Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October 15, 1897: Douglas Boulte

Today's lynching comes to us from the pages of The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) printed October 17, 1897:


The Fate of Douglas Boulte, a Negro Leader in Louisiana.

NEW ORLEANS, October 16.—Douglas Boulte, a negro leader, was lynched at a small settlement on Bayou Barataria, about fifteen miles from this city yesterday.

His offense was running the quarantine gauntlet.

Our article of interest comes to us from The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated September 26, 1892:


C. H. Shotwell, of New Orleans, on the Negro Question.


Colored Men Hanged on the Most Frivolous Charges.

No Protection Extended by the Authorities—In Republican Success Lies Their Only Hope.

The following speech was delivered by C. H. Shotwell, of New Orleans, editor of National Forecast, at the emancipation celebration at Kuhn's Park last Thursday:

Ladies and Gentlemen:  I will begin by making you the question:  Has the United States power to protect its citizens? In addressing you I shall aim to be very brief and to the point. The so called race problem is now a life and death question with a part of the citizens of this country. They are being shot, murdered, and burned at the stake without the semblance of law. The press, pulpit and every officer, from the President down to the humblest constabulary, should know the facts. The mobocracy of the South do not attempt to deny it. They glory in their guilt and gloat like fiends over their crimes of oppression, bloodshed and murder. The steady practice of the South shows a tree poisoned from topmost twig to deepest root. The colored people of the South are as ready to sustain sheriffs in their duty of executing condemned murderers as the whites of that section.

It Is the Concern of All.

Such evils as we are undergoing may be the divinely appointed whips and spurs to make us go forward to something better, and not rest indolently, contented in the negative comforts and half-virtues of quiet times. We believe in Providence as regard the future, and will do our work henceforth as those who are to give an account for every opportunity, talent and privilege. In this country we are all members of each other; no man can live to himself or die to himself. If one suffers, all suffer. You are all therefore obliged to interest yourselves in the condition of those around you. We study the same arts, sciences, and literature. We attend the same churches, have preached to us the same gospel and worship the same God. For your own sakes and the sake of your children, if not for the sake of God and humanity, you must do your part in assisting to settle this life and death question; lend your arm to sustain the weak and relieve the oppressed, and your sufficient reward will be to find that always and everywhere "it is more blessed to give than to receive."

A Congressional committee report discloses by innumerable witnesses that the white-line organization, an avowed military organization, leagued themselves together to prevent the enjoyment of suffrage and equal rights by the colored people of the South.The Knights of the White Shield, lately organized in Birmingham, Ala., and the regulators are similar organizations. These lawless bands have established in peace what they lost in battle—the nullity of the Constitution and State sovereignty. They acknowledge they are murdering American citizens regardless of law and in direct violation of the Constitution, and they ask you what are you going to do about it. As public sentiment makes and enforces law, we are appealing to public sentiment, believing, as we do, there are brains, courage, and patriotism enough in the moral and law-abiding people of this country to successfully grapple with this great and burning question. If, however, you are blind to justice and deaf to the plea of humanity, there is but one alternative left for us, that of self-preservation, though it cost rivers of blood.  

It is impossible to keep these Southern outrages out of politics, for it is the groundwork of all this lawlessness. There is no colored no Afro-American citizen. There is only a different color of skin, for out of one blood all nations of the earth were made. Wherever the Constitution applies and so long as the same flag floats over us all the laws of this country should not know individuals by the color of their skin or the texture of their hair, but as citizens of one Nation.

The Bloody Record.

But let us go briefly into the South's bloody record and ascertain the cause of the many murders perpetrated by the so-called Christian saints. In Nashville, Tenn., the Grizzard brothers were lynched on suspicion of assault. Governor Buchanan was present. He could have called out the militia had he felt disposed to maintain the law. In Little Rock, Ark., a prisoner was put into the penitentiary for safe keeping. A mob took him out and lynched him on suspicion of assault. Governor Eagle was present with the militia, Sheriff's police, and thousands of good citizens at his command. He showed no disposition to assert the supremacy of the law. In Lousiana a 13-year-old girl was lynched on suspicion of poisoning the family with whom she lived as a servant, none of whom died. The family had put down rat poison overnight, which had been carried to the water vessel from which the girl made coffee the next morning. She was swung into eternity because of the carelessness of her employers. In Georgia, June 15, a white man was found dead and three negroes were lynched on suspicion. Near Tutweiler, Miss., Will Robinson, a 17-year-old boy, was lynched on suspicion of assault. His accuser afterward admitted the innocence of the boy. In Charleston, Miss., a white man walking through his back yard heard the report of a pistol near by. He supposed that some one shot at him and accused three neggoes, [sic] who were arrested and jailed. A mob took them out and lynched them. Sheriff Calhoun and some 500 people stood by as gleefully as if they were witnessing a minstrel performance, while the innocent men were crying "murder," "murder," "fire," "fire," to attract the people of the town and the officers of the law to come to their rescue. They were hurried away by the blood-thirsty wretches and murdered; their remains hid in brush and hollow logs, and were only found by the vulture of the air. Horrible!

In Culmsneil, Texas, in June, three negroes were murdered on suspicion of assault. In Vicksburg, Miss., June 5, a white man was found dead and two negroes were arrested and taken to court for trial. A mob entered the temple of justice, seized the prisoners in open daylight and lynched them. No arrests for the horrible murder! In Texarkana, Ark., Ed Coy was lacerated with knives, tied to a tree, fagots saturated with coal oil piled up around him and burned to ashes. A white woman applied the torch. While his flesh was broiling on his bones, and the flames licking up his life-blood, the heartless wretches could not extort a confession from him. He looked his accuser in the face and said to her in the presence of the howling demons: "You know I am not guilty," thus protesting his innocence to the last. His wretched accuser has since admitted his innocence, and it is stated upon good authority that she is a raving maniac. The other Southern States furnish the world with eight more examples, equally horrible!

Taken Out of Jail and Shot.

Moss, Chase, and Stewart were taken out of jail at Memphis, Tenn., March 9, and shot on suspicion of shooting deputy sheriffs. These young men were rivals of a white man named Barrett, in the grocery business. Barrett envied their success, sought a personal difficulty with them, and got worsted. To revenge himself and break up their business he threatened to bring his hoodlum crowd and clean them out. Not having the courage of his convictions, he manufactured a false charge, "that the negroes at the curve were rising against the whites." Deputy sheriffs were sent to arrest them. The officers went in half drunk and commenced firing in every direction to frighten the negroes. They shot each other and swore the negroes shot them. The truth is that no negro fired a shot that night. 

Moss, Chase, and Stewart were jailed. A mob went to the jail; the fact is, they were invited in. The jailor unlocked the gate and then the door. The innocent men were soon in the hands of the mob and hurried away. They pleaded their innocence and begged for their lives. Moss begged to be spared long enough to see his invalid wife and infant child, and on seeing that he must die he cried out, "Let us turn our faces to the North." The word "North" infuriated the mob and a dozen bullets were fired through his head and his brains were scattered to the winds. Think of it! While hot lead was rattling at his head for admittance to the citadel of life, he made his last appeal to that section of this country which had been most friendly to his race. Moss was a Sabbath school teacher, an officer of the church, an industrious, honest, and honorable citizen, loved by all his own race and trusted and respected by the best white people of this city. The better element of the white memorialized the court to close the Barett hoodlum establishment. The prejudiced court refused. 

Seven Negroes Lynched. 

In Morganfield, Ky., seven negroes were lynched in a line in the same tree and same limb, accused of arson. No proof, no arrests, no trial. In Union County, Kentucky, five negroes were lynched in the court house yard; same charge and same procedure. In Camden, Ark., a negro was shot for saying "Hurrah for Grant." The unfortunate man was sent into eternity for speaking of his benefactor and the country's greatest general! In Roston, Ark., a negro was stabbed to death for rubbing against a white man on the narrow sidewalk. He was sent into eternity for thinking he had a right to half of the sidewalk. This occurred under the shadow of the temple of justice. In Hope, Ark., Christopher Parlor, a Sabbath-school teacher, was lynched for calling upon a white lady who had sent him a written invitation. In Chattanooga, Tenn., Weems was sentenced to twenty-one years in the penitentiary for a similar offense. Think of it! Parlor lynched and Weems sent to the penitentiary for twenty-one years for going where they were invited. In Louisiana an old negro was called out of his cabin and shot. He crawled back to his house and gave the names of some of the party and died. They killed him just to be "regulating." No other charge, and no arrests for the foul murder they had committed. 

At Westville, Miss., Aug. 11, a negro was taken from jail and lynched by a mob on suspicion of assault. At Alexandria, La., William Addison, seen coming out of the backyard of a white family, was murdered by a constable. It is the custom in the South for domestics to enter and depart from the read of the whites' dwellings. He was robbed of his life for following the custom of the country. Near Farmersville, La., July 30, Walter Low was given up by an officer to a mob and lynched on suspicion of robbery or assault. The blood-hungry assassins could no agree as to which charge to make. At Greenville, Ala., Aug. 14, Major Newcart was murdered for saying "Hurrah for Jones," a democratic candidate for Governor. He was riddled with bullets by Farmer's Alliance partisans for announcing his choice of the candidates. 

Near Fishville, La., April 3, an old peddler was found dead and four negroes were lynched. There was no proof of their guilt and no trial. In Georgia, Aug. 2, a negro was lynched for talking to his neighbor about a former riot two years ago. he was swung into eternity for speaking of former murders. At Memphis, Tenn., during the last State encampment, little Willie Howard was shot through by an officer "just for fun." The boy had committed the crime of only looking at the soldiers drill. In Laurens, Va., May 31, a negro was lynched on suspicion of stealing $50 dollars worth of merchandise. This occurred on our National prayer day. The idea of Southern whites lynching on a human being for dishonesty! Only a few years ago Virginia refused to pay her creditors some $2,000,000 under the guise of readjustment. The State treasury of Kentucky is short $100,000; Mississippi, $325,000, and of Louisiana $300,000, on account of defaulting and absconding treasurers. Every Southern State has robbed its creditors of honest money and the negro of his labor and his rights. Still they are special champions of honesty. The presumption of law is that every man is innocent until proven guilty. In the South no opportunity is allowed a negro, fearing he might establish his innocence. 

Long Calendar of Crime.

But let us recapitulate. During the last eighteen months 360 men, women, and children have been lynched and nine burned. The Southern officials have not made a single arrest. ninety-nine percent of those lynched and burned were ushered into the presence of God protesting their innocence. The Hon. Isaac C. Parker, United States District Judge for the western district of Arkansas, said that in the last two years 10,1*6 murders were committed, and out of this number only 552 have been overtaken by justice. The majority of them were innocent negroes. But as to the 360 referred to as being lynched and burned, not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice. Still the constitution declares that "no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of the law." So you see we are in an interregnum where there is no law to punish crime. Volumes might be written reciting the blood-curdling murders perpetrated upon our innocent people, and still the half would not be told. It is one long calendar of crime covering 273 years. During the last twenty-seven years of our alleged citizenship there has been no cessation of crime, bloodshed, and murder. More of our people have fallen victims to the lawless, prejudiced, and turbulent element of the South during this period of human butchery than were killed in battle during our internecine strife.

But let us turn away from the nauseating scene; it is too sickening to look upon. Again I ask the question, is the government of the United States powerless to protect its citizens? If such is the case, I beseech the 15,000,000 white Christians of America to think upon this great and burning question; think upon it for the welfare of your homes, for the protection of your children, for the perpetuation of your government, and for the love of God and humanity. These outrages must abate. That grand old man, Frederick Douglass, is sounding the battle cry. B. K. Bruce, John Lynch, John M. Langston, James Hill, R. T. Greene, Colonel Robert Smalls are all in line. President Harrison has in his letter of acceptance mapped out the future legislation of his party upon this life-and-death question in the following forcible manner:

"I have used every suitable occasion to urge upon the people of all sections the consideration that no good cause can be promoted upon the lines of lawlessness. Mobs do not discriminate, and the punishments inflicted by them have no repressive or salutary influences. On the contrary they beget revenges and perpetuate feuds. It is especially the duty of the educated and influential to see that the weak and ignorant, when accused of crime, are fairly tried before lawful tribunals." 

That is all we ask. The president might have stopped there. But he goes further and says: "The moral sentiment of the country should be aroused and brought to bear for the suppression of these offenses against the discriminated order." . . .

I think you probably get the drift. The article goes on for quite a bit more, almost the entire page. I just have to say that "very brief and to the point" seems to mean something different to me than to Mr. Shotwell. Thank you for joining me today and as always, I hope I have given you something to ponder.

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