Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 19, 1908: Richard Smith and Will McMullen

Today we learn about a lynching of two men in Florida found in the pages of the March 20, 1908 edition of the Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois):

Two Negroes Are Lynched.

Perry, Fla., March 20.—A mob of armed citizens early Thursday surrounded the county jail and  took Richard Smith and Will McMullen, negroes, from the jail, carried them to a secluded spot on the outskirts of town and after binding them to stakes ,riddled their bodies with bullets. 

Our article of interest comes to us through the pages of The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated August 26, 1909:


Louisiana in Sore Need of Missionaries, Says Times.

It is almost incredible that a Negro should have been lynched because he sued for damages a white man who had shot his cow, yet that is a statement made in a dispatch from Louisiana, printed recently. If the story was true, if the Negro really was strung up to the branch of a tree and riddled with bullets simply because he applied to the courts for redress when wrongfully deprived of his property, the affair was in some ways about the worst manifestation of the lynching spirit that has ever disgraced the country. Always in theory, and usually in practice, a mob killing is the infliction of wild justice for crimes so heinous that the slow process of law can be called inadequate. In this case, however, there seems to have been not even the poor excuse that the victim of the lynchers deserved killing. Had he shot the man who shot his cow, his taking off would have been at lease explicable, and, in conceivable conditions, defensible, but to hand him because he went to law for the adjustment of his grievance was a complete abandonment of civilization. If any considerable number of people took part in the murder, that part of Louisiana—Moorehouse Parish—must be in sorer need of missionaries than Darkest Africa or the South Sea Islands.—The New York Times.

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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