making them applicable only
to two men or a man and a woman. No published cunnilingus case appeared until 1913, nearly
three decades after the first reported fellatio case. (And none involving two women would appear
for yet another quarter century). Interestingly, the first state to decide whether cunnilingus
constituted sodomy was Illinois, the same state that had been the first to sustain a fellatio
conviction. Having used the “ sodomy or other crime against nature” reference in the state’ s
civil rights disability law to cover fellatio, the Court erected a double standard by holding that
cunnilingus did not constitute an “ other” crime against nature.
Later that same year, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to permit a cunnilingus
conviction to stand even though the state’ s sodomy law had been revised expressly to permit
conviction for use of the mouth. The Court could not conceive of sexual activity without a penis
and said that sexual intercourse could not be accomplished with the mouth.
The legislature of neither Illinois nor Missouri changed the sodomy law of the state to
eliminate this double standard. The laws of Connecticut and Wyoming specifically covered only
acts with a male organ, and that discrimination remained until the laws were repealed. The
situation was similar in Arizona and Wisconsin, except that those laws eventually were
broadened. South Carolina continues to use the term “ buggery,” a word of limited scope that
precludes prosecution of two women for any sexual activity. After an Ohio court ruled that
cunnilingus could not be prosecuted under that state’ s unusually worded sodomy law, not only
did the legislature fail to overturn the decision by changing the law, but there never even was a
bill introduced into the legislature to try to change it. Iowa, Nebraska, and Texas modeled their
expanded law on that of Ohio, leading to a similar discriminatory application in those states. 9
1913 - Illinois’ next sodomy case also made history. It had been the first state to recognize
fellatio judicially as a “ crime against nature,” and it was the first ever to be presented with a
case questioning whether cunnilingus was a “ crime against nature.” In People v. Smith, 101
N.E. 957, the Court took the double-standard route by saying “ no” in a 6-1 decision. In a very
brief opinion, Chief Justice Frank Dunn stated that, without a male sexual organ, there could be
no sodomy. In a more lengthy dissent, Justice Orrin Carter concluded that, because the Illinois
statute had been interpreted broadly in Honselman, an act of cunnilingus would qualify as a
violation of the law. 9
1913 - Illinois repealed the law preventing women from voting for presidential electors. 31
1913 - Wyoming enacted a new miscegenation law. It read, “ All marriages of white persons
with Negroes, Mulattos, Mongolians, or Malaya hereafter contracted in the State of Wyoming
are and shall be illegal and void.” As late as the 1930s four states (Arizona, California,
Maryland, and Utah) expanded their existing laws to apply to men from the Philippines, who
could no longer marry Caucasians. 20
1913 - The Indiana Supreme Court ruled that the 1905 law with the term “ crime against nature”
did outlaw fellatio. This decision was widely quoted by courts in other states when they were
confronted with the same issue. 4
1913 - William Quartier, the pharmacist at the Oregon State Penitentiary, was arrested for
sodomy “ under dramatic circumstances” at the penitentiary. 4
1913 - The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the state’ s sodomy law, with no maximum penalty
established, permitted a sentence of life imprisonment. 4
1913 - Oregon voters defeated a proposed law to sterilize “ sexual perverts” by a 56-44 percent
1913 - Colonel Alfred Redl, former chief of Austrian counterintelligence, committed suicide
when it became known that he had been blackmailed, on account of his homosexuality, into
working for Russia for the previous year. Later in the century the Redl affair would be cited by
U.S. senators as evidence of the security risk homosexuals pose. 225
1913 - Drew Caminetti and Maury Diggs, both married, both the sons of wealthy parents,
became captivated by a pair of young single women. The foursome ricocheted around
Sacramento, California, area in an automobile, visiting roadhouses and having amorous picnics
in the countryside and “ champagne orgies” in their offices. As a result of their escapades, the
four achieved an inevitable notoriety. Trying to avoid angry spouses and family members, the
two men and their mistresses boarded a train in Sacramento. They crossed the state line into
Nevada and took rooms in Reno. Four days later the men were arrested under the Mann Act.
The case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Caminetti v. United States, 242 U.S. 470.
Did the statute’ s language — “ debauchery” or “ any other immoral purpose” — cover
noncommercial sex? The court decided it did: “ The prostitute may, in the popular sense, be
more degraded in character than the concubine, but the latter nonetheless must be held to lead an
immoral life, if any regard whatever be had to the views that are almost universally held in this
country as to the relations which may be rightfully, from the standpoint of morality, exist
between man and woman in the matter of sexual intercourse.”
Crossing state lines was not what mattered —it was crossing the line that keeps sex within
marriage. The Mann Act sought to limit the movement of emancipated women, though mostly
men were prosecuted. 61
1913 - Florida Governor Park Trammell (1913-1917), who had been the state’ s Attorney
General prior to becoming governor, was no friend of black Floridians. During his Attorney
Generalship, he had disregarded the lynching of 29 blacks and did the same when another 21
were lynched during his governorship. 91
1913 - On January 2, a black man was lynched in Wagoner County, Oklahoma.
1913 - On January 3, a person named Carson was lynched in Selma, Alabama.
1913 - On January 17, Henry Monson was lynched in Paris, Texas.
1913 - On January 23, Richard Stanley was lynched in Fullbright, Texas.
1913 - On January 29, a black man was lynched in Drew, Mississippi.
1913 - On February 3, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, providing for a federal income
tax, was ratified. The new income tax laws included an exemption on life insurance to help
widows and orphans.
1913 - “ Report of an awful crime and its revenge comes to us through M. J. Taylor, which was
communicated to him by a nephew in Texas, and which we publish as a warning to others: "I
went to Cooper last Friday and saw about 500 men mob a negro. They had him in the court
house and was being tried, and when the crowd went in they put the negro in the grand jury
room; but the crowd took a breast yoke from a wagon and beat the door down, roped the negro
and hung him up to a phone post on the square. In 30 minutes took him down, tied him to the
back of a wagon and dragged him all over nigger town; then up near a negro church, built a pile
of wood and lumber on him, poured ten gallons of coal oil on it and barbecued him. They did
that about 4 o'clock in the evening, and after supper Scott Jetton came along by where the negro
was burning, got a piece of the flesh on a stick and went into a negro store; the negro running the
store had made some remarks about the people. Scott threw a 6 shooter in his face and made him
throw up his hands, then eat a piece of the cooked negro and say it was good. The negro, for
which he paid the awful penalty, had killed a 13-year old school girl on her way from school and
was going to rape her. The negroes of Delta county, having received notices to leave, are getting
out on every train. Yours truly, W. A. Taylor.” The Moulton (Alabama) Advertiser, February 5,
1913 - On February 7, Andrew Williams was lynched for murder in Houston, Mississippi.
1913 - On February 8, Dibrell Tucker was lynched for murder in Chickasaw, Mississippi.
1913 - On February 14, Charles Tyson was lynched in Caddo, Louisiana.
1913 - On February 18, David Rucher was lynched in Houston, Texas.
1913 - On February 21, Willis Webb was lynched for murder in Drew, Mississippi.
1913 - On February 23, Marion Cantri was lynched for assault in Clarendon, South Carolina.
1913 - On February 25, Jim Green was lynched for murderous assault in Covington, Alabama.
1913 - On February 25, Robert Perry was lynched in Karnach, Texas.
1913 - On February 25, a person named Anderson was lynched in Marshall, Texas.
1913 - On February 28, a black man was lynched for murder in Habersham, Georgia.
1913 - On March 3, George McDonald was lynched for shooting at a man in Brooks County,
1913 - On March 4, two black man were lynched for murder in Cornelia, Georgia.
1913 - On March 8, the Internal Revenue Service began to levy and collect income taxes.
1913 - On March 12, Joe Perry, his wife and two children were lynched in Henderson, North
1913 - On March 13, the Kansas legislature approved the censorship of motion pictures.
1913 - On March 21, John Grenson was lynched for murder in Union City, Tennessee.
1913 - On March 21, 17-year-old Silas Williams was electrocuted for rape and murder by the
government of Kentucky.
1913 - On March 25, Dud Car was lynched for entering a woman's room in Attala, Mississippi.
1913 - On March 25, Lem Davis was lynched for murder in Issaquena, Mississippi.
1913 - On March 26, Henry Brown was lynched for murderous assault in Clay, Mississippi.
1913 - On April 5, J. C. Collins was lynched in Mondak, Missouri.
1913 - On April 19, California passed the Webb Bill, making it illegal for aliens ineligible for
citizenship to own farmland or lease it for more than three years. President Woodrow Wilson
voiced objection to the law, fearing its effect on U.S. relations with Japan. It was signed into law
on May 19, 1913. 50
1913 - Leo Frank was convicted of
murdering Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old
employee of the Atlanta pencil factory that
Frank managed. After his death sentence
was commuted by Georgia’ s governor, a
mob stormed the prison where Frank was
being held and lynched him. Frank became
the only known Jew lynched in American history.
“ Little Mary Phagan,” as she became known, left home on the morning of April 26 to pick
up her wages at the pencil factory and view the Confederate Day Parade. She never returned
home. The next day, the factory night watchman found her sawdust-covered body in the factory
basement. When Frank, who had just completed a term as president of the Atlanta chapter of
B’ nai B’ rith, was asked to view the body, he became agitated, confirmed personally paying
Mary her wages, but could not say where she went next. Frank, the last to see Mary alive,
became the prime suspect.
The entrance of Tom Watson into this case was the decisive factor precipitating the ultimate
tragedy. Watson was a demagogue, racist, and religious bigot. His Jeffersonian Magazine and
Jeffersonian Weekly spewed hatred of Catholics and Jews. Priests were depicted as lechers, and
convents as dens of iniquity. “ In issue after issue,” wrote Carleton Beals, “ he dwelt upon the
noses, the sensuous lips, lustful eyes, and other physical features, to prove that Jews were all
sexual perverts.” Investigative journalist Charles P. Sweeny said, “ In his long campaign of
journalistic frightfulness against Frank and against all Jews at the time, Watson convinced
Southerners by the thousands that the Jewish faith condoned and encouraged atrocious crimes
against the children of Christians. As a result of Watson’ s carnival of falsehood against Frank,
which led to Frank’ s legal, and later to his actual, lynching, the belief became widespread in
Georgia that one of the Hebraic rituals is the drawing of blood of children and drinking of it by
adults. The lives of Jews were unsafe in Atlanta during the height of Watson’ s campaign.
Georgia’ s solicitor general, Hugh Dorsey, sought a grand jury indictment against Frank.
Rumor circulated that Mary had been sexually assaulted. Factory employees offered apparently
false testimony that Frank had made sexual advances toward them. The madam of a brothel
claimed that Frank had phoned her several times, seeking a room for himself and a young girl. At
a time when the cult of Southern chivalry made it a hanging crime for black American males to
have sexual contact with the “ flower of white womanhood,” these accusations against Frank, a
Northern-born, college-educated Jew, proved equally inflammatory.
For the grand jury, Hugh Dorsey painted Leo Frank as a sexual pervert who both was
homosexual and preyed on young girls. What he did not tell the grand jury was that a janitor at
the factory, Jim Conley, had been arrested two days after Frank when he was seen washing blood
off his shirt. Conley then admitted writing two notes found by Mary Phagan’ s body. The police
assumed that, as author of these notes, Conley was the murderer. But Conley claimed, after
apparent coaching from Dorsey, that Leo Frank had confessed to murdering Mary in the lathe
room and paid Conley to pen the notes and help him move Mary’ s body to the basement.
Even after Frank’ s housekeeper placed him at home, having lunch, at the time of the
murder and despite gross inconsistencies in Conley’ s story, both the grand and trial jury chose
to believe Conley. This was a rare instance of a Southern black man’ s testimony being used to
convict a white man. In August of 1913, the jury found Frank guilty in less than four hours while
crowds outside the courthouse shouted, “ Hang the Jew.” Historian Leonard Dinnerstein
reported that one juror had been overheard to say before his selection for the jury, “ I am glad
they indicted the goddamn Jew. They ought to take him out and lynch him. And if I get on that
jury, I’ ll hang that Jew for sure.”
Facing intimidation and mob rule, the judge sentenced Frank to death. He did not allow
Frank in the courtroom on the grounds that, had he been acquitted, Frank might have been
lynched by the crowd outside.
Despite these breaches of due process, Georgia’ s higher courts rejected Frank’ s appeals,
and the U.S. Supreme Court voted, 7-2, against reopening the case, with Justices Holmes and
Hughes dissenting. Frank v. Mangum, 237 U.S. 309 (1915).
Fearing that the state’ s moderate governor, John Marshall Slaton, would commute
Frank’ s death sentence to life imprisonment, Watson raised up an armed mob of 4,000 ruffians
outside the governor’ s mansion. Watson stirred up the mobs once again, as he had during the
trial when a tent evangelist thundered, “ The Jew is the synagogue of Satan!” Only the Georgia
militia saved Slaton and his wife from death. Watson’ s newspaper organized a boycott of all
Jewish businesses, urged Georgians to defend “ Southern womanhood against rich, depraved,
sodomite Jews” and propounded the charming idea that “ lynch law is God’ s law.”
After a 12-day review in which solid evidence was developed pointing to Jim Conley, and
having received letters recommending commutation from the trial judge, Conley’ s lawyer and a
private investigator who had worked for Hugh Dorsey, Slaton commuted Frank’ s sentence to
life imprisonment in August 1915. Even though Slaton had clear and convincing evidence that
Frank was completely innocent, he nevertheless sentenced Frank to life imprisonment! That
night, state police kept a protesting crowd of 5,000 from the governor’ s mansion.
Atlanta’ s 3,500 Jews were terrified. The so-called “ Knights of Mary Phagan” threatened
vengeance. Harry Golden describes the terror in the Jewish community when Slaton commuted
Frank’ s sentence on grounds that the court and jury were terrorized by a mob: “ By noon, all the
Jewish businessmen had closed shop, and on the south side people had sent their colored servants
home. Jews locked their homes and in the afternoon began checking into the hotels, the
Winecoff, the Kimball House, the Georgia Terrace and the Piedmont. Many Jewish men sent
their wives and children to relatives outside the state. Most Atlanta Jews remained in their hotel
rooms from Monday night, and when they discuss it among themselves they refer to it as
‘ crystal night.’ ”
Slaton held firm. “ Two thousand years ago,” he wrote a few
days later, “ another governor washed his hands and turned over a
Jew to a mob. For two thousand years that governor’ s name has
been accursed. If today another Jew were lying in his grave
because I had failed to do my duty, I would all through life find his
blood on my hands and would consider myself an assassin through
cowardice.” A year later Dorsey soundly defeated Slaton’ s bid
for reelection. Adolf Hitler could easily have been elected.
Several Jewish families left Georgia, and two attempted
lynchings were narrowly thwarted by local sheriffs. Tom Watson
had done his work well. Harry Golden opined that Watson “ made
an entire Jewish community feel insecure for the first time in
America. The Jews of Atlanta lived with this insecurity and fear for
an entire generation . . . Tom Watson was directly responsible for
fomenting the only European-type pogrom against a Jewish
community in the history of the United States.”
Soon after the commutation, on August 16, 1915, a group of
25 men, described by the dean of the Atlanta Theological Seminary as “ sober, intelligent, of
established good name and character — good American citizens," stormed the Milledgeville
Prison hospital where Leo Frank was recovering from having his throat slashed by a fellow
inmate. They kidnapped Frank, drove him more than 100 miles to Mary Phagan’ s hometown of
Marietta, Georgia, and hanged him from a tree. Frank conducted himself with dignity, calmly
proclaiming his innocence. Townsfolk were proudly photographed beneath Frank’ s swinging
corpse, pictures still valued today by their descendants. People came from all over to celebrate
by digging their heels into the face of the dead man, and, like the vultures they were, by carving
up Frank’ s clothing to take home as “ souvenirs.” Before the body was cut down,
photographers took snapshots of the scene, which were sold in rural Southern drugstores for
years. The mob included two former Superior Court justices, one ex-sheriff, and at least one
clergyman. Through his magazine Tom Watson exulted, “ the wages of sin is death,” and “ let
Jew libertines take notice.” Watson was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1920, only to die of a brain
tumor two years later. 6, 90, 170
1913 - In 1912 the Paris Spring Salon awarded a medal of honor to artist Paul Chabas for his
painting September Morn. In May 1913 a manager put a copy of the innocent nude in the west
window of Braun & Co., on West 46th Street in New York. Anthony Comstock called the store
and ordered the picture removed. “ It is not a proper picture to be shown to boys and girls,” he
said. “ There is nothing more sacred than the form of a woman, but it must not be denuded. I
think everyone will agree with me that such pictures should not be displayed where
schoolchildren passing through the streets can see them.” 61
1913 - On May 5, Samuel Owensby was lynched for murder in Hogansville, Georgia.
1913 - On May 6, John Henry Moore was lynched for disorderly conduct in Columbia County,
1913 - On June 4, a black man was lynched in Beaumont, Texas.
1913 - On June 5, Richard Galloway was lynched in Newton County, Texas.
1913 - On June 11, police shot at black and white
IWW/AFL maritime workers striking against the
United Fruit company in New Orleans, killing one
and wounding two. 235
1913 - Bennie Simmons, or Dennis Simmons,
accused of the murder of sixteen-year-old Susie
Church, was taken from prison guards in Anadarko,
Oklahoma on June 13. His killers led him to a
nearby bridge and hanged him from the limb of a
cottonwood tree flourishing by a stream.
"The Negro prayed and shrieked in agony as the
flames reached his flesh," reported a local
newspaper, "but his cries were drowned out by yells
and jeers of the mob." As Simmons began to lose
consciousness the mob fired at the body, cutting it to
pieces. "The mobsters made no attempt to conceal
their identity," remarked the Enfaula Democrat, "but
there were no prosecutions." 170
1913 - On June 19, William Norman was lynched for murder and attempted rape in Hot Springs,
1913 - On June 21, William Redding was taken from the Sumter County, Georgia jail and shot to
death by a mob for firing a gun at a police officer who arrested him for drunkenness. The mob
intentionally shot four other African-Americans who were bystanders, one fatally. 244
1913 - On June 26, William Robinson was lynched for murder in Lambert, Mississippi.
1913 - On July 6, a black man was lynched for rape in Bonifay, Florida.
1913 - On July 6, Roscoe Smith was lynched for murder in Yellow River, Florida.
1913 - On July 10, Kid Tempers was lynched for assisting in a murder in Blountstown, Florida.
1913 - On July 14, Sam Townes was lynched for murder in Alligator, Mississippi.
1913 - On July 23, Sam White was lynched for attempted rape in Florida.
1913 - On July 28, John Shake was lynched for robbery in Houston County, Georgia.
1913 - On August 3, four people died in the so-called "Wheatland riots" at the Durst hop ranch
when police fired into a crowd of California farmworkers trying to organize for better working
conditions. Two labor leaders, one not even present on the day, were later convicted of murder
for encouraging workers to organize, which, by the legal logic of the day, forced police to shoot
1913 - On August 12, Richard Puckett was lynched for rape in Laurens, South Carolina.
1913 - On August 14, Sanders Franklin and Henry Ralston were lynched in Paul's Valley,
1913 - On August 15, Robert Lovett and his son were lynched for murder in Morgan, Georgia.
1913 - On August 23, Wilson Gardner was lynched in Birmingham, Alabama.
1913 - On August 25, Virgil Swanson was lynched in Greenville, Georgia. He was wrongly
charged with murder.
1913 - On August 26, Joseph McNeely was lynched for murder in Charlotte, North Carolina.
1913 - On August 27, James Comeaux was lynched for assault in Jennings, Louisiana.
1913 - On August 28, a black man was lynched in Kilgore, Alabama.
1913 - On September 12, two black people were lynched in Tamms, Illinois.
1913 - On September 21, William Davis was lynched in Franklin, Texas.
1913 - On September 21, Henry Crosby was lynched for maltreatment of a woman in Louisville,
1913 - On September 25, Walter Brownlee was lynched for assault in Hinchcliff, Mississippi.
1913 - Joseph Richardson was removed from the county jail in
Leitchfield, Kentucky by a mob and lynched on the public
square at 1:00 a.m. on September 26, 1913. The mob presumed
he had assaulted an eleven-year-old white girl named Ree Goff.
The photographer who took this picture peddled the cards
door to door. A descendent of the original purchaser expressed
the remorse the townspeople felt upon recognizing the victim as
the town drunk, who had "merely stumbled into the child, and
not even torn her dress." 170
1913 - On September 28, race riots in Harriston, Mississippi
killed 10 people.
1913 - On September 29, Walter and William Jones were
lynched for murder in Harriston, Mississippi.
1913 - On October 3, a 1 percent U.S. federal income tax was signed into law.
1913 - On October 22, Warren Eaton was lynched for insulting a white woman in Monroe,
1913 - On October 27, President Wilson said that the U.S. would never attack another country.
1913 - On November 4, John Cudjo was lynched in Wewoka, Oklahoma.
1913 - Another law arising from the Vice Clique scandal was a statute to require sexual
sterilization of "habitual criminals, moral degenerates, and sexual perverts." These "moral
degenerates" and "sexual perverts" were defined as those "addicted to the practice of sodomy or
the crime against nature, or to other gross, bestial and perverted sexual habits and practices
prohibited by statute." This law was subjected to a referendum by initiative, evocative of recent
gay rights referenda in Oregon, and a harbinger of things to come. On November 4, 1913, in
record-low turnout, this law was repealed by a 56 - 44 percent margin, winning only four
Ignoring the will of voters, the Oregon legislature enacted another sterilization law in 1917
that included these same groups, with the same definition. This time, there was no referendum
against the law and it was put into effect. 271
1913 - On November 7, John Talley was lynched for attempted rape in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
1913 - On November 13, 10 black Americans were lynched in Rochester, Kentucky.
1913 - On November 24, General Boyd was lynched for being found in a girl's room in Walton
1913 - On December 2, a black man was lynched for attempted rape in Henry, Alabama.
1913 - On December 10, a black man named Steppins was lynched for wounding men in Bolivar,
1913 - On December 16, Ernest and Frank Williams were lynched for murder in Blanchard,
1913 - On December 24 in Calumet, Michigan, at a Christmas Party for families of copper
miners, a company stooge yelled fire and caused a panic that led to the death of 72 people,
mostly children. 235
1914 - A dictionary of criminal slang was published in Portland, Oregon and contained the first
known printed record of the term "faggot" to mean a homosexual male. 239
1914 - Socialist mine workers overthrew the Western Federation of Miners in Butte, Montana,
where it had represented labor interests since 1892. Accusing WFM leaders of election fraud and
collusion with the copper companies, the insurgents blew up the union hall, leading Montana's
governor to send in the state militia to restore order. While the city was under martial law,
company officials took advantage of the situation by withdrawing union recognition, leaving
miners on both sides of the dispute without job protections. 50
1914 - All the black families in Prince George County, Alabama were brutally driven out. The
event became known as the "Trouble."
1914 - A California appellate court reversed a sodomy conviction for having “ carnal
knowledge” of Frank Love. It said that the term “ carnal knowledge” can exist only between
people of the opposite sex. 4
1914 - The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that fellatio violated the state’ s “ crime against
nature” law. 4
1914 - The Nevada Supreme Court ruled that fellatio violated the state’ s “ crime against
nature” law and that the crime against nature could not be committed without at least one male
1914 - “ It is generally accepted that irritation derived from a tight prepuce may be followed by
nervous phenomena, among these being convulsions and epilepsy. It is therefore not at all
improbable that in many infants who die in convulsions the real cause of death is a long or tight
prepuce. The foreskin is a frequent factor in the causation of masturbation . . . Circumcision
offers a diminished tendency to masturbation, nocturnal pollutions, convulsions and other
nervous results of local irritation. It is the moral duty of every physician to encourage
circumcision in the young.” Abraham L. Wolbarst, Universal Circumcision, Journal of the
American Medical Association, vol. 62 (1914): pp. 92-97. 52
1914 - In his Moral Conditions of Seamen, Dr. McMurtrie reported that "In a recent conversation
with a gentleman conversant with all phases of the seaman's life, I was told that homosexual
practices among sailors had decreased in recent years to a notable extent. This he considered to
be due to several causes, the most important being the passing of long voyages . . . another
reason . . . was the rise of public sentiment condemning it among the men." 243
1914 - The Washington Supreme Court reversed a conviction for “ attempt” to commit sodomy,
claiming that the indictment was too vague. 4
1914 - Columbus, Ohio Mayor George Karb ordered police to stop making arrests for gambling
and vice. It was three years before his action became public, but the number of sodomy arrests in
the city drops to zero. 4
1914 - The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that the 1896 oral sex law “ perhaps” criminalized
cunnilingus, and did criminalize fellatio. 4
1914 - An Alabama appellate court ruled that fellatio violated the state’ s “ crime against
nature” law. 4
1914 - A dictionary of criminal slang was published in Portland, Oregon. The first recorded use
of the word "faggot" to describe homosexual men was defined in the dictionary. 229
1914 - The Rockefeller family supported sex research through the Bureau of Social Hygiene and
the National Research Council; American scientists, however, were “ uncomfortable” with the
subject of the research and failed to produce any major body of work. Eventually the Rockefeller
Foundation provided funds to support the work of Alfred C. Kinsey; however, support for
Kinsey was soon withdrawn due to pressure from conservative and religious groups. 249
1914 - In Washington, D.C., houses of prostitution were banned.
1914 - The U.S. banned the import of Mexican avocados. The ban stayed in force until
November 1, 1997.
1914 - As long as Union soldiers were in the South, things were alright for blacks. But when
Union troops returned home, southern states were free to develop their own laws. They promptly
began to deconstruct many federally-imposed reconstruction laws. One of the first victims was
the 1875 Civil Rights Act. That law, which had guaranteed equal rights to blacks in public
accommodations, was replaced with laws like this: 92
• No person or corporation shall require any white female nurse to nurse in wards or
rooms in hospitals, either public or private, in which negro men are placed.
• · All passenger stations in this state operated by any motor transportation company shall
have separate waiting rooms or space and separate ticket windows for the white and
• The conductor of each passenger train is authorized and required to assign each
passenger to the car or the division of the car, when it is divided by a partition, designated
for the race to which such passenger belongs.
• It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the
city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white
and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor
upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the
street is provided for each compartment.
• It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with
each other at any game of pool or billiards.
• Every employer of white or negro males shall provide for such white or negro males
reasonably accessible and separate toilet facilities.
• The marriage of a person of Caucasian blood with a Negro, Mongolian, Malay, or
Hindu shall be null and void.
• All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a
person of negro descent to the fourth generation inclusive, are hereby forever prohibited.
• Any negro man and white woman, or any white man and negro woman, who are not
married to each other, who shall habitually live in and occupy in the nighttime the same
room shall each be punished by imprisonment not exceeding twelve (12) months, or by
fine not exceeding five hundred ($500.00) dollars.
• The schools for white children and the schools for negro children shall be conducted
• There shall be separate buildings for juvenile delinquents, not nearer than one fourth
mile to each other, one for white boys and one for negro boys. White boys and negro
boys shall not, in any manner, be associated together or worked together.
• The Board of Control shall see that proper and distinct apartments are arranged for said
patients (in mental hospitals), so that in no case shall Negroes and white persons be
• It shall be unlawful for a white person to marry anyone except a white person. Any
marriage in violation of this section shall be void.
• No colored barber shall serve as a barber to white women or girls.
• The officer in charge shall not bury, or allow to be buried, any colored persons upon
ground set apart or used for the burial of white persons.
• All persons licensed to conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively
or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within the same room or
serve the two races anywhere under the same license.
• It shall be unlawful for any amateur white baseball team to play baseball on any vacant
lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of a playground devoted to the Negro race, and
it shall be unlawful for any amateur colored baseball team to play baseball in any vacant
lot or baseball diamond within two blocks of any playground devoted to the white race.
• It shall be unlawful for colored people to frequent any park owned or maintained by
the city for the benefit, use and enjoyment of white persons . . . and unlawful for any
white person to frequent any park owned or maintained by the city for the use and benefit
of colored persons.
• All persons licensed to conduct the business of selling beer or wine . . . shall serve
either white people exclusively or colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two
races within the same room at any time.
• The children of white and colored races committed to the houses of reform shall be
kept entirely separate from each other.
• All circuses, shows, and tent exhibitions, to which the attendance of . . . more than one
race is invited or expected to attend shall provide for the convenience of its patrons not
less than two ticket offices with individual ticket sellers, and not less than two entrances
to the said performance, with individual ticket takers and receivers, and in the case of
outside or tent performances, the said ticket offices shall not be less than twenty-five (25)
• Any person . . . who shall rent any part of any such building to a negro person or a
negro family when such building is already in whole or in part in occupancy by a white
person or white family, or vice versa when the building is in occupancy by a negro
person or negro family, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction thereof shall
be punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five ($25.00) nor more than one hundred
($100.00) dollars or be imprisoned not less than 10, or more than 60 days, or both such
fine and imprisonment in the discretion of the court.
• The board of trustees shall . . . maintain a separate building . . . on separate ground for
the admission, care, instruction, and support of all blind persons of the colored or black
• All marriages between a white person and a negro, or between a white person and a
person of negro descent, to the third generation, inclusive, or between a white person and
a member of the Malay race; or between the negro and a member of the Malay race; or
between a person of Negro descent, to the third generation, inclusive, and a member of
the Malay race, are forever prohibited, and shall be void.
• All railroad companies and corporations, and all persons running or operating cars or
coaches by steam on any railroad line or track in the State of Maryland, for the
transportation of passengers, are hereby required to provide separate cars or coaches for
the travel and transportation of the white and colored passengers.
• Separate schools shall be maintained for the children of the white and colored races.
• Any person . . .who shall be guilty of printing, publishing or circulating printed,
typewritten or written matter urging or presenting for public acceptance or general
information, arguments or suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage
between whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine not
exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months or
• The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto or person who shall have one-
eighth or more of negro blood, shall be unlawful and void.
• There shall be maintained by the governing authorities of every hospital maintained by
the state for treatment of white and colored patients separate entrances for white and
colored patients and visitors, and such entrances shall be used by the race only for which
they are prepared.
• The prison warden shall see that the white convicts shall have separate apartments for
both eating and sleeping from the negro convicts.
• Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African
descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any
white child to attend a colored school.
• All marriages between . . . white persons and negroes or white persons and Mongolians
. . . are prohibited and declared absolutely void . . . No person having one-eighth part or
more of negro blood shall be permitted to marry any white person, nor shall any white
person be permitted to marry any negro or person having one-eighth part or more of
• Separate rooms shall be provided for the teaching of pupils of African descent, and
when said rooms are so provided, such pupils may not be admitted to the school rooms
occupied and used by pupils of Caucasian or other descent.
• Books shall not be interchangeable between the white and colored schools, but shall
continue to be used by the race first using them.
• The state librarian is directed to fit up and maintain a separate place for the use of the
colored people who may come to the library for the purpose of reading books or
• The white and colored militia shall be separately enrolled, and shall never be
compelled to serve in the same organization. No organization of colored troops shall be
permitted where white troops are available, and where permitted to be organized, colored
troops shall be under the command of white officers.
• The . . . Utilities Commission . . . is empowered and directed to require the
establishment of separate waiting rooms at all transportation stations for the white and
• Any instructor who shall teach in any school, college or institution where members of
the white and colored race are received and enrolled as pupils for instruction shall be
deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum
not less than ten dollars ($10.00) nor more than fifty dollars ($50.00) for each offense.
• The Conservation Commission shall have the right to make segregation of the white
and colored races as to the exercise of rights of fishing, boating and bathing.
• The baths and lockers for the negroes shall be separate from the white race, but may be
in the same mining building.
• The Corporation Commission is hereby vested with power and authority to require
telephone companies . . . to maintain separate booths for white and colored patrons when
there is a demand for such separate booths. That the Corporation Commission shall
determine the necessity for said separate booths only upon complaint of the people in the
town and vicinity to be served after due hearing as now provided by law in other
complaints filed with the Corporation Commission.
• No persons, firms, or corporations, who or which furnish meals to passengers at station
restaurants or station eating houses, in times limited by common carriers of said
passengers, shall furnish said meals to white and colored passengers in the same room, or
at the same table, or at the same counter.
• It shall be unlawful for any parent, relative, or other white person in this State, having
the control or custody of any white child, by right of guardianship, natural or acquired, or
otherwise, to dispose of, give or surrender such white child permanently into the custody,
control, maintenance, or support, of a negro.
• Any white person of such county may use the county free library under the rules and
regulations prescribed by the commissioners court and may be entitled to all the
privileges thereof. Said court shall make proper provision for the negroes of said county
to be served through a separate branch or branches of the county free library, which shall
be administered by a custodian of the negro race under the supervision of the county
• The County Board of Education shall provide schools of two kinds; those for white
children and those for colored children.
• Every person . . . operating . . . any public hall, theatre, opera house, motion picture
show or any place of public entertainment or public assemblage which is attended by
both white and colored persons, shall separate the white race and the colored race and
shall set apart and designate . . . certain seats therein to be occupied by white persons and
a portion thereof, or certain seats therein, to be occupied by colored persons.
• The conductors or managers on all such railroads shall have power, and are hereby
required, to assign to each white or colored passenger his or her respective car, coach or
compartment. If the passenger fails to disclose his race, the conductor and managers,
acting in good faith, shall be the sole judges of his race.
By 1914, every southern state had “ Jim Crow” laws. Many of the first laws focused on
separate railroad cars. Blacks were not allowed to sit in “ white” railroad cars. Even in
Philadelphia, William Penn’ s northern “ city of brotherly love,” such laws were passed. But
that isn’ t the worst of it. Passing laws is one thing; upholding them is something else. What is
most troubling is the highest court in the country — the United States Supreme Court — upheld
those bad laws.
1914 - On January 8, David Lee was lynched in Jefferson, Texas.
1914 - On January 12, Companion and Lewis Peck were lynched for murderous assault in Polk,
1914 - On January 27, Benjamin Dickerson was lynched in Noble, Oklahoma.
1914 - On January 28, James Wilson was lynched for rape and murder in Wendell, North
1914 - On February 16, Johnson McQuirk was lynched for murderous assault in Love Station,
1914 - On February 24, Samuel Petty was lynched for murder in Leland, Mississippi.
1914 - On March 13, William Williams was lynched in Hearne, Texas.
1914 - On March 19, Dallas Shields was lynched for murder in Fayette, Missouri.
1914 - On March 21, Charles Young was lynched for rape and robbery in Clayton, Alabama.
1914 - On March 22, a black man was lynched for murder in Sunflower, Mississippi.
1914 - On March 31, Marie Scott was lynched in Wagoner County, Oklahoma.
1914 - In April, when striking coal miners and their families were evicted from their company-
owned homes in Ludlow, Colorado, they set up a tent colony nearby on public property. Then,
while they were celebrating Greek Easter on April 20, Colorado militiamen, coal company
guards, and thugs hired as private detectives by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and other mine
operators, ringed the camp and began firing into the tents upon a signal from Lt. Karl
Lindenfelter. An armored car mounted with a machine gun — "The Death Special" — roamed the
area spraying bullets. When the shooting ended, three men, two women and 13 children were
dead in the "Ludlow Massacre," which company and National Guard officials defended as
necessary to prevent anarchy. 50, 274
1914 - On May 7, a black man was lynched in St. James, Louisiana.
1914 - On May 8, Sylvester Washington was lynched for murder in St. James, Louisiana.
1914 - On May 12, Earl Hamilton was lynched for rape in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1914 - On May 16, Charles Jones was lynched for shoplifting in Grovetown, Georgia.
1914 - On May 18, James Woodson was lynched for attempted rape in Polk, Florida.
1914 - On June 1, 80 militia men refused to board a train as reinforcements for the U.S. invasion
of Veracruz, Mexico. 235
1914 - On June 7, William Robertson was lynched in Navasota, Texas.
1914 - On June 17, Isaac and Paralee Collins were lynched in West Plains, Missouri.
1914 - On June 28, Jennie Collins was lynched for complicity in a murder in Shaw, Mississippi.
1914 - On June 29, James Robinson was lynched for complicity in a murder in Tunica,
1914 - On July 12, Rosa Richardson was lynched for murder in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
1914 - On July 13, Rose Carson was lynched in Elloree, South Carolina.
1914 - On July 14, James Bailey was lynched for stealing in Cormorant, Mississippi.
1914 - On July 31, 17-year-old Bartow Cantrell was hanged for murder by the government of
1914 - On August 5, Oli Romeo was lynched for murder in Slidell, Louisiana.
1914 - On August 6, Henry Holmes was lynched for murder and robbery in Monroe, Louisiana.
1914 - On August 7, Crockett Williams was lynched in Eufala, Oklahoma.
1914 - On August 7, Charles and Preston Griffin were lynched for murder in Monroe, Louisiana.
1914 - On August 7, Dan Johnson and Louis Pruitt were lynched for murder in Ouachita Parish,
1914 - On August 9, a black man was lynched for murder in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.
1914 - On August 16, three thousand anti-war socialists demonstrated against WWI in Buffalo,
New York. 235
1914 - In 1913 Margaret Sanger raised money to start her own newsletter, The Woman Rebel.
She promised subscribers that the paper would deliver facts about the prevention of conception.
At one Village meeting, a writer named Robert Parker suggested she call her issue “ birth
control.” She took the words as her own.
On August 25, 1914, two agents from the federal government arrived to tell her that she had
violated the Comstock Act. Four issues of Woman Rebel had been repressed; seven separate
articles had been deemed obscene. Sanger faced 45 years in prison. Planning to leave the country
rather than appear in court, she printed a pamphlet called Family Limitation, outlining what she
knew of birth control. The text is a straightforward description of condoms, pessaries, douches
and spermicidal suppositories. Her comments about the pleasure of sex are limited to: “ A
mutual and satisfied sexual act is of great benefit to the average woman, the magnetism of it is
health-giving.” Failure to give a woman an orgasm might lead to a “ disease of her generative
organs, besides giving her a horror and repulsion for the sexual act.”
Sanger arranged to have Family Limitation privately printed, 100,000 copies, to be sold for
25 cents apiece. Rather than face trial, she took a train to Canada and, armed with a false
passport, made her way to England.
Comstock would not be deterred. He ordered a decoy to pose as a woman in distress. The
agent called on Margaret’ s husband William and asked for a copy of the pamphlet. Arrest
followed immediately, along with a suggestion that if William would tell the whereabouts of the
author, he would go free.
William refused. He went to trial, was found guilty of distributing obscene literature and
was sentenced to 30 days by a judge who thundered: “ Persons like you who circulate such
pamphlets are a menace to society. There are too many now who believe it is a crime to have
children. If some of the women who are going around advocating equal suffrage would go
around and advocate women having children, they would do a greater service. Your crime
violates not only the laws of the state but also the laws of God.” 14, 61
1914 - On September 26, Nathan Brown was lynched for murder in Rochells, Georgia.
1914 - On September 29, the LDS president has "discovered that 15 percent of the missionary
Elders in the Netherlands during the past two years, have been guilty of immoral practices, and
that a much greater percentage of Elders have been exposed to these evils."
1914 - On October 17, Joseph Durfee was lynched in Angleton, Texas.
1914 - On October 25, Mayshe Miller was lynched for murderous assault in Aberdeen,
1914 - On October 25, Howard Davis was lynched for murder in Newport, Arkansas.
1914 - On November 3, Thomas Burns was lynched for murderous assault in Shelby, Tennessee.
1914 - On November 12, Henry Allen was lynched in Muhlenberg, Kentucky.
1914 - On November 12, John Evans was lynched for murder in St. Petersburg, Florida.
1914 - On November 24, Dillard Wilson was lynched for murder in Shiloh, South Carolina.
1914 - On November 25, Frederick Sullivan and his wife were lynched for arson in Byhalia,
1914 - On December 2, Elijah Durden and Jobie Lewis were lynched for murder and arson in
Sylvester Station, Louisiana.
1914 - On December 3, Kane McKnight was lynched in Sylvester Station, Louisiana.
1914 - On December 4, William Grier was lynched in Coward, South Carolina.
1914 - On December 4, William Green was lynched for frightening a women in Florence, South
1914 - On December 11, Beard Henderson and Charles Washington were lynched for murder
and robbery in Mooringport, Louisiana.
1914 - On December 12, Watkins Lewis was lynched for murder and robbery in Shreveport,
1914 - On December 16, Allen Seymour was lynched for rape in Hampton, South Carolina.
1914 - On December 18, William Jones was lynched for attempted rape in Ft. Deposit, Alabama.
1914 - On December 21, Charley Williams was lynched for biting off a man's chin in Sunflower,
1914 - On December 22, 17-year-old Stefano Ruggierri was electrocuted for murder by the
government of New Jersey.
1915 - The human rights activist Emma Goldman lectured on homosexuality during her speaking
tour of the U.S. 243
1915 - Washington state enacted a law barring Asian immigrants from taking "for sale or profit
any salmon or other food or shellfish.” 238
1915 - Margaret Anderson defended same sex love in The Little Review. 249
1915 - In the case of State v. Guerin, the Montana Supreme Court ruled that fellatio was a crime
under the state's sodomy law. 225
1915 - A Delaware appellate court ruled that fellatio violated the state’ s sodomy law. 4
1915 - California outlawed oral sex. Its unique statute actually used the words “ fellatio” and
“ cunnilingus.” 4
1915 - Seventeen (17) state governments and the District of Columbia have banned red-light
They remain perfectly legal in the other 31 states and most of the rest of the world,
including Oahu, France and Italy.
1915 - Kentucky not only required separate schools, but also provided that no textbook issued to
a black would “ ever be reissued or redistributed to a white school child” or vice versa.
Similarly, Florida required that schoolbooks for blacks be stored separately from those for
1915 - A California appellate court upheld the lewd and lascivious acts conviction of a man and
pondered human sexuality in a long paragraph. 4
1915 - The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that fellatio violated the state’ s amended sodomy
1915 - The California Supreme Court reversed the sodomy conviction of a man for consensual
relations after a landlady witnessed him and his partner enter a bathroom together. The Court felt
that the evidence is all hearsay. 4
1915 - “ Circumcision not only reduces the irritability of the child’ s penis, but also the so-called
passion of which so many married men are so extremely proud, to the detriment of their wives
and their married life. Many youthful rapes could be prevented, many separations, and divorces
also, and many an unhappy marriage improved if this unnatural passion was cut down by a
timely circumcision.” L. W. Wuesthoff, Benefits of Circumcision, Medical World, vol. 33
(1915): p. 434.
“ The prepuce is one of the great factors in causing masturbation in boys. Here is the
dilemma we are in: If we do not teach the growing boy to pull the prepuce back and
cleanse the glans there is the danger of smegma collecting and of adhesions and
ulcerations forming, which in their turn will cause irritation likely to lead to
masturbation. If we do teach the boy to pull the prepuce back and cleanse his glans, that
handling alone is sufficient gradually and almost without the boy’ s knowledge to initiate
him into the habit of masturbation . . . Therefore, off with the prepuce!” William J.
Robinson, Circumcision and Masturbation, Medical World, vol. 33 (1915): p. 390. 52
1915 - A California appellate judge was the first known to ponder homosexuality in an opinion.
The judge believed that expert opinions were needed about sexual attractions, because “ the
normal man” would be unable to determine “ the neurotic or orgastic effect of such indecent
The coming out of a few people in the latter half of the 19th century, and the increasing
reference to “ feelings” or “ attraction” for the same sex by individuals in reported medical
literature, coupled with frequent, but understandable, references to loneliness or depression by
these people in that unenlightened era, led medical science to conclude, based on flimsy evidence
and small samples, that same-sex attraction was a form of mental illness, an “ erotomania.”
Some doctors chose to criticize criminal laws covering consensual sodomitical acts, but no
legislative body heeded their advice. These doctors argued that mental illness should not be
criminalized, but, instead, “ treated.” 9
1915 - By an amendment passed in 1910, the Constitution of Oklahoma restricted voting rights
according to a “ grandfather clause” which provided that no illiterate person could be registered
to vote. The clause, however, granted an exemption for such a person provided he: had lived in a
foreign country prior to January 1, 1866, had been eligible to register prior to that date, or if his
lineal ancestor was eligible to vote at that time. Since no blacks were eligible to vote in
Oklahoma prior to 1866, the law disenfranchised all black people.
The U.S. Supreme Court held the grandfather clause to be invalid in Oklahoma, as well as
in any other state where one was in effect. Guinn v. United States, 238 U.S. 347 (1915). 1
In addition to the grandfather clause, white supremacists created a system of laws known as
Black Codes. These were local ordinances aimed at regaining control over the African-American
labor force after the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery. Black Codes restricted the movement
of African-Americans, forbade them from having guns and established vagrancy laws (under
which unemployed African-Americans could be arrested, hired out to the highest bidder, and
kept in virtual bondage until their fines were “ paid off” ). Black Codes also prohibited African-
Americans from voting, serving on juries and testifying in court against whites. So long as
African-Americans were denied these basic rights, they would receive disproportionately harsh
In describing the need for a Voting Rights Act, historian Adam Fairclough wrote: “ Whites
retained their monopoly of political power through the tried-and-tested methods of trickery and
discrimination . . . . The details varied from place to place and constantly changed, but they were
broadly similar. Complicated and deliberately misleading [voter] application forms invited error;
requirements to establish “ good character” disbarred black people in common-law marriages or
with illegitimate children; the need to furnish identification and proof of residence proved
maddeningly difficult to fulfill; above all, “ constitutional interpretation tests” demanded
answers to difficult and often nonsensical questions. The registrars — minor functionaries who
took orders from politicians — enjoyed complete discretion to decide what constituted a
“ mistake.” They routinely failed blacks but let whites sail through. 244
1915 - A Missouri appellate court ruled that being called a “ cocksucker” is actionable as
1915 - Alaska outlawed oral sex. 4
1915 - Nevada enacted a broadly worded vagrancy law that prohibited only males from being out
late at night for purposes of lewd or dissolute conduct. 4
1915 - In Ohio, a man entered the State Reformatory for sodomy after allowing himself to be
masturbated by another, even though the Ohio sodomy law did not contemplate masturbation. 4
1915 - Pennsylvania excluded sodomy from the list of crimes for which the defendant is entitled
to a preliminary hearing. 4
1915 - Theodore Roosevelt issued a declaration that in the interest of “ absolutely nonsectarian
public schools” it was “ not our business to have the Protestant Bible or the Catholic Vulgate or
the Talmud read in those schools.” 19
1915 - Police arrested Emma Goldman for delivering lectures on resistance to the draft. She
served two years in prison. Goldman v. United States, 245 U.S. 474 (1918). Afterwards she was
stripped of her citizenship and deported along with other undesirable ‘ Reds’ to Russia. J.
Edgar Hoover, who directed her deportation hearing, called her “ one of the most dangerous
women in America.” In total, she was arrested in 1893, 1901, 1916, 1918, 1919 and 1921.
Theodore Roosevelt called her a “ madwoman . . . a mental as well as a moral pervert” , the
New York Times said she was a “ mischievous foreigner . . . apart from the mass of humanity.”
The San Francisco Call said she was a “ despicable creature . . . a snake . . . unfit to live in a
civilized country.” The government called her the “ ablest and most dangerous” anarchist in the
On the other side was Kate Richards O’ Hare, a socialist who occupied a neighboring jail
cell with Goldman, who said “ the Emma Goldman that I know is not the Propagandist. It is
Emma, the tender, cosmic mother, the wise understanding woman, the faithful sister, the loyal
comrade . . . Emma don’ t believe in Jesus, yet she is the one who makes it possible for me to
grasp the spirit of Jesus.” William Marion Reedy of the St. Louis Mirror said this: “ There is
nothing wrong with Miss Goldman’ s gospel that I can see except this: SHE IS ABOUT EIGHT
THOUSAND YEARS AHEAD OF HER AGE!” It is hard to believe that these contradictory
quotes could possibly describe the same person. 93
1915 - Mabel Vernon and Sara Bard Field made a cross-country automobile tour gathering over
a half million signatures for a suffrage petition to Congress. 249
1915 - Ben Reitman was arrested in New York for merely announcing he would distribute a
pamphlet on birth control. 61
1915 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that film is not protected by the First Amendment in
Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, 236 U.S. 230: “ The exhibition of moving
pictures is a business pure and simple, originated and conducted for profit, not to be regarded as
part of the press of the country or as organs of public opinion. They are mere representations of
events, or ideas and sentiments published or known; vivid, useful and entertaining, no doubt, but
capable of evil, having power for it, the greater because of their attractiveness and manner of
1915 - City councils in Baltimore, Richmond, Winston-Salem, Louisville, and Birmingham have
enacted racial zoning segregation ordinances. Dallas followed in 1916, and St. Louis held a
popular referendum whose results showed the public two-to-one in favor.
1915 - On January 4, Ed and William Smith were lynched for murder in Wetumpka, Alabama.
1915 - On January 5, Dock Hartley was lynched for burglary in Butler, Alabama.
1915 - On January 5, 16-year-old Richard Sparks was electrocuted for robbery and murder by the
government of New Jersey.
1915 - On January 12, Peter Hart was lynched for “ race prejudice” in Ballard, Kentucky.
1915 - On January 15, Daniel Barber, his son Jesse and two daughters, Ella and Elva (sometimes
written Eula), were lynched by a mob for resisting arrest. When the Monticello, Georgia Police
Chief attempted to arrest Daniel Barber at his home on bootlegging charges, Barber and his
children forcibly offered resistance. After additional police arrived and arrested the family, two
hundred enraged townspeople stormed the jail, dragged them to the center of the African-
American district, and hanged them one by one. Daniel Barber, the last to die, was forced to
witness the execution of his three children. 244
1915 - On January 18, Herman Deely was lynched for murder in Taylorsville, Alabama.
1915 - On January 20, Edward Johnson was lynched for theft in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
1915 - On January 23, Peter Morris was lynched for murder in Arlington, Georgia.
1915 - On February 4, A. B. Culberson was lynched for rape in Evens, Georgia.
1915 - On February 10, Alexander Hill was lynched in Brookville, Mississippi.
1915 - On February 10, Thomas Tinker was lynched for murder in Graves, Kentucky.
1915 - On February 12, Houston Underwood was lynched due to mistaken identity in Estill,
1915 - On February 15, Horace Hill was lynched for murder in Noxubee, Mississippi.
1915 - On February 16, John Richards was lynched for insulting a white woman in Sparr,
1915 - On February 21, W. F. Williams was lynched for murder in Mt. Pleasant, Missouri.
1915 - On February 24, William Reed was lynched for attempted rape in Kissimmee, Florida.
1915 - On March 2, H. M. Candy was lynched for stealing in Monroe, Arkansas.
1915 - On March 2, Jeff Mansel was lynched for stealing in Monroe, Arkansas.
1915 - On March 3, 15-year-old Federico Sanchez was hanged for murder by the government of
1915 - On March 12, a black person named Perry was lynched in Vance, North Carolina.
1915 - On March 28, Emma Goldman was arrested for telling the first U.S. audience how to use
contraceptives. She chose 15 days in jail over a $100 fine. 235
1915 - On April 16, Caesar Sheffield was lynched for burglary in Valdosta, Georgia.
1915 - On April 28, Thomas Brooks was lynched for murder in Somerville, Tennessee.
1915 - On May 3, Jesse Hatch was lynched for rape in Clarke, Alabama.
1915 - On May 9, a black man was lynched in Big Sandy, Texas.
1915 - On May 9, Dr. E. B. Ward was lynched in Norman, Oklahoma.
1915 - On May 15, a black man was lynched for insulting a white woman in Louisville,
1915 - On June 4, Arthur Bell was lynched for burglary in Princeton, Kentucky.
1915 - On June 10, Joseph Strands was lynched in Johnson City, Illinois.
1915 - On June 14, Samuel Stephens (sometimes written Stevens) was lynched by a mob in
Toccoa, Georgia for rape. After several unsuccessful attempts at abducting him from his jail cell,
the mob settled for firing hundreds of gunshot rounds through Stephens’ cell door. 244
1915 - On June 14, Jules Smith was lynched for rape in Winnsboro, South Carolina.
1915 - On June 14, Alonzo (sometimes written Will) Green and Green’ s seventeen-year old
son, accused of murdering a farmer, were lynched by a mob in Gray, Georgia. Despite their pleas
of innocence, the mob hanged them and riddled their bodies with bullets. Authorities
subsequently determined that at least Mr. Green had nothing to do with the farmer’ s death. 244
1915 - On June 15, Loy Haley was lynched for murder in Hope, Arkansas.
1915 - On June 27, a black man was lynched for entering a girl's room in Cedar Bluffs,
1915 - On July 4, Earl Palmer was lynched for complicity in a murder in Jones, Georgia.
1915 - On July 8, Warren Fox was lynched for murder in Crittenden, Arkansas.
1915 - On July 11, a black man was lynched in DeKalb, Mississippi.
1915 - On July 12, Will Lozier was lynched for murder in Abbeville, South Carolina.
1915 - On July 15, Thomas Collins was lynched for murderous assault in Avoyelles, Louisiana.
1915 - On July 16, William Mitchell was lynched in Sardis, Mississippi.
1915 - On July 21, Peter Hambo and Peter Jackson were lynched for complicity in a murder in
1915 - On July 21, H. M. Owens was lynched for murder in Trenton, Florida.
1915 - On August 5, William Leach was lynched for attempted rape in Dade City, Florida.
1915 - On August 6, Edward Berry was lynched in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
1915 - On August 8, James Fox was lynched for murderous assault in Monroe, Alabama.
1915 - On August 11, Bert Springs was lynched for murder in Mississippi, Arkansas.
1915 - On August 12, Andy Crum was lynched for murder in Mississippi, Arkansas.
1915 - On August 17, John Riggins was lynched for rape in Bainbridge, Georgia.
1915 - On August 17, three black men were lynched in Hope Hull, Alabama.
1915 - On August 17, a mob lynched Leo Frank, a Jewish pencil factory supervisor, who was
wrongly accused of murdering Mary Phagan, a thirteen-year old factory employee. The mob, the
first in history known to transport its victim by motorcade, abducted Frank from prison and
hanged him near the girl’ s grave in Marietta, Georgia. The governor of Georgia, believing
Frank to be innocent, had earlier commuted his sentence to life in prison.
Fifty years later, a confession established that Mary Phagan was murdered not by Frank but
by an African-American janitor who was the star witness against Frank at his trial (and the first
African-American whose testimony was accepted over a white man’ s in a capitol case in
Georgia). Jewish organizations led by the Anti-Defamation League of B’ nai B’ rith
spearheaded a movement to pardon Leo Frank. Not until 1985, seventy years after he was
hanged, did the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles posthumously grant Leo Frank a full
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Leo Frank moved to Georgia after graduating from
Cornell University to establish the National Pencil Factory. In April of 1913, thirteen-year-old
Mary Phagan was found murdered in the factory basement. Frank, the last person known to have
seen Phagan alive, was arrested and accused of her murder.
Frank’ s case, one of the most infamous criminal dramas in American history, also became
a showcase for some of the most vicious anti-Semitism ever witnessed in the United States.
Throughout the proceedings crowds outside the courthouse chanted “ Hang the Jew.” At the
trial’ s conclusion, the judge and jurors were subjected to chants of “ Hang the Jew or we’ ll
Newspaper owner Tom Watson, who would soon enter the U.S. Senate, mercilessly fanned
the flames of anti-Semitism with unrelenting libelous commentaries. He depicted Leo Frank as a
“ leprous monster,” a “ lascivious pervert,” a “ lecherous Jew,” a “ sodomite,” and a “ Jew
murderer.” Watson asked, “ Are you going to provide encouragement and justification for
future lynchings by allowing Big Money to annul the well-weighed findings of unimpeachable
In August of 1913, the trial court found Leo Frank guilty of murder. The following day
Frank was sentenced to death. Over the course of the next two years, legal appeals delayed the
date of Frank’ s execution. In April of 1915, the United States Supreme Court in Frank v.
Mangum, 237 U.S. 309 (1915) ended these appeals by denying a writ of error requested by
Frank’ s attorneys.
John Slayton, the Governor of Georgia, was flooded with more than 100,000 letters
requesting commutation. Frank himself preferred a pardon but on advice of his attorneys sought
commutation to a life sentence, hoping to establish his innocence later.
Acclaimed detective William J. Burns, who investigated the case, told reporters:
“ In all my experience, I have never been so moved in all my life as I have been by the
Frank case . . . . I say to you more earnestly than I have ever before in my life, that in
driving Leo M. Frank to his death without giving him a fair trial, you are making the
most horrible, the most awful mistake I have ever heard of.
“ . . . I am entitled to speak as an expert in matters relating to crime and criminal
evidence, and speaking as such I tell you that Leo M. Frank is an innocent man, that the
evidence on which he was convicted was utterly insufficient, and that bringing on his
execution under such conditions you are doing him a frightful injustice and inflicting on
your city an irreparable injury.
“ Notwithstanding that twelve honest men found Leo M. Frank guilty, I say to you that
the conditions that existed in Atlanta at that time made it absolutely impossible to give
him a fair trial.”
The Governors of Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon,
Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia wrote to Governor Slayton requesting commutation, as did
United States Senators from Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi and
Texas. The State Legislatures of Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West
Virginia passed resolutions urging commutation. In Georgia, more than ten thousand residents
petitioned the Governor on Leo Frank’ s behalf, including the State’ s junior United States
Senator Thomas Hardwick, and both the son and son-in-law of white supremacist Senator Hoke
While awaiting the outcome of his appeal in prison, an inmate named William Creen
ambushed a sleeping Leo Frank, plunging a butcher knife into his throat. By the time guards
reached the scene, Frank’ s neck had seven- and eight-inch gashes. Prison doctors were able to
stitch the wound, preventing certain death, but his head must remain secured in a metal surgical
brace to prevent the stitches from falling out. Governor Slayton personally went to the prison to
interview Leo Frank and William Creen, who told the governor he was called “ from on high to
murder the Jew.”
The day before Leo Frank was scheduled to be executed, Governor Slayton commuted
Frank’ s sentence to life imprisonment. Mobs throughout Atlanta burned the governor in effigy
and threatened “ summary vengeance” upon all Jews who are not out of the city within twenty-
four hours. White supremacists in Marietta established the “ Marietta Vigilance Committee” to
boycott Jewish merchants. They distributed the following handbill to Jewish merchants:
You are hereby notified to close up this business and quit Marietta by Saturday night, June
29, 1915, or else stand the consequences. We mean to rid Marietta of all Jews by the above date.
You can heed this warning or stand the punishment the committee may see fit to deal out to you.
Gentiles in Marietta received a separate card which read in part: “ STOP! And THINK!
Before you spend your money, shall it go to a fund to PROTECT MURDERERS [and] to buy
Governors . . . Can’ t you buy shoes from an AMERICAN? Can’ t you buy the necessities of
life from an AMERICAN? AMERICAN GENTILES, IT IS UP TO YOU.”
On the evening of August 17, 1915, less than two months following Governor Slayton’ s
commutation, twenty-five armed men walked past State prison guards, removed Leo Frank,
drove him 170 miles to Marietta (the home of the slain girl) and hanged him from an oak tree.
The knife wound that Frank had sustained to his throat in prison reopened and he quickly bled to
Hordes of people made their way to the scene. After viewing Frank’ s lifeless figure and
gaping red throat wound, souvenir hunters tore pieces of clothes from his shirt sleeves and
snipped strands of the rope. Others took pictures of his corpse and milled about as if at a holiday
One mob member attempted to mutilate Frank’ s body but was stopped by a respected
Marietta judge, Newton Morris, who plead with the crowd to permit Frank’ s remains to be sent
home for a decent burial. But as Frank’ s body was being removed, the same man knocked the
corpse to the ground, repeatedly stomped upon the face, grinding his heel into the dead flesh,
making a crunching sound. Judge Morris again implored the undertakers to quickly remove
Frank’ s dead body. This was finally done.
Some of the plotters, kidnappers and executioners of Leo Frank gave interviews to
reporters. The Mayor of Atlanta, J. G. Woodward, told the press that three-fourths of the people
of Georgia, including himself, believe Frank was guilty and condone the lynching. He also
suggested that former governor John Slayton, who was traveling outside of the State at the time
of the lynching, cannot safely return to Georgia (“ I know Jack Slayton, I have known him for
thirty years — ever since he was a young man. I have been friends with him, and while I hate to
say it, I would advise him not to return to Georgia for a year, if ever” ).
As late as 1917, pictures of Leo Frank’ s hanging body were sold throughout Marietta. In
Atlanta, the traffic in Leo Frank lynch postcards so alarmed local officials that the City Council
unanimously passed an ordinance making it unlawful to sell photographs of a person who has
been hanged illegally. 244
Jim Conley died in 1962, and rumors spread that just before his died he confessed to the
murder of Mary Phagan. In 1982, Alonzo Mann, an employee of the pencil factory at the time of
the murder, signed an affidavit that he had seen Conley carrying the limp body of Mary Phagan
on his shoulder near the trapdoor leading to the basement. A lie detector test indicated that Mann
was telling the truth. In 1986, the Georgia Board of Pardons, issued a pardon to Leo Frank, who
at the time was buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. 274
1915 - On August 18, Kid Jackson, Henry Russell and a third black man were lynched for
poisoning mules in Montgomery, Alabama.
1915 - On August 21, Bob was lynched for attempted rape in Grand Bayou, Louisiana.
1915 - On August 26, a black man was lynched in Conshama, Louisiana.
1915 - On August 29, King Richmond was lynched in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
1915 - On September 1, Rudd Love was lynched for robbery in Lorisiana, Missouri.
Unknown lynching victim
September 3, 1915, Alabama
1915 - On September 4, Mallie Wilson was lynched for entering a woman's bedroom in Dresden,
1915 - On September 4, George Washington was lynched in Wagoner, Oklahoma.
1915 - On September 12, Jacob Bowers was lynched in Carlisle, Arkansas.
1915 - On September 24, 14-year-old Joe Persons was hanged for rape by the government of
1915 - On October 11, two black people were lynched in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
1915 - On October 31, Jack Hughes was lynched for murder in Marion, Mississippi.
1915 - On November 12, John Taylor was lynched for murderous assault in Aberdeen,
1915 - Birth of a Nation was directed by legendary filmmaker David Wark Griffith (1875-1948)
and released in 1915. It became an immediate sensation. No film made up until that time could
compare to it. Over 3 hours long and filled with graphic, powerful images that made a lasting
impression on its audience, Birth of a Nation grossed a mind-boggling $18,000,000, an
astronomical sum for its time. But the film contained many negative images of the black man
and catered to the lowest element of white and black fears alike. Its stereotypical portrayal of
blacks, as tribal, lazy and violent criminals who crave white women would become indelible on
the collective mind and inflict a profound, cultural wound on the consciousness of the nation. A
review of the film in Cinebooks is even more emphatic: “ Jim Crow is explicitly endorsed,
slavery is romanticized; the Ku Klux Klan is glorified; lynching is condoned; and blacks are
represented as simple minded beasts driven primarily by lust and envy.” Many people became
angered over its interpretation of black/white relations while others accepted its version of the
Reconstruction Era as truth.
Southern whites were elated: “ On Thanksgiving night in 1915, 25,000 Klansmen paraded
through the streets of Atlanta, Georgia, to celebrate the opening of the movie. And when Griffith,
the son of a Confederate soldier, presented his work to President Woodrow Wilson (reportedly
the first screening of a feature film in the White House), the President allegedly declared, “ It is
like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all so terribly true.” Birth of a
Nation and its distorted version of history was idolized by the Ku Klux Klan. It was interpreted
as an endorsement of Klan values because “ in its presentation of the KKK as heroes and
Southern blacks as villains, it appealed to white Americans and its mythic view of the Old South,
and its thematic exploration of two great American issues: inter-racial sex and the empowerment
of blacks.” The film had convinced a large portion of America of a history that had never
happened. Or as author Wyn Wade writes: “ for many people below the Mason-Dixon Line, the
Birth of a Nation was a near religious experience.” But the damage was done and the Ku Klux
Klan, whose power was fading in 1915, became rejuvenated and found a new sense of purpose to
continue their campaign of murder and mayhem against America’ s blacks. 62
1915 - Founded on Stone Mountain, Georgia by William Joseph Simmons, the second Ku Klux
Klan mounted a decade-long reign of terror during the 1920s. Gaining power from Maine to
Oregon, Klan supporters captured legislatures and governors’ chairs, passed laws requiring
Bible reading and Protestant religious activities in public schools, fired Catholic school teachers
in Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale, encouraged boycotts of Catholic and Jewish merchants, abolished
all private and parochial schools in Oregon, and nearly did so in Michigan, and pressured
Congress for bans on immigration. That is, when they were not engaging in acts of blatant
terrorism, which were frequent and widespread. The Klan eventually lost power because of
internal corruption and the inability of its leaders to govern effectively in areas where they had
gained political power.
Simmons, an Alabama native, was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was
also a practicing physician. Simmons was the man who brought the symbol of the burning cross
to the Klan during his first meeting as Imperial Wizard on Thanksgiving day of 1915. The
burning cross is claimed by the Klansmen as a symbol of Jesus Christ being the light of the
world. Simmons’ Klan had a different focus than the earlier Klan; their focus was not solely on
black people but also on immigrants, religious liberals, communists, Jewish people, Catholics
and even labor union organizers. Simmons also organized two other white supremacy groups in
1915. These two groups were called the Knights of the Flaming Sword and the Caucasian
Crusade. These groups, unlike the Ku Klux Klan, died within a matter of years. 6, 94
1915 - On November 28, Ellis Buckner was lynched for attempted rape in Henderson, Kentucky.
1915 - On December 3, William Patrick was lynched for murder in Forrest City, Arkansas.
1915 - On December 4, the Ku Klux Klan received a charter from Fulton County, Georgia.
1915 - On December 8, Cordelia Stevenson was lynched for arson in Columbus, Mississippi.
1915 - On December 9, a black man was lynched in Hopeful, Virginia.
1915 - On December 20, Samuel Bland and William Stewart were lynched for murder in
1915 - On December 29, Joseph Nimrod was lynched for rape in Marion, Florida.
1915 - On December 30, Samuel Sykes was lynched for attempted murder in Clay, Mississippi.
1915 - On December 30, seven men —Grandison Goolsby, Mike Goolsby, Ulysses Goolsby,
Hosh Jewell, Charles Holmes, James Burton and Early Hightower — were lynched by a mob in
Early County, Georgia. The seven men were murdered in retaliation for the death of a white man
who was killed by the African-American he was flogging. 244
1916 - In the 1st City Criminal Court of New Orleans, Louisiana, Charles Becker and Philip
Spano were charged with buggery. 239
1916 - The Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village became the first major off-Broadway
theater. One of its first plays was Charles Busch's Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. 239
1916 - Theodore Dreiser’ s The Genius was suppressed in New York. After the sheets for Tragic
America were printed in 1931 the publishers were advised deletions would have to be made to
avoid legal complications. 14
1916 - When Virginia amended its sodomy law to permit prosecutions for oral sex, it, for some
reason, limited that portion of the law to people of the same sex. When the Virginia Supreme
Court got a heterosexual oral sex case before it, it had no choice but to reverse the conviction
owing to the clear statutory limitation. It lamented that it couldn’ t uphold the conviction and
urged the legislature to expand the law to cover opposite-sex activity. This the legislature did
1916 - The Idaho Supreme Court ruled that fellatio is a “ crime against nature.”
1916 - A California appellate court upheld the “ lewd and lascivious act” conviction of a man
for having been found on a bed “ in contact” with his partner. 4
1916 - The Georgia Supreme Court ruled that both parties in an act of fellatio are principals. 4
1916 - The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a malicious prosecution award brought by a man
against another who falsely had accused him of sodomy. 4
1916 - A Pennsylvania trial court ignored the 1899 ruling that struck down the law against oral
sex and permits a trial under the statute. 4
1916 - The Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed the sodomy conviction of a man who proved an
alibi for the date in question and after a doctor who did not know him testified at the trial,
repeating community gossip about the defendant. 4
1916 - Maryland outlawed oral sex, although its statute was so broadly worded that probably any
form of erotic activity was criminalized. This was in reaction to the 1915 state vice commission
1916 - A bill was introduced into the Illinois legislature in 1911 to authorize sterilization of
“ habitual criminals,” among others. The proposal was criticized in a law review as being
“ based upon unproved theories.” It never became law.
Despite that fact, a judge in Chicago, Marcus Kavanaugh, offered a prisoner who was “ a
degenerate and a pervert” the choice between prison and sterilization. The prisoner chose
sterilization, and he was released after the operation. 9
1916 - Emma Goldman was arrested in New York City just before giving a lecture about
1916 - The Illinois Vice Committee held hearings on the dangers of dancehalls. After
questioning the female partner of a dance team, and having his offer of protection turned down,
Chairman O’ Hara tried to get at the root of evil:
“ Now, as a matter of fact, don’ t you wrap yourself up with this young woman almost as
though you were one and glide together?”
“ At times we do, but only at certain parts of our dancing. We have done certain things, but
I do not consider that they are bad, because I object to anything that is licentious. I don’ t
approve of it. I am a dancing teacher myself, and I don’ t see any good in indecent dancing.”
Then the committee called a witness, a teacher of art named Maude Josaphare.
“ Describe the dances you saw.”
“ The third dance was what I should call the tango. It was danced with a man. I have seen
one there in the slums of New York. In the modern tango the man picks the girl up and throws
her around, bends over to the floor that way, rests his arms on her arms and his head on her
shoulder and vice versa.”
“ Is this art or suggestive?”
“ I don’ t think there is any art in that. I think it is very suggestive, the kind of
suggestiveness that may confuse in the mind of a young girl.” 61
1916 - In Utah, the U.S. government took land from the Ute Indians for the rights to oil shale
reserves. In 2000, 84,000 acres were given back.
1916 - People prosecuted for the “ crime against nature” in Salt Lake County, Utah:
1887 - Arthur Curtis, Richard Bubbles, Dan Henry, John Leadford, William Paddock
1889 - Ernest Conk
1890 - Frank Wilson
1891 - James Hamilton
1899 - J. W. Bonner
1900 - Frank Billings
1901 - William Dean, Frank Brown
1905 - Bud Coon, James T. Whittaker, Matt Johnson (twice)
1908 - Edward Burke
1909 - Thomas LaCross
1910 - H. D. Fairchild
1912 - Joseph E. Mullett
1913 - C. W. Clark, William Payne, John Oscor
1915 - Frank Thompson
1916 - Mike Murphy, George Tainter
1916 - People prosecuted for “ Carnal Knowledge” in Salt Lake County, Utah:
1864 - Levi Roe
1897 - John Powell, Daniel Gulliven
1898 - Charles H. Rock, William Sims (twice)
1899 - Keets Woodruff, Christopher Hilberg
1900 - James Brown, Mary Gross, Lemon Applgate
1901 - Joseph Tittlebaum
1902 - John Grosebell
1903 - A. E. Gerber, William Evans, Ed Peterson
1904 - Lawrence L. Jensen, C. E. Dugger (twice)
1905 - Phillip Lynch, William Allor, James Campbell
1906 - Albert Moore, Albert Miller, John Stephen Kunz, Robert Robertson
1907 - George R. Riley, Domingo Larriba, Frank Lionetti
1908 - Albert Andrus, Samuel G. Spencer, R. H. Lewis, William Furrow, John Bordwell,
Harry Wilson, Frank Petrozelli, Milton Bayless, William H. Dixon
1909 - Percy Williams, Lionel Flowers, Clifford Neil, Jack Burket, Matt Mattivi
1910 - Fred Byrke, Eugene Sinclair, Einor Kiholm, Leroy Ferguson, Wesley Taylor,
Harry Norton, Everal Jones, George Hall, Andrew Morphis, Jerald Jeffs, Oscar Kelley,
1911 - William H. March, Fred Fields, O. H. Holston, Julius Dickinson, Frank Sweeney,
M. E. Mortensen, James D. Diehl, Bert Miller, Louis Wilstead, Clarence Carr, Fred
Eldredge, George Ezor, Mike Bell, Raymond Smith
1912 - Charlie Miarbelli, Curtis R. Morrison, C. E. Smith, Frank Wadell, Frank Maneely,
1913 - Nelson Budd, Leon Larimer, A. D. Knipfing, Harry Pappas, George Larsen, C.
McNiel, Charley Sing, Eugene Hardee, S. W. Jones, A. Antonin, Roy Sherrill
1914 - H. C. Hapgood, E. F. Collins, A. Bayes, James Whyte, Harold Watson, Louis
Leavitt, Hasten A. Gittner
1915 - Harry Shafer, Ray Keefer, Eugene C. Poynter, Frank Brown, Joseph Grisolio,
Max Paul Graeske, Conway Miller, Helmar Leafquist
1916 - John Holliman, Giovanni Deamieis
1916 - A six-month-long lumber strike organized by the Industrial Workers of the World led to
violence in Everett, Washington, where a sheriff's posse made union members run a ganlet that
left the roadway stained with blood, then opened fire at a protest rally, killing five and wounding
31. Still the Wobblies pressed their call for "One Big Union." 50
1916 - The Articles of War of 1916 established an article proscribing the offense of sodomy.
Later, in the manual of courts-martial, Congress included consensual sodomy as Article 93 of the
Articles of War. At that time, unit commanders had the discretion to discharge soldiers for
“ inaptness or for undesirable habits.” 27
1916 - The U.S. Congress enacted a law (39 Stat. 211) subjecting all male citizens between the
ages of twenty-one and thirty to involuntary duty in the national army. The act exempted
designated United States and state officials as well as those already in the military or naval
service of the United States, regular or duly ordained ministers of religion and theological
students, and members of religious sects whose tenets excluded the moral right to engage in war.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this discriminatory law. Arver v. United States, 245 U.S. 366
1916 - The religious climate in Alabama turned ugly. A Catholic church and school in Pratt City,
near Birmingham, were burned to the ground by night raiders. Father James E. Coyle, pastor of
St. Paul’ s Church in Birmingham, received several death threats. Federal authorities alerted him
to the plots, and he was forced to hire armed guards to protect the church sanctuary and rectory.
Anti-Catholic political parties swept the Birmingham municipal elections in 1916 and
brought about the firing of all Catholic employees, save for two policemen, and a boycott of all
merchants who hired Catholic employees. (Jewish merchants resisted.) Journalist Charles P.
Sweeny investigated and reported, “ The sign is up. No Catholics are wanted in Birmingham and
those now there are desired to leave.” The boycott was mostly successful. “ The efforts to
dislodge Catholics from their jobs was carried out systematically and with considerable success .
. . Each employer was visited by a vigilance committee, which demanded dismissal of Catholic
workers under penalty of a boycott.” 6
1916 - A California appellate court reversed the conviction of a man for fellatio, because the
word “ fellatio” in his indictment was not an English word in general knowledge. 4
1916 - The Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village was the first major off-Broadway
theater. One of its first plays was Charles Busch's Vampire Lesbians of Sodom. 229
1916 - On January 1, two black men were lynched in Anderson County, South Carolina.
1916 - On January 3, Samuel Sykes was lynched for assault in Pemiscot County, Missouri.
1916 - Early in the cold morning of January 12, a masked
mob of some two hundred dragged John Richards from his
jail cell in Wayne County, North Carolina. He was accused
of the murder of a local farmer named Anderson Gurley.
According to local newspaper accounts, he was taken to the
scene of Gurley's murder and hanged. This photo puts that
account in doubt. Richards is suspended from a deciduous
tree by a rope secured under his arms. His pants are
lowered, and a cloth is draped over the front of his body. It
is more likely that he was castrated and died from the
gunfire that "almost cut his body to pieces." 170
1916 - On January 15, Will Warren was lynched for
“ slapping white boys” in Garland, Arkansas.
1916 - On January 21, John Seymour and four members of the Lake family — Felix, Frank,
Dewey and Marvin (sometimes written Major) — were lynched by a mob in Sylvester, Georgia
on suspicion of killing the local sheriff. Subsequent investigation revealed all five men were
1916 - On January 24, Richard Burton was lynched for assault and robbery in Boyds, Alabama.
1916 - On January 28, Richard Anderson was lynched for rape in Ocala, Florida.
1916 - On February 12, Marvin Harris was lynched for murder in Macon, Georgia.
1916 - On February 16, Emma Goldman was arrested in New York for lecturing on birth control.
1916 - On February 25, Jesse McCortele was lynched for attempted rape in Cartersville, Georgia.
1916 - On March 6, William Whitley was lynched for murder in Lebanon, Tennessee.
1916 - On March 15, 16-year-old Percy Ellis was electrocuted for murder by the government of
1916 - On March 18, Jeff Brown was lynched for attempted rape in West Point, Mississippi.
1916 - On March 20, Ota Benga, an African man (pygmy) kept in the Bronx Zoo, killed himself.
1916 - On April 3, Oscar Martin was lynched in Idabel, Oklahoma.
1916 - On April 3, Fayette Chandler was lynched for murder in St. Charles, Missouri.
1916 - On April 5, Joseph Black was lynched for making threats in Kinston, North Carolina.
1916 - On April 9, Pvt. J. Wade was lynched in Del Rio, Texas.
1916 - On April 9, Carl Dudley was lynched in Lawton, Oklahoma.
1916 - On April 16, John Dykes was lynched for murder in Washington, Florida.
1916 - His name was Jesse Washington, a 17-year-old who was born in rural Texas in 1897. He
worked on a farm outside Waco which belonged to George and Lucy Fryer. In May 1916,
Washington was convicted in City Court of murdering Lucy Fryer. During the proceedings, he
apologized and confessed to the crime. The jury deliberated for four minutes, and the guilty
verdict was read to shouts of, "Get that Nigger!" At the end of the trial, Washington was
sentenced to death by hanging. Residents, however, were already in an uproar over the crime. A
black man who attacked a white woman in any way whatsoever during that era in the South
evoked little sympathy from the public.
Within five minutes of the sentencing, dozens of court spectators jumped the railing, fought
with officials and seized the terrified defendant. He was immediately set upon by a vicious gang
using clubs, shovels and bricks. He was stripped naked and dragged kicking and screaming to the
lawn directly in front of City Hall. Townspeople had already built a giant bonfire underneath a
large tree. The crowd was later estimated to be as large as 15,000 people. They climbed up poles
and onto the tops of cars, hung from windows, and sat on each other's shoulders. Children were
lifted by their parents into the air. Included in the cheering multitude was the Police Chief and
the Mayor of Waco. Other police officers also stood by during the sickening ordeal which played
out in the symbolic shadow of City Hall.
Washington was castrated, and his ears were cut off. He was immersed in coal oil, hoisted
up onto the tree and slowly lowered into the fire. Wailing, the boy attempted to climb the skillet-
hot chain. For this the men cut off his fingers. The executioners repeatedly lowered the boy into
the flames and hoisted him out again. With each repetition, a mighty shout was raised. Some of
the spectators cut off fingers and toes from the corpse as souvenirs. His charred corpse was
dumped into a burlap bag and hung for public display in front of a blacksmith shop.
The Waco lynching focused national attention, once again, in 1916 on the problem of
lynching: a systemic, persistent and horrifying practice that was rampant throughout the South
for decades. These killings were often committed with the full knowledge, and sometimes with
the active assistance, of law enforcement people. Lynchings were also treated as entertainment
events and like the Waco incident, often attended by thousands of onlookers. Most took place in
the Deep South but lynchings were common and recorded in over 26 states, including Illinois
and North Dakota. The problem became so widespread that it was addressed by several
Presidents and eventually the Supreme Court. However, rather than condemn lynch law, the
Supreme Court seemed to effect rulings that reaffirmed a segregated America. Court decisions
during this era perpetuated the atmosphere of
violence, fostered the notion of white supremacy
and cultivated mistrust of Washington. But the
origins of lynching do not rest in federal court,
nor can it be blamed, as Southern newspapers
often reported, on government’ s failure to apply
Lynching arose from the ashes of a ruthless
and costly war that pitted brother against brother
and father against son. The Civil War left a trail
of blood and bitterness that twisted its way
through successive generations and set the stage
for a frenzy of so called mob justice that killed
thousands of men, women and children, most of
them black. And between the years 1880 and
1905, a period of twenty-five years, not one
person was ever convicted of any crime
associated with these killings. Lynchings are, in
effect, the most extensive series of unsolved
murders in American history. 62, 170
1916 - On May 5, Thomas Dixon was lynched in Hempstead, Texas.
1916 - On May 25, U. G. Tally was lynched in McNary, Louisiana.
1916 - On May 26, Felix M. Gilmore was lynched for attempted assault in Prescott, Arkansas.
1916 - On June 2, 16-year-old Robert Kitchens was hanged for murder by the government of
1916 - On June 20, Jeronimo Lerma was lynched in Brownsville, Texas.
1916 - On July 1, Lemuel Weeks was lynched in Pickensville, Alabama.
1916 - On August 4, Lazarus Rouse was lynched in Lenoir, North Carolina.
1916 - On August 7, Stephen Brown was lynched in Seymour, Texas.
1916 - On August 9, a black man was lynched for attempted criminal assault in Stuttgart,
1916 - On August 18, Jim Dennis was lynched for being an accessory to murder in Newberry,
1916 - On August 19, Josh Baskins, Mary Dennis, Bert Dennis, Mrs. Boisy Long, Andrew
McHenry and Stella Young were lynched for being accessories to murder in Newberry, Florida.
1916 - On August 19, Edward Lang was lynched in Rice, Texas.
1916 - On August 21, Lewis was lynched for burglary in Valdosta, Georgia.
1916 - On August 26, Jesse Hammett was lynched for attempted rape in Vivian, Louisiana.
1916 - The Biggest Lynching in
A murder was committed and the
guilty party was hung by the neck until
dead, without benefit of trial, by the
good citizens of Erwin, Tennessee on
According to circus posters of the
day, Big Mary, at 5 tons, was said to be
the biggest elephant in captivity and
was one of the stars of Sparks World
Famous Shows. The details of her
crime(s) have gotten lost in history.
Ripley's Believe It Or Not, in 1938, said
Mary was responsible for killing 3
people. Other rumors said 8. All that is
known for sure is that she killed her
trainer, one Walter "Red" Eldridge, on
September 12. Attempts to shoot her to
death failed so it was decided to hang
her from a railroad derrick car until she
was dead. A crowd of between 2,500 to
5,000 witnessed the vigilante justice.
1916 - On September 21, Henry White
was lynched for miscegenetic rape in
1916 - On September 26, Peter Hudson
and Elijah Sturgis were lynched for murder in Cuthbert, Georgia.
1916 - On September 28, Manuel Carter and Wiley Tedwell were lynched for murder in Lewis,
1916 - On September 29, Moxie Shuler was lynched for attempted rape in Bainbridge, Georgia.
1916 - On September 29, two people were lynched for being accessories to murder in Gordon,
1916 - On September 29, John Foreman and a person named Powell were lynched in Nowata,
1916 - On October 3, Allen Nance was lynched for murderous assault in Greenwood,
1916 - On October 4, the California State Federation of Labor maintained its policy of banning
Japanese workers from joining labor unions.
1916 - On October 4, Mary Conley was lynched for complicity in a murder in Leary, Georgia.
1916 - On October 5, William Spencer was lynched in Graceton, Texas.
1916 - On October 7, Charles Smith was lynched for wounding a deputy in Sandersville,
1916 - On October 8, Frank Dodd was lynched for insulting women in Dewitt, Arkansas.
1916 - On October 16, Luther Durrett was lynched for “ criticizing the mob” in McCracken,
1916 - On October 16, Brock Henley and James Thornton were lynched for rape in Paducah,
1916 - On October 16, Margaret Sanger opened the first U.S. birth control clinic, at 46 Amboy
Street in Brooklyn. Staffed by her sister Ethel Byrne and a co-worker named Fania Mindell, the
clinic dispensed advice to the hundreds of women who lined up. It remained open ten days. A
police decoy asked for information.
The next day, October 26, three plainsclothesmen from the vice squad arrived and arrested
all three women. Sanger went to trial and received a sentence of 30 days in the workhouse. Upon
her release, she was picked up in a limousine and taken to a luncheon of influential women. She
had become a national figure. The cause of birth control had a martyr and a bible. Family
Limitation would be translated into 13 languages; some 10 million copies would be distributed
over the next few years. On the other hand, her 1931 My Fight for Birth Control has also been
banned. 14, 61
1916 - On October 21, Anthony Crawford was lynched for murderous assault in Abbeville,
1916 - On October 22, police in New York City raided an all-male Turkish bath after agents
from the New York Society for the Prevention of Vice, who had infiltrated the establishment,
filed a detailed report. Thirty-seven men, including the manager, were arrested. Twenty-five of
them were convicted and sentenced to prison. 250
1916 - On November 5, Joseph Johnson was lynched in Bay City, Texas.
1916 - On November 5, seven IWW union activists were killed and scores wounded in an
Everett, Washington massacre when police attacked a group of 280 picketers arriving on a ferry
from Seattle. 74 union members were charged with murder in the incident; charges were later
1916 - On November 15, James Grant was lynched for murder in St. Landry, Louisiana.
1916 - On November 29, Buck Thomas was lynched in Clarksville, Texas.
1916 - On December 7, the manager of a New York City Turkish bathhouse for men committed
suicide after vice police raided the establishment and arrested 37 men. 250
1917 - The Espionage Act of this year was used to ban Marxist magazines from the mails. It was
soon followed by the Sedition Act. Eugene Debs was sent to prison for opposing the war under
the Espionage Act.
1917 - Chicago’ s Real Estate Board not only proposed explicit housing segregation by race, but
also petitioned the city council to pass an ordinance prohibiting further migration of blacks to
Chicago until such a time as the city could work out “ reasonable restrictions” sufficient to
“ prevent lawlessness, destruction of values and property, and loss of life.”
1917 - Jeanette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. 249
1917 - Arizona passed an Immigration Law which defined a geographic "barred zone" (including
India) from which no immigrants could come. 238
1917 - A Georgia appellate court ruled that cunnilingus performed by a male violated the state’ s
sodomy law. 4
1917 - A Georgia appellate court rejected the contention of a man and woman that only people of
the same sex can commit sodomy. 4
1917 - The Russian people revolted and once again have the freedom to engage in sodomy. 4
1917 - Florida passed a law, separate from its “ crime against nature” law, to outlaw “ unnatural
and lascivious acts.” The penalty for it was a misdemeanor. 4
1917 - The North Dakota Supreme Court sustained a conviction for cunnilingus under its
sodomy law. This was the first conviction for cunnilingus to be sustained on appeal in the United
1917 - An Oklahoma appellate court ruled that fellatio is a “ crime against nature.”
1917 - Pennsylvania passed a new law outlawing oral sex, clearing up the confusion as to the
constitutionality of its 1879 law. 4
1917 - Pennsylvania outlawed solicitation to commit sodomy. 4
1917 - The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld the sodomy conviction of a man who claimed
that, since he is 52 years old and a father, he could not possibly be guilty of sodomy. The Court
agreed that it is difficult to believe, but did not question the jury’ s finding. 4
1917 - A Georgia appellate court reversed a man’ s conviction for assault to commit sodomy for
soliciting another man and touching his crotch. 4
1917 - The first cunnilingus conviction to stand was in 1917 in a case from North Dakota. In that
state, the sodomy law had been expanded to cover any person who “ carnally knows” another
person “ by or with the mouth” and this was the only reason the North Dakota Supreme Court
could uphold the conviction.
It chose not to discuss the issue at length. Instead, it referred readers of its short opinion to
Richard Krafft-Ebing’ s Psychopathia Sexualis to learn more. 9
1917 - Thirteen (13) more state governments have joined the bandwagon in banning red-light
1917 - Secretary of War Newton Baker ordered the closing of all bawdy houses within five miles
of a naval base. New Orleans’ Storyville was shuttered; the Barbary Coast in San Francisco had
received the same treatment earlier. They would remain banned after the war’ s end. Baker
banned the sale of alcohol on military bases. Local purity movements forced dancehalls to close
in town after town. 61
1917 - Florida Governor Sidney Catts (1917-1921) had been elected on a platform that was anti-
Catholic and anti-black. Once in office, he publicly labeled black residents as part of “ an
inferior race,” and refused to criticize two lynchings in 1919. When the NAACP complained
about these lynchings, Catts wrote denouncing the organization and blacks generally, declaring
that, “ Your Race is always harping on the disgrace it brings to the state by a concourse of white
people taking revenge for the dishonoring of a white woman, when if you would teach your
people not to kill our white officers and disgrace our white women, you would keep down a
thousand times greater disgrace.” 91
1917 - The Selective Service Act was drafted by Brigadier General Hugh Johnson after the
United States entered the First World War. The law authorized President Woodrow Wilson to
raise a volunteer infantry force of not more than four divisions.
All males between the ages of 21 and 30 were required to register for military service. By
September 12, 1918, 23,908,566 men had registered. Around 4,000,000 men were ultimately
drafted into the armed services. Of these, 50 percent served overseas during the war. 36
1917 - Congress enacted the Uniform Flag Act of 1917, which provided: “ No person shall
publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, trample upon, or by word or act cast contempt upon any
such flag, standard, color, ensign or shield.” 98
1917 - Once the Yanks arrived in Europe a new problem appeared. Americans came into direct
contact with the sexual mores of decadent —or enlightened —Europe. Fliers urged: “ The U.S.
government is permitting you to go on leave, not in order that you may sow wild oats, but to give
you an opportunity to improve your health, and advance your education.
“ If you become intoxicated, associate with prostitutes or contract a venereal disease, you
are guilty of a moral crime. Wouldn’ t it profit you more to purchase with that money a little gift
for mother, wife, sister, or sweetheart? Do not let booze, a pretty face, a shapely ankle make you
forget. The American Expeditionary Force must not take European disease to America. You
must go home clean.”
But the threat of venereal infection was only one cause of alarm. One officer, who sent
investigators to interview French prostitutes and discovered that Americans preferred a certain
sex act above all others, deplored the twisted impulse known as “ the French way” (a
euphemism for oral sex): “ When one thinks of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of
young men who have returned to the U.S. with those new and degenerate ideas sapping their
sources of self-respect and thereby lessening their powers of moral resistance, one is indeed
justified in becoming alarmed.” 61
Oral sex had already been banned by many state governments in “ The Land of the Free.”
Even today, it remains banned in some states.
1917 - The all-Japanese Company D, 1st Hawaiian Regiment of Infantry, was formed in Hawai'i
to serve in World War I. There were also Chinese Americans who served in WWI.
About 500 Chinese people served as logistic support for General Pershing when he chased
after Mexican Pancho De Villa in 1916. These Chinese returned to the U.S. with Pershing
because Pancho De Villa put a price their heads for helping General Pershing. General Pershing
attempted to give them U.S. citizenship as a reward but Congress denied that. General Pershing
was able to procure Permanent Resident status for these Chinese soldiers at a later date.
Prior to and during WWI, the U.S. Navy allowed Filipino enlistees to serve under a range of
military occupational rating such as petty officer, band master, musician, coxswains' mates,
seamen, machinist, fireman, water tender, commissary stewards, officer's stewards and mess
After WWI, the United States Navy issued new rulings restricting Filipinos, even those with
college education, to the rating of officer stewards and mess attendant. These military
occupational discrimination practices were stopped in the 1970's when there was a senatorial
investigation of the use of stewards in the military due to pressure from the civil rights
1917 - On January 4, a black man was lynched for attempted rape in Greeley, Alabama.
1917 - On January 12, 16-year-old Harris Sutton was hanged for rape by the government of
1917 - On February 5, Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson's veto of the Immigration
Act (aka the "Barred Zone" Act), a law severely curtailing the immigration of Asians. Literacy
tests were required.
The Act excluded from immigration into the U.S. "persons of constitutional psychopathic
inferiority." This wording was construed to include homosexuals. 243
The Act prohibited Indian (South Asian) laborers from entering the United States on the
basis that India and all of Asia (except Japan and the Philippines) existed in the "barred zone." 238
1917 - On February 8, James Smith was lynched for murder in Proctor, Arkansas.
1917 - On February 28, Emma Hooper was lynched for murderous assault in Hammond,
1917 - On March 1, Linton Clinton was lynched by a mob in Meigs, Georgia for “ scaring a little
white girl.” Clinton, an illiterate former convict, scared the child by asking her to read him a
1917 - At his inauguration on March 5, President Woodrow Wilson said: “ . . . I pray God I may
be given the wisdom and the prudence to do my duty in the true spirit of this great people.” 26
1917 - On March 12, William Sanders was lynched in Maysville, Kentucky.
1917 - On March 15, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the Eight-Hour Act under threat of a
railway strike. 235
1917 - On March 19, William Thomas was lynched for murder in Lauderdale, Tennessee.
1917 - On March 28, Joe Nowling was lynched in Pelham, Georgia.
1917 - On March 29, S. G. Garner was lynched in Kissimmee, Florida.
1917 - On April 1, some 4,000 pro-war demonstrators stormed a meeting of the American
League Against Militarism in Baltimore and threatened to hang the participants, including
Stanford University Chancellor David Starr Jordan.
1917 - In May, the film The Spirit of ’ 76, produced by Robert Goldstein, opened in Los
Angeles. The film celebrated the American Revolution but showed the British in an unfavorable
light and with the United States involved in World War I on the side of the British, federal
officials accused Goldstein of producing "pro-German" propaganda. In 1918, Goldstein was
arrested for violating the Espionage Act and sentenced to 10 years. He served three.
1917 - On May 11, Henry Brooks was lynched in Shreveport, Louisiana.
1917 - On May 20, Lawrence Dempsey was lynched for assault in Fulton, Kentucky.
1917 - On May 22, Eli Person’ s decapitated head was placed on a post near a bridge, then taken
down and driven in an automobile to a busy intersection in downtown Memphis, Tennessee,
where white supremacists threw it at a group of African-American pedestrians, shouting, “ Take
this with our compliments.” Photographs of the head, with ears, nose, and lower lip severed,
were available for twenty-five cents. The head itself was briefly displayed in a Memphis
1917 - On June 1, Van Haynes was lynched for murder in Columbia, Mississippi.
1917 - On June 2, Pratt Hempton was lynched in Columbia, Mississippi.
1917 - On June 16, Henry Conley was lynched in Holdenville, Oklahoma.
1917 - On June 22, Benjamin Harper was lynched in Courtney, Texas.
1917 - On June 23, Elijah Hays was lynched in Reisel, Texas.
1917 - On June 24, the IWW Domestic Workers (Maids) Union reported they were supplying
sandwiches to dozens of draft resisters in the Duluth, Minnesota jail. 235
1917 - On June 24, Shepherd Trent was lynched for attempted rape in Punta Gorda, Florida.
1917 - On June 25, Charles Sawyer was lynched in Galveston, Texas.
1917 - On June 29, Robert Jefferson was lynched in Temple, Texas.
1917 - On June 29, W. E. B. DuBois led a silent march by blacks against lynching in New York
1917 - The East St. Louis, Illinois riot was touched off by the fear of white working men that
Negro advances in economic, political and social status were threatening their own status. When
the labor force of an aluminum plant went on strike in April, the company hired Negro workers.
Although the strike was crushed by a combination of militia, injunctions, and both black and
white strike breakers, the union blamed its defeat on the blacks. A union meeting in May
demanded that “ East St. Louis must remain a white man’ s town.” A riot followed, sparked by
a white man, during which mobs demolished buildings and blacks were attacked and beaten.
Policemen did little more than take the injured to hospitals and disarm Negroes. Harassments and
beatings continued through June.
On July 1, some whites in a Ford drove through the main Negro district, shooting into
homes. Blacks armed themselves. When a police car, also a Ford, drove down the street to
investigate, the blacks fired on it, killing two policemen. The next day, as reports of the shooting
spread, a new riot began. Streetcars were stopped, blacks were pulled off, stoned, clubbed,
kicked and shot. Other rioters set fire to black homes. Over 300 buildings valued above $500,000
were destroyed in the black section of town. By midnight the black section was in flames and
blacks were fleeing the city. The official casualty figures were 9 white and 39 black dead,
hundreds wounded, but the NAACP investigators estimated that 100-200 blacks were killed.
Over 300 buildings were destroyed. 69
The horror of the massacre is told in the eyewitness accounts of over fifty people
interviewed by Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the eyewitness accounts of white news reporters. What
follows is a brief synopsis of a report entitled “ History of the East St. Louis, Illinois, Riot”
written by Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
This report was held under seal by the U.S. Government as “ classified information” and
the U.S. Government did not de-classify this report until 1986. The first three stories were told to
Wells-Barnett as she traveled back and forth from East St. Louis to St. Louis, taking women with
trunks of their wearing apparel, which they were able to salvage from their ransacked and burned
out homes in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Mrs. Emma Ballard said men and boys were in the street hollering “ come out, niggers” as
they roamed up and down in the black American district. They shot and beat every black
American found on the streets Monday night. She saw fourteen men beaten and two killed.
Mrs. Mary Howard said that during the riot a young fellow whom she had sent to the
grocery to get a chicken was knocked off his wheel by the mob. Then the mob took his wheel
and struck him on the side of his head with a brick and knocked a hole in it. His name was
Jimmie Eckford, eighteen years old and he roomed at her house. He ran into the nearest yard
which happened to be that of white people. When the mob said they would burn this house down
if they didn’ t make Mr. Eckford come out, the tenants picked him up and threw him out in the
street to the mob. Where he was kicked and stamped on and beaten till they knocked his teeth
from his head and killed him.
The street cars ran right along in front of Mrs. Howard’ s house, and she saw white women
stop the street cars and pull black American women off and beat them. One woman’ s clothes
they tore off entirely, and then took off their shoes and beat her over the face and head with their
shoe heels. Another woman who got away, ran down the street, with every stitch of clothes torn
off her back, leaving her with only her shoes and stocking on. Mrs. Howard saw two men beaten
She had escaped all excepting having rocks thrown at the house, until a solider humiliated
her by coming into her house and arresting her and the other women there, because they
couldn’ t find any guns concealed. In the Chicago Herald, July 4, a white reporter wrote that the
National Guards were lax and cruelly good-natured.
In one instance a corpulent black American woman brought up the rear of procession and
for several blocks a white boy, one of the gang of stone-throwing mischief-makers, who
followed every squad, was beating her with an iron bar at intervals of a few yards. She did not
dare to protest or to resist. She was even too frightened to scream. At last a white man, probably
a nonresident of East St. Louis, called the attention of a guardsman to the outrage, and he
laughingly drove the boy off.
The square block from Broadway and Eighth streets was burned to an ash heap. On that
corner stood a black American commercial building containing a grocery and barber shop. The
vanguard of the rioters invaded these stores and found a black American crouching timorously in
each. The armed invaders drove the two black Americans out through the back doors and there
they were shot down and left to be burned alive. The shots were fired from militia rifles by
Dozens of men who saw it done today loudly proclaimed it so, slapped their thighs and said
the Illinois National Guard was alright. Another white newspaper said boys 13, 14, 15 and 16
were in the forefront of every felonious butchery. Girls and women, wielding bloody knives and
clawing at the eyes of dying victims, sprang from the ranks of the mad thousands. Another
eyewitness, Mr. Carlos F. Hurd of St. Louis, Mo., a white staff reporter, wrote and published a
part of what he saw in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 3.
For an hour and a half on July 2, Mr. Hurd saw the massacre of helpless black Americans at
Broadway and Fourth street, in downtown East St. Louis, where a black skin was a death
warrant. Mr. Hurd saw man after man, with hands raised, pleading for his life, surrounded by
groups of men; men who had never seen him before and knew nothing about him except that he
was black American; and saw them administer the historic sentence of intolerance, death by
Mr. Hurd saw one of these men, almost dead from a savage shower of stones, hanged with a
clothes line, and when it broke, hanged with a rope which held. Within a few spaces of the pole
from which he was suspended, four other black Americans lay dead or dying, another had been
removed dead, a short time before. Mr. Hurd saw the pockets of two of these black Americans
searched, without the finding of any weapon. Mr. Hurd saw one of these men, covered with
blood and half conscious, raise himself on his elbow, and look feebly about, when a young man,
standing directly behind, lifted a flat stone and hurled it directly upon his neck. This young man
was much better dressed than most of the others. He walked away unmolested.
Mr. Hurd saw black American women begging for mercy and pleading that they had
harmed no one, set upon by white women of the baser sort, who laughed and answered the
course sallies of men as they beat the women faces and breasts with fists, stones and sticks. “ Get
a nigger,” was the slogan, and it was varied by the recurrent cry, “ Get another.” It was nothing
so much as the holiday crowd, with thumbs turned down, in the Roman Coliseum, except that
here the shouters were their own gladiators, and their own wild beasts.
The sheds in the rear of black American houses, which were themselves in the rear of the
main buildings on Fourth Street, had been ignited to drive out the black American occupants of
the houses. And the slayers were waiting for them to come out. It was stay in and be roasted, or
come out and be slaughtered. A moment before Mr. Hurd arrived, one black American had taken
the desperate chance of coming out and the rattle of revolver shots, which Mr. Hurd heard as he
approached the corner, was followed by the cry, “ They’ ve got him,” and they had. He laid on
the pavement, a bullet wound in his head and his skull bare in two places. At every movement of
pain which showed that life still remained, there came a terrific kick in the jaw or the nose, or a
crashing stone, from some of the men who stood over him.
At the corner, a few steps away, were a Sergeant and several guard men. The Sergeant
approached the ring of men around the prostrate black American. “ This man is done for,” he
said. “ You’ re better get him away from here.” No one made a move to lift the blood-covered
form, and the Sergeant walked away. When Mr. Hurd questioned him about an ambulance, he
said, “ that the ambulances had quit coming.” However, an undertaker’ s ambulance did come
15 minutes later, and took away the lifeless black American, who had in the meantime been
further kicked and stoned.
The mob then turned to see a lynching. A black American who had his head laid open by a
great stone-cut had been dragged to the mouth of the alley on Fourth Street and a small rope was
being tied about his neck. It broke when it was pulled over a projecting cable, letting the black
American fall. A stouter rope was secured. Right there Mr. Hurd his most sickening sight of the
evening. To put the rope around the black American’ s neck, one of the lynch men stuck his
fingers inside the gaping scalp and lifted the black American’ s head by it. “ Get hold and pull
for East St. Louis,” called a man with a black coat and a new straw hat on as he seized the other
end of the rope, and lifted the body seven feet from the ground, and left it hanging there.
A mob of white men formed and burned all the black American houses on Bond Avenue
between Tenth and Twelfth Streets, 43 houses being destroyed. In the fire zone at Sixth and
Broadway two black Americans are reported to have burned to death. At Fifth and Railroad,
another death by fire was reported.
One of the mid-afternoon killings was at 4 o’ clock, at Broadway and Main Street. A black
American was shot down. One of those firing on him being a boy in short trousers. The driver of
the first ambulance that came was not permitted to remove this body, and it layed for an hour
beside the street car tracks seen by the passengers in every passing car.
At 9:30 that morning a black American still living, but in critical condition, was found in a
sewer manhole at Sixth Street and Broadway. He was beaten by the mob with paving bricks 13
hours before and thrown in. The two-year old black American child who was killed was the
daughter of William Forest of 1118 Division Ave. A bullet fired into the house entered the body
near the heart.
The following stories were told to Ida B. Wells-Barnett after she met with Illinois Governor
Lowden on July 9. He told her to return to St. Louis to get him the names of people who would
testify. John Avant said, he worked at the C.B. & Q. He was with about twenty-five other black
Americans who got off of work on Tuesday morning. They were sitting or standing around the
restaurant where they usually ate, when six soldiers and four or five policemen came upon them
suddenly and shot into the crowd, wounding six. One of the number has since died.
They also were searched and even had their pocket knives taken from them. One of the
shots fired took off an arm of a woman who was working in this restaurant. One of the half
dozen men standing around told Wells-Barnett that he saw a woman and two children killed, also
her husband. That they were going across the bridge and the mob seized the baby out of her arms
and threw it into the river. Frank Brown said, he saw a man hit a black American with a piece of
iron and shoot him four times in the stomach.
Mrs. Mary Lewis said she saw the mob kill a man a few doors away. The mob had broken
windows in her house and set it on fire, shooting into it. Her sister was in the house, but escaped,
being shot, and was badly stoned. Her husband, though shot, got up and ran about 40 feet before
they finished him. William Lues, an employee of the Wabash R.R.CO., was on his way home
from work, sitting between his employer and his employer’ s son in the street car, when the mob
grabbed him, shot him to pieces and then put a rope around his neck and dragged him in the
James Taylor said, the mob started at 2:30. At 4:15 they hanged two black Americans who
were coming from work, to a telegraph pole and shot them to pieces. He saw them rush to cars
and pull women off and beat them to death, and before they were quite dead. Stalwart men
jumped on their stomachs and finished them by trampling them to death. This was at the corner
of Broadway and Collinville. The cars were crowded and moving, yet they jumped on and pulled
Others they stuck to death with hat pins, sometimes picking out their eyes with them before
they were quite dead. An old black American woman between 70 and 80 years old who had
returned to her house to get some things, was struck almost to death by women, then men
stamped her to death. A black American store keeper at Eighth and Broadway with his family
was shot and wounded. The store was set on fire and they burned to death. George Launders and
Robert Mosely were burned to death at the Library Flats at Eighth and Walnut.
Black American men had their fingers cut off by the mob and their heads split open with
axes. Will Morgan, employed at the B&O Roundhouse, saw the mob make the black Americans
swim into the Cahokia River, then shoot them, one being killed instantly. The others managed to
struggle back to shore, only to be stoned to death by children. Mr. Buchanan said he saw them
beat men down with revolvers and clubs; white men knocked black American women down, and
then the white women would finish by beating them to death or nearly so.
Every black American man that he saw get out of Black Valley alive, the soldiers would
march them to the police station, badly beaten though they were, and scarcely able to walk, with
their hands raised in front of them and afraid to turn their heads. The mob threw bricks at their
heads and bodies, because the soldiers had their bayonets pointed at either side of them. They did
the women the same way, excepting their hands were not raised in front of them.
They were dodging around the soldiers to keep the mob from hitting them with bricks,
stones and sticks. Their clothing badly torn. An Associated Press dispatch of July 10 from East
St. Louis had the following: “ A man arrested by Capt. O.C. Smith, F Company, police,
ostensibly ‘ on order of the state’ s attorney.’ Captain Smith asserted that he heard the man
say,” I’ ve killed my share of Negroes today. I have killed so many I am tired and somebody
else can finish them.” When Capt. Smith went to the police station yesterday to prefer a formal
charge he found that the prisoner had been released.”
This was just a small part of the horror of the racial massacre which occurred on July 2,
1917 in East St. Louis, Illinois. It’ s estimated that from 40 to 150 black Americans were killed
and that 6,000 black Americans were driven from their homes, that were indiscriminately
burned. All the impartial witnesses agree that the police were indifferent or encouraged the
barbarities, and that the major part of the Illinois National Guard was indifferent or inactive. No
organized effort was made to protect the black Americans or disperse the murdering groups. 97
1917 - On July 3, Gilbert Guidry was lynched in Orange, Texas.
1917 - On July 10, Marvin Ruffin was lynched in Edgard, Louisiana.
1917 - On July 11, in order to break up a copper mine strike, several thousand vigilantes rounded
up 1,186 IWW members in Bisbee, Arizona; they were "deported" into the Sonoran desert.
Patriotism and support for the war effort were cited as reasons for the action. 235
1917 - On July 16, a black man was lynched for burglary in Reform, Alabama.
1917 - On July 23, a black man was lynched in Elysian Fields, Texas.
1917 - On July 23, Poe Hibbler was lynched for entering a girl's room in Pickens County,
1917 - On July 24, Jesse and William Powell were lynched for making threats in Letohatchee,
1917 - On July 25, 5 Americans were lynched in Chester, Pennsylvania.
1917 - On July 28, Will Woods, a white contractor who lived in Texarkana, Arkansas was beaten
and shot over a livestock dispute with a black man, one Andrew Avery. Woods, though badly
wounded, lay in the brush for 36 hours before he was found. He told his rescuers that Avery
attacked him without warning and shot him in an attempt to steal the livestock. Avery was
captured by local deputies in Shepherd, Arkansas about 16 miles north of Texarkana. The police
were taking Avery to the local jail when they were intercepted by a mob of 40 men in cars who
seized him at gunpoint. Avery was beaten, tortured and later hung from a tree in the center of
Garland City. No one was ever identified or arrested. The Arkansas Gazette reported the incident
NEGRO IS LYNCHED AT GARLAND CITY — Brutally attacked a White Man Saturday
“ Special to the Gazette, Garland City, July 30. Andrew Avery the Negro who shot and fatally
wounded Will Woods, a white man, near here Saturday morning, was hanged by a mob in the
heart of town tonight at 9:45. About 40 men were in the party. The Lynching was conducted in a
Such was the treatment that lynching received in some publications. The press was always
quick to identify the race of offender and victim. Guilt of the offender was assumed and the word
“ alleged” rarely appeared in the story. This was a practice that was repeated in many
newspapers and was not simply indigenous to the South at all. This pandering to the mob is
significant because the manner in which lynching was reported tended to support or at least
condone the practice of vigilante justice. Due process of law was rarely mentioned in lynching
accounts. Of course, it could be said that the press coverage was simply a reflection of society’ s
values and beliefs and therefore devoid of any conspiratorial nature. But the print media, then the
major and almost the only source of news during the late 19th century, set the tone and molded
public understanding of the issues. 62
1917 - On July 29, Daniel and Jerry Rout were lynched for murder in Amite, Louisiana.
1917 - On August 8, Aaron Jimerson was lynched for shooting a man in Ashdown, Arkansas.
1917 - On August 17, William Page was lynched in Lilian, Virginia.
1917 - On August 22, Charles Jones was lynched in Marshall, Texas.
1917 - On August 23, W. T. Sims was lynched for making a seditious utterance in York, South
1917 - Shortly after the United States declared war on Germany, the War Department, taking
advantage of the temperate climate and newly opened Houston Ship Channel, ordered two
military installations built in Harris County-Camp Logan and Ellington Field. The Illinois
National Guard was to train at Camp Logan, located on the northwest outskirts of the city. To
guard the construction site, on July 27, 1917, the Army ordered the Third Battalion of the black
Twenty-fourth United States Infantry to travel by train with seven white officers from the
regimental encampment at Columbus, New Mexico, to Houston.
From the outset, the black contingent faced racial discrimination when they received passes
to go into the city. A majority of the men had been raised in the South and were familiar with
segregation, but as Army servicemen they expected equal treatment. Those individuals
responsible for keeping order, especially the police, streetcar conductors, and public officials,
viewed the presence of black soldiers as a threat to racial harmony. Many Houstonians thought
that if the black soldiers were shown the same respect as white soldiers, black residents of the
city might come to expect similar treatment. Black soldiers were willing to abide by the legal
restrictions imposed by segregated practices, but they resented the manner in which the laws
were enforced. They disliked having to stand in the rear of streetcars when vacant seats were
available in the “ white” section and resented the racial slurs hurled at them by white laborers at
Camp Logan. Some police officers regularly harassed black Americans, both soldiers and
civilians. Most black Houstonians concealed their hostility and endured the abuse, but a number
of black soldiers openly expressed their resentment. The police recognized the plight of the
enlisted men, but did little to alert civil authorities to the growing tensions. When they sought
ways to keep the enlisted men at the camp, the blacks disliked this exchange of their freedom for
On August 23, 1917, a riot erupted in Houston. Near noon, two policemen arrested a black
soldier for interfering with their arrest of a black woman in the Fourth Ward. Early in the
afternoon, when Cpl. Charles Baltimore, one of the twelve black military policemen with the
battalion, inquired about the soldier’ s arrest, words were exchanged and the policeman hit
Baltimore over the head. The MPs fled. The police fired at Baltimore three times, chased him
into an unoccupied house, and took him to police headquarters. Though he was soon released, a
rumor quickly reached Camp Logan that he had been shot and killed.
A group of soldiers decided to march on the police station in the Fourth Ward and secure
his release. If the police could assault a model soldier like Baltimore, they reasoned, none of
them was safe from abuse. Maj. Kneeland S. Snow, battalion commander, initially discounted
the news of impending trouble. Around 8 p.m. Sgt. Vida Henry of I Company confirmed the
rumors, and Kneeland ordered the first sergeants to collect all rifles and search the camp for
loose ammunition. During this process, a soldier suddenly screamed that a white mob was
approaching the camp. Black soldiers rushed into the supply tents, grabbed rifles, and began
firing wildly in the direction of supposed mob. The white officers found it impossible to restore
order. Sergeant Henry led over 100 armed soldiers toward downtown Houston by way of
Brunner Avenue and San Felipe Street and into the Fourth Ward.
In their two-hour march on the city, the mutinous blacks killed fifteen whites, including four
policemen, and seriously wounded twelve others, one of whom, a policeman, subsequently died.
Four black soldiers also died. Two were accidentally shot by their own men, one in camp and the
other on San Felipe Street. After they had killed Capt. Joseph Mattes of the Illinois National
Guard, obviously mistaking him for a policeman, the blacks began quarreling over a course of
action. After two hours, Henry advised the men to slip back into camp in the darkness — and
then shot himself in the head.
Early next morning, August 24, civil authorities imposed a curfew in Houston. On the 25th,
the Army hustled the Third Battalion aboard a train to Columbus, New Mexico. There, seven
black mutineers agreed to testify against the others in exchange for clemency. Between
November 1, 1917, and March 26, 1918, the army held three separate courts-martial in the
chapel at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The military tribunals indicted 118 enlisted men of I
Company for participating in the mutiny and riot, and found 110 guilty. It was wartime, and the
sentences were harsh. Nineteen mutinous soldiers were hanged and 63 received life sentences in
federal prison. One was judged incompetent to stand trial. Two white officers faced courts-
martial, but they were released. No white civilians were brought to trial. 96
1917 - On August 24, Lawrence Sheppard was lynched in Memphis, Tennessee.
1917 - On August 28, 10 suffragists were arrested as they picketed the White House. On
November 10, 41 more were arrested there.
1917 - On September 3, Charles Jenning was lynched in Beaumont, Texas.
1917 - On September 5, in 48 coordinated raids across the country, federal agents seized records
and arrested hundreds of IWW (Wobbly) activists for the crime of labor organizing and
"obstructing" World War I. 235
1917 - On September 13, Samuel Gates was lynched for making indecent proposals to girls in
1917 - On September 18, Rufus Moncrief was lynched for rape in Whitehall, Georgia.
1917 - On September 21, Bertram Smith was lynched in Goose Creek, Texas.
1917 - On September 28, 165 IWW (International Workers of the World) (Wobblies) were
indicted for protesting World War I. It was the first move in an illegal but successful U.S.
government campaign to cripple the radical union movement. 235
1917 - The National Woman’ s Party picketed outside the White House in the dead of winter and
despite the threat of violent public reaction. In October, party members were arrested and
convicted for peacefully demonstrating outside the White House; they were hailed as political
1917 - On October 8, a black man was lynched in Arkansas.
1917 - On October 12, Fred Johnson was lynched in New Orleans, Louisiana.
1917 - On October 13, Walter Clark was lynched in Danville, Virginia.
1917 - Louisville, Kentucky had enacted an ordinance which made it unlawful for any “ colored
person to move into and occupy as a residence, place of abode, or to establish and maintain as a
place of public assembly any house upon any block upon which a greater number of houses are
occupied as residences, places of abode, or places of public assembly by white people than are
occupied as residences, places of abode, or places of public assembly by colored people.”
The ordinance also limited the freedom of white people on blocks dominated by black
people. On November 5, the U.S. Supreme Court properly ruled it to be unconstitutional.
Buchanan v. Warley, 245 U.S. 60 (1917).
1917 - On November 16, Jesse Staten was lynched for writing an insolent letter to a woman in
1917 - On November 17, Collins and D. C. Johnson were lynched for disputing a white person in
Sale City, Georgia.
1917 - On December 2, Lation Scott was lynched for rape in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
1917 - On December 14, Wade Hamilton was lynched for attempted rape in Rock Springs,
1917 - On December 14, U.S. peace activist and suffragist Kate Richards O'Hare was jailed for 5
years for her speech denouncing World War I. O'Hare was one of a number of prisoners Eugene
Debs cited in his "Canton Speech" for which he in turn would be imprisoned. 235
1917 - On December 15, Claxton Dekle was lynched for murder in Metter, Georgia.
1918 - The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the sodomy conviction of a Greek immigrant after the
prosecuting attorney "referred to the glories of past Greece." 271
1918 - "Recently, in San Francisco, a 'vice club' was raided. The gruesome revelations pertaining
to this club of homosexualists invited the attention of the military authorities, who saw the
corruption that must necessarily ensue among the soldiery if it were not summarily suppressed."
1918 - Massachusetts reduced the maximum penalty for oral sex from 3 years to 2½ years in the
house of correction, but still permitted 5 years in the local jail. 4
1918 - The U.S. War Department told the American Library Association to remove a number of
pacifist and “ disturbing” books, including Ambrose Bierce’ s Can Such Things Be? from camp
libraries, a directive which was taken to apply to the homefront as well. 65
1918 - The dissemination of birth control information is banned by the governments of 18 states.
Another 23 had laws stating that “ contraceptive information is immoral or obscene and
therefore criminal.” Only five states —Georgia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina
and Washington — did not restrict birth control information. 61
1918 - Two Oregon prisoners filed suit against the sterilization law. One was a gay man
convicted of sodomy. He succeeded in convincing the Eugenics Board to change its position
regarding him; the straight prisoner decided to allow himself to be castrated. 4
1918 - The California Supreme Court upheld the 1915 fellatio and cunnilingus law over the
contention that the Latin terms violate the state’ s constitutional requirement that laws be written
in English. 4
1918 - The Louisiana Supreme Court overturned the forfeiture of bail of a man convicted of
sodomy assessed against him because he had not appeared for trial due to an oversight. 4
1918 - Marie C. Stopes’ Married Love was banned by U.S. Customs from entering the country.
In 1921 a physician was convicted of selling a copy. The ban was finally rescinded in 1931. 67
1918 - A California appellate court upheld the sodomy conviction of a soldier, rejecting an
intoxication defense. 4
1918 - The Maryland Attorney General issued an opinion to military recruiters that sodomy is an
“ infamous crime” for which applicants can be kept out of the military. 4
1918 - Margaret Sanger won a court case allowing doctors to inform married patients about
contraceptive practices for health purposes. New York v. Sanger. 249
1918 - Tom Lassiter, a blind man who ran a newsstand in Centralia, Washington that carried
I.W.W. materials as well as other papers viewed as subversive, was forced into a car and driven
into the next county. He was told not to return. Not only did he return, he also continued to sell
the objectionable papers. Shortly after his return, he was arrested, although never charged with a
specific crime. 235
1918 - On January 26, Jim Hudson was lynched in Benton, Louisiana.
1918 - On January 26, James Nelson was lynched for living with a white woman in Bossier,
1918 - On February 7, Bud Cosby was lynched for robbery and kidnapping in Fayetteville,
1918 - On February 7, Edward Dansy was lynched for murder in Willacoochee, Georgia.
1918 - On February 9, the Army opened a chaplain school at Ft. Monroe, Virginia.
1918 - On February 10, G. W. Lych was lynched in Estill Springs, Tennessee.
1918 - On February 12, James McIllbarren was lynched for murder in Estill Springs, Tennessee.
1918 - On February 23, Walter Best was lynched for murder in Fairfax, South Carolina.
1918 - On February 23, Edward Dansey was lynched for murder in Suwanee, Florida.
1918 - On February 26, James Jones, James Lewis and William Powell were lynched for murder
in Rayville, Louisiana.
1918 - On March 16, George McNeal and John Richards were lynched for rape in Monroe,
1918 - On March 22, Spencer Evans was lynched for attempted rape in Crawfordville, Georgia.
1918 - On March 23, the trial of 101 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union activists
arrested for opposition to World War I began. 235
1918 - On March 23, Peter Bazemore was lynched for rape in Lewiston, North Carolina.
1918 - On March 24, Canadian women won the right to vote, years before the U.S. recognized
the same. 235
1918 - The Oregon Supreme Court upheld a sodomy conviction after the prosecutor made
reference in the trial to the “ past glories of Greece.” 4
1918 - A Delaware appellate court ruled that solicitation to commit sodomy did not constitute an
attempt to commit it. 4
GERMAN ENEMY OF U.S. HANGED BY MOB
COLLINSVILLE MAN KILLED FOR ABUSING WILSON
Robert P. Prager Taken from Jail and Strung Up to Tree by 300 Men and Boys
After Officers are Overpowered
(The St. Louis Globe-Democrat, April 5, 1918)
Robert P. Prager, 45 years old, of Collinsville, Ill., a coalminer, charged with making
disloyal utterances against the United States and President Wilson, was hanged to a tree on
Mauer Heights, one mile west of Collinsville on the St. Louis road, by a mob of 300 men and
boys after he had twice escaped mob violence, at 12:15 o’ clock this morning. Collinsville is ten
miles northeast of East St. Louis.
Prager was taken from the Collinsville Jail by the mob, which battered down the doors. The
prisoner was found hidden under a pile of rubbish in the basement of the Jail, where he had been
placed by the police when they had learned that the mob was on the way to the Jail.
The police were overpowered, there being only four on the night force, and the prisoner was
carried down the street, the mob cheering and waving flags. The police were not allowed to
follow the mob by a guard which had been placed over them.
When led to the tree upon which he was hanged Prager was asked if he had anything to say.
“ Yes,” he replied in broken English. “ I would like to pray.
He then fell to his knees, clasped his hands to his breast and prayed for three minutes in
Without another word the noose was placed about his neck and the body pulled 10 feet into
the air by a hundred or more hands which grasped the rope.
Before praying, Prager wrote a letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Henry Prager,
Preston, Germany. It follows: “ Dear Parents — I must this day, the 5th of April, 1918, die.
Please pray for me, my dear parents. This is my last letter. Your dear son. ROBERT PAUL
Prager was an enemy alien and registered in East St. Louis.
Prager Attended Socialist Meeting Short Time Before He was Lynched
After the mob had returned to Collinsville, several residents at Collinsville who had heard
of the hanging went to the scene.
Two unidentified person were found guarding the body. They would let no one approach
and warned whoever came close that they would meet the same fate if they attempted to cut
down the body.
The mob took their prisoner from the jail about 10 o’ clock last night. Prager earlier in the
evening had attended a Socialist meeting in Maryville, where it is alleged he made a speech in
which he uttered remarks which were termed disloyal.
After word had been passed around Maryville, a mob collected there and started a search for
the miner. Prager had been informed about that the mob was after him and he escaped to
Collinsville. They told of the remarks of Prager and finally a mob of 300 was assembled.
Prager was found on the street in front of his home, 208 Vandalia Avenue. He was marched
to the main street, where his shoes were removed and a large American flag was wrapped about
Prager was made to kiss the flag many times and march up and down the street waving two
small flags which he carried in his hands. For fear that violence would result from the mob, the
police took Prager from them and placed him in jail.
Mayor Induces Mob to Go Home, but It Reassembles Later
Mayor J. H. Siegel pleaded with the mob and asked them to go to their homes. He had
previously closed all the saloons.
“ We do not want a stigma marking Collinsville,” said Mayor Siegel, “ and I implore you
to go to your homes and discontinue this demonstration.”
The mob disbanded and the mayor, thinking that everything had quieted down, went to his
But a short time later the mob again formed and stormed the jail, taking the prisoner from
This is the first killing for disloyalty in the United States, although many persons have been
mobbed and tarred and feathered.
Prager begged for mercy. He said that he was a loyal citizen, and in a signed statement,
which he had previously made to the police, he said that his heart and soul were for the United
States. He admitted being a native of Germany. He said that he had applied for naturalization
papers and that his second papers were waiting for him.
Prager had been in Maryville looking for work. He was a coal miner. He found he could not
obtain employment because the union had rejected his application.
On March 22, four men, including a Polish Catholic priest, were tarred and feathered at
Christopher, Ill., a mining town eighty miles from St. Louis.
Previous to that time two other men were tarred and feathered in the same mining district.
For the past three months many loyalty demonstrations have occurred in an effort to drive
disloyal persons from Southern Illinois.
The perpetrators of the lynching were arrested and brought to trial. A jury acquitted them in
20 minutes, saying that what they had done was “ patriotic murder.” 99, 100
1918 - On April 18, Claude Singleton was lynched for murder in Poplarville, Mississippi.
1918 - On April 22, Berry Noyes was lynched for murder in Lexington, Tennessee.
1918 - On April 22, Clyde Williams was lynched for murder in Monroe, Louisiana.
1918 - A mob spent a week (May 17-24) hunting Brookes and Lowndes Counties, Georgia for
Sidney Johnson, who was wrongly accused of killing a farmer. Once captured, Johnson was
lynched along with nine other innocent men, including William Head, Will Thompson, Chime
Riley, Eugene Rice, Simon Schuman and Hayes Turner.
On May 18, an Atlanta Constitution subheadline read, “ THREE NEGROES ARRESTED;
LYNCHING ALMOST CERTAIN,” while the article stated, “ . . . a lynching is considered
certain if Mr. Smith [the victim] identifies the men who have been caught.”
The next day, May 19, the Constitution’ s front-page headline read, “ HUNDREDS VISIT
SCENE OF LYNCHING — Crowds From Valdosta View Body Of Negro Hung For Farmer’ s
Murder —Second Negro Is Lynched And Third Is Sought.”
Mary Turner, the wife of lynching victim Hayes Turner, who was in her eighth month of
pregnancy, swore out warrants against those responsible for her husband’ s lynching. The sheriff
placed Turner under arrest, possibly for her own protection, but then gave her up to the mob.
Several hundred men and women tied her ankles together, hanged her upside down from a tree,
doused her body with motor oil and set her ablaze. After her clothes burned off but while she
was still alive, a man sliced open her abdomen with a hog splitting knife. Her unborn infant fell
from her womb, gave two screams, then had its head crushed by mob members who stomped on
it. Mary Turner’ s body was then riddled with bullets. Turner and her child were hastily buried
about ten feet from the execution site. Their graves were marked by an empty whiskey bottle and
Walter White, who later investigated the lynching for the NAACP, was told by one eye
witness, “ Mister, you ought to’ ve heard that nigger wench howl.” The lynching was recounted
in numerous articles and editorials and discussed in Congress. It became a rallying point to
obtain federal anti-lynching legislation. 244
1918 - On May 18, Tom Devert, charged with statutory rape, was lynched by a mob in Ervin,
Georgia. After Devert’ s execution, the mob carried him to the African-American section of
town and forced eighty African- Americans to witness the burning of his body. 244
1918 - On May 21, John Womack was lynched for attempted rape in Redlevel, Alabama.
1918 - On May 22, Henry Jackson was lynched in Miami, Florida.
1918 - On May 23, James Cobb was lynched for murder in Cordele, Georgia.
1918 - On May 24, John Calhoun was lynched for murder in Barnesville, Georgia.
1918 - On May 27, Kirby Goolsie was lynched in Beaumont, Texas.
Six Negroes Dead After Battle With Citizen's Posse
Entire Family Wiped Out as a Result of Resistance to Draft Call
(San Antonio Express: Sunday Morning, June 2, 1918, Page 10)
By Associated Press
Huntsville, Tex., June 1 - Sarah Cabiness, negress, and her sons, George, Pete, Cute, Tenola
and Lena are dead and her daughter, Bess, is fatally wounded, as the result of a shooting affray in
the Dodge neighborhood in this county this morning. George Cabiness was shot and killed on
Thursday afternoon when he resisted offivers [sic] who had gone to his home to arrest him for
pulling a gun on A. P. W. Allen. The killing of Cabiness aroused the members of his family to a
point where they made up their minds to kill the entire Allen family, and on Friday Mose Allen
was informed of the intention of the negroes. About 10 o'clock last night one of the Cabiness
negroes carrying a double barrel shotgun approached Mr. Allen's home, and upon failing to give
an account of his presence and reason for carrying the gun, was shot and badly wounded. The
other members of the Cabiness family were near and carried the wounded man to their home
about two miles away.
Shortly after daylight this morning a posse of citizens surrounded the Cabiness home and
were met by the negroes with a volley from six shotguns. The posse began firing into the negro
house and soon it began burning. As the flames gained headway the mother began carrying the
bodies of her four dead sons to the yard where she too met her death.
The negroes fired nearly 200 shots at the posse but none of the white men were injured. The
Cabiness negroes were among the most desperate in this county and the cause of the killing was
the result of George Cabiness for refusing to register in the selective draft and failing to answer
two calls sent him by the Walker County exemption board. Sheriff T. E. King and a number of
deputies were on the scene early this morning and on his return to the city late today stated that
the wounded Cabiness girl could not recover and that by her death the entire Cabiness family had
been wiped out.
Six Negroes Slain For Alleged Plot to Wipe Out Family
Wholesale Execution Sequel to Killing of Draft Evader at Dodge, Tex.
(The San Antonio Light, June 1, 1918, Page 5)
Huntsville, Tex., June 1 - As a sequel to the killing two days ago of George Cabiness, a
negro draft resister, following threats the negro had made against Sheriff T. E. King and the King
family, six more negroes were shot to death today and their cabin burned near Dodge, ten miles
from here. The negroes, it is said, had plotted to avenge the shooting of Cabiness by murdering
the King family, their plot being exposed by a seventh negro, who had ostensibly joined the
conspirators. The wholesale execution occurred shortly after daylight this morning, the
participants in the affair dispersing quietly immediately after. Reports thus far received here did
not make it known whether the negroes were killed in resisting sheriff's deputies or whether they
were attacked and killed by a mob. 180
1918 - On June 13, Allen Mitchell was lynched in Earle, Arkansas.
1918 - On June 18, George Clayton was lynched for murder in Mangham, Louisiana.
1918 - On June 19, Henry Jones was lynched for running from a posse in Colquitt County,
1918 - On June 27, physician Marie Eui (anarchist, IWW officer, and "out" lesbian) was arrested
for giving an anti-war speech in Portland, Oregon. 235
1918 - On June 29, a person named Magill was lynched in Madill, Oklahoma.
1918 - On July 2, 17-year-old Tolson Bailey was electrocuted for robbery and murder by the
government of Virginia.
1918 - On July 25-28, a race riot occurred in Chester, Pennsylvania. Three blacks and 2 whites
1918 - On July 26, President Woodrow Wilson issued a national appeal to stop lynching. He
“ There have been lynchings, and every one of them has been a blow at the heart of
ordered law and human justice. No man who loves America, no man who really cares for
her fame and honor and character, or who is truly loyal to her institutions, can justify mob
action while the courts of justice are open and the Government of the United States and
the nation are ready and able to do their duty.
“ I therefore very earnestly and solemnly beg that the governors of all the States, the
law officers of every community, and above all, the men and women of every community
in the United States, all who revere America and wish to keep her name without stain or
reproach, will cooperate, not passively merely, but actively and watchfully to make an
end to this disgraceful evil.” 244
1918 - On July 27, Gene Brown was lynched in Benhur, Texas.
1918 - On August 1, a black man was lynched in Quincy, Florida.
1918 - On August 7, Bubber Hall was lynched for rape in Bastrop, Louisiana.
1918 - On August 11, Ike Rodney was lynched for murder (or rape) in Colquitt County, Georgia.
1918 - On August 15, Bill Dukes was lynched in Natchez, Mississippi.
1918 - At the tail end of World War I, a small mob tarred and feathered a Finnish working man
in Duluth, Minnesota and hanged him from a tree. To this day, few people in Duluth know the
Park Hill story. In September of 1918, the end of World War I was only two months away, but
the fighting was still fierce in Europe. The Duluth News Tribune and the Duluth Herald were
filled with dispatches from the front lines, and full-page ads for war bonds, and long lists of
servicemen who'd been killed. The papers were also full of tough talk about "slackers," a term
for men who refused to join the military.
Toward the end of September, the tough talk turned to action. A headline in the Duluth
Herald read, "Knights Of Liberty Tar And Feather Slacker." The story told of a Finnish
immigrant, Olli Kinkkonen, who'd been dragged from a Duluth boarding house the night before,
and not seen again. A phone call, and a letter delivered to the paper, took credit for the abduction
in the name of a group calling itself the "Knights of Liberty." The letter said Kinkkonen had
been tarred and feathered to serve as a warning to all slackers. Kinkkonen never showed up
again at his boarding house, and his body was discovered almost two weeks later, dangling from
a tree just outside of town, near Lester Park —covered with tar and feathers.
Duluth authorities declared the death a suicide. They said Kinkkonen was humiliated by
the tarring, and hanged himself. Donald Wirtanen disagreed. "He was lynched," said Wirtanen, a
retired businessman from Duluth, and the former honorary Finnish consul here.
Wirtanen grew up in a small Iron Range town called Markham, and moved to Duluth as a
young man. He said most Finnish people in northern Minnesota in 1918 believed Olli
Kinkkonen was murdered. Wirtanen was only five years old at the time, but remembered his
parents talking about it.
"Here was a Finnish man who was tarred and feathered. That was terrible news for a five-
year-old," recalled Wirtanen. "And then of course, there was much more said about this in 1920
because of the lynching of the three young black men here."
Historian Joel Sipress from the University of Wisconsin-Superior said it was a violent time.
"If you were the right kind of person, who killed the right kind of person, you could get away
with murder," said Sipress.
Newspapers of the era told of many attacks on union leaders and immigrants. But old-timers
in Duluth's Finnish community said Olli Kinkkonen didn't belong to any labor organizations or
anti-war groups. They said he was a quiet working man — a logger and a dock worker — who
didn't want to fight in the war, and decided to go back to Finland. They think his attackers
believed he was someone else - a more vocal and radical Finn.
But it's possible the people who tarred and feathered Olli Kinkkonen didn't care whether he
was a leader. Historian Joel Sipress said anti-Finnish sentiment was powerful in this region in
"He was a Finn," Sipress said of Kinkkonen, "and he clearly was an anti-war Finn. In
northeast Minnesota, to be an anti-war Finn at that time was to be perceived as a subversive.
Finnish workers were among the most active in the radical labor organizing of those days, and
the union efforts on the Iron Range. Mr. Kinkkonen probably received this less for what he did,
than what he symbolized in the eyes of so-called patriotic Americans."
No one faced charges for Olli Kinkkonen's abduction and death.
Kinkkonen was buried in an unmarked grave in a poor people's section of Park Hill
Cemetery, just a few rows away from the graves of the three victims of the 1920 Duluth
lynching. The Tyomies Society, a Finnish cultural group, placed a marker on Kinkkonen's grave
in 1993. It reads, "Olli Kinkkonen, 1881 to 1918, Victim of Warmongers." 173
1918 - On September 3, John Gilham was lynched for attempted rape in Macon, Georgia.
1918 - On September 4, Sandy Reeves (sometimes written Reaves) was lynched in Waycross,
Georgia. Reeves, a seventeen-year-old boy, dropped a nickel on the ground. When the three-year
old daughter of his employer picked it up, Reeves retrieved the coin, prompting the child to fly
into a rage. The parents wrongly assumed that Reeves assaulted their child. He was lynched as a
1918 - On September 14, Eugene Debs was imprisoned for opposing U.S. entry into World War
1918 - On September 18, Abe O'Neal was lynched in Buff Lake, Texas.
1918 - On October 12, a man was lynched in New York, New York.
1918 - On November 5, George Taylor was lynched for rape in Rolesville, North Carolina.
1918 - On November 10, William Bird was lynched for making threats in Sheffield, Alabama.
1918 - On November 12, George Whiteside was lynched for murder in Sheffield, Alabama.
1918 - On November 14, Charles Shipman was lynched in Ft. Bend County, Texas.
1918 - On November 17, a man was lynched in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
1918 - On November 22, a black man was lynched in Welch, West Virginia.
1918 - On November 24, Allie Thompson was lynched in Culpeper County, Virginia.
1918 - On December 6, the U.S. Department of War abolished the practice of manacling defiant
prisoners to the walls of their cells in solitary confinement, used to torture conscientious
objectors in U.S. prisons during World War I. 235
1918 - On December 10, Edward "Joel" Woodson was lynched for murder in Green River,
1918 - On December 14, Wade Hampton was lynched in Rock Springs, Wyoming.
1918 - On December 16, Charles Lewis was lynched for robbery in Hickman, Kentucky.
1918 - On December 18, Willis Robinson was lynched for murder in Newport, Arkansas.
1918 - On December 20, Andrew and Major Clarke were lynched for murder in Clarke,
1918 - On December 20, Alma and Maggie House were lynched for murder in Shubuta,
1919 - Kate Richards O'Hare commented on lesbianism in the Missouri State Penitentiary. Her
report was based on her own observations while imprisoned. A prisoner could pay the "negress
trusty or stool pigeon" $.50 for the use of a "pervert" and $1.00 to have the door left unlocked
1919 - During World War I, the U.S. government jailed those who were distributing anti-draft
pamphlets like this one:
Assert Your Rights
The Socialist Party says that any individual or officers of the law intrusted with the
administration of conscription regulations violate the provisions of the United States
Constitution, the supreme law of the land, when they refuse to recognize your right to
assert your opposition to the draft.
In exempting clergymen and members of the Society of Friends (popularly called
Quakers) from active military service the examination boards have discriminated against
If you do not assert and support your rights you are helping to “ deny or disparage
rights” which it is the solemn duty of all citizens and residents of the United States to
In lending tacit or silent consent to the conscription law, in neglecting to assert your
rights, you are (whether knowingly or not) helping to condone and support a most
infamous and insidious conspiracy to abridge and destroy the sacred and cherished rights
of a free people. You are a citizen: not a subject! You delegate your power to the officers
of the law to be used for your good and welfare, not against you.
They are your servants; not your masters. Their wages come from the expenses of
government which you pay. Will you allow them to unjustly rule you?
No power was delegated to send our citizens away to foreign shores to shoot up the
people of other lands, no matter what may be their internal or international disputes.
To draw this country into the horrors of the present war in Europe, to force the youth
of our land into the shambles and bloody trenches of war crazy nations, would be a crime
the magnitude of which defies description. Words could not express the condemnation
such cold-blooded ruthlessness deserves.
Will you stand idly by and see the Moloch of Militarism reach forth across the sea
and fasten its tentacles upon this continent? Are you willing to submit to the degradation
of having the Constitution of the United States treated as a “ mere scrap of paper” ?
No specious or plausible pleas about a “ war for democracy” can becloud the issue.
Democracy can not be shot into a nation. It must come spontaneously and purely from
Democracy must come through liberal education. Upholders of military ideas are
To advocate the persecution of other peoples through the prosecution of war is an
insult to every good and wholesome American tradition.
You are responsible. You must do your share to maintain, support, and uphold the
rights of the people of this country.
In this world crisis where do you stand? Are you with the forces of liberty and light
or war and darkness? 101
The conviction of Charles T. Schenck, the publisher of the pamphlet, was upheld by the
U.S. Supreme Court. This decision was the source of the well-known “ fire in a theatre” quote.
Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).
1919 - Sodomy alone became a felony under the Articles of War for the U.S. Military. 239
1919 - The U.S. military announced the findings of a court of inquiry, declaring that sufficient
evidence existed to court-martial fifteen sailors for sodomy. 225
1919 - Civil War physician Dr. Mary Walker died from injuries sustained in a fall. She had been
criticized throughout most of her adult life for wearing men's clothing. 225
1919 - A revision to Illinois’ sodomy law established a one-year minimum prison term, while
leaving the ten-year maximum unchanged. 9
1919 - A California appellate court upheld the sodomy conviction of a man and rejected his
contention that his partner’ s incestuous relationship with his brother should have been raised to
impeach his credibility. 4
1919 - The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled that repeal of a statute in derogation of the
common law revives the common-law provision. Since the state recognized common-law crimes,
this meant that repeal of the sodomy law will not legalize consensual sodomy. 4
1919 - A California appellate court upheld the sodomy conviction of a man. The mother of his
consenting partner had drilled holes in his bedroom walls to watch. 4
1919 - The California Supreme Court struck down the state’ s law prohibiting fellatio and
cunnilingus because the state constitution requires all criminal laws to be understood clearly and
the words “ fellatio” and “ cunnilingus” are Latin words not in general usage. 4
1919 - New York City police raided the Everard baths and arrested 10 men for sexual activity. 4
1919 - Five men were convicted of conspiring to violate provisions of the Espionage Act of
Congress (section 3, title I, of Act June 15, 1917, c. 30, 40 Stat. 219).
The defendants were charged with conspiring, when the United States was at war with the
Imperial Government of Germany, to unlawfully utter, print, write and publish: In the first count,
‘ disloyal, scurrilous and abusive language about the form of government of the United States;’
in the second count, language ‘ intended to bring the form of government of the United States
into contempt, scorn, contumely, and disrepute;’ and in the third count, language ‘ intended to
incite, provoke and encourage resistance to the United States in said war.’ The charge in the
fourth count was that the defendants conspired ‘ when the United States was at war with the
Imperial German Government, . . . unlawfully and willfully, by utterance, writing, printing and
publication to urge, incite and advocate curtailment of production of things and products, to wit,
ordnance and ammunition, necessary and essential to the prosecution of the war.’ The U.S.
Supreme Court upheld their convictions. Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919).
1919 - In France at the Folies Bergere, women performed totally nude on stage for the first time
in the modern Western World. In Samoa, South America, Africa and many other areas,
“ people” were still living entirely naked.
1919 - There was a decline in lynching during the First World War but more than seventy blacks
were murdered in this way in the year after the war ended. Ten black soldiers, several still in
their army uniforms, were among those lynched. Between 1919 and 1922, a further 239 blacks
were lynched by white mobs and many more were killed by individual acts of violence and
unrecorded lynchings. In none of these cases was a white person punished for these crimes.
Several trade unionists were also lynched. This included two members of the Industrial Workers
of the World, Frank Little (1917) and Wesley Everest (1919). 36
1919 - On January 5, the manager and nine customers of the Everard Turkish Baths in New York
City were arrested. The scene replayed itself only a year later when fifteen men were arrested in
a similar operation. 243
1919 - On January 18, Henry Thomas was lynched for murder in Red River, Louisiana.
1919 - On January 29, Sampson Smith was lynched for murder in Caldwell, Louisiana.
1919 - On January 30, John Kelfer was lynched for murder in Newton, Arkansas.
1919 - On February 6, John Daniels was lynched for murder in Onslow, North Carolina.
1919 - On February 14, Will Faulkner was lynched for murder in Bossier, Louisiana.
1919 - On February 25, released conscientious objectors returned their pay for non-combatant
service to the U.S. government. 235
1919 - On March 2, Eugene Green was lynched for murder in Humphreys, Mississippi.
1919 - On March 12, Joseph Walker was lynched for shooting a man in Madison, Florida.
1919 - On March 14, Bud Johnson was lynched for rape in Santa Rosa, Florida.
1919 - On March 21, 22 Puerto Ricans were killed in demonstrations for independence from the
1919 - In the oddest scandal of the decade, the Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island
sent a squad of enlisted men into local bars to associate with “ sexual perverts.” The decoys —
in the line of duty — willingly accepted blow jobs. The subsequent trials proved to be an
embarrassment. According to Colin Spencer, author of Homosexuality in History: “ The decoys
were asked how much sexual pleasure they had experienced. One protested, saying he was a man
and if someone touched his cock, then it got erect and he could not do anything about it.” 61
Twenty sailors and 16 civilians were arrested in April and July respectively, including the
chaplain of the YMCA. The decoys had no problem with participating in homosexual
relationships under the name of the country knowing that they would have full immunity in
court. 239, 243
In 1921, the U.S. Senate Naval Affairs Committee issued its "Report on Alleged Immoral
Conditions and Practices at the Naval Training Station, Newport R.I.," accusing Franklin D.
Roosevelt of condoning the tactics of investigators looking into reports of immorality. The
investigators were accused of engaging in sodomy in order to entrap homosexuals. They were
also charged with using enlisted men as decoys to weed out homosexuals. 225
1919 - On April 3, William (sometimes written Wilbur) Little, a war veteran, was lynched by a
mob in Blakely, Georgia for wearing his uniform in public. Initially the mob encountered Little
at a train depot and forced him to take off the uniform and then carry it home, through town, in
his underwear. A few days later, after encountering Little for a second time wearing the uniform,
the mob, ignoring his protests that he had no other clothes to wear, violently beat him to death.
1919 - On April 14, Andrew Ruffin, Joe Ruffin, Jr. and William Williams were lynched for
complicity in a murder in Millen, Georgia.
1919 - On April 23, Samuel McIntyre was lynched for murder in St. Francis, Arkansas.
1919 - On April 29, George Holden was lynched for writing an insulting note to a white woman
in Monroe, Louisiana.
1919 - On May 1, Benny Richards was lynched for murder in Warrenton, Georgia.
1919 - On May 10, three black men were lynched in Charleston, North Carolina.
1919 - On May 14, Lloyd Clay was lynched for entering a lady's room in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
1919 - On May 15, James Waters was lynched for leaving his employer in Scott, Georgia.
1919 - An article which appeared in the Cleveland Advocate on May 17:
The lynching of Will Moore
May 20, 1919, Ten Mile, Mississippi
1919 - On May 21, Frank Livingston was lynched for murder in Union, Arkansas.
1919 - On May 26, Berry Washington, seventy-two-years old, was hanged by a mob in Milan,
Georgia. Washington had shot the son of the Mayor of Milan who, in an intoxicated state, was
raping a young woman. In response to editorial protests by The Atlanta Constitution and The
Macon Telegraph severely criticizing the way local authorities handled the incident, a judge in
Milan investigated the lynching. A grand jury promptly indicted the county sheriff for negligence
and his deputy for organizing the lynch mob. The deputy sheriff, however, could not be
prosecuted, as he was killed while attempting to arrest a criminal. The sheriff, whose negligence
could not be easily proven without the testimony of his dead deputy, was acquitted. 244
1919 - On May 28, Jay Lynch was lynched for murder in Lamar, Missouri.
1919 - On June 6, James Lewis was lynched in Mobile, Alabama.
1919 - On June 7, Mark Smith was lynched for shooting the sheriff in Abbeville, South Carolina.
1919 - On June 13, Clyde Ellison was lynched for attempted rape in Lincoln, Arkansas.
1919 - On June 15, Frank Foukal was lynched for murder in Montgomery, Alabama.
1919 - On June 18, James McMillian was lynched in Bibb, Alabama.
The lynching of John Hartfield, June 26, 1919, Ellisville, MS
The lynching of John Hartfield, June 26, 1919, Ellisville, MS
1919 - On July 1, Cleveland Butler was lynched in Twiggs County, Georgia.
1919 - The Longview, Texas race riot occurred during the Red Summer, as May to October of
1919 has been called. It was the second of twenty-five major racial conflicts that occurred
throughout the United States during these months. In 1919 Longview, a rural cotton and
lumbering community in Northeast Texas, had a population of 5,700; 31 percent were black.
Racial tension was especially high immediately before the riot because two locally prominent
black leaders, Samuel L. Jones and Dr. Calvin P. Davis, had urged black farmers to avoid local
white cotton brokers and sell directly to buyers in Galveston.
Then an article in the July 10 issue of the Chicago Defender, a sensationalistic nationwide
black newspaper, described the death of a young black man, Lemuel Walters, in Longview. The
article reported that Walters and an unnamed white woman from Kilgore, Texas, were in love
and quoted her as saying they would have married if they had lived in the North. Walters,
according to the article, was safely locked in the Gregg County Jail until the sheriff willingly
handed him over to a white mob that murdered him on June 17.
Jones, a teacher in the Longview school system and a local correspondent for the Chicago
Defender, was held responsible for the article, and on Thursday, July 10, he was accosted and
beaten, supposedly by two brothers of the Kilgore woman. News of the article and of the attack
on Jones inflamed tempers of both races, and about 1:00 a.m. Friday a group of 12-15 angry
white men drove to Jones’ s house. They were surprised by gunfire as they entered his yard and
returned the fire as they fled. Three of the white men suffered superficial birdshot wounds, and a
fourth man, who had sought shelter under a house, was found by blacks and beaten severely.
Some of the white men went to the fire station and rang the alarm to attract more recruits; others
broke into a hardware store to get guns and ammunition. An undetermined number then returned
to Jones’ s house and found it empty. The mob set fire to this house, to the home of Dr. Davis, to
other black residences, and to a black dance hall in which they suspected the blacks had stored
Early Friday, July 11, County Judge E. M. Bramlette and Sheriff D. S. Meredith telephoned
Governor William P. Hobby, who ordered eight Texas Rangers to Longview and placed three
Texas National Guard units in East Texas on alert. The rangers, however, could not arrive until
Saturday morning, and Bramlette wanted troops in Longview before sundown Friday. Therefore,
he called Hobby a second time, and the governor ordered 100 guardsmen to Longview
immediately. The guard headquarters was located on the courthouse square.
On Saturday evening Marion Bush, Dr. Davis’ s father-in-law, was killed after he fled from
Sheriff Meredith, who was either offering him protective custody or attempting to arrest him.
Bush’ s death led Mayor G. A. Bodenheim to request more aid from Hobby. Hobby responded
by dispatching an additional 150 guardsmen to Longview and by placing the city and county
under martial law, beginning at noon on Sunday, July 13. Hobby put Brig. Gen. R. H. McDill in
command of the guardsmen and rangers.
McDill ordered a curfew in Longview, prohibited groups of three or more people from
gathering on streets, and ordered all Longview citizens, including county, precinct, and city
peace officers, to turn in all firearms at the county courthouse. At his request local officials
named a citizens’ committee to work with the military officers. The committee passed
resolutions expressing disapproval of the shooting and burning and pledged their support to the
The rangers arrested 17 white men on charges of attempted murder; each was released on
$1,000 bond. Twenty-one black men were arrested, charged, and sent to Austin temporarily for
their own safety. Nine white men were also charged with arson. None of the whites or blacks
was ever tried. Tension had subsided by Thursday to such a degree that Hobby ordered an end to
martial law at noon Friday, July 18, and the citizens were allowed to pick up their firearms at
noon Saturday. 102
1919 - On July 15, Robert Truett was lynched for insulting a white woman in Humphreys,
1919 - Nobody knows precisely how or where it started, but on a steamy Saturday night, July 19,
the word began to spread among the saloons and pool halls of downtown Washington, D.C.,
where crowds of soldiers, sailors and Marines freshly home from the Great War were taking
A black suspect, questioned in an attempted sexual assault on a white woman, had been
released by the Metropolitan Police. The woman was the wife of a Navy man. So the booze-
fueled mutterings about revenge flowed quickly among hundreds of men in uniform, white men
who were having trouble finding jobs in a crowded, sweltering capital.
Late that night, they started to move. The mob drew strength from a seedy neighborhood off
Pennsylvania Avenue NW called “ Murder Bay,” known for its brawlers and brothels. The
crowd crossed the tree-covered Mall heading toward a predominantly poor black section of
Southwest. They picked up clubs, lead pipes and pieces of lumber as they went.
Near Ninth and D streets SW, they fell upon an unsuspecting black man named Charles
Linton Ralls, who was out with his wife, Mary. Ralls was chased down and beaten severely. The
mob then attacked a second black man, George Montgomery, 55, who was returning home with
groceries. They fractured his skull with a brick.
The rampage by about 400 whites initially drew only scattered resistance in the black
community, and the police were nowhere to be seen. When the Metropolitan Police Department
finally arrived in force, its white officers arrested more blacks than whites, sending a clear signal
about their sympathies.
It was only the beginning. The white mob — whose actions were triggered in large part by
weeks of sensational newspaper accounts of alleged sex crimes by a “ negro fiend” — unleashed
a wave of violence that swept over the city for four days. Nine people were killed in brutal street
fighting, and an estimated 30 more would die eventually from their wounds. More than 150 men,
women and children were clubbed, beaten and shot by mobs of both races. Several Marine
guards and six D.C. policemen were shot, two fatally.
“ A mob of sailors and soldiers jumped on the street car and pulled me off, beating me
unmercifully from head to foot, leaving me in such a condition that I could hardly crawl back
home,” Francis Thomas, a frail black 17-year-old, said in a statement to the NAACP. Thomas
said he saw three other blacks being beaten, including two women. “ Before I became
unconscious, I could hear them pleading with the Lord to keep them from being killed.”
Postwar Washington, roughly 75 percent white, was a racial tinderbox. Housing was in
short supply and jobs so scarce that ex-doughboys in uniform panhandled along Pennsylvania
Avenue. Unemployed whites bitterly envied the relatively few blacks who had been fortunate
enough to procure such low-level government jobs as messenger and clerk. Many whites also
resented the black “ invasion” of previously segregated neighborhoods around Capitol Hill,
Foggy Bottom and the old downtown. Washington’ s black community was then the largest and
most prosperous in the country, with a small but impressive upper class of teachers, ministers,
lawyers and businessmen concentrated in the LeDroit Park neighborhood near Howard
University. But black Washingtonians were increasingly resentful of the growing dominance of
the Jim Crow system that had been imported from the Deep South.
Racial resentment was particularly intense among Washington’ s several thousand
returning black war veterans. They had proudly served their country in such units as the
District’ s 1st Separate Battalion, part of the segregated Army force that fought in France. These
men had been forced to fight for the right to serve in combat because the Army at first refused to
draft blacks for any role other than laborer. They returned home hopeful that their military
service would earn them fair treatment.
Instead, they saw race relations worsening in an administration dominated by conservative
Southern whites brought here by Woodrow Wilson, a Virginian. Wilson’ s promise of a “ New
Freedom” had won him more black voters than any Democrat before him, but they were cruelly
disappointed: Previously integrated departments such as the Post Office and the Treasury had
now set up “ Jim Crow corners” with separate washrooms and lunchrooms for “ colored only.”
Meanwhile, the Ku Klux Klan was being revived in Maryland and Virginia, as racial hatred burst
forth with the resurgence of lynching of black men and women around the country —28 public
lynchings in the first six months of 1919 alone, including seven black veterans killed while still
wearing their Army uniforms.
Washington’ s newspapers made a tense situation worse, with an unrelenting series of
sensational stories of alleged sexual assaults by an unknown black perpetrator upon white
women. The headlines dominated the city’ s four daily papers — the Evening Star, the Times, the
Herald and The Post — for more than a month. A sampling of these July headlines illustrates the
growing lynch-mob mentality: 13 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN NEGRO HUNT; POSSES KEEP
UP HUNT FOR NEGRO; HUNT COLORED ASSAILANT; NEGRO FIEND SOUGHT
Washington’ s newly formed chapter of the NAACP was so concerned that on July 9 — 10
days before the bloodshed — it sent a letter to the four daily papers saying they were “ sowing
the seeds of a race riot by their inflammatory headlines.”
Violence escalated on the second night, Sunday, July 20, when white mobs sensed the 700-
member police department was unwilling or unable to stop them. Blacks were beaten in front of
the White House, at the giant Center Market on Seventh Street NW, and throughout the city,
where roving bands of whites pulled them off streetcars. One of black Washington’ s leading
citizens, author and historian Carter G. Woodson, 43, the new dean at Howard University, was
caught up in that night’ s horror. Walking home on Pennsylvania Avenue, Woodson was forced
to hide in the shadows of a storefront as a white mob approached.
“ They had caught a Negro and deliberately held him as one would a beef for slaughter,”
he recalled, “ and when they had conveniently adjusted him for lynching, they shot him. I heard
him groaning in his struggle as I hurried away as fast as I could without running, expecting every
moment to be lynched myself.”
The Parents League, a black citizens group that had been formed primarily to improve the
“ colored schools,” printed and distributed about 50,000 copies of a Notice to the Colored
Citizens, a handbill that advised “ our people, in the interest of law and order and to avoid the
loss of life and injury, to go home before dark and to remain quietly and to protect themselves.”
The city’ s chief executive, Louis Brownlow, the chairman of the District Commissioners,
issued an urgent appeal: “ The actions of the men who attacked innocent Negroes cannot be too
strongly condemned, and it is the duty of every citizen to express his support of law and order by
refraining from any inciting conversation or the repetition of inciting rumor and tales.”
But a crucial event had already occurred that morning that would overwhelm Brownlow’ s
good intention. The Washington Post published a front-page article that would be singled out by
the NAACP, and later by historians, as a contributing cause of the riot’ s escalation. Under the
words “ Mobilization for Tonight,” The Post erroneously reported that all available servicemen
had been ordered to report to Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh Street at 9 p.m. for a “ clean-
It was never clear how this fictional mobilization call was issued, but it became a self-
fulfilling prophecy, as white rioters gathered and blacks began arming themselves in defense.
Longtime Post reporter Chalmers Roberts, in his history of The Washington Post, called the
paper’ s riot coverage “ shamefully irresponsible.”
As blacks realized that authorities were not protecting them, many took up arms. More than
500 guns were sold by pawnshops and gun dealers that Monday, when the worst violence
occurred. White mobs were met by black mobs up and down the Seventh Street commercial
corridor. Black Army veterans took out their old guns; sharpshooters climbed to the roof of the
Howard Theatre; blacks manned barricades at New Jersey Avenue and at U Street.
Black men were driving around the city firing randomly at whites. Blacks turned the tables
and pulled whites off streetcars. At Seventh and G streets NW, a black rioter emptied his
revolver into a crowded streetcar before taking five bullets from police. At 12th and G NW, a 17-
year-old black girl barricaded herself in her house and shot and killed an MPD detective. In all,
10 whites and five blacks were killed or mortally wounded that night.
James Scott, a World War I veteran, boarded a streetcar at Seventh Street and Florida
Avenue NW late Monday night and quickly noticed he was the only black man on board. As he
headed for a vacant seat, a white soldier barred his way and shouted, “ Where are you going,
nigger?” “ Lynch him!” yelled another white. “ Kill him! . . . Throw him out the window,”
“ I was being grabbed from all sides. I forced my way to the rear door and was hit by
something as I stepped off, which cut my ear and bruised my head,” Scott recalled in a
statement to the NAACP. “ As the car moved away, the conductor fired three shots at me.”
Finally, on Tuesday, as city leaders and members of Congress realized the situation was out
of hand, President Wilson mobilized about 2,000 troops to stop the rioting —cavalry from Fort
Myer, Marines from Quantico, Army troops from Camp Meade and sailors from ships in the
City officials and businessmen closed the saloons, movie houses and billiard rooms in
neighborhoods where violence erupted. Despite the federal troops, white mobs gathered again.
But a strong summer downpour doused their spirits and heavy rains continued through the night,
effectively ending the riot of 1919.
In the ensuing months, the NAACP and others pushed for hearings into the riot. But the
episode became a mostly forgotten chapter of Washington history, largely because conservative
Southern congressmen blocked further inquiry.
Sociologist Arthur Waskow, who interviewed riot survivors in the 1960s, said the
experience gave them a new self-respect and “ a readiness to face white society as equals . . .
The Washington riot demonstrated that neither the silent mass of ‘ alley Negroes’ nor the
articulate leaders of the Negro community could be counted on to knuckle under.” 103
1919 - On July 25, a person named Jennings was lynched in Gilmer, Texas.
1919 - The summer of 1919, called “ The Red Summer” by James Weldon Johnson, ushered in
the greatest period of interracial violence the nation had ever witnessed. During that summer
there were twenty-six race riots in such cities as Chicago, Illinois; Elaine, Arkansas; Charleston,
South Carolina; Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee; Longview, Texas; and Omaha, Nebraska.
More than one hundred black people were killed in these riots, and thousands were wounded and
Chicago racial tension, concentrated on the South Side, was particularly exacerbated by the
pressure for adequate housing: the black population had increased from 44,000 in 1910 to more
than 109,000 in 1920. The worst of the post-War race riots took place in Chicago, Illinois. It
began on July 27 when teenaged Eugene Williams encroached upon a swimming area at the 31st
Street beach that white people had marked off for themselves, and was stoned until he drowned.
When police refused to arrest the white man whom black observers held responsible for the
incident, indignant crowds began to gather on the beach, and the disturbance began. Distorted
rumors swept the city as sporadic fighting broke out between gangs and mobs of both races.
By the time the riot ended, thirteen days later, thousands of both races had been involved in
a series of frays, fifteen whites and twenty-three Negroes were killed, and 178 whites and 342
blacks were injured. Violence escalated with each incident, and for 13 days Chicago was without
law and order despite the fact that the state militia had been called out on the fourth day. More
than one thousand families, mostly blacks, were left homeless due to the burnings and general
destruction of property. 69
1919 - In August, Charles Kelly was lynched in Fayette County, Georgia.
1919 - On August 2, Archie Robinson and another black man were lynched for assault in Clarke,
1919 - On August 5, an unknown man from Chicago traveling on a passenger train through
Georgia was taken off the train in Cochran and hanged by unknown perpetrators for remarking
that African-Americans in Georgia should defend themselves as African-Americans in Chicago
recently had done during a race riot. 244
1919 - On August 14, James Grant was lynched for murderous assault in Pope City, Georgia.
1919 - On August 20, Walter Elliott was lynched for rape in Franklin, North Carolina.
1919 - On August 26, Jesse Hammett was lynched for attempted rape in Caddo Parish,
1919 - On August 28, Eli Cooper was taken from his Cadwell, Georgia home, shot and burned in
a nearby church in Dodge County by unknown perpetrators for “ standing up” to white
1919 - On August 30, 6 people were killed in a race riot in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The lynching of Lucius McCarty for attempted rape.
August 31, 1919, Bogalusa, Louisiana
1919 - On September 1, Flinton Briggs was lynched for making indecent proposals in Lincoln,
1919 - On September 6, a black man was lynched for attempted rape in Morehouse, Louisiana.
1919 - On September 8, Bowman Cook and John Morine were lynched for murder in
1919 - On September 10, several thousand Athens, Georgia citizens watched a mob lynch Obe
Cox, who was accused of rape and murder. The mob chained Cox to an iron post, assembled a
pyre beneath him and burned him alive. Fearful of further lynchings, a committee of African-
Americans published a letter announcing, “ We certainly thank you for handling this case so
nice, for it could have been worse for us.” 244
1919 - On September 13, a black man was lynched for “ hiding under a bed” in Catahoula,
1919 - On September 22, Ernest Glenwood was drowned and shot for “ circulating propaganda"
and "inflaming local Negroes" in Americus, Georgia.
1919 - Racial tensions were at an extreme in Omaha, Nebraska; the influx of African Americans
from the South and a perceived epidemic of crime created an atmosphere of mistrust and fear
that led to the lynching of William Brown.
Brown had been accused of assaulting a white woman. When police arrested him on
September 28, a mob quickly formed which ignored orders from authorities that they disperse.
When Mayor Edward P. Smith appeared to plead for calm, he was kidnapped by the mob, hung
to a trolley pole, and nearly killed before police were able to cut him down.
The rampaging mob set the courthouse prison on fire and seized Brown. He was hung from
a lamppost, mutilated, and his body riddled with bullets, then burned. Four other people were
killed and fifty wounded before troops were able to restore order. 170
1919 - On September 29, Robert Croskey and Miles Phifer were lynched for rape in
1919 - On September 30, John Temple was lynched for murder in Montgomery, Alabama.
1919 - There are two conflicting accounts of the Elaine, Arkansas race riot of September 30,
1919, said Little Rock lawyer Grif Stockley, a white man who is writing a book about the
According to the white version, a black man, Robert L. Hill, planned an insurrection against
whites, organized a union among black sharecroppers and incited them to grab land and kill
whites. In an unprovoked attack, the account goes, a white deputy was shot by blacks meeting at
a church near Elaine, and chaos ensued.
The version told by blacks portrays whites as the aggressors: The blacks were trying to get
their fair share of the money from cotton sales and formed the union to get an accurate account
of how much they were owed by landowners. Even the number of dead remains up for debate:
anywhere from 20 to 200 blacks died in the clash.
More than 500 federal troops were called in, accompanied by the governor, to end the
violence. Two hundred blacks were arrested, and many were tried, convicted and sent to prison,
but no white was ever charged. There are few records to indicate exactly how the riot started,
who participated and how many blacks were killed. Even though the law requiring death
certificates was passed in 1914, it was not being enforced, especially, as was often the case,
Does anyone really doubt that blacks were victims? Although no longer slaves, Delta blacks
lived under peonage, and if they ran off, the police would arrest them, take them back to the
plantation and force them to work until they paid off any debt the planters said was owed them.
In Harrison, white mobs ran the blacks out of town, another well-kept secret only recently
discussed in the Arkansas Historical Quarterly. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there was a
lynching almost every week in Arkansas.
“ Nobody knows who fired the first shot,” said Stockley, who grew up in the Delta. But, he
said, there is plenty of evidence to say whites attacked blacks indiscriminately: “ I use the term
‘ race massacre.’ ” Stockley cites accounts of the killings of four blacks in the custody of white
law officers, rumors of a mass grave at Elaine and historical research that supports stories of
abuse. 104, 105
At the trial, 12 blacks were sentenced to death and 67 to lengthy prison terms. Black
witnesses appearing at the trial were whipped until they consented to testify against the accused.
The all-white jury heard the case in the presence of a mob threatening violence if there were no
convictions. The court-appointed counsel did not ask for a change of venue and called no
witnesses —not even the defendants themselves. The trial lasted 45 minutes, and the jury
brought in a verdict of guilty after five minutes. NAACP attorneys then applied for a writ of
habeas corpus on the grounds that the trial was a trial in form only and no due process was
accorded in view of the mob pressure. The petition was at first dismissed. The U. S. Supreme
Court ultimately ruled that the petition should be heard, and reversed the decision of the
Arkansas District Court, with Justice Holmes stating in his opinion that “ counsel, jury and judge
were swept to the fatal end by an irresistible wave of public passion.” Moore v. Dempsey, 261
U.S. 86 (1923). 1
1919 - On October 5, Mose Martin was lynched for murder in Lincoln County, Georgia.
1919 - On October 5, six black men were lynched for murder in Washington, Georgia.
1919 - On October 6, William Brown and Jack Gordon were burned alive for being accomplices
to murder in Lincoln County, Georgia.
1919 - On October 7, Eugene Hamilton was lynched for attempted murder in Jasper County,
1919 - On October 16, two black people were lynched in Marion County, Georgia.
1919 - On October 20, Alexander Wilson was lynched for murder in Lee, Arkansas.
1919 - On October 27, Henry Booth was lynched for cursing at a white woman in Gibson,
1919 - On October 28, Congress enacted the Volstead Act over President Wilson’ s veto.
1919 - On November 3, a mob burned Paul Jones to death. He had been accused of raping a
fifty-year-old widow in Macon, Georgia. As news of the alleged assault circulated, more than a
thousand people began to frantically search for suspicious African-Americans. When deputy
sheriffs captured Jones in a nearby rail yard, the mob arrived and compelled the deputies to leave
the scene. Later, when the sheriff arrived at the scene, the mob permitted him to take Jones to the
home of the victim for identification. The woman, hysterical with fright, hastily identified Jones
as her assailant. The mob then shot him repeatedly, doused him with gasoline and set him ablaze.
As the fire dwindled and Jones was still alive, he was pulled from the fire, resaturated with
gasoline, and thrown back into the flames until only charred bones remain. 244
1919 - On November 8, Robert Motley was lynched for murder in Quitman, Mississippi.
1919 - On November 11, 4 men were killed in the Centralia, Washington Massacre of IWW
labor organizers. 235
1919 - On November 11, Jordan Jameson was lynched for murder in Columbia, Arkansas.
1919 - On November 16, a black man was lynched in Moberly, Missouri.
1919 - On November 18, Seattle printers refused to print an anti-labor ad in a newspaper. 235
1919 - On November 19, Wallace Hayes was lynched for murder in Madison, Georgia.
1919 - On November 20, T. T. Lee was lynched for murder in Baxter, Arkansas.
1919 - On November 28, Neville Foxworth was lynched for attempted rape in Marion,
1919 - On November 29, Sam Mosley was lynched for assaulting women in Columbia, Florida.
1919 - On November 30, Jack Ridicer was lynched for attempted murder in Wilkinson County,
1919 - On December 15, a person named Whitfield (Whitney) was lynched in West Virginia.
1919 - On December 21, Charles West was lynched for murder in Smithville, Georgia.
1919 - On December 21, J. Edgar Hoover deported anarchist-feminist Emma Goldman to Russia
for agitating against forced conscription in the U.S. The U.S. also deported 250 other alien
1919 - On December 27, Powell Green was lynched for murder in Franklin, North Carolina.
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