Tuesday, December 9, 2014

December 9, 1889: Jack Turner

Today we read an article from the Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Pennsylvania) dated December 10, 1889:

A Murderer Lynched.

GREENSBURG, Ky., December 9.—Jack Turner, who last Wednesday killed Matley Williams, son of Hon. D. M Williams, was lynched near here to-day. Threats of mob vengeance was circulated all week. The excitement cclminated [sic] last night when the mob visited the jail and took Turner out and hanged him. Quiet prevailed and very few of the citizens knew the mob was in town. About twenty-five or forty men attacked the jail and demanded admittance which was promptly refused. Then, with a heavy piece of timber, they forced the door and dragged the jailor out, securing the keys. The mob unlocked the dungeon. The negro was taken to Pittman creek bridge, four miles from town, and hanged. The coroner's jury cut him down and held an inquest to-day, giving a verdict in accordance with the facts.

Every article I read agreed on the details except Matley Williams name, reporting it as Motley and Moteley, as well. Our article of interest is found in The Appeal:  A National Afro-American Newspaper (St. Paul, Minnesota) dated August 29, 1903:

If it were not so exasperating and did not portend so much ill, it would be really amusing to contemplate the contortions of the white people in their efforts to solve the "Negro problem" They have nursed their trouble and it has grown larger and larger daily, until it has actually driven them crazy. They have suggested many theories and tried many ways with equally unsatisfactory results. The good book says there is but one way to reach heaven and immortal glory, and that is the right way. The same rule will apply in the solution of the "vexed problem." There is a right way to settle it, but the white people, it seems, do not wish to settle it that way; and, as no matter is ever settled, until it is settled right, the solution of the problem seems to be a long way off.

If it will not be considered presumption by our white brothers, we might offer a few suggestions. You see, one of the main troubles in the matter is that the white people, who are the more dissatisfied ones, wish to settle the whole thing on an entirely one-sided basis, that is, to suit themselves only. Now, we would suggest that they apply one of their time-honored rules:  "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." 'Tis conceded that "right wrongs no man," and, whether it is, or is not conceded, that the Afro-American is a man, the fact remains just the same. Every black man that has come into this world came in just the same way that every white man did, and every one, black or white, breathed the same sort of air, drank the same sort of water, ate the same sorts of food and clothed his body in the same way according to his habitat. Then there cannot be very much difference between one man and another, as a man, on general principles, Except the various shades of colors or degrees of intelligence, etc. Therefore we must contend that what is good or bad for one man is good or bad for another man. If education is good for a white man it is just good for a black one. If a black man ought to be lynched for raping a white woman a white man ought to be lynched for raping a black one. (We, however, do not believe that any man ought to be lynched for any reason whatever.) Lynching is wrong in principle, and when resorted to to correct a wrong not only does not correct the wrong but commits another, equally as bad if not sometimes worse then the wrong which is the excuse for it. Some white people consider all people who are not white inferiors. We would again ask such to apply another of their rules:  "Deal with your inferiors as you would have your superiors deal with you." But why expatiate? The whole in a nut shell is:  Be color-blind in all your dealings with your fellow men. Let a man be a man for a' that and a' that. Be just.

I added the picture from The Appeal for no other reason then I like it and thought to share it. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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